Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 14 February 2012

Venue: Room 30

 1.31 pm The meeting commenced in Open Session

1. Apologies

Apologies are as noted above.

2. Chairperson’s business

The Chairperson advised that he had attended the ETI Committee briefing on 9 February 2012 from InterTradeIreland on the Agri Food report and had asked a number of questions on Members' behalf. He advised Members that a recording of the meeting is available and that they should contact the Committee Office to request a copy.

Agreed: The Chairperson agreed to liaise with the Chairperson of the ETI Committee to take forward branding issues and report back to the Committee at the next meeting.

3. Minutes

Agreed: The Committee agreed the Minutes of the meeting of 7 February 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to move to Agenda items 5, 6 and 7 to facilitate briefing from the Minister.

4. Ministerial Briefing: PfG, Rural Poverty and Social Inclusion

The Minister and the following Departmental officials joined the meeting:

Michelle O’Neill MLA, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development
Gerry Lavery, Permanent Secretary
Graeme Wilkinson, Assistant Secretary

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

2.17 p.m. Mr Swann left the meeting
2.23 p.m. Mr T Clarke joined the meeting
2.41 p.m. Mr McCarthy left the meeting
2.45 p.m. Mr McMullan left the meeting
2.50 p.m. Mr Irwin left the meeting

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Minister to ask for information relating to the meetings she has had with the Justice Minister and the PSNI on rural crime, what was discussed and what the outcomes were.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Minister to ask for more information on the processing of Single Farm Payments, in particular on the time taken inspection, processing and payment.

5. Presentation: Professor Chris Elliott: Research and Development in the Agri-Food Sector

The following QUB representatives joined the meeting:

Professor Chris Elliott, Director of Queen’s University Belfast Institute of Agri-Food and Land Use
Professor Tony Gallagher, Pro-Vice Chancellor
Professor Aaron Maule, Professor of Molecular Parasitology.

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

3.02 p.m. Mr McMullan re-joined the meeting
3.05 p.m. Mr W Clarke left the meeting
3.07 p.m. Mr McCarthy re-joined the meeting
3.10 p.m. Ms Boyle left the meeting

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request further information on Professsor Eliott’s suggestions in relation to opportunities for joint work between the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute and Queens University Belfast.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Minister to ask her views on the re-establishment of the Research and Education Advisory Panel.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to ask if there are any plans to review to funding of 8 post-graduate places when the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in the Republic of Ireland funds 120 per year.

3.19 p.m. Mrs Dobson left the meeting
3.21 p.m. Mr Irwin re-joined the meeting

6. Presentation: Pre-Consultation: SR to introduce higher tuition fees for GB students studying at CAFRE

The following departmental officials joined the meeting:

Norman Fulton, Chief Agricultural Economist
Rosemary Agnew, Principal Officer

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

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request a further briefing once the consultation has taken place and a synopsis of responses is available.

7. Matters arising

The Chairperson advised the Committee that the Stakeholder event on 16 February 2012 will go ahead as planned as there has been an increase in the number of confirmed delegates.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the draft Media Operational Notice.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the draft response to the Department regarding the Reservoirs Bill.

Correspondence received

Agreed: The Committee noted the Department’s paper on Hedge Cutting and agreed to schedule a briefing to coincide with the RSPB site visit.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to ascertain who has responsibility for clearing hedge cuttings from public roads.

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department dated 2 February 2012 regarding the 2011-2012 Spring Supplementary Estimate.

3.40 p.m. Mr W Clarke re-joined the meeting

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department dated 2 February 2012 advising that the Minister will respond separately on the InterTradeIreland report “Agri-Food: A Study for Cross Border Co-operation”.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a briefing on 13 March 2012 with the Department on European Commission Disallowance of Single Farm Payments.

Noted:  The Committee noted the Minister’s announcement on a new focus for the Rural Development Programme.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Minister to ask her to reconsider the re-introduction of Charges for Meat Inspections.

Noted: The Committee noted the Department’s response regarding the revised January Monitoring position.

Noted: The Committee noted the Department’s response regarding the Afghan Hound Society Northern Ireland in relation to the Draft Welfare of Animals (Dog Breeding Establishments) Regulations.

Noted: The Committee noted the Department’s responses which had issued to the Environment Committee regarding the Rural Development Programme (Septic Tanks) and the Badger Vaccine. The Committee was disappointed that provision for Septic Tanks has not been included in the Rural Development Plan.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to defer a decision on inviting the Canine Breeders of Ireland to make a presentation to the Committee on the Draft Welfare of Animals (Dog Breeding Establishments Regulations), until it has considered all the responses submitted to the Department as part of the consultation process.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request Research to prepare a paper on the Regulatory Framework which exists in the Republic of Ireland with regards to the Welfare of Animals Regulations.

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department dated 13 February 2012 regarding a number of minor amendments to the Draft Welfare of Animals (Permitted Procedures by Lay Persons) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to the options outlined by the Clerk in relation to the Committee’s “Greening the CAP” seminar planned for 6 March 2012.

8. Forward Work Programme

Agreed: The Committee agreed the Forward Work Programme

9. Any other business

There was no other business.

10. Date of next meeting

Agreed: The next meeting of the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development will take place on Tuesday 28 February 2012, at 1.30pm, Room 30, in Parliament Buildings.

The meeting was adjourned at 4.49 pm

Paul Frew, Chairperson, Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development

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