ASSEMBLY BUSINESS

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings

1.37 pm The meeting commenced in Open Session

Mr Frew welcomed Ms Michaela Boyle as the replacement for Mr Murphy and thanked Mr Murphy for his contribution to the work of the

Committee.

1. Apologies

There were no apologies.

2. Minutes

Agreed:  The Committee agreed the Minutes of the meeting of 17 January 2012.

1.40 p.m. Mr W Clarke and Mr T Clarke joined the meeting

3. Matters Arising

Draft Welfare of Animals (Dog Breeding Establishments) Regulations 

The Chairperson advised the Committee that the Department has indicated that there is no deadline in the primary legislation for the introduction of the regulations, however officials are keen for the regulations to be introduced at the beginning of April 2012. Officials have been advised that the Committee will require time to consider any responses which the Department receives as part of the consultation process.

(a)  Correspondence issued

Noted:  The Committee noted correspondence issued since the meeting on 17 January 2012.

Noted:  The Committee noted the press coverage in relation to the EU Agriculture Commissioner’s visit to the Oireachtas on CAP Reform on 19 January 2012.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed the draft Press Release and associated photograph regarding the Oireachtas meeting with the EU Agriculture Commissioner.

1.49 p.m. Mr McCarthy joined the meeting

The Chairperson updated the Committee on a presentation given by Commissioner Ciolos on CAP Reform and advised that a transcript of the presentation would be circulated to Members.

1.55 p.m. Mr McCarthy left the meeting

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to write to Ms Margaret Ritchie MP to congratulate her on her appointment to the EFRA Committee and make arrangements for a meeting with the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to write to the Minister to ask if she has met with her counterpart in Westminster, Secretary of State Spelman.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to write to the Department, UFU and NIAPA in relation to 2014 being used as a reference year for CAP Reform.

1.57 p.m. Ms Dobson joined the meeting

(b)   Correspondence received

Noted:  The Committee noted the correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel in relation to the Monitoring of Departmental Savings Plans.

Agreed:  The Committee noted the correspondence from the Minister to the Chairperson of the Education Committee regarding the Rural Poverty Fund. The Committee agreed to write to the Department to ascertain what rural proofing support, guidance and assistance will be provided to Education officials.

2.03 p.m. Mr Swann joined the meeting

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request an update on the progress of the Research Challenge fund.

Noted:  The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department dated 19 January in relation to the Committee meeting of 10 January 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department of Regional Development to seek clarification on the issue of the Rural Transport Scheme.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to forward the Department’s response to the Environment Committee regarding Strangford Lough SAC.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the Departments’ response to the Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee regarding the timetable for the Reservoirs Bill.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to defer the correspondence from the Department for Social Development in relation to the Housing and Fuel Poverty Issues affecting Rural Communities update to the meeting on 31 January 2012.

Noted:  The Committee noted the Department’s response to the DARD Rural Poverty and Social Inclusion Framework 2008-09-2010/11. Members raised a number of issues which will be addressed at the Departmental briefing on 7 February 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the UK Consultation on the Protected Zone Status of Liriomyza (Leaf Miner) and seek an update when the consultation has been concluded.

2.10 p.m. Mr McMullan left the meeting

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to add a visit to the CAFRE Hill Farm to the Forward Work Programme.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the draft letter to Mr Murphy in relation to his on-going correspondence should issue.

Agreed: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee inviting Committee Members to attend an oral briefing on 9 February by InterTradeIreland on the Agri-Food: A Study for Cross-Border Co-operation.         

4.  Education and R & D in Agriculture and Food Science 

Noted:  The Committee noted the summary of the O’Hare Report and the InterTradeIreland Report on Agri-Food: A Study for Cross Border Co-operation.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to write to the Minister to seek an update on the Establishment of the Food Strategy Board.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to write to the Minister to ascertain if any discussions have taken place with Bord Bia regarding the promotion of produce from Northern Ireland and what encouragement is she giving to aid the promotion of Farmers’ Markets.

2.37 p.m. Mr Buchanan left the meeting

2.39 p.m. Ms Dobson left the meeting

2.40 p.m. Mr T Clarke left the meeting

5.  Committee Stakeholder Event – NIRDP

Agreed: The Committee agreed the draft programme and invitation for the Committee Stakeholder Event on 16 February 2012.

6.  SL1: Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations (NI) 2012

The following departmental officials joined the meeting:

Collete Connor - Principal Officer

Sandra Dunbar – Senior Principal Veterinary Officer

Paddy McGuckian – Divisional Veterinary Officer

The officials answered a number of questions Members put to them.

Agreed: The Committee considered the proposed Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations (NI) 2012 and were content with the policy merits of the proposals as set out in the SL1.

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

7.  SR 2011/407 The Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) (Amendment) regulations (NI) 2011

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development has considered the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) (Amendment) regulations (NI) 2011 and has no objection to the rule.

8.  SR 2011/429 The Less Favoured Area Compensation Allowances Regulations (NI) 2011

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development has

Considered the Less Favoured Area Compensation Allowances

Regulations (NI) 2011 and has no objection to the rule.

9.  Chairpersons Business and Forward Work Programme

Agreed: The Committee agreed its Forward Work programme.

Noted: The Committee noted that the Reservoirs Bill and EU Floods Risk Assessment are scheduled as briefings on 7 February 2012 and that Members are likely to question the recent report into the flooding in Fermanagh. Members further noted that they would like sight of the report prior to this meeting.

10. Any Other Business

There was no other business.       

11. Date of next meeting

Agreed: The next meeting of the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development will take place on Tuesday 31 January 2012, at 1.30pm, Room 30, in Parliament Buildings.

The meeting was adjourned at 3.07 pm

Paul Frew, Chairperson, Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development

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