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Wednesday 11 June 2008

Fred Cobain MLA (Chairperson)
Cathal Boylan MLA
Willie Clarke MLA
John Dallat MLA
William Irwin MLA
John McCallister MLA
Stephen Moutray MLA
George Robinson MLA
Jim Wells MLA
Brian Wilson MLA

In Attendance:
Roisin Kelly (Assembly Clerk)
Clairita Frazer (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Pauline Devlin (Clerical Supervisor)
Annette Page (Clerical Officer)
Imelda McAuley (Assembly Legal Services)

Raymond McCartney MLA

The Committee decided to begin the meeting in closed session.

The meeting opened at 10.40 a.m. in closed session.

1. Apologies.

Apologies were received from Raymond McCartney.

2. Draft Minutes of the Meeting of 4 June 2008.

The minutes of the meeting held on 4 June 2008 were agreed.

3. Chairperson’s Business.

Members noted that the Chairperson and Clerk had met with Paul Maskey MLA, Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee and the Clerk of the Public Accounts Committee to discuss the Regional Development Committee’s decision to refer its concerns in relation to water reform to the Public Accounts Committee. Members agreed that the Clerk would draft a formal letter to the Public Accounts Committee setting out the key issues, for consideration by Members at a future meeting.

4. Matters Arising.

Members noted a letter from the Department on its involvement with PEDU.

Members noted receipt of written briefing from the Federation of Passenger Transport. Members agreed that, as many of the issues raised fall within the remit of the Committee for the Environment, the paper should be forwarded to the Environment Committee and the Federation of Passenger Transport be informed of that decision.

The Committee noted receipt of a report from Northern Ireland Water, and agreed to return to the issue upon completion of the Utility Regulator’s report.

The Committee noted receipt of a letter from the Minister for Regional Development in reply to the Committee’s response to the draft Accessible Transport Strategy Action Plan.

Members noted the response by the Department to the Committee’s correspondence on the business case for the Belfast to Dublin Enterprise service, which was prepared for the North South Ministerial Council transport sector.

Members noted the response from the Department to the additional information that the Committee asked to be inserted into the SL1 memo.

The Committee received legal advice from Assembly Legal Services on scrutinising the Department’s role in the decision of the former Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Water to step down.

William Irwin joined the meeting at 11.06 a.m.

The Committee agreed to seek briefing from Departmental officials on the decision of the former Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Water to step down.

The Committee noted receipt of a letter and press release from the Department confirming the appointment of directors to the board of the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company.

5. Ports Policy Briefing.

Departmental officials Brian White, Peter Barbour and John Angus joined the meeting at 11.18 a.m.

The Committee received briefing from Departmental officials on progress on the draft Harbours Bill, the draft Consultation Paper, the draft Explanatory and Financial Memorandum, and the draft revised Code of Practice.

Following consideration of this issue, Members agreed that the Clerk would draft a response to the Department on this issue for consideration at a later meeting.

John McCallister joined the meeting at 11.45 a.m.

Departmental officials left the meeting at 11.55 a.m.

The Committee agreedto move to open session at 12.00 p.m.

6. Subordinate Legislation.

Members indicated that they were content with the following SL1s noted at the meeting of 4 June 2008:

Members noted receipt of further information on two SL1s which had been requested from the Department on 19 May 2008.

Members decided that, as a local issue, the objection to the above SL1 should be resolved by the Department, and indicated that they were content with the policy merits of the SL1.

Members indicated that, at this stage,they were content with the policy merits of the above SL1, and requested further briefing from the Department before the rule is laid.

The Committee noted that, as per the Committee’s decision of 16 April 2008, Brian Wilson, Jim Wells and Fred Cobain met with Departmental officials on 4 June 2008 to discuss concerns regarding The Old Belfast Road (Abandonment) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2008. Members agreed that further consideration of this SL1 be deferred until additional information is received from the Department.

7. Correspondence.
8. Any Other Business.

Members agreedto provide information to the Committee office on their preferences in relation to the receipt of papers and their availability to meet during recess.

Members agreed that the first meeting of the Regional Development Committee after summer recess would take place on Wednesday 10 September 2008.

Members agreed to write to the Department indicating that that the Committee is content to meet during summer recess, to receive briefing on and consider the issue of water and sewerage services in Northern Ireland.

9. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting.

The next meeting will be at 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday 18 June 2008 in Room 21, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.14 p.m.

Chairperson, Committee for Regional Development.

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