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Ministerial Travel

Mr. Moss: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) ministers and (b) officials travelled first class on commercial aircraft for official purposes in 1998, broken down by (i) date, (ii) cost and (iii) Civil Service grade of passenger. [73961]

Marjorie Mowlam: The rules on Ministerial travel are the same as those applied under the previous Administration. The information is as follows:

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MinisterNumber of civil servants accompanying minister Destination Date Purpose of visitReturn cost per passenger £ Civil Service grade of passenger
Adam IngramNoneJapan/TaiwanFebruary 1998IDB Trade Mission6,379.00Not applicable
Secretary of State3Boston/Washington/ New YorkMarch 1998Brief opinion formers on NI political development5,278.001 senior civil servant, 1 special adviser, 1 grade 7
Secretary of State2Washington/New YorkJuly 1998Post Agreement briefing5,048.252 senior civil servants
Secretary of State1New YorkOctober 1998Eleven city tour5,435.901 senior civil servant
Secretary of State1Chicago/SeattleOctober 1998Eleven city tour6,570.701 senior civil servant
Adam IngramNoneNew York/WashingtonNovember 1998Speaking engagements/receptions4,324.50Not applicable
Paul Murphy2WashingtonDecember 1998Attend dinner hosted by President Clinton attended by all NI political party leaders5,576.551 senior civil servant, 1 HEO

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The cost of these flights is part of this Administration's expenditure on ministerial overseas travel.


Mr. Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will list those people she has appointed to public bodies since 1 November 1998, indicating the positions to which they have been appointed and if they receive remuneration. [76460]

Mr. Paul Murphy: I have placed in the Library of the House a list of those individuals who have been appointed to public bodies in Northern Ireland in the period 1 November 1998 to 10 March 1999 with details of their position and whether they receive remuneration.

Foyle Fisheries Commission

Mr. William Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will publish for each fish counter on each river in the Foyle Fisheries Commission area the number of (1) salmon and grilse and (2) sea trout which passed through those counters in each month in (a) 1995, (b) 1996, (c) 1997 and (d) 1998. [76838]

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Mr. Paul Murphy: The fish counters do not distinguish between salmon and large sea trout. Neither do they record fish of a size less than 45 centimetres. Accordingly, not all sea trout will be included in the counts.

Such information as is available is contained in Tables 2 and 3 of the Annual Reports for the Foyle Fisheries Commission, copies of which are in the Library of the House. The Reports of the Foyle Fisheries Commission for 1997 and 1998 are not yet in the Library and the information available is as follows:

River Faughan: Fish counts at Campsie Barrage

March 120
May 23341
August 320286

River Mourne: Adjusted Count of Salmon at Sion Mills Weir

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Although a fish counter was in operation at Sion Mills Weir during 1998 the counter was not operational for the period February to May due to the construction of a new fish pass and fish counting facilities. The validation of the counts of the 3 channels of the new facilities, when in operation in 1998, has not yet been completed and therefore it is not possible to provide any accurate figures for that year. The 1997 count was as follows:

February 108

Mr. William Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in each of the years 1990 to 1998, how many (a) salmon and grilse and (b) sea trout, were taken by (i) nets and (ii) anglers in the Foyle Commission area. [76883]

Mr. Paul Murphy: Although it is a statutory requirement that anglers in the Foyle Area make an annual catch return, in practice only a very small percentage of anglers provide this. On this basis, the catch information provided (and the percentage of anglers making a return) is as follows:

Salmon and Grilse Sea trout Percentage returns
YearNetsRod catchNetsRod catchfrom anglers

(5) Not available

Pre-school Education

Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will make a statement on the availability of places for (a) part-time and (b) full-time pre-school education for children other than those from socially disadvantaged circumstances for the school year ending 31 July, 2000. [76931]

Mr. McFall: I expect approximately 8,500 full-time and 8,000 part-time pre-school education places to be available in Northern Ireland in the school year 1999-2000. These places should be sufficient for around 70 per cent. of all children in their immediate pre-school year, compared to 45 per cent. in 1997-98. It is not possible to predict the

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numbers of children from socially disadvantaged circumstances who will take up pre-school education places, but, if all in this group are allocated places, sufficient places should be available for almost 60 per cent. of the remainder of children.


Mr. Opik: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans she has (a) to approve and (b) to initiate developments relating to airports before the completion of the economic impact studies covering airports and air services announced in "A New Deal for Transport"; and if she will make a statement. [76992]

Mr. Paul Murphy: A number of developments have recently been initiated some by local airport authorities. Each application for planning permission will be considered on its merits and it is not possible to indicate in advance whether approval will be given. The Government have no role in initiating airport developments.

Mr. Opik: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made on the study of the economic impact of regional airports and regional air services announced in "A New Deal for Transport"; when these studies will be completed in Northern Ireland; and if she will make a statement. [76991]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The Northern Ireland Regional Air Services Study is already underway and is due to be completed by the end of the summer. The study findings should be published in September-October 1999.

Human Rights Commission

Mr. John D. Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will make a statement on political balance in the future make up of the Human Rights Commission. [77084]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The Northern Ireland Act 1998 requires that the Secretary of State, in making appointments to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission,

The Secretary of State on 1 March appointed a Chief Commissioner and nine part-time Commissioners for a three-year term. The Government believe that the Commissioners, as a group, are representative of the community in Northern Ireland. There are no plans to make any additional appointments.

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