Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 05 July 2007

Venue: Room 152, Parliament Buildings

The meeting opened at 10.31am in public session.


1. Chairperson’s business

The Chair and Clerk made a presentation to the Committee on their recent trip to Washington, including their visit to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

The Chair advised members that the first meeting of the Chairpersons Liaison Group was held on 26 June when the Chair was in Washington on Committee business. The agenda items put forward by the Chair were not discussed at the meeting in his absence, but will be placed on the agenda for the next meeting of the Group on 18 September 2007. 
The Chair advised members that he was attending a dinner hosted by the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee for Committee Chairs on 10 July 2007. This dinner was originally scheduled for 18 June 2007, but had to be postponed.

The Chair referred members to a map of the Ulster Canal provided by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and advised that a larger copy of the map was available in the Committee Office for inspection.

2. Draft minutes of the meeting held on 28 June 2007.

Agreed – The draft minutes were agreed.

3. Matters arising

The Chair referred members to the response from the Irish Football Association to the Committee’s request for its draft 5-year Strategy and for information on its work at grassroots level and on participation levels. 

Agreed – The Committee agreed to write to the Irish Football Association to query why there was no reference to Windsor Park hosting international football in its draft 5-year Strategy. It was also agreed to request a copy of the final 5-year Strategy.

Agreed – The Committee agreed to write to the outgoing President of the Irish Football Association to thank him for his work, and to also write to the new President welcoming him to his new post. 

Mr Maskey left the meeting at 10.50am.

The Chair advised members that the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure had released a press statement to announce the publication of the technical report on the site selection process from which the Maze/Long Kesh site was chosen as the preferred option for the proposed multi-sports stadium. The Chair advised members that a response from the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure had not yet been received in relation to the Committee’s request for the timetable for progressing the multi-sports stadium issue and for the business plan to support development of the stadium at the Maze/Long Kesh site.

The Chair referred members to a set of documents provided by the Clerk of the Committee of the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister on the responsibilities of the various Departments in relation to the development of the proposed multi-sports stadium.

Mr Brolly left the meeting at 11.11am.
Mr Brolly rejoined the meeting at 11.14am.

Agreed – The Committee agreed to write to the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure requesting that he meet with the Committee to brief it on the multi-sports stadium issue as soon as practicable. 

Agreed – The Committee agreed to write to the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure requesting copies of the submissions provided by the three sporting governing bodies setting out their views on the suitability of various locations for a multi-sports stadium. 

Agreed – The Committee agreed to issue a press release communicating its intention to meet with the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure to discuss the multi-sports stadium issue.

Mr McNarry left the meeting at 11.21am.

The Chair advised members that the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure has indicated that the Strategy for Sport 2007-2017 is not likely to be launched until after the summer recess.

4. Forward Work Programme

The Chair referred members to the draft forward work programme for September to December 2007. 

Agreed – The Committee agreed to write to the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure to ask for indicative timings for the progression of primary legislation and for his indicative timetable for bringing Departmental issues before the Executive. 

Mr McElduff left the meeting at 11.37am.
Mr McNarry assumed the Chair.

5. Libraries Bill

The Chair referred members to a letter from the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure to the Speaker regarding an error the Minister made in his speech during the Second Stage of the Libraries Bill

The Chair referred members to a letter from the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure to the Committee explaining why changes had been made to the dates for the Introduction and Second Stage of the Libraries Bill.

Agreed – The Committee agreed to write to the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure to suggest that he considers delaying the Libraries Bill if it is the case that the decisions made under the Review of Public Administration are to be reconsidered, and that the dismantling of the Education and Library Boards is to be delayed by a year. 

The Chair advised members that a public notice seeking written submissions had been published in the Irish News, the Newsletter, the Belfast Telegraph and the Belfast Telegraph North West edition on 25 June 2007. Members were also advised that a letter had been sent to interested parties seeking written submissions. The Chair advised that no submissions had been received as yet, and that one Council had sought and been granted an extension to the deadline for response. 

Agreed – The Committee agreed to add Queen’s University Belfast to the list of interested parties from which written submissions were being sought. 

Agreed – The Committee agreed a draft list of organisations from which it will hear oral evidence. 

Agreed – The Committee agreed that the Clerk would inquire as to whether there is an umbrella organisation representing the interests of readers.

6. Terms of Reference for inquiry

The Chair referred members to the information provided by Research Service on per capita spend on arts and sport in Northern Ireland, as compared to the rest of the United Kingdom and to the Republic of Ireland.

Agreed - The Committee agreed a request to Research Service for information on how these figures had been compiled, and whether they included contributions made by local authorities and the National Lottery. 

The Chair advised members that were a number of new factors affecting the Committee’s proposed inquiry. Members were advised that the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure had commissioned a study into the social and economic value of public libraries, museums, arts and sports in Northern Ireland, with the first phase due for completion in July 2007. Members were also advised that the Arts Council’s document ‘A Time for the Arts’ may cover information included in the proposed inquiry. 

Agreed – The Committee agreed to write to the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure stating its concern at the current underfunding of sports and arts in Northern Ireland. The Committee also agreed to inform the Minister that it had planned to conduct an inquiry into this issue but had subsequently discovered that the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure was carrying out its own study into the social and economic value of public libraries, museums, arts and sports in Northern Ireland. The Committee agreed to write to the Minister asking that the Committee be kept informed on the outcome of the ValCAL study and confirm its support for the Minister’s attempts to secure increased funding for arts and sports under the Comprehensive Spending Review.

7. Departmental briefing on proposed transfer of the Northern Ireland Events Company to the Northern Ireland Tourist Board

The following official from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure joined the meeting at 12.00pm:
Mr Edgar Jardine (Deputy Secretary)

Mr Jardine briefed the Committee on the Department’s position regarding the proposed transfer of the Northern Ireland Events Company to the Northern Ireland Tourist Board under the Review of Public Administration. This was followed by a question and answer session. 

Mr McElduff rejoined the meeting at 12.16pm. 
Mr McElduff resumed the Chair. 
Mr McNarry left the meeting at 12.20pm.

8. Briefing from the Northern Ireland Events Company

The following officials from the Northern Ireland Events Company joined the meeting at 12.20pm:
Mr Mervyn Elder (Chairperson)
Mr Jasper Perry (Acting Chief Executive)

The officials briefed the Committee on the Northern Ireland Events Company’s position regarding its proposed transfer to the Northern Ireland Tourist Board under the Review of Public Administration. This was followed by a question and answer session.

9. Briefing from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board

The following officials joined the meeting at 12.40pm:
Mr Wilfie Hamilton (Deputy Secretary, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment)
Mr Alan Clarke (Chief Executive)

Mr Hamilton briefed the Committee on the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment’s position regarding the proposed transfer of the Northern Ireland Events Company to the Northern Ireland Tourist Board under the Review of Public Administration. Mr Clarke briefed the Committee on the issue from the perspective of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board. This was followed by a question and answer session.

Mr McNarry rejoined the meeting at 12.58pm. 

Agreed – The Committee agreed to write to the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure to ask that he keeps the Committee informed of his ongoing discussions regarding the future of the Northern Ireland Events Company.

10. Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure’s Disability Action Plan

Agreed – The Committee agreed its response on the Department’s Disability Action Plan.

11. June monitoring

The Chair advised members that the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure had provided the Committee with information on the outcome of the June monitoring round.

12. Correspondence

The Chair referred members to a letter received from the Ulster Council of the Gaelic Athletic Association in relation to the Comprehensive Spending Review and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure’s draft Strategy for Sport 2007-2017. 

The Chair referred members to the response from the Amalgamation of Northern Ireland Football Supporters Clubs to the Committee’s request for a copy of their customer survey on the location of the proposed multi-sports stadium. 

The Chair referred members to the response received from the Arts Council in relation to the TURAS/Journey programme. 

Agreed – The Committee agreed to write to the Arts Council asking for details of any research it had carried out to determine that there were no equality issues relating to the TURAS/Journey programme.

13. Date and time of next meeting

Agreed: The Committee agreed its next meeting will be held during recess to discuss the multi-sports stadium issue with the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure. The Committee agreed that its next meeting after that will be on Thursday 6 September 2007 at 10.30am in Room 152, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1.20pm.

Mr Barry McElduff MLA
Chairperson, Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure
6 September 2007.

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