ASSEMBLY BUSINESS

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings

2.35pmThe meeting commenced in Open Session

1. Apologies

Mr Kieran McCarthy MLA

2. Minutes

Agreed: The Committee agreed the Minutes of the meeting of 20 September 2011.

3. Declaration of Members Interests

The Committee noted Members’ Declaration of Interests.

4. Matters Arising and Correspondence

Ploughing Championships

The Chairperson reported on the visit to the National Ploughing Championships and the conversations he and other Members had with their political counterparts, including a conversation with Andrew Doyle, the Chair of the Joint Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Chairperson should invite the Joint Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture to visit Belfast to discuss matters of mutual concern and interest.

Agreed: The Committee further agreed that the Clerk should explore the options for the two Committees to meet and to bring back detailed proposals for Members to consider.

(a) Correspondence issued

The Committee noted correspondence issued since the meeting of 20 September 2011.

(b) Correspondence received

Noted: The Committee noted the ‘Investment Strategy for Northern Ireland Investing Activity Report for September’ for DARD.

5. Presentation: LAGs and JCCs – NIRDP Issues

The following witnesses joined the meeting:

Mr Micael McCoy – Southern Organisation for Action in Rural Areas (SOAR) LAG Chair 
Mrs Vera McWilliam – Grow South Antrim LAG Chair 
Councillor Jim Fletcher – Down Rural Area Partnership, JCCs Chair 
Mr Austin Kelly – South West Action for Rural Development (SWARD) LAG Chair

Thomas Buchanan joined the meeting at 2.53pm. 
Robin Swann joined the meeting at 2.55pm. 
Jo-Anne Dobson left the meeting at 3.05pm. 
William Irwin joined the meeting at 3.25pm.

The following Members declared interests as members or former members of LAGs or JCCs:

The Chairperson, Dolores Kelly, Robin Swann and William Irwin.

The witnesses briefed the Committee on a number of Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme Axis 3 issues and this was followed by a question and answer session.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department in relation to a number of issues.

Agreed: The Committee further agreed to organise an NIRDP stakeholder event involving the LAGs, JCCs, Assembly Committee Members and Departmental officials with a view to reflecting on the experiences so far, to learn lessons from the operation of the current programme and to inform the design of the new programme.

6. Presentation – DARD – October Monitoring

The following officials joined the meeting:

Shaun Donnelly - Grade 7 – Acting Finance Director;
Jim McGuinness - Grade 7 - Accountant; and 
Lynda Lowe - DP - Deputy Principal.

William Irwin left the meeting at 4.05pm 
Conor Murphy left the meeting at 4.10pm

The officials briefed the Committee on the new arrangements for the Public Expenditure Cycle and the October Monitoring and this was followed by a question and answer session.

Agreed: Members agreed to support the Department’s bid in the October Monitoring round.

7. Presentation – DARD – Review of Compensation Arrangements for TB and Brucellosis

The following officials joined the meeting:

Colette McMaster - Grade 5 - Assistant Secretary; 
Owen Denny - Grade 6 - Senior Principal Veterinary Officer; and 
Ian McKee - Grade 7 - Principal Officer.

The officials briefed the Committee on the Review of Compensation Arrangements for TB and Brucellosis and this was followed by a question and answer session.

William Irwin re-joined the meeting at 4.19pm.
Oliver McMullan left the meeting at 4.20pm.

William Irwin declared an interest.

Thomas Buchanan left the meeting at 4.55pm.

Agreed: Whilst some reservations were expressed that all of the three options are based on the fundamental principle of a cap, Members agreed that the Review of Compensation Arrangements for TB and Brucellosis should go to consultation, provided the Department return to the Committee with an analysis of stakeholder responses in January 2012.

Agreed : Members agreed that Departmental officials should brief the Committee on whether an eradication programme should be extended to other farm animals.

8. SL1: Trade in Animals and Related Products (NI) 2011; NIPHAS Scheme Order (NI) 2011; and NIPHAS fees Order (NI) 2011

Agreed: Members agreed that the Trade in Animals and Related Products (NI) 2011; NIPHAS Scheme Order (NI) 2011; and NIPHAS fees Order (NI) 2011 should progress to the next legislative stage.

9. SL1: Diseases of Animals (Importation of Machinery & Vehicles) Order (NI) 2011

Agreed: Members agreed to write to the Department seeking clarification on the importation of machinery via the Republic of Ireland and from other countries including Scotland.

10. SL1: Cattle Identification (Notification of Births, Deaths, and Movements) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2011

Agreed: Members agreed that the Cattle Identification (Notification of Births, Deaths, and Movements) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2011 should progress to the next legislative stage.

11. Chairpersons Business

Noted: The Committee noted the Forward Work Programme.

Agreed: The Committee noted the stakeholder responses on the Committee priorities received to date and agreed to re-visit the issue at a future meeting.

12. Any Other Business

Agreed: The Committee agreed to issue a press release on business conducted at the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed, in principle, to visit Brussels in the week commencing 21 November 2011and the Clerk was asked to scope out a possible itinerary for the visit.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the date and timings of the Committee visit to the Queens Institute of Agri-Food and Land Use on 13 October 2011.

13. Date of next meeting

Agreed: The next meeting of the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development will take place on Tuesday 4 October 2011, at 2.00pm, in Room 30 Parliament Buildings.

The meeting was adjourned at 5.30pm

Mr Paul Frew, Chairperson, Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development

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