COMMITTEE FOR REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Wednesday 11 FEBRUARY 2009
Room 21, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
Fred Cobain, MLA (Chairperson).
Cathal Boylan, MLA.
Allan Bresland, MLA.
Willie Clarke, MLA.
Raymond McCartney, MLA.
Alastair Ross, MLA.
Jim Wells, MLA.
Brian Wilson, MLA.
Roisin Kelly (Assembly Clerk).
Pauline Devlin (Clerical Supervisor).
Annette Page (Clerical Officer).
John Dallat , MLA.
John McCallister, MLA.
George Robinson, MLA
Members decided to commence the meeting at 10.35 a.m. in open session.
Apologies were received from:
John Dallat MLA, John McCallister MLA and George Robinson MLA.
2. Chairperson’s Business.
Members noted that the Chairperson met with the Chairperson of the Finance and Personnel Committee, Mitchel McLaughlin, MLA, regarding the possibilities for both committees meeting concurrently to consider the available options in terms of wider measures to alleviate the current economic downturn.
Raymond McCartney joined the meeting at 10.45 a.m.
Members noted receipt of a draft paper from the Economic Research Institute of Northern Ireland (ERINI) entitled ‘Mitigating the Recession: Options for the Northern Ireland Executive’. Members noted that this paper is a working draft and is strictly embargoed until further notice.
Members decided , in accordance with standing order 64B, to sit concurrently with the Finance and Personnel Committee on Wednesday 18 February 2009 for the purpose of taking evidence from ERINI. The following Members, who also sit on the Committee for Standards and Privileges, agreed to advise the Committee Clerk of their availability to attend: Willie Clarke; Brian Wilson; and Alastair Ross.
Members agreed to work with the Committee for Finance and Personnel to agree the media handling of this meeting.
3. The minutes of the meeting held on 4 February 2009.
The minutes of the meeting held on 4 February 2009 were agreed.
Cathal Boylan joined the meeting at 10.36 a.m.
Jim Wells joined the meeting at 10.36 a.m.
4. Matters Arising.
Members noted receipt of correspondence, dated 3 February 2009, from the Department for Regional Development regarding the Narrow Water Bridge and Newry Southern Relief Road projects. Members noted that the proposal regarding a bridge at Narrow Water will be taken forward by Louth County Council, and that Roads Service is currently considering a draft final report on the feasibility study for a Newry Southern Relief Road. Members decided to write to the Department noting the briefing, and that the Committee will be kept informed of the outcome of the feasibility study.
Members noted receipt of correspondence, dated 3 February 2009, from the Minister for Regional Development to Sue Ramsay MLA, Chairperson of the Employment and Learning Committee, regarding the Minister’s views on evidence received by the Committee for Employment and Learning from representatives of the West Belfast and Greater Shankill Employment Services Board.
Members noted receipt of a paper from Translink/Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company (NITHC), providing responses to Members’ questions, which arose during evidence given at the Committee meeting of 26 November 2008. Members noted that Translink/NITHC executives would return to brief the Committee on the issue of fuel hedging at the Committee meeting to be held on 4 March 2009.
Members noted receipt of correspondence, dated 30 January, from Cathie White, Clerk to the Committee for the Office of the First and deputy First Minister, enclosing a copy of the Executive’s response to the Barroso Taskforce Report. Members decided to respond to the OFMDFM Committee offering their views, and agreed to forward their input to the Committee Clerk by email to enable her to draft a response to be circulated for consideration at a future meeting.
Members noted receipt of a memo, dated 30 January 2009, from Cathie White, Clerk to the Committee of the Office of the First and deputy First Minister, regarding the Executive’s response to the OFMDFM Committee Report into Child Poverty. Members agreed to write to the Department for Regional Development to explore what, if any, follow up action is being undertaken by the Department, and to request periodic written updates on the Department’s planned actions.
5. Subordinate Legislation.
Members noted receipt of the following new SL1:
- The Parking Places, Loading Bays and Waiting Restrictions (Antrim) (Amendment) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009.
Members decided that they were content with the policy merits of the following SL1s, which were noted at the meeting of 4 February 2009:
- The On-Street Parking (Amendment) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009;
- The Road Races (Eagles Rock Hill Climb 2009) Order (NI) 2009; and
- The One-Way Traffic (Antrim) Order (NI) 2009.
Members noted that t he Ninth Report of the Examiner of Statutory Rules to the Assembly and the Appropriate Committees,2008/09 session, was published on 30 January 2009. Members noted that the following statutory rule, subject to negative resolution, was included in the Examiner’s report, and that he had made no comment on the rule:
- The B3 Plantation Road and C364 Clare Road, Craigavon (Abandonment) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009.
In the absence of any objections, the following question was put and agreed:
‘That the Committee for Regional Development has considered the B3 Plantation Road and C364 Clare Road, Craigavon (Abandonment) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009, and has no objection to the rule.’
All those in favour: Fred Cobain, Cathal Boylan, Allan Bresland, Willie Clarke, Raymond McCartney, Alastair Ross, Jim Wells and Brian Wilson.
All those against: none
Members decided that the Committee Clerk would inform the Business Office of the decisions reached by the Committee.
Members noted receipt of a letter, dated 2 February 2009, from Ciaran Rogan, Marketing Executive, Translink, noting receipt of the letter from members of the public which the Committee agreed to forward to Translink at the meeting of 14 January 2009.
Members noted receipt of a letter, dated 30 January 2009, from the Department for Regional Development, indicating its intention to respond to the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation’s Social Action Plan 2009-2014, and agreeing to provide the Committee with a copy of its response.
Members noted receipt of a letter, dated 6 February 2009, from the Department for Regional Development regarding draft guidance on the development of port master plans. Members decided to write to the Department requesting to be kept informed of the outcome of the public consultation.
Members noted receipt of an email, dated 6 February 2009, from the Committee for Finance and Personnel, indicating that the closing date for submissions to the Committee’s inquiry into Public Procurement and Practice in Northern Ireland is 27 February 2009. Members decided to submit evidence to the inquiry, and following discussion of the main points, Members resolved that the Committee Clerk would draft a response for Members’ consideration at a future meeting.
Members noted receipt of correspondence, dated 4 February 2009, from Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA, and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, to William Hay, Speaker to the Northern Ireland Assembly, requesting that the DARD and DRD oral questions for March/April 2009 be exchanged.
Members noted receipt of correspondence, dated 3 February 2009, from Thomas Buchanan MLA, drawing the Chairperson’s attention to the case of a constituent. Following discussion, Members agreed that, in this instance, the Chairperson would write to the Minister regarding the issue. Members also decided that in future, matters of this type would be dealt with by the Chairperson on behalf of the Committee, without the need to put the matter before the Committee, and that he would advise correspondents to write directly to the Minister or the Department.
Members noted receipt of the following invitations:
- Delivering planning reform conference, to be held on Thursday 2 April 2009, in the Culloden Hotel, Belfast;
- Northern Ireland Governance conference, to be held on Friday 20 March 2009, in Belfast;
- Cross cutting seminar entitled “How do we best enable children and adults with autism to lead full lives?”, to be held in the Royal Commonwealth Society, London on Friday 27 March 2009; and
- Cross cutting seminar entitled “How best will we take forward effective policy on housing in the economic downturn?” to be held in the Royal Commonwealth Society, London on Friday 3 April 2009.
Members agreed to contact the Committee office if they wished to attend any of these events.
Members agreed to request clarification from Capita Conferences on the supporting role of the Department for Finance and Personnel and Department of Education in relation to the Northern Ireland Governance conference.
Members noted receipt of the following press release:
- “A5 Public Consultation Events”, dated 9 February 2009, from the Department for Regional Development.
7. Any other business.
Members agreed to have a ‘Committee at work’ photograph taken at the next Committee meeting, for publication on the Committee’s web pages.
Members noted that the Committee is profiled in the current edition of Agenda NI, and noted receipt of a copy of the article.
Members decided to seek clarification from the Department for Regional Development on the exact nature and scope of its role in the planning application for the runway extension at George Best Belfast City Airport. Members agreed to request sight of any inputs or submissions that the Department has made or makes as part of the runway extension process.
Members requested that they be informed by Committee office, in advance, if a meeting is expected to be unusually short in duration. Members noted that the meeting of 25 February 2009 may be unusually short.
Members noted that a member of staff, Pauline Devlin, is leaving the Assembly to take up a post in the DARD Press Office, and offered their thanks and best wishes.
8. Date, Time and Place of next meeting.
The next meeting of the Regional Development Committee will take place on Wednesday 18 February 2009, in Room 21 and the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings at 10.30 a.m.The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 11.05 a.m.