|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Hain: There have been major, positive developments in the process over the summer. The IRA's 28 July statement ordered an end to the armed campaign and instructed the development of purely political and democratic programmes. In my 28 July letter to all MPs, I welcomed the statement for its clarity and lack of conditionality.
On 26 September, the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning reported that the Commission had determined that the IRA has met its commitment to put all its arms beyond use in a manner called for by the legislation."
I laid in Parliament the 7th report of the Independent Monitoring Commission on 19 October. That report concludes that the PIRA statement, despite coming at a point when five sixths of the period under review had elapsed, is very significant". The statement and the act of decommissioning reported by the IICD on 26 September have created a platform for future progress and 'initial signs following the PIRA statement are encouraging'. However, It is essential that the IMC, as they state, are able to observe 'cumulative changes in behaviour over a more sustained period of time ... '.
Mr. Woodward: The Government are committed to ensuring, so far as is practicable, that the Parades Commission is representative of the people of Northern Ireland. The current appointments expire on 31 December. A reappointments process began on 25 July and is on schedule.
The process has been run in close co-operation with the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA). An OCPA independent assessor is one of three panel members sifting and interviewing applicants for both chair and membership.
Mr. Hanson: A return to fully inclusive power-sharing devolved government in Northern Ireland remains the aim. It is essential that we see an end to paramilitary activity and criminality for there to be sufficient trust and confidence among the parties for this to be achieved.
There have been major developments over the summer that open the prospect that devolved government can be re-established. The IRA's 28 July statement calling an end to the armed campaign, the independently verified decommissioning of all IRA weapons, and the encouraging signs on paramilitary activity and criminality identified in the IMC's 7th report are all to be welcomed.
15. Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con): To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of how many (a) punishment beatings, (b) expulsions and (c) other criminal activities have beencommitted by republican paramilitary organisations since 4 pm on 28 July; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela E. Smith: The Census in 1911 was conducted on an all-Ireland basis. The records are available for public inspection in the National Archives of Ireland. This office is planning to digitise the 1911 forms for the whole of Ireland and to make them available on-line. The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland is considering obtaining and making publicly available microfilms of the 1911 forms.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who will receive priority access to vaccination against avian influenza if an outbreak of the disease occurs in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woodward: In the event of an outbreak of avian influenza here, priority access to vaccination where available, will be given to poultry workers on premises where disease is suspected or confirmed, as well as Department of Agriculture and Rural Development staff and contractors potentially exposed to the disease.
Angela E. Smith: The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development keeps the threat posed by the spread of Avian Influenza (AI) under constant review and initiates protective measures deemed necessary to prevent its introduction as appropriate.
In line with European Union-wide measures, actions taken to date have included banning the importation of live birds and products from Avian Influenza affected areas. Other Decisions of the European Union (EU) Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health aimed at taking further preventative measures to limit the potential spread of the disease will be acted upon as required.
The Department has recently re-issued advice to the poultry industry regarding biosecurity measures to be observed to limit the risk of disease entering Northern Ireland and stopping its spread should it be introduced. The Department also provides information and guidance through its website to stakeholders and is engaged in a series of discussions with key industry representative bodies on an on-going basis to ensure that there is a regular exchange on the developing situation.
For the third successive year, an AI survey is being carried out this autumn on certain types of poultry. Wild bird surveillance is also being undertaken, with the support of the Environment and Heritage Service and other non-government organisations.
There is close co-operation between relevant Departments to ensure a joined-up approach to the threat of AI including in respect of the implications for public health. Officials are also working closely with their counterparts from the Department of Agriculture
26 Oct 2005 : Column 410W
and Food in the Republic of Ireland in relation to AI, which is of mutual interest in the context of the island of Ireland.
The Department has a contingency plan in place, which has been approved by the EU, to ensure that any outbreak of AI is dealt with quickly and effectively. This plan is continually being reviewed and updated, and has been tested on two occasions in recent weeks.
You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question about what action he intends to take to address the failings of the Briggs Rock Pumping Station outside Groomsport, Co. Down (20643). I have been asked to reply as this issue falls within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Water Service.
Wastewater from Bangor receives mechanical screening before discharge to the Irish Sea via a marine outfall at Briggs Rock. The screening plant originally comprised two automatic rotating screens which removed most solids and materials from the sewage before discharge to sea. The screens became increasingly difficult to maintain and repair due to difficulties in sourcing replacement parts, and as a result became more expensive to operate. The condition of the screens continued to deteriorate and they were replaced by fabricated bar screens in late 2004. These screens had to be cleaned manually twice per day and were not as effective as the automatic rotating screens. This unfortunately led to some pollution on the adjourning coastline which Water Service cleaned up.
Pending the construction of the new North Down/Ards Wastewater Treatment Works, which is scheduled for completion by the end of 2007, Water Service replaced the manually raked screens with new automatic screens. As part of the upgrade, a new
Urgent investigations are underway to identify any water network improvements necessary to retain satisfactory water pressure to the local residents while at the same time enabling the screens to operate effectively. These investigations should be completed by the end of October and Water Service will take immediate action to undertake any remedial work identified.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|