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Committee of the Centre Meets For The First Time

Session: 2006/2007

Date: 16 May 2007

Reference: COFMDFM 01/07

The Northern Ireland Assembly’s Committee of the Centre met for the first time today. Members were briefed by senior officials from the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister on the ongoing work in the Department and the strategic issues currently being addressed.

Chairperson, Mr Danny Kennedy, welcomed members to the Committee. He said “ We now have the opportunity, which we didn’t have under direct rule, to examine a number of strategic issues which if tackled properly, can potentially build a better future for all the people of Northern Ireland.

“We hope to work constructively with the First Minister and deputy First Minister to develop and deliver our shared goal of improving life for everyone in the community.

“We will at all times seek to provide assurance for the public that their money is being used wisely and to introduce real accountability”.

During the briefing with Mr Nigel Hamilton, Head of the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, the Committee raised a number of important matters including Victims Issues, the North/South Ministerial Council, the British Irish Council, the Single Equality Bill, the Civic Forum, Decentralisation of Public Sector Jobs, the Review of Public Administration and European matters.

The Committee agreed that its workload will be heavy, given the wide range of functions undertaken by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister and that it would need to draw together a work programme to prioritise the issues it needs to examine in the coming year.

Notes for editors

The Committee of the Centre is one of the statutory committees established by the Northern Ireland Assembly on 9 May 2007.

The role of the Committee as set out in Standing Orders for the Northern Ireland Assembly is “to advise and assist the First Minister and the deputy First Minister in the formulation of policy with respect to matters within their responsibilities as Ministers jointly in charge of the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister. ”

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