The Northern Ireland Assembly has been dissolved. The election will take place on Thursday 5 May 2016.

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 18 October 2011

Venue: Room 106

1. Introduction and Apologies

1.1 Apologies were noted from Mr Pat Ramsey, Mrs Karen McKevitt and Mr Paul Maskey. The Speaker welcomed Mr Joe Byrne as the SDLP substitute member.

2. Minutes of the meeting held on 11 October 2011

2.1 The minutes of the meeting held on 11 October were agreed and signed by the Speaker.

3. Matters arising

3.1 There were no matters arising.

4. Request to Exchange OFMDFM Question Time slot Monday 28 November

4.1 Members agreed to the request from the Office of the First Minister and acting deputy First Minister, that the Question Time slot on Monday 28 November be exchanged with the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development’s slot on Tuesday 6 December.

5. Appointment to the Regional Chamber of the Congress of Regional and Local Authorities of Europe

5.1 Members noted that the parties had agreed to appoint Mr Stewart Dickson as the Assembly’s nominee to the Regional Chamber of the Congress of Regional and Local Authorities of Europe.

6. Finalisation of Order Papers for Week Commencing 24 October 2011

Executive Business

6.1 Members noted that no additional Executive Business had been scheduled.

Committee Business

6.2 Members agreed to schedule a motion to appoint Mr Dickson to the Regional Chamber of the Congress of Regional and Local Authorities of Europe on Monday 24 October 2011; and further agreed that, in line with normal convention, this would be scheduled as a business motion, without debate.

6.3 Members agreed to schedule a DUP motion to replace members on two Committees on Monday 24 October 2011.

Private Members’ Business

6.4 Members noted that the DUP motion on the ‘Review of Planning Enforcement’ had now been replaced by a motion on ‘Forensic Science Services’.

6.5 Members noted that, to accommodate a change in the availability of the Minister of the Environment, the DUP and UUP whips had agreed to swap days for their motions; and that the motion on ‘Car Tax Renewal’ which had been scheduled for Tuesday 25 October, was now scheduled for Monday 24 October.

6.6 Members noted that on Tuesday 25 October the first motion would now be ‘Utilisation of the former site of the Maze Prison’, in place of ‘Banning Smoking in Cars Carrying Children’, which had been agreed last week.

6.7 Members noted that all other Private Members’ business remained unchanged on Tuesday 25 October.

6.8 Members confirmed the following Private Members’ motions for Monday 24 October with the usual times:

  • ‘Forensic Science Services’; and
  • ‘Car Tax Renewal’.

6.9 Members confirmed the following Private Members’ motions for Tuesday 25 October with the usual times:

  • ‘Utilisation of the former site of the Maze Prison’; and
  • ‘Community Pharmacies’.

Members also confirmed the Adjournment topic:

  • ‘Closure of Dunmurry High School and Knockmore Primary School, including its Special Needs Unit.’

6.10 Junior Minister Anderson advised Members that, whilst OFMDFM was willing to respond to the motion on the ‘Utilisation of the former site of the Maze Prison’, no Ministers would be available to respond to the debate on Tuesday 25 October due to other engagements. The UUP undertook to consider whether it wished to defer the motion until a date when Ministers would be available.

[Note. The UUP subsequently informed the Clerk that it wished to proceed with the motion, despite the fact that there would be no Executive response on the date in question.]

6.11 Junior Minister Anderson confirmed that all other relevant Ministers were available to respond to the other Private Members’ motions and the Adjournment topic.

7. Provisional arrangements for Plenary meetings in week commencing 7 November 2011

Executive Business

7.1 Members noted that, apart from Question Time to the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, no further Executive Business had been scheduled on Monday 7 November.

7.2 Members noted that, apart from Question Time to the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and the Minister of Justice, no further Executive business had been scheduled on Tuesday 8 November.

Committee Business

7.3 Members noted that no Committee Business had been requested.

Private Members’ Business

7.4 Members agreed to schedule two Private Members’ Motions on Monday 7 November and two on Tuesday 8 November.

7.5 Members noted that the all-party motion on the ‘Aggregates Levy Rebate’ proposed at last week’s meeting had been included on Monday 7 November as the second slot, as the Minister of Finance and Personnel would be available to respond at this time. Whips agreed to discuss arrangements for the all-party motion and to inform the Business Office about which Member will propose the motion and which Member will wind.

7.6 Under the system of allocation for Private Members’ motions the selections for the other three motions lay with the SDLP, DUP and Alliance.

The following motions were proposed:

  • ‘Murder of Pat Finucane’ (Ms M Ritchie, Mr A Maginness, Mr C Eastwood);
  • ‘Review of Planning Enforcement’ (Mr J Wells, Mr P Weir, Mr A Easton); and
  • ‘Education and Skills Authority’ (Mr T Lunn, Ms A Lo, Mr C Lyttle, Mrs J Cochrane).

7.7 Members agreed that up to 1 hour 30 minutes should be allocated for all the debates, with the usual speaking times.

7.8 Members agreed to schedule an Adjournment Debate on Tuesday 25 October. Under the system for allocating Adjournment Debates, the selection lay with Sinn Féin.

Sinn Féin selected the following topic:

  • Ambulance cover in Newry and Armagh

Members agreed to schedule the topic as the Adjournment Debate on Tuesday 8 November.

7.9 Junior Minister Anderson confirmed that all relevant Ministers were available to respond to the Private Members’ Motions and the Adjournment debate.

8. Any Other Business

8.1 Mr Stewart Dickson advised that he would be unavailable to attend the Business Committee next week and that a substitute from the party would attend in his place.

9. Date and Time of next meeting

9.1 Members agreed to meet at approximately 12.30pm on Tuesday 25 October 2011 in Room 106.

The Speaker brought the meeting to a close at 12.48pm.

Mr William Hay

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