Minutes of Proceedings
Date: Thursday, 14 February 2008
Venue: Room 152, Parliament Buildings
The meeting opened at 10.35 a.m. in public session.
Apologies as detailed above.
2. Draft minutes of the meeting held on 7 February 2008.
Agreed – the draft minutes of the meeting were agreed as amended.
3. Matters arising
The Chair advised the Committee that a copy of the 2002 report of the Committee’s Inquiry into Cultural Tourism and the Arts had been circulated to Members.
4. Chairpersons Business
The Chairperson advised that an invitation had been received from the Community Arts Forum to an event on 17 February 2008 which both himself and the Deputy Chairperson were unable to attend. Members were advised to inform Committee office staff if they were able to represent the Committee at this event.
The Chairperson reported that the Chairpersons’ Liaison Group (CLG) met on 22 January 2008 when a number of issues were discussed.
Agreed - the Chairperson agreed to provide the Committee with an update on the outcome of the CLG meeting for the next meeting.
Mr Bradley arrived at 10.47 a.m.
5. Discussion on budget allocations
The Committee discussed the Minister’s letter of 28 January 2008 which provided further budgetary information.
Agreed - the Committee agreed that questions to the Minister regarding the budget should be forwarded in advance of his appearance before the Committee.
Agreed - the Committee agreed that Sport NI and the Arts Council should be asked to attend on the same date as the Minister to state how the budget has affected them.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to write to the Minister to seek an update following the Review of Public Administration and enquire if there were any implications for the budget.
6. Briefing from NIPSA on Belfast Education and Library Board (BELB) – Public Library Service Funding
The following representatives from NIPSA joined the meeting:
Ms Alison Millar (Assistant Secretary)
Ms Joanne McCloskey
Ms Maura Fenton (Branch Secretary)
Ms Millar briefed the Committee on the impact the budget for the BELB would have on the provision of a library service in the Belfast area.
This was followed by a question and answer session.
Agreed - the Committee agreed to write to the Minister expressing extreme concern on the current funding difficulties as expressed by NIPSA in relation to the BELB area and ask if he is aware of the situation and seek comments on what he may be proposing to do with regard to this matter.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to write to the Minister to ask for an update on the Grove Wellbeing Centre, taking into account the shortfall in the funding required to finish the project.
Mr Ramsey left the meeting at 11.46 a.m.
Mr Ramsey rejoined the meeting at 11.48 a.m.
7. Presentation from the Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-Op
The following representatives from the Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-Op joined the meeting:
Father Oliver Kennedy (Chair and Chief Executive)
Mr Pat Close (General Manager and Secretary of the Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-Op).
Father Kennedy and Mr Close briefed the Committee on the Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-Op.
This was followed by a question and answer session.
Mr Ramsey left the meeting at 12.16 p.m.
Agreed – the Committee accepted an invitation to visit the Lough Neagh Fishery around May 2008.
Mr Robinson left the meeting at 12.30 p.m.
Mr Robinson rejoined the meeting at 12.32 p.m.
8. Consideration of the “Salmon and Inland Fisheries Stakeholder Forum Consultation”.
The Committee discussed the Departments consultation document on the Salmon and Inland Fisheries Stakeholder Forum.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to write to the Department to raise concerns regarding the handling of the consultation documentation process and to ask for a full explanation of the incident, including measures being taken by the Department to rectify this.
9. Forward Work Programme
The Committee noted the Forward Work Programme.
Agreed – the Committee agreed that the GAA and CRC should be invited to attend the meeting on 21 February 2008, with the Minister, Departmental Officials and PricewaterhouseCoopers to discuss the Multi Sports Stadium and that the meeting should be covered by Hansard.
Agreed – the Committee agreed that they would decide on a week by week
basis the requirement for Hansard to cover agenda items.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to postpone the presentation on 28 February 2008 by the Ulster-Scots Agency.
The Committee noted the response of 7 February 2008 from the Fisheries Conservancy Board on the potential implications arising from the future transfer of functions to the Department.
The Committee noted the letter of 5 February 2008 from the Minister to the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) on the Committee Inquiry into Renewable Energy/Alternative Land Use.
The Committee noted the Minister’s letter of 6 February 2008 to Mr Brolly MLA on Sinn Féin’s submission on a Strategy for the Irish Language.
Agreed – the Clerk was asked obtain and circulate to Committee Members, Sinn Féin’s submission on a Strategy for the Irish Language.
The Committee noted the document relating to the Varney Review of the Competitiveness of Northern Ireland – Call for Evidence.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to consider this at the next meeting on 21 February 2008.
The Committee noted the correspondence received by the Clerk from the OFMDFM Committee which advises that it will consult with the Committee on the Public Authority Reform Bill.
The Committee noted the letter of 11 February 2008 from the Northern Ireland Museums Council (NIMC) on the inclusion of maritime and aviation heritage into the definition of heritage.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to the NIMC request to discuss the issue of maritime and aviation heritage in more detail at a future meeting of the Committee.
The Committee noted the Minister’s letter of 11 February 2008 which provides a quarterly update on key Departmental issues.
11. Any other business
The Committee discussed the Community Festivals Fund.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to write to the Minister seeking an update on the Community Festivals Fund, to ask what guidance has been given out to local authorities in relation to this and to ask what funding is available for musicals societies.
The Chairperson proposed that the Committee should write to the Director General of RTE to ask for more information regarding the decision to end the MW radio transmissions from 24 March 2008.
Agreed – the Committee agreed that this was not a matter for this Committee.
The Chairperson requested that the Committee invite Special Olympics Ireland to make a presentation to the Committee and to hold a reception to recognise all those who have participated in the Special Olympics Ireland and the Northern Ireland Transplant Games and to celebrate their achievements.
Agreed – the Committee agreed to write to Mary Davis regarding the hosting of a reception for Special Olympics Ireland and invite participants in the Northern Ireland Transplant Games.
12. Date, time and place of next meeting
The next meeting of the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure will be held on Thursday 21 February 2008 at 10.00 a.m. in the Senate Chamber.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1.07 p.m.
Mr Barry McElduff MLA
Chairperson, Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure
21 February 2008