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

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 22 May 2013

Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings

The meeting began at 2.02 pm in public session.

1. Apologies

As detailed above.

2. Chairperson’s Business

British Red Cross meeting request

Members considered a request from the Northern Ireland Operations Director of the British Red Cross for a meeting in relation to civil contingencies arrangements.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to consider this request following a briefing from the Central Contingencies Policy Branch within OFMDFM.

COSAC Invitation to plenary meeting

Members noted an invitation from Mr Dominic Hannigan T.D. to the Chairperson of the Committee to attend the COSAC Plenary meeting scheduled for 23-25 June 2013 in Dublin Castle. Members also noted a draft programme of events for the meeting.

Agreed: It was agreed that the Chairperson would attend the event.

Leveson Inquiry – Legal Advice

The Chairperson reminded members of the Committee’s decision to request legal advice on the Assembly’s legislative competence in the area of press regulation. Members noted that the legal advice would be included in the next meeting pack and that the Assembly Legal Services would brief the Committee on 29 May 2013.

Politics Plus – Effective Questioning and Scrutiny Workshop

The Chairperson reminded members that the workshop on Effective Questioning and Scrutiny had been scheduled for Wednesday 5 June 2013 and that the session would be preceded by a very short committee meeting.

3. Draft Minutes of the meeting held on 15 May 2013

Agreed: The draft minutes of the proceedings of the 15 May 2013 were agreed by the Committee. 

4. Matters Arising

PEACE III Evaluation Research Paper

Members noted a briefing paper by Assembly Research and Information Services in relation to evaluations of the Peace III Programme.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the RaISe paper to the Committee for Finance and Personnel for information.

House of Commons EU Scrutiny Committee response

Members noted correspondence from the Chairperson of the House of Commons EU Scrutiny Committee, thanking the Committee for its comments on the EU’s proposal for a Directive on Marine Planning and Coastal Management.

Correspondence regarding Historical Institutional Abuse and Magdalene Laundries

Members noted:

  • OFMDFM’s response to the Committee’s request for clarity on a number of issues relating to the HIA Inquiry, the residents of the Magdalene Laundries and similar institutions and victims of abuse falling outside the scope of the HIA Inquiry.
  • correspondence between SAVIA and the Department in respect of support services for victims and survivors and related witness testimonies.


Ms Fearon joined the meeting at 2.08 p.m. 

Mr Spratt left the meeting at 2.08 p.m.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward a copy of the SAVIA correspondence and witness testimonies to the Department and to request an urgent oral briefing on the matter.

List of Outstanding Issues

Members noted the list of outstanding issues.

5. Correspondence

Big Lottery Fund – funding update May 2013

Members noted an update from the Big Lottery Fund on funding in May 2013.

Big Lottery Fund – Space and Place Programme

Members noted correspondence from the Big Lottery Fund in respect of its Space and Place programme.

DARD Headquarters relocation

Members noted correspondence from the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development in respect of the relocation of DARD’s headquarters to Ballykelly.

Mr Spratt re-joined the meeting at 2.09 p.m.

Third Sector Mapping

Members noted a copy of a request from the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment to OFMDFM for information on any work which OFMDFM may be carrying out in respect of third sector mapping.

United Youth Programme Statement

Members noted copy correspondence from the Committee for Employment and Learning to OFMDFM seeking clarity on any potential budgetary or other impacts the United Youth Programme may have on DEL.

Suicide Prevention Strategies

Members noted a request from the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety to forward a letter in respect of Suicide Prevention Strategies to OFMDFM.

Agreed: The Committee would forward this correspondence to OFMDFM for its response.

Consumer Council NI Review

Members noted correspondence from the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment in respect of DETI’s Review of the Consumer Council.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward to the Committee for Enterprise Trade and Investment copies of correspondence received from OFMDFM regarding the amalgamation of Consumer Focus Post into the Consumer Council.

6.  Together: Building a United Community 

Junior Ministers Bell and McCann, and Departmental Officials joined the meeting at 2.13 p.m.

Junior Ministers Jonathan Bell and Jennifer McCann, and Departmental Officials Ms Donna Blaney and Mr Dennis McMahon, briefed the Committee on the announcement of the new good relations strategy  ‘Together: Building a United Community’ and related projects.  Questions and discussion followed.

Mr Maskey joined the meeting at 2.28 p.m.

Agreed: Members agreed to write to the Department seeking further information on the process and timing for the appointment of the independent chairperson to the All Party Working Group and for inviting stakeholders to join the Working Group.

Ms Fearon and Mr Maskey left the meeting at 3.21 p.m.

Mr Eastwood left the meeting at 3.25 p.m.

The Junior Ministers and Officials left the meeting at 3.34 p.m.

Ms McGahan left the meeting at 3.35 p.m.

7.  Proposal to update legislation to reform the Office of the NI Ombudsman  

Officials from the Department of Justice joined the meeting at 3.37 p.m.

Department of Justice Officials Ms Geraldine Fee; Mr David A Lavery; and Mr Martin Moore briefed the Committee on the Department of Justice’s proposal that the office of NI Judicial Appointments Ombudsman would be held by the person holding office as NI Public Service Ombudsman. Questions and discussion followed.

Mr Spratt left the meeting at 3.52 p.m.

The Officials left the meeting at 3.53 p.m. 

8.  Proposal to update legislation to reform the Office of the NI Ombudsman  

The NI Ombudsman and the Deputy NI Ombudsman joined the meeting at 3.54 p.m.

Dr Tom Frawley, NI Ombudsman, and Ms Marie Anderson, Deputy NI Ombudsman, briefed the Committee on the Department of Justice’s proposals regarding the NI Judicial Appointments Ombudsman, the Department of the Environment’s proposals in relation to local government standards and related financial implications.

Mrs Hale left the meeting at 4.14 p.m.

The Officials left the meeting at 4.18 p.m.

9. Forward Work Programme

The Committee noted the draft forward work programme.

Agreed: The Committee would seek a briefing on the Delivery Framework under the Disability Strategy on 19 June 2013.

Members noted a proposal for an event in the Long Gallery on 18 June 2013 to publicise the Community Relations Council’s research regarding young people at interfaces and to meet with some of the young people involved in the research.

Agreed: The Committee would sponsor the use of the Long Gallery for this event.

Proposed visit to the Oireachtas on 13 June 2013 - The Committee noted that the availability of the Oireachtas Justice Committee had still to be confirmed.

10. Any Other Business

There was no other business.

11.  Date, Time and Location of next meeting

The next meeting will be held in Room 30, Parliament Buildings on Wednesday 29 May 2013 at 2.00 pm.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.29 pm

Mr Mike Nesbitt MLA
Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister  

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