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7 Sept 2004 : Column 1149W—continued

Schools (New Build)

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many schools in Northern Ireland he estimates will be replaced as a result of the new build programme which is under way. [186235]

Mr. Gardiner: The Department of Education's current capital building programme will result in 130 schools being replaced.

Second Homes

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of the number of dwellings that were used as second homes in the towns of (a) Portballintrae, (b) Portstewart, (c) Portrush and (d) Castlerock last year. [186328]

Mr. Spellar: Although the use of dwellings as second homes has a significant impact on the housing market and on the housing stock available for permanent occupation by residents in certain areas, it is not possible to establish accurately the extent of second home use in specific areas without detailed field work. No estimates have therefore been produced for these towns.

Secondary Education

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the result was of the public consultation on (a) the future of grammar schools in Northern Ireland and (b) on the 11-plus examination in Northern Ireland. [187121]

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Mr. Gardiner: There has been no consultation on the future of grammar schools, which will remain as an integral part of the schools system under new arrangements for post-primary education. Responses to the earlier consultation following the Burns report showed a clear majority favoured the abolition of the present 11-plus transfer test.

Sexual Abuse Victims

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what research he has collated on the number of individuals in Northern Ireland who have suffered sexual abuse. [183019]

Angela Smith: The information requested is not available, as cases of sexual abuse are largely unreported, and information on the number of people who have reported experiencing sexual abuse is not collected centrally.

Information is, however, available on the number of children who have been placed on the Child Protection Register because they are at risk of sexual abuse. At 31 March 2003, there were 238 such children.

In addition, during the financial year 2003–04, there were 1,780 notifiable sexual offences against adults and children recorded by the Police Service of Northern Ireland. During 2002–03, when in total 1,469 notifiable sexual offences were recorded, the victim was under 18 years of age in 851 cases (out of 1,418 cases where the age of the victim was known or applicable).

Sion Mills

Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what future development is anticipated in the Sion Mills area up to 2030 that the wastewater treatment works due for completion in March 2006 will be designed to cater for. [186302]

Mr. Spellar: The Chief Executive of Water Services (Mrs. Katharine Bryan) has been asked to write to the hon. Member in response to this question.

Letter from Mrs. Katharine Bryan to Mr. Roy Beggs, dated September 2004:

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Textiles Industry

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people were employed in the textiles industry in Northern Ireland in (a) June 2004 and (b) June 1999. [186245]

Mr. Spellar: The most up-to-date employee jobs data relates to March 2004. Estimates of the number of employee jobs in the textiles industry in Northern Ireland for June 1999, and March 2004 are as follows.
Employee jobs(76) in the textiles industry in Northern Ireland

Number of employee jobs
June 199919,300
March 2004(76)7,360

(76) Provisional
Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
Figures are not seasonally adjusted

Titanic Quarter

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what value he places on Northern Ireland's connection with the Titanic as a means of attracting visitors to Northern Ireland. [182609]

Mr. Gardiner: The Northern Ireland Tourist Board's 'Tourism in Northern Ireland—A Strategic Framework for Action 2004—2007' has identified Belfast, and in particular its historical connections with Titanic (Maritime) Belfast, as one of five signature projects for Northern Ireland tourism.

Belfast City Council and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board are currently in the process of commissioning research into realising the potential value of the 'Titanic' theme for Belfast and Northern Ireland. It is anticipated that this research will begin in September 2004 with the first draft results available by January 2005.

The Titanic brand could have substantial tourist potential, especially on the centenary in 2012 and the years immediately after. Conservatively, MAGNI (National Museums and Galleries of Northern Ireland) estimate that visitor numbers to a new museum attraction and to Belfast could be in the region of 300,000 per annum. Such is the interest in the Titanic and the city in which she was built, that it is considered that visitors will be attracted from all over the world.

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how prominent a role the Titanic story will play in the proposed Museum for Sea and Sky at Titanic Quarter. [182611]

Angela Smith: So far as the possible development of a museum at Titanic Quarter is concerned, I would refer the hon. Member to the questions tabled on 28 June 2004, Official Report, column 56W (179804). It is
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anticipated that exhibitions on the Titanic will be included in this museum and would obviously feature prominently in the year 2012, the centenary of the Titanic disaster. The museum would also include exhibitions both temporary and permanent on themes related to, for example, the industrial history of Belfast and the story of the people of Northern Ireland.

University Admissions

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the lowest A level grades were with which students from (a) Northern Ireland and (b) outside the UK were admitted to each faculty at (i) Queen's University, Belfast and (ii) the University of Ulster in each of the last 10 years. [187447]

Mr. Gardiner: The Department for Employment and Learning does not hold A level grades for entrants to higher education institutions nor information by faculty. From 1994–95 to 2001–02 A level points scores and in 2002–03 tariff scores are held for full-time undergraduate entrants that accessed higher education through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

In each of the years between 1994–95 and 2002–03 the lowest recorded A level point-tariff score of students enrolled at both Queen's University Belfast and the University of Ulster was equivalent to one E at A level. Information on 2003–04 enrolments is not yet available.

Although this may be the lowest recorded A level score for entrants, institutions may consider a wide range of qualifications and experience in addition to or instead of A levels when considering student applications. It is also the case that A level point-tariff scores may not be available for all students applying directly to the institutions, students making late applications and some students from outside the UK who generally do not take A level examinations.

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