ASSEMBLY BUSINESS

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings

1:35 p.m. The meeting commenced in Open Session

1. Apologies

There were no apologies.

2. Chairperson's Business

Agreed: The Chairperson welcomed Mr Ian Milne to the Committee, and the Committee agreed that the Chairperson should write to Mr Chris Hazzard, the outgoing Member, thanking him for his work on the Committee.

1.36 p.m. Mr William Irwin left the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that it would send the notes of the lunchtime meeting with the South Down hill farmers to the Minister.

3. Minutes of the meetings 9th April 2013

Agreed: The Committee agreed the minutes of the meetings held on 9th April 2013.

4. Matters Arising

Agreed: The Committee noted a letter from DARD dated 30th March 2013, responding to issues raised on 19th March, which were (i) future support for the fishing industry; (ii) investigation into horsemeat found in produce manufactured at Eurostock and; (iii) QUB institute for global food security. The Committee agreed to write to the Department requesting information on the source of the contaminated consignment at Eurostock.

Noted: The Committee noted a letter from DARD dated 10th April 2013 providing an update on the Schmallenberg virus.

Noted: The Committee noted a letter from DARD dated 11th April 2013 providing an Ash dieback update.

Noted: The Committee noted two papers provided by RaISE following the briefing on Tree Disease on 9th April.

1.39 p.m. Mr William Irwin re-joined the meeting.

5. Oral Briefing NI Food and Drink Association: Food Supply Chain

The following representatives joined the meeting at 1.39 p.m:

Mr Michael Bell, Director
Mr Tony O'Neill, Chairperson of Northern Ireland Food and Drink

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

1.45 p.m. Mr Declan McAleer left the meeting.
1.54 p.m. Mr Trevor Clarke joined the meeting.
1.56 p.m. Mr Kieran McCarthy left the meeting.
2.25 p.m. Mr Joe Byrne left the meeting.
2.30 p.m. Mr Trevor Clarke left the meeting.

Agreed: The representatives agreed to forward their video presentations to the Committee.

6. Oral Briefing National Sheep Association: Severe Weather Impact

The following representatives joined the meeting at 2.38 p.m:

Mr Maurice McHenry, Chairman
Mr Edward Adamson, Secretary
Mr John Blaney, Vice Chairman
Mr Campbell Tweed, member

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

2.40 p.m. Mr Robin Swann joined the meeting.
2.52 p.m. Mr Joe Byrne re-joined the meeting.
2.52 p.m. Mr Declan McAleer re-joined the meeting.
3.02 p.m. Mr Kieran McCarthy re-joined the meeting.
3.08 p.m. Mr Thomas Buchanan joined the meeting.
3.38 p.m. Mr William Irwin left the meeting.
3.27 p.m. Mr Robin Swann declared an interest as being on the board of Rural Support.

7. Oral Briefing DARD: Update on Severe Weather Impact

The following officials joined the meeting at 3.49 p.m:

Colette McMaster - Grade 5, Assistant Secretary;
Robert Huey - Grade 5, Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer; and
John Fay - Grade 5, Assistant Secretary.

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

4.12 p.m. Mr William Irwin re-joined the meeting.
4.46 p.m. Mr Joe Byrne left the meeting.
4.57 p.m. Mr Kieran McCartney left the meeting.
5.15 p.m. Mr Thomas Buchanan left the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department requesting weekly updates on the severe weather impact and response and requesting that officials from DARD return to brief the Committee when the Hardship scheme is finalised. The Committee also agreed to request from DARD information on the timescale and the ratios for the Hardship scheme, and that DARD considers what can be done to address the longer term legacy issues such as restocking of livestock, mental health and re building sheds etc. The Committee also agreed to request that DARD explore what potential EU funding and schemes might be available to assist farmers.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to issue a press statement, following approval by the Committee on 23rd April, to raise awareness of the form issued by DARD on the use of the Force Majeure for LFACA.

8. SL1 The Agriculture (Student Fees) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2013

The Committee considered the SL1 Agriculture (Student Fees) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2013 and were content with the merits of the policy.

9. SR2013/76 The Zoonoses (Fees) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2013

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development has considered the SR2013/76 The Zoonoses (Fees) (Amendment) Regulation (NI) 2013 and has no objections to the rule.

10. Correspondence

Agreed: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development regarding the draft All-Ireland Chalara Control Strategy. The Chairperson advised Members that neither he nor the Deputy Chairperson would be available to attend the stakeholder event on 25th April as they would be in Brussels representing the Committee, and Members agreed to let the Committee Clerk know if they would be available to attend the stakeholder event as representatives of the Committee.

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister in relation to the Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse 1922-1995.

Agreed: The Committee noted the tabled correspondence forwarded by Mr Robin Swann and agreed that it would have a lunchtime meeting with the group of farmers from the North and East of Antrim on Tuesday 23rd April 2013 to discuss their concerns.

11. Forward Work Programme

Agreed: The Committee agreed the programme for the Committee visit to Brussels from 24th to 25th April.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the Forward Work Programme.

12. AOB

No items were raised.

13. Date of the next meeting

Agreed: The next meeting of the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development will take place on Tuesday 23th April 2013 at 1.30p.m. in Room 30, Parliament Buildings.

The meeting adjourned at 5.27 p.m.

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