29 January 2008

Synopsis: Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Northern Ireland Assembly Branch meeting on Tuesday 29 January 2008 at 5.00pm Commonwealth Room, Parliament Buildings

Present:

The President, Mr William Hay MLA
Mr Leslie Cree MLA
Mr John Dallat MLA
Rt. Hon. Jeffrey Donaldson MP MLA
Mr Simon Hamilton MLA
M Danny Kennedy MLA
Mr John McCallister MLA
Mr David McClarty MLA
Mr Sean Neeson MLA
Mr Robin Newton MLA
Mr Mervyn Storey MLA

Mr Peter Gregg, Head of External Liaison Unit
Mr Simon Kelly, External Liaison Unit

Apoligies:

Ms Dawn Purvis MLA
Rev Robert Coulter MLA
Lord Browne MLA

In attendance:

Ms Frances Leneghan, PS/Speaker
Mr Owen McNulty, External Liaison Unit
Mr Andrew Tuggey, CPA UK Branch Secretariat
Ms Susan Holmes, CPA UK Branch Secretariat

1. APOLOGIES

The President welcomed members to the CPA NI Branch meeting and agreed that apologies received would be reflected in the minutes of the meeting.

The President also welcomed Mr Andrew Tuggey and Ms Susan Holmes from CPA UK Branch to the meeting.

2. MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The draft minutes of the branch Annual General Meeting held on 12 September 2007 were agreed.

3. MATTERS ARISING
Photograph of the 53 rd CPA Conference in New Delhi

The President drew Members attention to the framed photograph of the 53 rd CPA Conference in New Delhi, which Rev. Coulter wished to present to the Branch.

4. NI BRANCH CPA BUDGET REPORT

The President referred members to a brief report on the CPA NI Branch budget 2007/2008.

Mr Gregg provided a brief verbal update to Members on the current CPA NI Branch Budget position.

5. DRAFT PROTOCOL ON THE SELECTION OF MEMBERS FOR CONFERENCES, SEMINARS AND VISITS

The President referred Members to the draft protocol on the Selection of Members for conferences, seminars and visits. The President reported that the protocol had been agreed by the CPA NI Branch Executive Committee at their last meeting.

Mr Gregg provided a verbal summary of the contents of the protocol to Members. After a discussion on the proposals Members agreed to adopt the protocols.

Agreed: Members agreed that the protocol should be adopted by the CPA NI Branch.
6. REPORTS ON PREVIOUS CPA CONFERENCES/SEMINARS

Annual CPA Conference held in New Delhi, India, 25-28 September 2007

The President referred Members to a report on the 53 rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in New Delhi attended by Rev Robert Coulter MLA and Mr Stephen Moutray MLA.

The President referred Members to a report on the visit to the “Asha Project” in New Delhi by Rev Robert Coulter MLA, Mr Stephen Moutray MLA and the Deputy Clerk to the Assembly.

Canadian Parliamentary Seminar, Ottowa, 21-27 October 2007

The President referred Members to a report by Mr David McClarty MLA, who represented the NI Branch CPA at this seminar.

International Parliamentary Conference on “Climate Change – Tackling Causes; Managing Impacts”, Westminster, 26-30 November 2007

The President referred Members to a report by Mr David McClarty MLA, who represented the NI Branch CPA at this conference.

19 th Commonwealth Parliamentary Seminar, Edinburgh, 28 October-3 November 2007

The President referred Members to a report by Mr Nelson McCausland MLA, who represented the NI Branch CPA at this seminar.

7. INFORMATION ON THE REGULAR CPA CONFERENCES AND SEMINARS

The President referred Members to a list of regular CPA conferences and seminars. He invited Mr Gregg to speak to the paper on future conferences and seminars.

Mr Gregg asked members to note that there are two regular annual CPA conferences:

(a) Annual Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference

The 54 th Conference is being held this year in Malaysia. Details are awaited.

(b) British Islands and Mediterranean Regional Conference

The 39 th Conference takes place this year, in Gibraltar, from 11 to 15 May 2008. The deadline for nominations for the conference is 31 January 2008.

The President explained that nomination forms for this event would be issued to all Members this week, and urged interested Members to return their forms as soon as possible.

Agreed: It was agreed that the new protocol, relating to the selection of Members to attend CPA Conferences and seminars will be used to choose nominees for this conference.

The President highlighted that this Conference coincides with the Commission’s forthcoming trip to Canada.

Other conferences/seminars

Mr Gregg highlighted that during the course of the year, the Branch is invited to send Members to other CPA Parliamentary seminars and conferences.

Mr Gregg referred to a forthcoming International Parliamentary Conference “Tackling Drugs, Changing Communities – Challenges for Parliamentarians”, to beheld in Westminster from 3-8 February 2008

Mr Gregg explained that CPA UK Branch has invited the NI Branch to send two delegates this event. The Conference will highlight the vital topics of drug trafficking, reducing supply, treatment, rehabilitation, intervention and education. A minute seeking nominations was sent to Members on 6 December 2007. To date, one nomination has been received, but the Member has now withdrawn due to other commitments.

At the President’s request, Mr Andrew Tuggey from CPA UK Branch Secretariat provided a brief overview of the contents of the conference to Members.

The President thanked Mr Tuggey for his presentation.

The President sought nominations from Members. No nominations were received, and Mr Gregg undertook to issue a further reminder email to all CPA NI Branch Members.
8. PROPOSALS FOR COMMONWEALTH DAY 2008

The President reported that he had agreed to host a Commonwealth Day Commemoration Event in Parliament Buildings on 10 March 2008. The External Liaison Unit (ELU) has been instructed to commence planning for this event.

The President referred Members to a draft proposal and programme for the event.

The President reported that the CPA NI Executive Committee had established a sub-committee to oversee the arrangements; Mr David McClarty MLA, Mr Simon Hamilton MLA and Rev Robert Coulter MLA had agreed to be Members of the sub-committee.

The President invited comments or suggestions from Members.

Agreed: Members considered and agreed the draft proposals.
9. OUTLINE OF PROPOSALS FOR FUTURE CPA NI BRANCH CONFERENCE

The President referred Members to a paper prepared by Mr Gregg, outlining proposals for the CPA NI Branch to host an international parliamentary conference/seminar possibly during the autumn 2008.

Mr Gregg provided an overview of his proposals to Members.

Agreed: Members agreed to the principle of holding such a conference.

The President suggested that a sub-committee should be formed to oversee the organisation of this conference, and asked for nominations from Members. Mr Jeffrey Donaldson MP MLA, Mr Danny Kennedy MLA and Mr Robin Newton MLA volunteered to sit on this sub-committee.

Agreed: Members agreed that Mr Jeffrey Donaldson MP MLA, Mr Danny Kennedy MLA and Mr Robin Newton MLA would sit on this sub-committee.
10. DELEGATION OF SRI LANKAN MPS- VISIT TO NI ASSEMBLY- 28 FEBRUARY 2008

The President reported that the CPA UK Branch are hosting a delegation of up to six Sri Lankan MPs and as part of this their visit they have asked to visit a devolved legislature. The delegation and an accompanying CPA Secretary will be visiting the NI Assembly on Thursday 28 February 2008.

At the President’s request, Mr Andrew Tuggey, CPA UK Branch Secretariat outlined the background to this visit. Members thanked Mr Tuggey for his presentation.

Agreed: That the External Liaison Unit should liaise with the CPA UK Branch to organise a programme for the visit.
11. ANY OTHER BUSINESS

There were no other items of business.

12. DATE & TIME OF NEXT MEETING

The Branch Secretariat will inform Members of the date of the next NI Branch Meeting.

WILLIAM HAY MLA
The President

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