Northern Ireland Assembly Flax Flower Logo

Committee of the Centre

Minutes of Proceedings

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Danny Kennedy (Chairperson)
Martina Anderson
Dolores Kelly
Barry McElduff
Francie Molloy
Stephen Moutray
Jim Shannon
Jimmy Spratt
Jim Wells

In Attendance:
Debbie Pritchard (Principal Clerk)
Damien Martin (Assembly Clerk)
Joe Sloan (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Antonia Hoskins (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Marion Johnson (Clerical Officer)
Eileen Regan (Senior Researcher)

Naomi Long (Deputy Chairperson)
Tom Elliott

The meeting opened at 2.03pm in public session.

  1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

  1. Chairperson’s Business

The Chairperson welcomed the members, visitors and press to the first meeting of the Committee of the Centre.

The Chairperson briefed the Committee on a meeting he and the Deputy Chairperson had attended with the First Minister, deputy First Minister and the Junior Ministers on 26 April 2007.

The Chairperson also advised the Committee that he and the Deputy Chairperson had met with the major policy directorates in the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) and recommended that the Committee receive similar briefings as part of its initial work programme.

The Chairperson advised the Committee that he and the Deputy Chairperson are scheduled to meet with the Commissioner for Public Appointments and that he would report back to the Committee on the outcome of this meeting.

Ms Anderson and Mr Shannon joined the meeting at 2.11 p.m.

  1. Committee Membership

The Chairperson asked members to note the full list of Committee of the Centre membership.

  1. Procedures

The Committee noted the guidance papers provided by the Clerk on:

a. Powers and operation of Statutory Committees for Chairpersons and Members.
b. The role of the Committee Chairperson.
c. The role and functions of the Committee Office.

In particular, the Committee’s attention was brought to the guidance in relation to privilege and sub-judice.
Eileen Regan (Senior Researcher) advised members of the research services that will be available to support the Committee in its work.

  1. Declaration of Interests

The Chairperson reminded members that the Guide to Rules relating to the Conduct of Members requires that, before the first meeting of a Committee, all members nominated to serve on the Committee must send to the Committee Clerk details of any interest, financial or otherwise for circulation to the Committee. A list of the interests declared to the Clerk in advance of the Committee meeting was tabled and members were asked to confirm their interests as a matter of record. The list of members’ interests declared to the Committee is appended to these minutes.

  1. Subordinate Legislation

The Committee was provided with guidance in relation to subordinate legislation and a proposal to delegate technical scrutiny of subordinate legislation to the Examiner of Statutory Rules.

The Committee agreed the motion proposed by the Chairperson and seconded by Mr Shannon that:

“The Committee of the Centre resolves, under Standing Order 41, to delegate to the Examiner of Statutory Rules the technical scrutiny of statutory rules referred to the Committee under the above mentioned Standing Order. The Committee further resolves that in carrying out this function, the Examiner shall be authorised to report his technical findings on each statutory rule to the Assembly, through the Business Office, and to the relevant Department, as well as to the Committee itself and to publish his report.”

  1. Draft Work Programme

The Chairperson asked the Committee to consider the draft initial work plan prepared by the Clerk. The Committee agreed to take early briefings from the main policy directorates in OFMDFM. The Committee also agreed to visit the Maze / Long Kesh to receive briefing on the strategic issues in relation to regeneration of the overall site.

The Committee also requested that the First Minister and deputy First Minister attend an early meeting of the Committee to discuss issues such as emerging priorities in relation to the Programme for Government and priorities for OFMDFM.

Mr Molloy left the meeting at 2.39 p.m.

  1. First Day Brief from Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister

Mr Nigel Hamilton Head of the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister and Mr John Mc Millen (OFMDFM Accounting Officer) attended the meeting and provided an overview of the structures and responsibilities of OFMDFM. Mr Hamilton described both the Cabinet Office, co-ordination and policy development roles of OFMDFM. He also outlined the role of the Department in relation to its sponsored bodies.

Members questioned the officials on the roles and responsibilities of the Department and on progress in a range of policy development areas.

The Chairperson thanked the officials and suggested that members may wish to discuss the matters they had raised with the Clerk, to assist with the prioritisation of issues in the Committee Forward Plan.

  1. Draft Committee Press Release

The Committee considered a draft press release in relation to its inaugural meeting and approved its issue subject to amendment.

  1. Any Other Business

There were no other matters raised.

  1. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday, 24 May 2007 at 2.00pm in Room 144, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 3.40 p.m.

Mr Danny Kennedy
Chairperson, Committee of the Centre

24 May 2007

Committee of the Centre
Declaration of Interests
Details as provided to the Clerk before 16th May 2007
Danny Kennedy:

Member of Newry and Mourne District Council.
Member of Newry and Mourne Local Strategy Partnership Board.
Member of the Northern Ireland Policing Board April 2006- May 2007.
Member of the Board of Governors of Newry High School.
Member of the Board of Governors of Bessbrook Primary School.
Member of Community Convention and Development Company, Spectrum Centre, 331-333 Shankill Road, w.e.f. 23/08/2006.
Member of Orange Institution.
Member of the Black Institution.
Member of the Apprentice Boys of Derry.
Member of Tullyvallen Silver Band.
Member of the Northern Ireland Policing Board delegation to Washington/ New York March 2007.

Naomi Long:

Member for Victoria Ward Belfast City Council.
Member of Belfast Policing Partnership.
Member of Belfast Education and Library Board.
Member of Sydenham Infants School Board of Governors.
Graduate member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.
Member of the Congregational Committee.
Member of Girl Guiding Association and Adult Leader.
Husband owns a dental practice in Donaghadee.
Columnist for Newsletter.

Martina Anderson:

No interests to declare.

Tom Elliott:

Director, Janard Properties Limited.
Director, Fermanagh Lakeland Tourism.
Director, Magheracross Agricultural Group Limited.
Self-employed farmer.
Councillor, Fermanagh District Council.
Member, District Policing Partnership, Fermanagh.
Land and Property – Farm at Tullyrain, Ballinamallard, Co. Fermanagh.
Shareholder – Janard Properties.
Honorary Secretary, Fermanagh Unionist Association.
Trustee, Knockmanoul Orange Hall.
Member of the Orange Institution.
Member of the Royal Black Perceptory.
Member of Ulster Farmers Union.

Dolores Kelly:

Member, Craigavon Borough Council.
Director, Lurgan Forward.
Director, East Border Region Partnership.
Member, Northern Ireland Policing Board.
Land and Property - Residential property (rented), Belfast.

Barry McElduff:

Member, Omagh District Council.
Director, Rural Link.
Director, Fintona Regeneration Initiative.
Member of various community groups.

Francie Molloy:

Member, Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council.
Executive Member, NILGA.
Director, Confederation of EU Councillors.
Member, National Association of Councillors (NAC).
Director, Lough Neagh Partnership.
Member, Board of Governors of Edendork Primary School.

Stephen Moutray:

Director Knockshane Enterprises.
Partner in William Moutray and Sons (Service Station).
Partner in S Moutray and Co. Supermarket.
Subpostmaster, Banbridge Road Post Office, Lurgan.
Member of Craigavon Borough Council.
Member of Craigavon District Policing Partnership.

Jim Shannon:

Self-employed Pork Retailer.
Councillor, Ards Borough Council.

Jimmy Spratt:

Member of Castlereagh Borough Council.
Member of Castlereagh District Policing Partnership.
Member of South Eastern Education & Library Board, (no remuneration at present).
Land and Property - Rental property, Dundonald.
Land and Property - 38 acres of agricultural land, Comber.
Land and Property - Holiday property, Morocco.

Jim Wells:

Director, St. Patrick’s Centre, Downpatrick.
Director, The Schomberg Society, Kilkeel.
Director, Down Rural Partnership, Banbridge.
Director, Ballynahinch Regeneration Company.
Director, Down Local Strategy Partnership.
Councillor, Down District Council.
Town Planning Consultant (non practising).
Overseas visit - United States, July 1998, Seminar paid for by Kennedy School of Government.
Overseas visit – United States, February 2003, Seminar paid for by Kennedy School of Government.
Overseas visit – Kenya, 13-17 February 2005, political training, paid for by Westminster Foundation for Democracy (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe).
Overseas visit – Kenya, 7-12 April 2006, political training, paid for by Westminster Foundation for Democracy (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe).
Land and Property - Private dwelling, Kilkeel.
Shareholdings – Gartmore Japan Unit Trust.
Treasurer (unpaid), Chosen Northern Ireland.
Chairman (unpaid), Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group.
Member of the Orange Institution.
Member of the Royal Black Institution.
Member of the Apprentice Boys – Londonderry.