Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 02 July 2009

Venue: Room 152, Parliament Buildings

The meeting opened in public session at 10.32 a.m.

The Chairperson welcomed Mr PJ Bradley as a new Member to the Committee in place of Mr Pat Ramsey. Mr Bradley declared the following interests:

Member of St Mary’s GAC Burren
Member of Burren GAA Social Club
Member of the Down GAA Supporters Club

1. Apologies

The apologies are detailed above.

2. Draft Minutes of 25 June 2009

Agreed: The draft minutes of the meeting held on 25 June 2009 were agreed.

10.35 a.m. Mr Robinson joined the meeting. 
10.36 a.m. Lord Browne joined the meeting.

3 . Inquiry into the Funding of the Arts in Northern Ireland

The Committee noted a written submission from the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister.

The Committee noted the correspondence from the Arts Council on auditing/monitoring procedures.

Mr McElduff declared an interest as a member of Omagh District Council

Lord Browne declared an interest as a member of Belfast City Council.

Mr McCarthy declared an interest as a member of Ards Borough Council.

Mr Robinson declared an interest as a member of Newtownabbey Borough Council.

10.40 a.m. Mr Shannon joined the meeting.

Evidence Session with the Arts Council

The following representatives from the Arts Council joined the meeting:

Roisin McDonough - Chief Executive 
Lorraine McDowell - Director of Operations
Damian Smyth - Head of Drama & Literature
Joan Dempster - Arts Development Officer/Community Arts

This was followed by a question and answer session. The representatives agreed to forward further information to the Committee.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward additional questions to the Arts Council in writing.

Evidence Session with the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure

The Minister and the following officials joined the meeting:

Linda Wilson - Director of Culture
Anne Tohill - Head of Arts & Creativity

This was followed by a question and answer session.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward additional questions to the Department in writing.

The Minister and Departmental officials remained seated for the next session.

12.25p.m. Mr McNarry left the meeting.

4. Discussion of the Digital Britain Report and its impact on Northern Ireland

The Minister brief the Committee on the Department’s position regarding the report. This was followed by a question and answer session.

Agreed : The Committee agreed to write to the Minister in mid August to request an update on any progress that has been made with this matter.

12.36 p.m. Mr McNarry re-joined the meeting.

5. Matters arising

The Committee noted the Minister’s response on the June monitoring round queries.

The Committee noted the Minister’s correspondence on forecast outturn for 2009/2010.

The Committee noted the Arts Council’s response on Department of Education funding.

The Committee noted the Arts Council’s response on a feasibility study for a new art gallery.

The Committee noted the Big Lottery Fund response regarding a hardship fund for the arts.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to meet the Big Lottery Fund on an informal basis in autumn 2009.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Ulster-Scots Agency regarding the Agency’s appeals/complaints procedure.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Ulster-Scots Orchestra to ask if there have been any changes in their circumstances of which they wish to advise the Committee.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Ulster-Scots Agency regarding the language promotion strategy.

6. Chairperson’s business

The Chairperson advised that he has been invited to open this year’s John Hewitt International Summer School.

The Chairperson advised that the Deputy Chair and he would be meeting representatives from the Big Telly Theatre Company regarding their Spring Chickens Project that afternoon.

The Committee noted a leaflet regarding the official opening of Dún Uladh Regional Resource Centre

The Chairperson advised members that a copy of Dr. Ian Malcolm’s book on the Irish language called ‘Towards Inclusion’ has been ordered for the Assembly library.

The Chairperson advised members that he attended a book launch on native Irish speakers in Creggan, Co. Tyrone on 30 June 2009.

7. Correspondence

The Committee considered correspondence from Ofcom on its Review of the Broadcasting Code.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request a presentation from Ofcom once the consultation has closed on the main issues which had been raised by the consultees.

The Committee considered correspondence from the OFMDFM Committee on the Children & Young People Action Plan.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the OFMDFM Committee to express its support for the cross-departmental approach being taken and the inclusion of committees in the process.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Finance and Personnel Committee on the PEDU review of PSA delivery.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Minister to ascertain which of the themes detailed in Annex A,apply to the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure.

The Chairperson advised membersthat a Ministerial statement was submitted on Tuesday 30 June from the First and deputy First Minister on the end of year Delivery Report for the Programme for Government. The Chairperson further advised that a take note debate on the report will take place in autumn 2009 and that this will be discussed at the Committee’s meeting of 10 September 2009.

The Committee considered correspondence from the Enterprise, Trade and Industry Committee on 10-day payment of invoices.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Minister to ask for comments on the percentage of DCAL invoices that are paid within the target timeframe.

The Committee noted correspondence from OFMDFM Committee on the draft Autism Bill.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the OFMDFM Committee to express its support for the Bill and to request that this Committee be kept informed on future stages and developments.

The Committee noted correspondence from Castlereagh Borough Council on the townland names seminar.

The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Social Development.

Agreed: The Committee approved a request from the Committee for Social Development to forward correspondence to the Minister regarding the Housing (Amendment) Bill. The Committee agreed to request that it is copied into any response the Department makes on the Bill.

The Committee considered correspondence from the Northern Ireland Place-Name Project and from the School of Languages, Literatures and Performing Arts at QUB.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence to the Minister for comment.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to return to the subject of townland names as part of the forward work programme for Autumn 2009.

The Committee noted correspondence from Ms. J. Henderson regarding the recent townland names seminar.

The Committee was advised that a copy of the Assembly Ombudsman for Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Complaints Annual Report 2008 – 2009 is available in the Committee Office.

1.00 p.m. Mr PJ Bradley left the meeting. 
1.00 p.m. Mr Brolly left the meeting. 
1.00 p.m. The meeting moved in to closed session.

8. Discussion of Report on Committee’s Review of the Department’s Management of the Northern Ireland Event Company and other arms length bodies.

The Committee approved the final draft of the report.

9. Forward Work Programme

Agreed: The Committee agreed to add the following items to its forward work programme:

Briefing from Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.
Consideration of development maritime/industrial/aeronautical/military history museum.
Consideration of development of sports museum.
Briefing from BBC NI on planned removal of Let’s Talk from programme schedules.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to hosting meetings at the following venues

Newtownabbey Theatre/Mill
New Ulster Museum

The Chairperson advised that the Deputy Chair and he would seek a meeting with the Minister over the summer recess. If Members have any issues that they would like raised with the Minister these should be forwarded to the Clerk.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Chairperson and any other available members would undertake a visit to:

Dublin – to visit the Abbey Theatre and the Aviva Stadium

North Coast – to visit an Irish Language project in Ballycastle, an Ulster-Scots project in Ballymoney and a language project in Maghera

1.12 p.m. Mr McCarthy left the meeting.

10. Any other business

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Controller of BBC NI to ask that he reconsiders removing Let’s Talk from programming schedules.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that any correspondence received during summer recess would be considered at the Committee’s meeting on 10 September 2009. Any urgent correspondence will be forwarded to the Chair in the first instance for consideration.

The Chairperson advised members that this would be Research Officer Meadhbh McCann’s last meeting. The Committee thanked Ms. McCann for the work that she has done for the Committee and wished her well in the future.

11. Date and Time of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure will be on Thursday 10 September 2009 at 10.30 a.m.. in Room 152, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1.14 p.m.

Mr Barry McElduff MLA 
Chairperson, Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure 
10 September 2009

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