ASSEMBLY BUSINESS

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Tuesday, 07 May 2013

Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings

1.34 p.m.        The meeting commenced in Open Session

1. Apologies

There are no apologies.

2. Chairperson’s Business

The Chairperson advised the Committee that he and the Deputy Chairperson met with the Minister to discuss her proposals for the Hardship Scheme. He advised that a further meeting with all Committee Members and the Minister will take place on Thursday 9 May 2013, after the Minister has attended the Executive meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to invite Rural Support to brief the Committee at the meeting on 14 May 2013.

The Chairperson advised the Committee that from this week, meeting packs will be in the new electronic format. Members will receive the necessary training prior to the issue of the tablet.

3. Minutes of the meetings 30th April 2013

Agreed: The Committee agreed the minutes of the meetings held on 30th April 2013.

1.37 p.m. Mr McMullan joined the meeting.

4. Matters Arising

Noted: The Committee noted the programme details and access arrangements for the Balmoral Show.

Agreed: The Committee noted the correspondence dated 2 May 2013 from the Department regarding issues raised at the meeting on 16 April 2013. The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request further details around the Farm Family Health Programme and to ask what the intention is for the continuation of the Programme.

Noted: The Committee noted the severe weather weekly update from the Department.

Noted: The Committee noted the Ash Dieback weekly update from the Department.

Agreed: The Committee noted the note of the informal meeting with the Integrated Education Fund (IEF) and an email from the Rural Community Network (RCN) on Rural Proofing.  The Committee agreed to forward the IEF notes to the Education Committee and the RCN email to the Department for comment.

1.40 p.m. Mr Clarke joined the meeting.

The Chairperson advised the Committee that the note of the informal meeting with North Antrim Sheep Farmers and the Hill Sheep Farmers has issued to both organisations but they have yet to respond.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the Platform Piece on the Balmoral Show for inclusion in the Farming Life supplement.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the draft Press Release on the deadline for the Single Application form.

Noted: The Committee noted the report on the Committee visit to Brussels.

5. Oral Briefing DARD and Forest Service – Tree Disease 

The following Departmental officials joined the Committee meeting at 1.41 p.m.:

Alan McCartney, Agricultural Inspector

Stuart Morwood, Principal Officer

Peter, Toner, Principal Officer

The officials briefed the Committee and this was followed by a question and answer session.

1.44 p.m. Mr Swann joined the meeting.

1.50 p.m. Mr Buchanan joined the meeting.

2.00 p.m. Mr Irwin and Mr Milne left the meeting.

2.01 p.m. Mr Byrne left the meeting.

2.20 p.m. Mr McMullan left the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to consider agenda items 8, 9 and 10 next.

6. SR 2013/107 The Agriculture (Student Fees) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2013

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development has considered the Agriculture (Student Fees) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013 and, subject to comment from the Examiner of Statutory Rules, has no objections to the rule.       

7. Correspondence

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department detailing the Senior Civil Servants within DARD and anticipated staffing changes.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward correspondence from the ETI Committee on an Assembly Research briefing on Public Sector Renewable Generation, to the Department requesting a written brief on the success of the scheme.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel on the Public Services Pension Bill 2013 to the Department to ask for its opinion on the proposed legislation and which bodies, that DARD is responsible for, will it affect.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to meet informally with the Regional and Rural Affairs Committee to discuss issues of mutual concern and a potential visit to Waterford.

Agreed: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Horticulture Forum regarding effective plant controls and agreed to include the correspondence in the review on plant health/tree disease and include it on the Committee website.

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel on the DARD Investment Strategy Activity Report for April 2013.

Noted: The Committee noted the emailed correspondence from First Flight Wind advising that their newsletter is available to read online.

8. Forward Work Programme

Agreed: The Committee agreed a Committee meeting to Mount Stewart on 13 June 2013, followed by a visit to Kiltonga Reservoir.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the Forward Work Programme

2.26 p.m. The meeting suspended.

3.07 p.m. The meeting resumed.

The following Members were present;

Mr Frew, Mrs Dobson, Mr McAleer and Mr McCarthy.

9. Oral Briefing DARD – HQ Relocation 

The following departmental officials joined the meeting at 3.09 p.m.

Gerry Lavery, Deputy Secretary

Tom Kennedy, Assistant Secretary

The officials briefed the Committee and this was followed by a question and answer session.

3.12 p.m. Mr McMullan re-joined the meeting.

3.13 p.m. Mr Byrne re-joined the meeting.

3.30 p.m. Mr Buchanan re-joined the meeting.

3.36 p.m. Mr Milne re-joined the meeting.

3.39 p.m. Mr McAleer left the meeting.

3.50 p.m. Mr Irwin re-joined the meeting.

4.06 p.m. Mr McMullan left the meeting.

4.10 p.m. Mr McCarthy left the meeting.

4.12 p.m. Mrs Dobson left the meeting.

4.22 p.m. Mr McAleer re-joined the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the Hansard and Departmental papers to the Committee for Finance and Personnel and the OFMdFM Committee for information.

10. Oral Briefing RaISe - Fisheries

The Assembly Research Officer and Bursary Student joined the meeting at 4.26 p.m. and briefed the Committee on Fisheries.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request further research on the fishing industry in France and Spain and why it has been severely affected.          

4.28 p.m. Mr Irwin left the meeting. 

4.52 p.m. Mr Milne left the meeting.

11. AOB

There was no further business.

12.  Date of the next meeting

Agreed:  The next meeting of the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development will take place on Thursday 9 May 2013 at 5.00 p.m. in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.

The meeting adjourned at 4.59 p.m.

Paul Frew, Chairperson, Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development

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