COMMITTEE OF THE CENTRE
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS:
WEDNESDAY 25 SEPTEMBER 2002
SENATE CHAMBER AND ROOM 144, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
Present:Mr Edwin Poots MLA (Chairperson)
Mr Oliver Gibson MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Mr Roy Beggs Jnr MLA
Mrs Eileen Bell MLA
Dr Esmond Birnie MLA
Mrs Annie Courtney MLA
Mr Danny Kennedy MLA
Ms Patricia Lewsley MLA
Dr Alasdair McDonnell MLA
Mr Eugene McMenamin MLA
Mr Pat McNamee MLA
Mr Ken Robinson MLA
Apologies:Mr David Ervine MLA
Mr Barry McElduff MLA
In Attendance:Ms Stella McArdle (Committee Clerk)
Mrs Gillian Lewis
Mr William Long
Mr Gary Tate
Ms Pauline Innes
The meeting opened at 11.02am in public session.
Apologies are listed above.
- Meeting with Ms Barbara Roche MP, Minister of State, Social Exclusion and Deputy Minister for Women: Members noted an informal note of the meeting which the Chairperson had attended with Ms Barbara Roche MP on 17 September 2002.
- Committee Staffing: The Chairperson welcomed Mr Hugh Farren on his return as Clerk to the Committee.
3.Approval of draft minutes
The minutes from the previous meeting on 18 September 2002 were agreed and signed by the Chairperson.
Draft Strategic Investment and Regeneration of Sites Bill (RRI)
Ms Lewsley joined the meeting at 11.04am.
The evidence session began at 11.05am. Evidence on the Draft Strategic Investment and Regeneration of Sites Bill was taken from Mr Edgar Jardine, Director, Economic Policy and Public Service, Mr Alan Maitland Grade 7, RRI, Mr Stewart Johnston, Grade 5, Executive Secretariat, Miss Linda Wilson, Grade 7, DFP.
Mr Robinson joined the meeting at 11.11am.
Mrs Bell joined the meeting at 11.12am.
Dr McDonnell joined the meeting at 11.14am.
Mr Gibson joined the meeting at 11.26am.
Dr Birnie joined the meeting at 11.40am.
The officials agreed to provide maps of the military and security sites cited within the draft Bill. Those issues not addressed in the evidence session will be forwarded to officials for written response.
The officials left the meeting at 12.09pm.
Dr McDonnell left the meeting at 12.09pm.
Mr McMenamin left the meeting at 12.09pm.
Mrs Courtney left the meeting at 12.09pm.
Members considered and agreed witnesses who could be asked for oral and/or written evidence during the Committee Stage of the draft Bill. It was agreed that if members knew of any further witnesses from whom the Committee may wish to take evidence they should inform the Clerk.
Dr McDonnell rejoined the meeting at 12.12pm.
Mr Kennedy left the meeting at 12.12pm.
The Committee agreed that the Clerk should make enquiries in relation to the way in which the development of Ravenscraig steelworks site in Glasgow and the Shannon region in the Republic of Ireland had been undertaken.
Members agreed that evidence should be taken from the First Minister and Deputy First Minister immediately before the commencement of the clause by clause scrutiny of the Bill and that this meeting should take place during the Hallowe'en recess.
Members also agreed the content of a draft public notice and that it should be placed in the three local newspapers as soon as the draft Bill stands referred to the Committee for its Committee Stage.
- Letter from OFMDFM to Health, Social Services and Public Safety (HSSPS) Committee summarising the role of the Commissioner for Children and Young People: Members noted the letter and that it had been forwarded to the HSSPS Committee.
(b)Letter from OFMDFM outlining the Department's view on the Proposal for Northern Ireland Prison Service Victims' Scheme: Members noted the letter.
- Scottish Equal Opportunities Committee - 4th Report 2002 (Annual Report of the Equal Opportunities Committee for the Parliamentary Year 12 May 2001 to 11 May 2002: Members noted the Report.
- Letter from OFMDFM informing the Committee about the Review of the Civic Forum: Members noted letter.
- Letter from the CITU (NI) inviting the Committee to visit a Public Library regarding the facilities available for free Internet access: Members noted the letter and agreed to consider a visit to a Public Library early next year.
- Letter from the Chairperson of the Committee for Social Development to OFMDFM about the Needs and Effectiveness Evaluation - Housing: Members noted the letter and that it had been forwarded to OFMDFM.
- Letter from the Assembly Ombudsman for Northern Ireland: Members noted the letter and agreed that, as Mr Tom Frawley, Assembly Ombudsman for Northern Ireland would not be able to attend to give evidence on the Assembly Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (Assembly Standards) Bill on 9 October, his deputy, Mr John MacQuarrie would attend the meeting on 23 October 2002.
- Letter from the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission about the consultation on the draft Equality Bill - Lord Lester's proposed Private Member's Bill: Members noted the response.
- Response from Committee for Finance and Personnel to the Report from the Public Private Partnership Working Group: Members noted the response and that it had been forwarded to the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.
- Scottish Parliament European Committee: Members noted the agenda for the Scottish Parliament European Committee meeting on 24 September 2002.
(a)Possibility of a Sub Committee re evidence sessions: Members discussed the possibility of a second Sub Committee to take evidence on the issues which are under consideration by the Committee at present. The Chairperson informed members that such a proposal needs the approval of the Assembly. Members considered the issues and agreed that a motion should be lodged with the Business Committee. Members willconsider the membership, appointment of a Convenor, quorum, etc at next week's meeting.
- Special Advisor for RRI: Members noted that none of the potential special advisors had been able to submit proposals due to a variety of reasons. The Committee agreed to invite either Professor David Heald and/or Mr John Plumb to give evidence to the Committee during the Committee Stage of the Strategic Investment and Regeneration of Sites Bill, even though the addition of this evidence session may delay the finalisation of the Committee Stage of the Bill.
Northern Ireland paper on the Convention of the Future of Europe
The Committee considered the Northern Ireland paper on the Convention on the Future of Europe and agreed, before making a response, that academics from the Queen's University of Belfast should be asked to provide comments on the paper.
The meeting was suspended at 12.30pm.
The meeting reconvened at 2.10pm in Room 144. The Deputy Chairperson in the Chair.
Mr McNamee joined the meeting at 2.10pm.
8.Committee Stage of Commissioner for Children and Young People Bill
Departmental Officials:Mr Chris Stewart
Mrs Heather Stevens
The Committee commenced its clause by clause scrutiny of the Bill, taking evidence from the above-named departmental officials. The entire proceedings are recorded in Minutes of Evidence which will form part of the Committee's report.
Dr McDonnell rejoined the meeting at 2.11pm.
Mrs Bell rejoined the meeting at 2.14pm.
Mr Robinson rejoined the meeting at 2.22pm.
The Chairperson rejoined the meeting at 2.50pm and took the Chair.
The Deputy Chairperson left the meeting at 2.51pm.
Mr McMenamin left the meeting at 3.05pm.
Dr McDonnell left the meeting at 3.05pm.
Mrs Bell left the meeting at 3.22pm.
Clauses 1 - 18
On a number of issues the officials agreed to consider concerns raised by the Committee and bring back proposed amendments to next week's meeting.
Members considered that there were still a number of issues which they wished to raise with the Northern Ireland Office.
Members agreed that a written submission from the Committee on the Administration of Justice would be included as part of the Committee's report.
7.Any other business
8.Date and time of next meeting
The next meeting of the Committee will be held on Wednesday, 2 October 2002 at 2.00pm in Room 144, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.30pm.
COUNCILLOR EDWIN POOTS MLA
Chairperson, Committee of the Centre
2 October 2002