MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
WEDNESDAY 7 NOVEMBER 2007
ROOM 144, PARLIAMENT bUILDINGS.
Danny Kennedy (Chairperson)
Naomi Long (Deputy Chairperson)
Christine Darrah (Assembly Clerk)
Antonia Hoskins (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Joe Sloan (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Lynda Mulholland (Clerical Supervisor)
Marion Johnson (Clerical Officer)
The meeting opened at 2.03 p.m. in public session.
Ms Anderson joined the meeting at 2.04 p.m.
Mr Elliott joined the meeting at 2.05 p.m.
Consultation on Draft Budget 2008-11
The Chairperson advised that the Committee for Finance and Personnel intended to co-ordinate the responses of the Assembly Statutory Committees in relation to the draft Budget 2007 and had proposed a number of themes and key issues that the Committee may wish to consider. The Committee noted the attendance of departmental officials at the meeting scheduled for 14 November 2007 to discuss the draft Budget and also agreed to address equality and section 75 as additional themes. The Committee agreed that the session should be recorded by Hansard.
Invitation to Church Service in Enniskillen
The Committee noted that the Chairperson had accepted an invitation to attend a Church Service in Enniskillen on Thursday 8 November 2007 to mark the 20 th anniversary of the Remembrance Day bombing.
Committee Forward Work Programme
The Committee discussed a letter from OFMDFM advising that Ministers were still considering proposals for a Victims and Survivors Strategy and that officials would not be in a position to brief the Committee on this issue at the meeting on 14 November 2007. The Committee agreed that, in light of this and other work issues which would arise later in the meeting, a revised Forward Work Programme should be tabled for consideration at the next meeting.
Draft minutes of the meeting held on 24 October 2007
The minutes of proceedings for Wednesday 24 October 2007 were agreed by the Committee.
October Monitoring Round
The Committee noted the resources surrendered by, and the additional allocations to, OFMDFM in the October Monitoring Round statement on Monday 5 November 2007. The Committee agreed to write to the Department of Finance and Personnel for an explanation of why the bid for additional resources for the Planning Appeals Commission had not been met. The Committee also agreed to write to OFMDFM expressing concern that the bid had not been met and asking for details of how the department intended to address this pressure.
Mr Mc Elduff joined the meeting at 2.13 p.m.
Mrs Long joined the meeting at 2.18 p.m.
Draft Programme for Government and draft Investment Strategy consultation
The Committee considered proposals to enable it to liaise with and co-ordinate the responses from the other Statutory Committees on the draft Programme for Government and Investment Strategy. Following a discussion the Committee agreed to undertake the co-ordination role and publish a report. The Committee agreed to write to the other Statutory Committees inviting responses and suggesting a number of broad themes and issues they may wish to consider when taking evidence from their respective departments and in formulating responses. The Committee also agreed to table a motion for a Take Note debate on the draft Programme for Government and Investment Strategy with a preferred date of Monday 26 November 2007 for the debate.
EU Gender Directive on Goods and Services
The Committee considered a letter from the Department outlining that policy proposals were still being developed and therefore this matter would not be available for consideration until later in November. The Committee agreed to write to the Department requesting an explanation of the delay and the difficulties being encountered.
Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People – Review of Legislation
The Committee noted a letter from the Department requesting a deferral of the briefing session on the review of the legislation relating to the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People. The Committee agreed to invite the Commissioner to attend its meeting on 21 November 2007 to discuss the review of legislation and the review of her office. The Committee also agreed to write to the First Minister and deputy First Minister regarding its serious concerns about the lack of progress and deferral of a number of important issues.
Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People – Review of the Office
OFMDFM officials Billy Gamble and Caroline Evans joined the meeting at2.56p.m.
The Committee noted a research paper and additional information provided by the Department on this issue. The OFMDFM officials briefed the Committee on the report of the Review which had been carried out by Deloitte MCS on behalf of OFMDFM and answered Members’ questions.
The Committee agreed to consider the matter further following the briefing session with the Commissioner.
The officials left the meeting at 3.55 p.m.
OFMDFM PfG Priorities
The Committee noted the further information provided by the Department in response to queries raised in relation to PfG priorities.
Shared Future and Racial Equality Reports and Plans
The Committee discussed a letter from the First Minister and deputy First Minister regarding the Shared Future and Racial Equality Reports and Plans. The Committee agreed to write to the First Minister and deputy First Minister requesting a definitive date for a briefing on these matters.
Report of the Interim Victims Commissioner
The Committee discussed a letter from the Department in relation to the status of the report by the Interim Victims Commissioner. The Committee agreed to write to the Department seeking further clarification.
Review of the Case for an Older People’s Commissioner
The Committee discussed a letter from the Department in relation to the review of the case for an Older People’s Commissioner. The Committee agreed to write to the Department seeking details of the appointment process and specification for the next meeting.
Capital Underspend 2006-07
The Committee discussed information provided by the Committee for Finance and Personnel on OFMDFM capital underspend in 2006-2007. The Committee agreed to write requesting details of the individual projects involved.
Proposed Development at Greenore Port, Co Louth
The Committee agreed to forward information relating to a proposed development at Greenore Port, County Louth that had been requested by the Committee for the Environment to that Committee.
Letter from Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (FAIR)
The Committee considered a letter from Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (FAIR) requesting that the Committee write to the Prime Minister and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office supporting a legal case against Libya on behalf of victims in Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom and America who were killed or injured by semtex or weapons supplied by Libya.
Mr Shannon proposed that the Committee write in support. Mr Moutray seconded the proposal.
The Committee divided: Ayes 6; Noes 4
Mrs Kelly proposed that the Committee forward the letter to the First Minister and deputy First Minister for their consideration.
The Committee divided: Ayes 8; abstentions 2
- Date of next meeting
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 14 November 2007 at 2.00 p.m. in Room 144, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.27. p.m.