Minutes of Proceedings
Thursday, 31 May 2007
Room 152, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
Mr Barry McElduff MLA (Chairperson)
Mr David McNarry MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Mr Dominic Bradley MLA
Mr Francie Brolly MLA
The Lord Browne MLA
Mr Nelson McCausland MLA
Mr Paul Maskey MLA
Mr Pat Ramsey MLA
Mr Jim Shannon MLA
In Attendance: Mr Alan Patterson (Principal Clerk)
Mrs Linda Gregg (Clerk)
Dr Kathryn Bell (Assistant Clerk)
Miss Mairéad Higgins (Clerical Supervisor)
Mr Alister Strain (Clerical Officer)
Mr David Burnside MLA
Mr Kieran McCarthy MLA
The meeting opened at 10.33am in public session.
Agreed – the Committee agreed that the Chairperson would raise the issue of the level of detail in Minutes of Proceedings at the first meeting of the Chairpersons Liaison Group.
Agreed – The Committee agreed that when undertakings were given by the Minister or officials at a meeting that this would be recorded in the Minutes of Proceedings.
The Chairperson reported back to the Committee on his attendance at the Rural College & Derrynoid Centre’s showcase event for its storytelling programme on 25 May 2007.
Agreed – The Committee agreed that the Chairperson would write a thank-you letter to the Rural College & Derrynoid Centre, congratulating them on the event.
Jim Shannon joined the meeting at 10.43am
Agreed – The Committee agreed that it would invite the Northern Ireland Event Company (NIEC), the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and the Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure to discuss the proposed transfer of the NIEC under the Review of Public Administration.
Agreed – The Committee agreed to write to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to seek a breakdown of its budget.
Agreed – The Committee agreed that it would consider any information which the British Association for Shooting and Conservation Northern Ireland (BASCNI) put to it in writing concerning the recent government initiative of a National Shooting Week from 26 May 2007 to 3 June 2007.
Draft minutes of the meeting held on 24 May 2007.
Agreed – the draft minutes were agreed.
Agreed – The Committee agreed that it would revisit at next week’s meeting the correspondence received from the Arts Council NI regarding the TURAS project.
Agreed – The Committee agreed that it would revisit at next week’s meeting the paper provided by Research Services on comparative spend per capita on minority languages in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Forward Work Programme
Agreed – The Committee agreed that it would receive briefing at next week’s meeting from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure on the interim Programme for Government 2007/2008.
Mr McNarry proposed the following:
That this Committee set up an inquiry to investigate the merit of the Government introducing an Irish Language Bill, and to further decide if an Irish Language Act brings benefits to Northern Ireland.
The Committee divided: Ayes 4; Noes 5.
The Lord Browne, Nelson McCauland, David McNarry, Jim Shannon
Dominic Bradley, Francie Brolly, Paul Maskey, Barry McElduff, Pat Ramsey
Question accordingly negatived.
Mr Maskey proposed that the Committee undertake an inquiry into the following:
To look into the consistent under funding and lack of investment into the Arts and Culture sector in the North of Ireland. Would a greater investment and budget for organisations such as the Arts Council create a greater dividend to the community on a cultural basis?
Question put and agreed to.
Mr Ramsey proposed the following question:
That an inquiry takes place into best practices in sport to help bring forward a more holistic approach to access and participation, that enables equality and helps achieve chief medical officer’s report. To also inform us of how we can increase facilities at a community level to assist this. How can we improve the performance of all our athletes?
Mr McNarry left the meeting at 11.53am
Agreed – Following discussion, the Committee agreed to combine Mr Maskey’s and Mr Ramsey’s proposals into a single inquiry, and that the terms of reference for the inquiry would be discussed at next week’s meeting.
Agreed – The Committee agreed that it would factor in to its’ forward work programme briefings from the following:
Public Records Office Northern Ireland
Ordnance Survey Northern Ireland
Head of Museums, Sport & Recreation Division, Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure
Head of Culture Division, Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure
Sport Northern Ireland
Arts Council of Northern Ireland
The Northern Ireland Events Company
Foras na Gaeilge
The Ulster Scots Agency
The Columba Initiative
The UlTach Trust
Committee’s response to consultation on indicative clauses on Irish language legislation
Members stated their views on the indicative clauses contained in the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure’s consultation document of 13 March 2007 on Irish language legislation.
Mr Shannon left the meeting at 12.14pm
Agreed – The Committee agreed that the Clerk would draft a response based on the Hansard record of the discussion for the Committee’s consideration and that the response would be submitted to the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure.
Comprehensive Spending Review and June monitoring
The following officials from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure joined the meeting at 12.20pm:
Mr Edgar Jardine (Deputy Secretary)
Mr Anthony Carleton (Head of Corporate Services)
Deirdre Lundy (Acting Head of Finance)
The officials briefed the Committee on the Department’s proposed return for the June monitoring round. This was followed by a question and answer session.
Mr Bradley left the meeting at 12.25pm.
Mr Bradley rejoined the meeting at 12.27pm
The officials briefed the Committee on the Department’s emerging priorities in relation to its bids under the Comprehensive Spending Review. This was followed by a question and answer session.
Agreed: The officials agreed to forward further information on the breakdown of the Arts Council’s bid under the CSR, and a breakdown of both Foras na Gaeilge’s and the Ulster Scots Agency’s bids under the CSR.
Libraries Bill – discussions on Second Stage
The Chairperson advised Members that the Libraries Bill is scheduled for introduction to the Assembly on 19 June 2007, with Second Stage on 2 July 2007. He also advised that as Chairperson he intended to speak during the debate at Second Stage.
Members stated their views on the Libraries Bill.
Agreed – The Committee agreed that the Chairperson’s contribution to the debate at Second Stage would be based on the Hansard record of the statements made by Members at today’s meeting, and on the points which Members raised with Departmental officials at the Committee meeting of 24 May 2007.
Agreed – The Committee agreed that it would invite the Northern Ireland Museums Council to brief it regarding its future under the Review of Public Administration.
Any Other Business
Agreed – The Committee was content with the Arts Council’s proposed press statement following its attendance at the Committee meeting on 24 May 2007, and for a quote from the Chairperson to be included.
Agreed – The Committee agreed that it would issue a press release on the launch of its first inquiry.
Date and time of next meeting
Agreed: The Committee agreed its next meeting will be held on Thursday 7 June 2007 at 10.30am in Room 152, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.51pm.
Mr Barry McElduff MLA
Chairperson, Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure
07 June 2007.