ASSEMBLY BUSINESS

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings

1.34pmThe meeting commenced in Open Session

1. Apologies

Mr Paul Frew MLA (Chairperson), Mr William Irwin MLA

2. Minutes

Agreed: The Committee agreed the Minutes of the meeting of 11 October 2011.

3. Matters Arising and Correspondence

(a) Correspondence issued

The Committee noted correspondence issued since the meeting on 11 October 2011.

(b) Correspondence received

Agreed: The Committee noted the letter from Mr Rob Gibson, Convenor of the Scottish Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee in response to the Chair’s letter sent to each of the devolved legislatures - about this Committee’s priorities and possible opportunities to meet and/or discuss matters of mutual interest - and agreed that the Committee Office would monitor the Scottish Committee’s website.

Noted: The Committee noted the letter from Andrew Doyle in which he accepts the invitation, on behalf of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture, to travel to Belfast on 15 November to meet this Committee to discuss matters of mutual interest.

Noted: The Committee noted correspondence from Michael Hughes of RCN.

Agreed: The Committee noted a letter from Miceal McCoy in relation to the presentation from the LAGs and JCCs and agreed to revisit the correspondence during the Committee’s preparations for the ‘stakeholder event’. The Committee further agreed to write to the ETI Committee to establish if there is any update, evidence of assistance being gained for match funding through local authorities to applicants through the NIRDP.

Agreed: The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for the Environment in relation the possibility of a joint grant scheme under the Rural Development Programme in relation to the replacement of septic tanks and agreed to forward it to the Department.

Agreed: The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for Social Development in relation to a fuel poverty event and agreed that the Chairperson should attend this event.

Agreed: The Committee noted the DALO letter of 27 September and agreed that ‘Gold plating’ of EU regulations and the NI Agri-food Better Regulation and Simplification Review might be issues that the Committee could discuss with the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to move to agenda item 7 before the meeting was suspended to allow Members to be present for Questions to the Minister, in the Chamber.

4. Pre-consultation – The Draft Dog Breeding Establishments Regulations (NI) 2012

Agreed: The Committee agreed that it was content that this matter should move to consultation stage, provided that the Department returns with a detailed analysis of consultation responses.

5. SL1 Zoonoses (Amendment) Order (NI) 2011

Agreed: Members agreed that the SL1 Zoonoses (Amendment) Order (NI) 2011 should progress to the next legislative stage.

6. SR 2011/315 Poultrymeat Regulations (NI) 2011

Question put and Agreed:

That the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development has considered Statutory Rule 2011/315 the Poultrymeat Regulations (NI) 2011 and has no objection to the rule.

7. Chairpersons Business

Agreed: The Committee agreed to suspend the proceedings to allow Members to attend Questions to the Minister, in the Chamber

1.54pm The meeting was suspended

2.36pm The meeting resumed with the following Members present: Dolores Kelly, Thomas Buchannan, Willie Clarke, Jo-Anne Dobson and Kieran McCarthy

Agreed: The Committee agreed to return to agenda item 4, a presentation from the Livestock and Meat Commission

8. Presentation: Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC)

The following witnesses joined the meeting:

Mr Pat O'Rourke, Chairman LMC
Mr Ian Stevenson, Chief Executive LMC
Mr Conall Donnelly, Economist LMC

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

Agreed: The Committee agreed to suspend the proceedings to allow Members to attend to attend proceedings in the Chamber.

2.56pm The meeting was suspended to allow Members to attend proceedings in the Chamber.

3.35pm The meeting resumed, inquorate, with the following Members present Dolores Kelly, Thomas Buchannan, Jo-Anne Dobson and Kieran McCarthy.

The Committee continued its question and answer session with the LMC.

3.44pm Conor Murphy and Robin Swann re-joined the meeting.

3.44pm The meeting became quorate.

Jo-Anne Dobson declared an interest

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Minister about farm inspections to ask her to explore if there were opportunities to reduce bureaucracy given the apparent duplication in certain statutory inspections and the standards required by the Farm Quality Assurance Scheme.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the LMC should provide a list of the inspections might be relevant to the Farm Quality Assurance Scheme.

9. Presentation – DARD– rejection of Seed Potato Cargo at Moroccan port in January 2010

The following officials joined the meeting:

Alan McCartney – Grade 7 - Agricultural Inspector Grade I; and
Jim Crummie – DP - Agricultural Inspector Grade II

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

4.16pm In accordance with Standing Order 62, the meeting was suspended to allow Members to vote in the Chamber.

4.38pm The meeting resumed, inquorate, with the following Members present Dolores Kelly, Jo-Anne Dobson, Kieran McCarthy and Robin Swann.

The Committee continued its question and answer session with the DRAD officials.

4.40pm Conor Murphy and Thomas Buchannan re-joined the meeting.

4.40pm The meeting became quorate.

Agreed: The Departmental officials confirmed that they were content the papers provided to the Committee to be forwarded to the Ulster Potato Association. The Committee agreed to do so.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to seek any responses received by the previous Minister in response to her letters to the Moroccan authorities, the DEFRA Minister, and her Scottish counterpart.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to ask the Minister to consider making a compensation payment given the Departments ‘Duty of Care’ and the fact that the exporters pay for a service provided by the Department. The Committee further agreed to request that the Minister make representations to other EU Member States to get details of their experiences and resolutions on similar incidents, and to explore if compensation might be available from Europe.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to invite the Permanent Secretary to attend a Committee meeting, before Christmas recess, to discuss the view that the Department is failing to help and support farmers.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the 3 NI MEPs to ask them to consider making representation for compensation at a European level.

5.13pm Kieran McCarthy left the meeting.

10. Committee - Background paper on the History and Structure of the Agricultural Wages Board

Noted: The Committee noted a paper on the Agricultural Wages Board.

11. Chairperson’s Business (Continued)

Agreed: The Committee noted the Committee’s Forward Work Programme and the draft agenda for next week’s meeting.

Noted: The Clerk reported on a meeting between the Chairperson and the Chairperson of the OFMDFM Committee which was held on 17 October 2011.

12. Date of next meeting

Agreed: The next meeting of the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development will take place on Tuesday 25 October 2011, at 1.00pm, in Room 30 Parliament Buildings.

The meeting was adjourned at 5.21pm

Paul Frew,
Chairperson, Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development

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