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9 Dec 2002 : Column 46Wcontinued
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was discussed at the meeting between the National Employers and the Fire Brigades Union in London attended by the Chairman of the Fire Authority for Northern Ireland and referred to in the authority's minutes of 22 January; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Browne: The Xmeeting" referred to in the authority's minutes of 22 January 2002 was in fact an informal dinner arranged to acquaint the National Employers with recently appointed representatives of the Fire Brigades Union. No official record was kept of their discussion.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on which occasions the Fire Authority for Northern Ireland has received a report on the meetings of National Joint Council for Fire Brigade Personnel since 22 January in accordance with the undertaking given to the authority at its meeting on 22 January recorded in minute number 6; and if he will make a statement. 
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(a) the HELM Report on Navigator Blue and (b) the Quality and Audit Manager's Report on the same subject provided to the Fire Authority for Northern Ireland. 
Mr. Browne: Shortcomings identified in the Fire Authority's management of its media services contract with Navigator Blue have been addressed. The Authority now has in place open and accountable tendering procedures for these services. Its new procedures have been quality assured by the sponsoring Department's internal auditors, and are in line with the policies of the Government Purchasing Agency.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 2 December, ref 84475, if he will discuss the Fire Brigade dispute with Mrs. Rosemary Craig and Professor James Shields; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Browne: No. Officials from the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety have been maintaining close contact with the Fire Authority for Northern Ireland and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister about the dispute, and they will continue to do so.
Mr. Pearson: In March 1990 there were 450 fishing vessels in the Northern Ireland fleet, compared with 318 vessels in December 2002. Since 1990, 102 Northern Ireland fishing vessels have been decommissioned with assistance from European Structural Funds.
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9 Dec 2002 : Column 48W
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment has been made of the impact on the Northern Ireland fishing industry of the most recent proposals from the European Union to ban cod and prawn catches in the Irish Sea. 
Mr. Pearson: No such proposals have come from the European Union. I am making representations to make sure the concerns of the Northern Ireland fishing industry are fully heard and I shall give detailed consideration to the implications for the industry when the Commission advances its detailed proposals.
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment has been made of the representations made to Her Majesty's Government by fishermen in Northern Ireland concerning European Union proposals to ban cod and prawn catches in the Irish Sea. 
Mr. Pearson: I have met representatives of the catching sector who have briefed me in considerable detail on the responsible efforts that they have made in recent years to secure sustainable fisheries in the Irish Sea, and on the potential social and economic consequences of further cuts in fishing effort.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will estimate how many people have been forced from their homes by (a) Loyalist and (b) Republican paramilitary organisations (i) since the signing of the Belfast Agreement and (ii) during the year 2002; and if he will make a statement. 
Jane Kennedy: From 1 April 1998 to 31 October 2002, 6,646 persons presented themselves to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive as being homeless due to intimidation. Information for the year 2002 cannot be supplied in the form requested but from 1 April 2002, 983 persons presented themselves to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive as being homeless due to intimidation.
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions he has had with the Government of the Republic of Ireland about (a) the pension scheme, (b) redundancy payments and (c) outstanding holiday pay entitlements for employees of the IFI/Richardsons Plant in Belfast. 
Mr. Pearson: As well as meeting with Richardsons' management and Unions representing the work force, I have written to the company shareholders, including the Irish Government, expressing my concern over the treatment of the work force. I have met with ICI and a representative of the Irish Government. Furthermore I hope to meet Mary Harney TD Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment shortly.
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The issues relating to pensions are complex. There are four different pension schemes and the shareholders have asked the trustees of each scheme to establish the facts and options to mitigate the impact on members. The shareholders are proposing to meet with the four pension fund trustees and while the government's influence in relation to the operation of private pension schemes may be limited, I will await the outcome of this meeting with interest.
In relation to redundancy payments, applications from 151 employees of Richardsons for statutory entitlement have been received by the Department for Employment and Learning. All claims will be handled and, where payable, payments processed within normal timescales.
|Department||Travel budget (#)|
|(a) Core Department (excluding Commissions as we do not have a breakdown of their budgets)||3,526,000|
|(b) Agencies (excluding NDPBs)||1,313,000|
|Department||Travel budget (#)|
|Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister||628,000|
|Department of Education||507,250|
|Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment||467,916|
|Department for Employment and Learning||1,686,000|
|Department for Social Development||273,000|
|Department for Regional Development||200,000|
|Department of Culture Arts and Leisure||135,000|
|Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety||559,872|
|Department of Agriculture and Rural Development||3,820,000|
|Department of Finance and Personnel||1,047,000|
|Department of Environment||177,000|
9 Dec 2002 : Column 50W
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