MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
WEDNESDAY, 20 JUNE 2007
ROOM 144, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
Present: Fred Cobain MLA (Chairperson)
Jim Wells MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Cathal Boylan MLA
John Dallat MLA
William Irwin MLA
John McCallister MLA
Raymond McCartney MLA
Stephen Moutray MLA
George Robinson MLA
Brian Wilson MLA
In Attendance: Debbie Pritchard (Principal Clerk)
Roisin Kelly (Assembly Clerk)
Gillian Lyness (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Clairita Frazer (Clerical Supervisor)
Linda Hare (Clerical Supervisor)
Tom Skelton (Clerical Officer)
Stephanie Galbraith (Researcher)
Apologies: Willie Clarke MLA
The meeting opened at 10.05 in public session.
Apologies are detailed above.
2. Chairperson’s Business
The Chairperson thanked the Members for providing their leave plans over the summer. The Members agreed that they would schedule meetings over the summer recess after meeting Paddy Hillyard, Chairperson of the Independent Review Panel on 4 July 2007.
3. Draft Minutes.
Minutes of the meeting of 13 June 2007 were agreed.
4. Matters Arising.
The Committee noted:
Replies from the Department in response to letters of 23 May 2007, 24 May 2007 and 30 May 2007. Members noted this information and agreed to return to this at next week’s meeting.
- Letter from Minister announcing the panel members of the Review Panel of Water and Sewerage.
- Letter to Paddy Hillyard congratulating him on his appointment as Chair of the Independent Review Panel.
- Letter from Minister acknowledging the Committee’s view on the Review of Water and Sewerage.
- Letter to the Minister requesting briefing on the Department’s assessment of and response to the recent flooding.
- Letter of thanks to Iain Osborne and Jo Aston, Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation, for their contribution at the Committee meeting of 13 June 2007.
- Letter to the Minister noting the publication of the Sub Regional Transport Plan.
- Letter from the Clerk to the Environment Committee on Town Cramming. Members agreed to write to the Clerk of the Committee for Social Development forwarding the concerns of the Environmental Committee and seeking information on the way forward and timescale for Semple.
- Letter from Institution of Highways & Transportation to the Minister – Review of Public Administration. Members agreed the Chairperson should write and acknowledge receipt of the letter.
- A research paper on the Department’s Draft Disability Action Plan.
- The revised work programme. Members noted that the Minister would be attending the committee meeting of 4 July 2007.
5. Oral Briefings from Stakeholders – issues for Water Review.
John McCallister declared an interest as he is a member of the Ulster Farmers Union.
Oral briefings were received from the following stakeholders:
- Victor Hewitt, Director of the Economic Research Institute of Northern Ireland.
- Seamus Gallagher, Policy Officer for Northern Ireland Environment Link.
- Michelle Bagnall, Head of Policy for Help the Aged and Elaine Campbell, Head of Policy for Age Concern.
Stephen Moutray left the meeting 11.25
Meeting adjourned at 11.25 am.
Meeting reconvened at 11.35
- Wilber Mayne, Chairperson, Graham Furey, Vice Chairperson, and Gillian Cheatley, Policy Officer, of the Ulster Farmers Union.
- Goretti Horgan from the School of Policy Studies, University of Ulster.
Jim Wells joined the meeting at 12.19
- Nigel Smyth, Director and Declan Billington, Chairman of CBI.
George Robinson left the meeting at 12.42
- Monica Wilson, Chief Executive of Disability Action.
Committee adjourned for Lunch at 12.57.
Committee reconvened at 14.03.
Oral Briefings were received from the following stakeholders:
- Frances Dowds, Director of NI Anti Poverty Network.
George Robinson rejoined the meeting at 14.17
- Kevin Higgins, Head of Policy for Advice NI.
- Karin Eyben and Gareth Harper from Rural Community Network.
- Lucy Cochrane, Patricia Stewart Information and Policy Officers, and Scott Kennerley, Money Advice and Training and Development Officer, from Citizen Advice Bureau.
The stakeholders gave a short presentation to the Committee followed by a question and answer session. The Chairperson thanked all the stakeholders for taking the time to attend the meeting. The Committee resolved that any additional material requested during the briefings be forwarded to the Committee. The Committee resolved that stakeholders be encouraged to make a submission to the independent panel of the Review of Water and Sewerage, and to copy these submissions to the Committee.
Oral briefing session ended at 15.27
Jim Wells rejoined the meeting at 15.31
William Irwin left the meeting at 15.35
6. Subordinate Legislation.
Members decided they were content with the following SL1s noted at the meeting of 13 June 2007:
- The One Way Traffic (Newcastle) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2007;
- The Newton Heights, Belfast (Footpath) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2007; and
- The Kirk Road, Ballymoney (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2007.
Members resolved to note the following newly received SL1s:
- The Finvoy Road, Ballymoney, (Abandonment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2007;
- The B127 Ballyconnell Road, Derrylin (Abandonment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2007;
- The Steelstown Road, Londonderry (Abandonment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2007;
- The Grainan Court, Londonderry (Abandonment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2007;
- The Galgorm Road, Ballymena (Abandonment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2007;
- The Parking Places (Disabled Persons' Vehicles) (Amendment No. 2) Order (Northern Ireland) 2007; and
- The Parking Places (Disabled Persons’ Vehicles) (Amendment No 3) Order (Northern Ireland) 2007.
Committee agreed to be briefed next week, 27 June 2007, by the Department on SL1 The Street Works (2007 Amendment Order) (Commencement No.1) (Northern Ireland) 2007.
7. Brief from Researcher - Draft Disability Action Plan.
The Researcher briefed the Committee on the Draft Disability Action Plan. The Committee decided to issue a response on the Draft Disability Action Plan to the Department this week.
8. Draft Disability Action Plan
Margaret Langhammer, Head of Equality Unit and Brendan Devlin, Head of Corporate Services for the Department briefed the Committee on the Draft Disability Action Plan. The Committee thanked the senior officials for their briefing and informed them a response would be forwarded to the Department this week.
Members noted correspondence from Advice NI.
10. Any other Business.
Members agreed to issue a press release reflecting the issues discussed at today’s meeting, to be cleared by the Chairperson and deputy Chairperson.
11. Date, venue and time of next meeting.
The Committee agreed that the next meeting be held on Wednesday 27 June 2007 at 10.00am in Room 144.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 15.42