ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE CONSIDERS EASIER ACCESS TO COMPENSATION FOR COMMUNITY HALLS

An Assembly Committee, set up to consider new legislation on criminal damage compensation for community halls, is seeking comments on the proposals by 6 October.

The proposed Criminal Damage (Compensation) (Amendment) (NI) Order 2008 would allow easier access to compensation for criminal damage than at present. Community halls eligible under the proposed new criterion would be halls that are exempt from rates relating to their use for charitable purposes.

Commenting on the Committee’s work, Chairperson Mr Peter Weir, MLA said, “This proposed legislation is aimed at helping community halls which may currently have difficulties when attempting to obtain compensation for criminal damage.

“Most of the halls affected are rural and isolated and damage to them can significantly disadvantage those who avail of the premises for community activites.

“The Committee would welcome written comments on the proposals from any interested organisation or individual by 6 October.”

Notes to Editors

The Ad Hoc Committee was established on 15 th September 2008 Assembly to consider new draft legislation on criminal damage compensation published, for consultation, by the Minister for Criminal Justice, Paul Goggins MP.

The aim of the legislation, if passed at Westminster, is to introduce an additional eligibility criterion, relating specifically to community halls, into the statutory criminal damage compensation scheme.

The Members of the Committee are: 
Chairperson Mr Peter Weir, DUP 
Deputy Chairperson Mr Alban Maginness, SDLP

Committee Members 
Mr Stephen Farry, Alliance 
Mr Danny Kennedy, UUP 
Mr Raymond McCartney, SF 
Mr David McNarry, UUP 
Mr Alex Maskey, SF 
Mr John O’Dowd, SF 
Mr Declan O’Loan, SDLP 
Mr Ian Paisley Jnr, DUP 
Mr David Simpson,MP, DUP 
Mr Jimmy Spratt, DUP

The Committee is inviting written comments on the proposal by Monday 6 th October 2008 at 12.00pm

Committee Clerk Kevin Shiels 
Room 33, Parliament Buildings 
Stormont 
Belfast BT4 3XX 
Tel: 028 90 521398 
kevin.shiels@niassembly.gov.uk

A copy of the draft legislation and relevant explanatory document are available on the NIO website: http://www.nio.gov.uk/proposed_draft_criminal_damage_(compensation)(amendment)(northern_ireland)_order_2008_explanatory_document_.pdf

Individuals and organisations are invited to submit written comments on the proposal by 12.00 pm on 6 October 2008. Responses should be sent to the Clerk at Room 33, Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast, BT4 3XX or by e-mail to: kevin.shiels@niassembly.gov.uk

If you do not have access to the internet or e mail facilities or you have any other enquiries please contact the Committee Office on 028 9052 1845.

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