28 November 2011

Synopsis: COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY ASSOCIATION NORTHERN IRELAND ASSEMBLY BRANCH – EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Executive Committee, Monday 28 November at 5 pm Room 21

Present:                                                                 

The President, Mr William Hay MLA
Mr Jim Wells MLA
Mr Jimmy Spratt MLA                                            
Mr David McClarty MLA

Apologies:

Dr Alasdair McDonnell MP MLA
Mr Basil McCrea MLA
Mr Stewart Dickson MLA

Also In attendance:

Ms Sheila McClelland, Head of Outreach
Mr Robin Ramsey, Advisor to the Speaker
Ms Louise Simpson, Outreach Manager
Ms Pamela Carson, External Liaison Unit (Minutes)

1.            WELCOME

The President welcomed Members to the meeting.

2.            APOLOGIES

Dr Alasdair McDonnell, Basil McCrea and Stewart Dickson were unable to attend.

3.         MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING

            The minutes were agreed without amendment.

4.         CONFLICT, PEACE & REGENERATION CONFERENCE

The Speaker asked Ms McClelland to give a brief outline of the progress made on the preparations for the conference.

Ms McClelland stated that a list of countries to be invited to the conference had been identified and a letter from the Speaker had been sent out to the Speakers, Presiding Officers and CPA Branches.  She advised that so far 4 countries had expressed an interest in sending delegates to the conference.  Ms Simpson stated that a reminder had been issued with a deadline for responses of 2 December.   Ms McClelland advised that officials were looking at lists of international visitors to the Assembly since 2008 with a view to writing to them to invite them or a representative from their parliament.

Ms McClelland also advised that consideration would be given to covering the cost of the keynote speakers’ stay.  She also suggested that a guest speaker for the dinner could be secured via video link rather than in person which would save on costs on transport and accommodation.

Discussions on the logos for the conference also took place and, following an outline of the logo by Ms Simpson, agreement was reached.

5.         KOSOVO        

The Speaker asked Ms McClelland to update the Members on Kosovo.      Ms McClelland briefed the Members on the on-going link with Kosovo and     advised that the Assembly is keen to help the Assembly of Kosovo build capacity for the future.  She advised that the Committee for European Integration, Assembly for Kosovo, would visit Northern Ireland between 5-8 December and a draft programme for the visit could be found at Tab 4.  She stated that the aim of the programme was to blend as    many different strands and people together with expertise in European      matters as possible while also providing information on the functions of the     Northern Ireland Assembly.

Mr Spratt suggested that it should be kept in mind that MEPs may not be   available on Monday afternoons and that this slot may have to be rescheduled.  Ms Simpson advised that the programme was flexible and that amendments could be made accordingly.

Ms McClelland advised that the CPA Executive Board would host a lunch  for the delegation and that a date to suit the Speaker’s diary was currently being discussed.  Mr Wells advised that he would be out of the country week commencing 5 December and therefore would not be available to attend.        

10.       INWARD VISITS

Ms McClelland outlined a number of inward visits to the Assembly. 

11.       AOB 

  • Canadian Visit

Ms McClelland advised the Board that a request had been received from the Canada-UK Inter-Parliamentary Association to visit Northern Ireland from 17-24 March 2012.  The Speaker stated that the Assembly would be very keen to facilitate this visit due to the on-going friendship between the Canadian Parliament and the Assembly.  Ms McClelland advised that this would happen during the St Patrick’s Bank Holiday but that the Assembly could incorporate a visit to the North Coast in the programme for the day that the Assembly would be closed.  Mr McClarty endorsed this and advised that, similar to previous visits by Canadian guests, he would be very happy to welcome the delegation to his constituency.  Ms McClelland stated that a draft programme for this visit would be available at the next meeting.

  • Commonwealth Day 2012

Ms McClelland advised that circulars relating to Commonwealth Day 2012 had been received from the Secretary-General and that the theme would be ‘Connecting Cultures’.  Ms Simpson outlined possible events that could be held both in Parliament Buildings and in venues across Northern Ireland.  She also advised that two young people had been invited to attend the observations in London.  She advised that the method of how to select of two young people was being considered. 

12.       Date of the next meeting

The next will be held on 9 January 2012.

WILLIAM HAY MLA
PRESIDENT

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