Press Release

Committee takes evidence from Commissioners on child poverty

Session: 2007/2008

Date: Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Reference: COFMDFM 20/07

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister today took evidence from Patricia Lewsley, the Children’s Commissioner and Bob Collins, Chief Commissioner of the Equality Commission in relation to the Committee’s inquiry into Child Poverty.

Speaking after the meeting, the Chairperson, Mr Danny Kennedy MLA said:

“The Committee has been consulting widely with stakeholders in the field over the last number of months to inform its inquiry into child poverty. Over that period the Committee has amassed very useful information that will inform the Committee in its deliberations on child poverty. Today’s session with the Children’s Commissioner and the Chief Commissioner of the Equality Commission will help inform the Committee’s considerations and concludes the Committee’s consultation with wider stakeholders”

“After Easter, the Committee will commence the next stage of the inquiry, which is to take evidence from a number of Government Departments, including the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.”

Notes to Editors:

1. The Committee is examining the current strategic approach to tackling child poverty in Northern Ireland . An interim report was published by the Committee on 19 December 2007 to inform the consultation process on the draft Programme for Government 2008-11 and the draft Budget and may be viewed at Interim Report on the Committee's Inquiry into Child Poverty in Northern Ireland.

2. The report focuses on identifying the size of the child poverty problem in Northern Ireland and compares the position here with other regions of the UK, Ireland and Europe.

3. The Child Poverty Inquiry will be completed in spring 2008.

4. The Committee for the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister is one of the statutory committees established by the Northern Ireland Assembly on 9 May 2007

5. The role of the Committee as set out in Standing Orders for the Northern Ireland Assembly is “to advise and assist the First Minister and the deputy First Minister in the formulation of policy with respect to matters within their responsibilities as Ministers jointly in charge of the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister.”

6. Committee Membership: - 
Danny Kennedy, Chairperson 
Naomi Long, Deputy Chairperson 
Martina Anderson 
Tom Elliott 
Dolores Kelly 
Barry McElduff 
Francie Molloy 
Stephen Moutray 
Jim Shannon 
Jimmy Spratt
Jim Wells

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