Examination of Witnesses (Questions 240-259)|
WEDNESDAY 20 DECEMBER 2000
240. I am going to ask a final question myself
but I will, having done that, turn to my colleagues to ask if
there are any other supplementary questions they want to ask similar
to the one which Mr Thompson has just asked. This Committee, no
doubt like your organisation, has been together for some time
and the capacity for badinage develops within the group. I will
remark on Mr Pound's question to you because he is prone to doing
the same thing to me. I think he has not noticed that NIACRO,
with an `O' for Offenders at the end, resembles a Greek word,
whereas if he put a `V' at the end it would be moving in the direction
of a Bulgarian word and Greek words are much easier for the British
to pronounce than are Bulgarian words. It was foolish of me to
say that because he will undoubtedly come back to me before this
occasion is over. I want to ask whether you have further plans
for Base 2 in terms of development?
(Ms Lyner) I think it would be useful. Obviously the
best development there would be at this stage would be the numbers
coming to us significantly reducing, and if we were in a position
to put the resourcing behind the appropriate re-entry of those
individuals who wish to return either from the UK or from other
places to their home locations. In terms of that, I think it would
be useful for us to be saying to you that, in order for that to
happen, we do need to look at the resources that there would be
in those jurisdictions that they need to return from for them
to know where a central point would be for them to make that initial
contact so that issues like travel, moving furniture, moving families,
can be organised in the same way that we have been able to move
people out of Northern Ireland. There are also statutory policies
which I think require some attention and critically that would
be in terms of housing policy. If people are wishing to return
to Northern Ireland and they leave housing in any one of your
cities, it can be construed that they have made themselves effectively
homeless by the impulse to return to Northern Ireland and, therefore,
there is no call on the public housing authority in Northern Ireland
to rehouse them. If we are to take seriously movement towards
the peace process, bringing people back to where they want to
be located, it is important that we look at policies such as housing
policies to ensure that they are as fully inclusive as they need
to be. There are issues around policies and practices in terms
of re-entry which need examination and need resources. In terms
of the actual work of Base 2 at this stage in terms of verification,
risk assessment and safe placement of individuals, we would like
to be planning along with many others to be downsizing the problem,
but until we evidence that we will still be bound by our charitable
and humanitarian policies to care for the individuals who come
to us. So we will be scratching around for funding.
241. I think the extra dimension you are proposing
to give it is admirable. Going back to the number of referrals
on page threeand I am saying that partly for the purposes
of the shorthand writeryou have indicated in the context
of the final column, the year 2000, when you thought you would
have your total figure for the year 2000 and that will obviously
have a virtue that we will be looking at a complete annual figure.
(Ms Lyner) We will complete an annual report which
is not the same as the evaluation, that is something generated
by ourselves internally. That will evidence a figure of over 800
by the time we hit the end of December at the rate we are going
at this stage. I imagine we will have that report available within
six to eight weeks of the end of December.
242. I am looking at the column. The figure
of 589, which is the figure up to the end of October, which is
breathing on the back of the neck of 624 in 1999 and 646 in 1998,
does not suggest at the moment that we are seeing a fall unless
you get back to the net figure as against the gross figure.
(Ms Lyner) No, but we have had this Loyalist feud
which we have been handling in the course of this year.
(Ms Lyner) It is a figure of about 220 cases. The
overall figure of 800, that I have cited to you, that is involved
in terms of work that we are involved with, value for money.
244. Although there is this extra dimension
of Base 2 you are looking forward to, which seems eminently sensible,
at the moment we do not really see any evidence of a fall off,
if anything we see the opposite?
(Ms Lyner) That is right. It is in relation to Base
Chairman: Yes, in relation to Base 2. One last
observation, I am reflecting the exchange you had with Mr McCabe,
I think it would be quite helpful if when you do the tidying up
we could have a slightly more precise definition of what the categories
"left area", "LHA", "left country"
and "left city" mean in order to make sure in what way
they are mutually exclusive. Let me turn and ask my colleagues
if any of them have any further questions they want to ask?
245. There is also the category "rub"
which does not appear in any of the glossaries, although "rob"
(Ms Lyner) Robbery.
Mr Pound: Yes, "rub", if you look
at reason for threat, page one, you have "ass" and "rub".
"ass" we are told stands for assault.
Chairman: I think that is a typographical error.
Mr Pound: Oh, I see, it is nothing to do with
friction. I was mentally translating it from the Bulgarian.
246. Very good. I have invited Members of the
Committee to see if there is anything they want to add at the
end in terms of the questions, is there anything that you want
(Ms Lyner) Just to go back to amplify a question which
Mr Thompson raised with us about whether or not we feel people
are enabled to move inappropriately. In terms of our relationship
with the Housing Executive, which will be a critical agency that
we are working with, they are happy to accept our process of clarification
over whether or not families of individuals need to move and,
accepting that an individual in a house needs to move, they undertake
to move the family. The evidence of what we are able to produce
for an organisation such as the Housing Executive, and all the
upheaval and costs involved in such relocation, their acceptance
of the information we bring forward, probably helps in terms of
247. Would you have received confirmation from
the RUC of the allegations of intimidation and threat which would
enable the Housing Executive to seriously address the need to
provide a transfer for some people?
(Ms Lyner) In fact, how it is working at the moment
is the Housing Executive are coming to us to ask us to take on
that role and we are happy to do that. So, through our channels
we are evidencing that. It is not an issue of who we do and do
not work with, we are always trying to work with the widest range
of statutory and voluntary organisations to ensure the shortest
loop for the information to come back to us. In situations where
we are dealing with an adult who has children, we are working
with social services, or in other situations we are working with
the Probation Board or the solicitors or the courts. It is the
shortest loop to get the information back to make the most appropriate
choice available for the individual.
(Mr Conway) There would be contacts with the RUC in
relation to obtaining statements of intimidation that are required
sometimes by the Housing Executive, so we have made approaches
on behalf of individuals and families who have sought that service.
248. Thank you.
(Ms Lyner) Can I just check one issue in terms of
249. Of course.
(Ms Lyner) We are aware that there is interest in
this evidence we are giving today in terms of the press and we
have prepared a press release. In terms of ethics, we want to
understand what issues you may have with that. We are citing our
own evidence and the issues that we have raised with you, the
fact that we are here. We want your understanding of how we want
to take that forward.
250. Let me say that I was admiring of the clairvoyance
under which you were able to compose it in advance of the presentation
since it contains the word "following" in its title.
Unless my Clerk advises me to the contrary, you are wholly entitled
to make whatever observations you want to make after the event.
The text contains no reflection on the Committee, to which we
might have taken mild exception. If you would like to go ahead
and say that then feel totally free to do so.
(Ms Lyner) Thank you.
Chairman: On behalf of the Committee we do very
much appreciate your coming at short-ish notice. My observations
about the statistics that you submitted to us have been echoed
and reflected by others in the Committee. We are very grateful
to you. Thank you most warmly, not only for what you have given
us but what you have also kindly promised us after the event.
Thank you very much.