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23 Nov 2005 : Column 1973W—continued

Ambulance Staff (Assaults)

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many attacks on ambulance staff responding to 999 calls in Northern Ireland, occurred in the first 10 months of (a) 2004 and (b) 2005. [29884]

Mr. Woodward: The relevant figures are provided in the following table:
Number
1 January to 31 October 2004103
1 January to 31 October 200560

Andrew Smith

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many days Mr. Andrew Smith worked for the Northern Ireland Social Security Agency as a non-executive director in each year he was employed. [29172]

Mr. Hanson: The information requested is shown as follows.
Financial yearsNumber of days worked
1999–200032.75
2000–0176.25
2001–0275
2002–0361
2003–0456.50
2004–0510

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who gave approval to the Northern Ireland Social Security Agency to employ Mr. Andrew Smith as a non-executive director beyond his contracted annual total of days. [29173]

Mr. Hanson: The chief executive of the Social Security Agency gave approval to employ Mr. Smith beyond his contracted annual total of days in accordance with his contract of employment.

Animal Welfare

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many animals taken into care by the responsible authorities in Northern Ireland were destroyed in the most recent 12 months for which figures are available. [30472]

Angela E. Smith: I am responding in respect of the number of dogs taken into care by the responsible authorities in Northern Ireland.

Under the Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1983 district councils are responsible for dealing with stray dogs in Northern Ireland. In the 12-month period January to December 2004 district councils impounded 9,145 dogs and placed them in approved dog pounds. Of these 3,371 were humanely destroyed. The remainder were either reclaimed by their owners or sold by the dog pounds.
 
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Anti-poverty Strategy

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will provide funding for implementing an anti-poverty strategy in Northern Ireland. [29478]

Angela E. Smith: Public consultation on the proposed anti-poverty strategy for Northern Ireland was completed on the 26 August 2005. Copies of the consultation document are available in the Library.

Proposals on the way forward, including how the strategy will be resourced, are currently being prepared for consideration by Ministers.

The finalised anti-poverty strategy for Northern Ireland will be published later this year.

Antisocial Behaviour

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much money he has allocated towards tackling antisocial behaviour in North Down in each of the past three years. [28190]

Mr. Hanson: Four projects in the North Down area have been supported through the Community Safety Challenge Competition to tackle antisocial behaviour. The amount of funding allocated to these projects was £120,705 and £143,603 for 2003–04 and 2004–05 respectively. Other regional initiatives include the objective of reducing antisocial behaviour but it is not possible to disaggregate expenditure specific to the North Down area.

Ards Hospital

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the ministerial visits that have taken place to the Mental Health Inpatient Unit at Ards hospital in each of the past five years. [30310]

Mr. Woodward: There are no records of any ministerial visits that have taken place to the Mental Health Inpatient Unit at Ards hospital in any of the past five years.

Asbestos

Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many compensation awards have been made to workers suffering from an asbestos-related health condition in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years. [30213]

Angela E. Smith: In each of the last five years compensation awards have been made under the Pneumoconiosis, etc., (Workers' Compensation) (NI) Order 1979 to workers suffering from an asbestos related condition in Northern Ireland as follows:
Number of awards
2000–015
2001–027
2002–038
2003–0410
2004–053

 
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Avian Influenza

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who would be responsible for co-ordinating responses across the Health Board areas in Northern Ireland in the event of an avian influenza pandemic. [30089]

Mr. Woodward: In the event of a pandemic influenza occurring in Northern Ireland the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety would activate the Regional Health Command Centre which would then direct the use of all Health and Personal Social Services resources including the establishment of the Northern Ireland Influenza Pandemic Control Committee. Details of actions at each phase of a pandemic are described in the Northern Ireland Influenza Contingency Plan, a copy of which has been placed in the Library.

Belfast International Airport

Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the Government plans to upgrade the road route from Belfast International Airport to Belfast city centre. [30629]

Mr. Woodward: The chief executive of Roads Service (Dr. Malcolm McKibbin) has been asked to write to the hon. Gentleman in response to this question.

Letter from Dr. Malcolm McKibbin to Dr. William McCrea, dated 23 November 2005:

Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps the Government are taking further to improve the services of Belfast International airport. [30674]

Mr. Woodward: The Government support the development of Belfast International airport, as set out in the Air Transport White Paper 2003.

Belfast International airport has, in common with the other two commercial airports in Northern Ireland, benefited in the past from the Government's Air Route Development Fund. However, the operation of this fund is currently in abeyance.
 
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The development of further services from Belfast International airport is a matter for its private sector owner.

Belfast-Dublin Rail Services

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will take steps to upgrade the infrastructure on the Belfast to Dublin railway line to reduce the train travel time between Belfast and Dublin; and if he will make a statement. [29449]

Mr. Woodward: Translink has recently commissioned a consultant to undertake a study into the feasibility and likely cost of reducing journey times for rail services between Belfast and Dublin. As the study is expected to continue to the end of this year, a statement cannot be made at this stage.


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