COMMITTEE FOR CULTURE, ARTS AND LEISURE
THURSDAY 29 MAY 2008
ROOM 152, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
Present: Mr Barry McElduff MLA (Chairperson)
Mr Dominic Bradley MLA
Mr Francie Brolly MLA
Lord Browne MLA
Mr Kieran McCarthy MLA
Mr Pat Ramsey MLA
Mr Jim Shannon MLA
Apologies: Mr Raymond McCartney MLA
Mr Nelson McCausland MLA
Mr Ken Robinson MLA
In attendance: Mrs Linda Gregg (Clerk)
Mrs Elaine Farrell (Assistant Clerk)
Miss Mairéad Higgins (Clerical Supervisor)
Mrs Angela Aboagye (Clerical Officer)
The meeting opened in public session at 10.05 am.
The Clerk informed Members that the Chairperson would arrive late and explained the procedure for electing a Chairperson in his absence. The Clerk called for nominations for the position of Chairperson. Mr Ramsey proposed that Mr Brolly do take the Chair of the Committee. Mr McCarthy seconded this proposal and Mr Brolly accepted the nomination. There being no further nominations, the Clerk put the question without debate.
Question put and agreed: That Mr Brolly act as Chairperson until Mr McElduff arrives.
Mr Brolly took the chair at 10.06 am.
Apologies are detailed above
Mr McElduff joined the meeting at 10.07 am.
Mr McElduff took the chair at 10.07 am.
2. Draft Minutes of the meeting held on 22 May 2008
The draft minutes of the meeting held on 22 May 2008 were agreed.
3. Matters arising
The Committee discussed the report on Sir David Varney’s Review of the Competitiveness of Northern Ireland.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to forward a submission to the Committee for Finance and Personnel outlining the way in which music, sport and the arts can contribute to the economy.
The Committee discussed the presentations from Derry City Council and Brandywell Properties at the meeting on 22 May 2008.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to write to the Minister to seek an update on the commemoration events planned for the 400th Anniversary of the Plantation of Ulster.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to write to the Minister to seek an update on the economic appraisal for the redevelopment of Brandywell Stadium and Showgrounds.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to write to the Minister and the Minister for the Environment to seek an update on Derry City’s World Heritage Bid.
4. Chairperson’s Business
The Chairperson briefed the Committee on his visit to Dublin on 21 May 2008 to meet the Chair of the Joint Committee on Arts, Sport, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltach Affairs.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to host a joint meeting of the two Committees in the future.
The Chairperson advised the Committee that he attended a presentation of awards to schools in Monaghan on 21 May 2008.
The Committee noted correspondence dated 15 May 2008 from Mr JJ Murphy on the Northern Ireland Theatre Initiative.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to hold an additional meeting to discuss the development of the Northern Ireland Theatre Initiative and invite the Director of the Lyric Theatre, Mr Drew McFarland of Equity, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Drama Association and Mr Murphy to attend.
Mr Shannon joined the meeting at 10.26 am.
The Committee noted the correspondence from the Mourne Heritage Trust on Mourne Homesteads Scheme.
Agreed – the Committee to add the Mourne Heritage Trust to the Forward Work Programme and to request a presentation.
The Chairperson advised Members that a request has been received from the Information Office to update Members details on the Assembly website. Members were advised to complete the necessary forms and return to Committee Office staff.
The Chairperson advised the Committee that he had accepted an invitation to tour the Erne and Melvin Fish Hatchery in Florencecourt on 6 June 2008 and that due to the unavailability of the Deputy Chairperson another Committee Member was welcome to attend.
The Committee noted the correspondence from POBAL which invites the public to show support and recognition for the Irish Language.
5. Briefing from Invest in Inspiration
The following representatives from Invest in Inspiration joined the meeting:
Ms Lorna Hastings (Director ArtsCare)
Ms Brenda Kent (Director Voluntary Arts Forum)
Ms Heather Floyd (Director Community Arts Forum)
The representatives briefed the Committee on Invest in Inspiration.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to write to the Minister to ask if he would consider a cross-departmental approach for the development of a strategy for the Arts and Culture.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to revisit the Terms of Reference for a Committee Inquiry into Under-funding of the Arts and Sport at the next meeting.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to seek information on each local authority spend on the Arts.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to ask Assembly Research to conduct research into what other regions have done in relation to carrying out an arts/sports inquiry and present this information to the Committee.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to consider a program of visits to Liverpool, Edinburgh, Cork and Galway in relation to the Inquiry into the under-funding of arts and sports.
Agreed – the Committee to write to the Minister to ask what the future plans are for the Unlocking Creativity Initiative.
6. Discussion with the Northern Ireland Museums Council on "Museums Policy"
Mr Chris Bailey, Director of the Northern Ireland Museums Council joined the meeting. Mr Bailey briefed the Committee on the Northern Ireland Museums Council and the development of a museums policy.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to write to the Minister to ask if the Northern Ireland Museums Council will continue to be funded by the Department until 2011.
Mr Ramsey left the meeting at 12.02 p.m.
7. Briefing from DCAL on June monitoring
The Chairperson advised the Committee that the Department is not in a position to provide the Committee with the June monitoring paper as the paper has yet to be discussed with the Minister. He further advised that officials will be available to brief the Committee on the June monitoring on 2 June 2008.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to meet with Departmental Officials on 2 June 2008 at 12.00 pm. to discuss June monitoring.
The Committee noted the correspondence dated 13 May 2008 from the Clerk to the Education Committee on Sustrans and Safe Routes to Schools.
The Committee noted the correspondence dated 16 May 2008 from Foras na Gaeilge which details the number of development officers and staff that they currently fund.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to write to the Minister to seek information on a recent application by Foras na Gaeilge for additional funding to allow then to employ more people.
The Committee noted the correspondence dated 19 May 2008 from the Chair of the Employment and Learning Committee on the research paper "Diversity Works".
Agreed – the Committee agreed to forward the research document to the Minister.
The Committee noted the correspondence dated 12 May 2008 from the Minister on 2007-08 redundancies in the Education and Library Boards.
The Committee noted the correspondence dated 15 May 2008 from the Minister which provides an update on the consultation "Sports Matters – a Northern Ireland Strategy for Sport and Physical Recreation".
Agreed – the Committee agreed to note the changes referred to and that it had no further comments to make in relation to the Ministers update on the consultation.
The Committee noted the response from Forbart Feirste which details their main activities.
The Committee noted the correspondence date 25 April 2008 from the Clerk to the Committee for the Office of the First and deputy First Minister on the Integrated Development Fund.
The Committee noted the correspondence date 27 May 2008 from Mr Nick Livingston, Arts Council of Northern Ireland on a future Committee Inquiry into Arts and Sport and offers to discuss the Council’s research specification for a study into the economic impact of arts in Northern Ireland.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to request a presentation from Mr Livingston when it commenced the Inquiry into the Under-funding of Arts and Sport in Northern Ireland.
The Committee noted the correspondence dated 27 May 2008 from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland on funding awards to Artability NI.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to write to Artability NI to ask if it has made an application for funding to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland since 2007.
The Committee noted the correspondence dated 27 May 2008 from the Chief Executive of Londonderry Port on cruise stops to the port.
The Committee noted the correspondence dated 27 May 2008 from Sport NI on the Stadia Safety Programme.
The Chairperson advised the Committee that a copy of the Spotlight Report 2008 from Help the Aged has been received in the Committee Office.
9. Forward Work Programme
The Committee noted the Forward Work Programme.
Agreed – the Committee agreed that there should be Hansard coverage for the presentations on 5 June 2008 by Voluntary Arts Ireland and Ofcom and for the briefing by Departmental Officials on the June Monitoring on 2 June 2008.
10. Discussion with Mr Colin Watson, Head of Museums Branch
Mr Colin Watson, Head of Museums Branch, DCAL joined the meeting. Mr Watson briefed the Committee on funding issues raised by the Ulster Historical Foundation.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to write to the Ulster Historical Foundation to ask them to contact PRONI regarding the re-establishment of links between the two organisations.
11. Any other business
The Committee discussed the statement by the Minister on 27 May 2008 on the Northern Ireland Strategy for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to invite Departmental Officials to brief the Committee on the proposed strategy to deliver benefits for Northern Ireland across a number of key themes.
Mr Bradley left the meeting at 12.18 pm.
The Chairperson advised the Committee that the Department of Finance and Personnel has organised a procurement awareness seminar for Tuesday 24 June 2008 for Committee Members.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to have the procurement awareness seminar during a regular committee meeting.
Agreed – the Committee agreed that until Summer Recess it will commence the weekly committee meetings at 10.00 am.
12. Date and time of the next meeting
The next meeting of the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure will be on Thursday 5 June 2008 at 10.00 a.m. in Room 152.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.32 pm.