Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 200-219)



  200. You have only had the contract from April—
  (Ms Lyner) From April of this year.

  201. In the figures you do actually account for re-entry work in 1998 through 1999?
  (Ms Lyner) Yes, it was limited. The example that I cited to you there about the man with the alcohol problem, those are the sorts of issues which are there. There may be situations also where there is a family feud ongoing, somebody has been out because of that and they come back in because that situation has cooled down.

  202. This has got nothing to do with paramilitary intimidation, this sort of stuff? This is the kind of thing which happens in families in communities anywhere?
  (Ms Lyner) In terms of where we have been working at this stage that is largely accurate.

  203. Can I ask one last question, Chairman. I am interested—and I do not know the answer so I will be interested to know if you do—when I look at your figures what I see between 1994 and up to October this year is a relentless rise in the referrals to your organisation. If we look at this question of people actually being forced out of their area, forced to leave, what we see is a dramatic decline from about 60 per cent in 1995 down to 17 per cent last year. Is that indicative of the outstanding success of your work or is that a sign that this is a declining problem?
  (Mr Conway) Is there a choice?

  Mr McCabe: Is there another explanation? I am serious. It is stark, the incredible rise, 200 to just over 500 this year, 624 referrals last year, people actually being forced out of the area dropping 60 per cent, 40 per cent, 30 per cent, 25, 17 per cent of your referrals so people are not being forced out of their area in anything like the same numbers if your figures are accurate. I am just wondering what is happening.

  Chairman: Have you taken the line saying "left the country"?

  Mr McCabe: Yes, I have used those percentages by adding together, Chairman, those who have had to leave their immediate area, the city or the country.


  204. It was the interest of the shorthand writer I was taking into account.
  (Ms Lyner) Can you refer us to which page?

  Mr McCabe: Certainly. I was looking firstly at the number of referrals on page three to your organisation and then I was looking at the client outcome figure on page five. If I add together "LHA", "left country" and "left city", then as I say the pattern seems to be that the percentage of your referrals being forced to leave the area is steadily declining but the number of referrals is steadily rising. I am wondering what sense you make of that?

  Chairman: Can I clarify again, you have taken three lines. You have taken "left area", "left country" and "left city"?

  Mr McCabe: Yes.

  Chairman: It might be helpful if you read into the record your percentage figures for the five years.

Mr McCabe

  205. Chairman, certainly I will happily do that. My rough calculation would suggest that in 1995 about 60 per cent of the referrals had to leave, in 1996 about 40 per cent, in 1997 about 30, 1998 about 25 and 1999 about 17. I am quite happy to have those figures checked. It has been quite a quick calculation. I wondered if that was a perception you shared and if you had any explanation for it?
  (Ms Lyner) It is not. Now you have raised it we will go back ourselves and be sure about the figures and we will come back to you with some sort of view on that.

  Mr McCabe: I would be really grateful. Thank you very much.


  206. I think the figures will need revisiting.
  (Ms Lyner) Indeed.

  207. My immediate reaction to your 25 per cent figure is it does not look right against the particular figures for that year. It is a product of the particular way in which we are doing this.
  (Ms Lyner) Yes.

  208. We can make sure we get the calculated figures correct.
  (Ms Lyner) Yes.

Mr Barnes

  209. I just want to point out that we need to be aware that the client outcome figures went beyond page five to page six and some of the explanation as to what has been occurring was presumably that it was decided that in numbers of those areas no threat existed.
  (Ms Lyner) Absolutely.

  210. Or there had been some rumour about the threat being lifted.
  (Ms Lyner) Yes. Another issue would be the fact of recognising in the early years we had a lot to learn. The verification process or the clarification process is more swift in coming back to us and is more useful than it might have been in the past. There are a number of issues but I think it will be useful for us to look at that and come back to you.

  Chairman: Mr Barnes you came in at exactly the right moment.

Mr Barnes

  211. You will aware that we interviewed the Maranatha Community. What sort of links does your organisation have with them?
  (Ms Lyner) We have actually had really relatively little links with the Maranatha Community over the years. In the context of the overall work that we have been doing, we would talk about something of the order of 40 people a year who might have been moving from Northern Ireland in the direction of the UK. That would be a smallish piece of work. Where those people choose to locate in terms of where it is possible for them to be able to access public housing is connected to two factors: evidence that a threat existed in their case and where they have local family roots. That is where people are likely to locate to. Our connection with Maranatha Community has critically been when we were putting people in the Manchester area and as public housing has been soaked up in that area that has become less and less. While we have had some and are aware of them and have had ongoing discussions with them, the actual number of referrals would be relatively small.

  212. There would only be a small number of referrals from Maranatha?
  (Ms Lyner) Yes.

  213. Out of the number of people they are claiming that they are dealing with and responding about.
  (Ms Lyner) Who come from us.

  214. A great deal of what they are in to—
  (Ms Lyner)—does not emerge from our work.

  215.—does not emerge from your connections or in terms of your links. What about links with other groups? There was Families Against Intimidation and Terror and Families Against Intimidation and Terror was probably one of the leading bodies to flag up the problems about exiles. When I first met a group from that organisation they were over in this country, Protestants and Catholics, and they were dealing with people in exile and looking for escape routes and accommodation in this country. Do you have any considerable links with them?
  (Mr Conway) We established protocols with FAIT, Families Against Intimidation and Terror, at a very early stage. There was an agreement that we would not deal with people that they were, if you like, showcasing or had high media profile because we did not have the resources to deal with that. Those individuals, as it transpired, and it became apparent right from the start, required a lot of movement and more movement requires more resources and more costs. At the time we did not have those resources, so we made it very clear to Families Against Intimidation and Terror that we would not become involved with those particular cases. However, for individuals and families who came to FAIT who did not want that public profile, they referred those cases generally on to our ourselves.

  216. What would your assessment be of the work that FAIT did?
  (Mr Conway) We would not have a view on that.

  217. It is just that they have been under some heavy criticism because of Vincent McKenna. Are there many others that you would have dealings with in that organisation?
  (Mr Conway) We have the protocols that we did with FAIT. Because we are not party to the internal workings of any organisation, we are aware of what is in the public domain, but we have our own work to do and we are quite specific about that. FAIT—Vincent McKenna—have other pieces of work to do which do not really conflict with our work, so we have no comment to make on that.
  (Ms Lyner) In reference to that, while there may have been in the past numbers of organisations who were involved in this area of work, beyond ourselves we are only aware of two other voluntary organisations who have a keen interest in this area of work, victim support, and they would be dealing with somewhere between 20 and 30 cases a year. The Peace People would still have a role dealing with maybe two or three cases a year. Those at this stage would be the other players that we are aware of networking with in terms of people moving.

  218. Were what you described as "protocols" established with any of these other organisations, or does it just operate with FAIT?
  (Mr Conway) I am sorry?

  219. You mentioned in relation to FAIT that you had protocols you had established with them, I am wondering whether any of the other organisations you have mentioned are in a similar position?
  (Mr Conway) We are not talking about something that is written down, there is no contract that exists. It involved a conversation, or a series of conversations, between myself and representatives from FAIT. We are talking about the early 1991 period. I was very, very explicit that we would not take the individuals that we could not be responsible for, in a sense, in relation to their movement and what had to happen there, what did happen there. There are no protocols, if you like. We will take referrals directly from anybody with the exception of paramilitaries, political parties and security forces.

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