Agriculture Committee Brings Minister and Council Representatives Together
Date: 01 March 2011
Reference: AGR 02/10/11
The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development hosted a meeting today between local Council representatives and Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew to discuss the implications of the recently passed Welfare of Animals Bill.
Under the new Bill, Councils will have the power to appoint inspectors to carry out various welfare enforcement functions. The Committee heard during its consideration of the bill that many elected council representatives felt that they had not been sufficiently consulted and recommended in their report that the Committee, local councilors and the Minister meet to address local government concerns.
The Chairperson to the Committee, Stephen Moutray MLA, said: “Throughout its consideration of the Welfare of Animals Bill, the Committee has voiced its fear on the lack of dialogue with elected representatives of the local Councils when the Bill was in its drafting stage.
“The Committee’s report into the Bill recommended that such dialogue would be useful and the Committee is pleased to take this forward. This meeting will start a reviewing process that will allow Council concerns on the enforcement of the Bill, along with the relevant resourcing implications to be addressed.”
The Committee has recommended that these reviews continue on a regular basis to ensure that the duties entailed remain as a priority area within Departmental budgets. The Committee will be kept apprised of the reviews on a quarterly basis.