Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 04 December 2012

Venue: Room 30

1.31 p.m. The meeting commenced in Open Session

The Chairperson welcomed Mr Kinahan to the Committee and advised that a copy of his Declaration of Interests had been tabled.

The Committee recorded its appreciation for work and commitment of Mr Robin Swann MLA during his time with the Committee.

1. Apologies

The apologies are noted above.

 2. Chairperson’s Business

The Chairperson advised the Committee that he participated in a site visit with Premier Woodland in Kilwaughter and a note of the visit would issue in the meeting pack for next week.

The Chairperson advised the Committee that he and the Deputy Chairperson met with Drumlin Energy on Monday 3 December and that a note of the meeting would issue in the meeting pack for next week.

The Chairperson advised that he had met with the Woodland Trust.

3. Minutes of the meeting 27 November 2012

Agreed: The Committee agreed the minutes of the meeting of 27 November 2012.

 4. Matters arising

Agreed: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department which provided an update on the Schmallenberg virus and agreed to request an immediate update on the test currently being carried out by AFBI.

The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department which provided an update on Ash Die-back.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the wording for the motion on Single Farm Payments and agreed that it should be tabled in the Business Office for Plenary Debate in January 2013.

Agreed: The Committee noted the note of the meeting with the PSNI on 27 November 2012 regarding agri-crime and agreed to seek a date for response on issues raised.

5. Oral Briefing RaISe: Lough Neagh

The Assembly Research Officer briefed the Committee on Lough Neagh. This was followed by a question and answer session.

1.50 p.m. Mr Clarke joined the meeting.

1.55 p.m. Mr McCartney left the meeting.

1.56 p.m. Mr Kinahan left the meeting.

1.58 p.m. The meeting was suspended

2.34 p.m. The meeting resumed.

The following Members were present; Mr Frew, Mr Byrne, Mr Clarke, Mrs Dobson, Mr Kinahan and Mr McAleer.

6. Oral Briefing DARD: Lough Neagh

The following Departmental officials joined the meeting at 2.35 p.m.

Wendy Johnston, Deputy Secretary, DARD

Catherine McCallum, Chief Executive DARD Rivers Agency

Philip Mehaffey, Director of Operations, DARD Rivers Agency

John Mills, Director of Water Policy Division, DRD

Dave Foster, Director of Environmental Protection. DOE

Mick Cory, Director of Sport, Museums, Libraries and Recreation Division, DCAL

Mike Thompson, Director for Tourism, DETI

The officials briefed the Committee and this was followed by a question and answer session.

2.46 p.m. Mr McMullan joined the meeting.

2.50 p.m. Mr Kinahan left the meeting.

2.54 p.m. Mr McAleer left the meeting.

3.10 p.m. Mr Irwin rejoined the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request a copy of the questionnaire which each of the Departments issued to key stakeholders in relation to the scoping exercise to bring Lough Neagh into public ownership.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request an analysis of responses to the questionnaire.

7. Oral Briefing DARD – Progress Report to 30 September 2012 on 2012/13 Business Plan Targets

The following Departmental officials joined the meeting at 3.12 p.m.

Wendy Johnston, Deputy Secretary

Graeme Wilkinson, Assistant Secretary

Valerie Bell, Principal Officer

The officials briefed the Committee and this was followed by a question and answer session.

3.21 p.m. Mr Buchanan and Mr McCarthy rejoined the meeting.

3.27 p.m. Mr Irwin left the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request the latest DARD report on absenteeism which should include a breakdown between industrial and non- industrial staff.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to seek clarification regarding correspondence it issued to rural development groups about the claw back of funding.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request that Forestry Service advises of any correction action they may be considering to the target of creating new woodlands, in light of Ash Dieback.

4.04 p.m. Mr McMullan left the meeting.

8. Oral Briefing DARD – Central Investigation Services

The following Departmental officials joined the meeting at 4.05 p.m:

Wendy Johnston, Deputy Secretary

Graeme Wilkinson, Assistant Secretary

Valerie Bell, Principal Officer

Herbie Jones, Agricultural Inspector

Agreed: The Committee agreed to hear from the officials in closed session.

4.06 p.m. The meeting moved into closed session.

The following Members were present; Mr Frew, Mr Byrne, Mr Buchanan,

Mr Clarke, Mrs Dobson, Mr McCartney.

4.17 p.m. Mr Irwin rejoined the meeting.

4.24 p.m. Mrs Dobson left the meeting.

4.40 p.m. Mr Byrne left the meeting.

4.47 p.m. Mrs Dobson rejoined the meeting.

4.50 p.m. Mr McCartney left the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request an organisational chart of the branches contained within the Finance Department.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request information on how many Central Investigation Service fraud cases went to court.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request a copy of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Department and the PSNI regarding fraudulent activity.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request a redacted copy of the Deloitte Report on Central Investigation Service.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request information on the budget allocation for Central Investigation Service and to request a suitable date for the Committee to be briefed on the current fraud strategy within the Department.

4.55 p.m. The meeting moved in open session.

9. SL1: Animals and Animal Products (Examination for Residues and Maximum Residue Limits (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2012

Agreed: The Committee agreed the approval of the Regulations.

10. SL1: The Mussels (Prohibition of Fishing) Regulations (NI) 2012

Agreed: The Committee agreed the approval of the Regulations.

11. Written Briefing: European Union Horizon 2020

Noted: The Committee noted the Departmental written briefing on the European Union Horizon 2020.

12. Correspondence

Agreed: The Committee noted the correspondence from the OFMDFM Committee on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Review of the Balance of Competences and agreed to forward it to the Department for comment.

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from Mr Murnion regarding the Rural Development Programme.

Agreed: The Committee noted the correspondence from the DARD and DETI Ministers regarding the competition for sustainable utilisation of poultry litter and agreed to write to DARD to request that the Committee is kept informed of developments.

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the ETI Committee regarding its meeting with the Health and Safety Executive on farm safety.

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from Iain Mansfield regarding the membership of the GCA Parliamentary Bill Committee.

13. Forward Work Programme

Agreed: The Committee agreed the Forward Work Programme.

14. AOB

There was no other business.

15. Date and time of the next meeting.

Agreed: The next meeting of the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development will take place on Tuesday 11 December 2012 at

1.30 p.m. in Room 30, Parliament Buildings.

The meeting adjourned at 4.58 p.m.

Paul Frew, Chairperson, Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development

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