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26 Jan 2006 : Column 2323W—continued

IRA Decommissioning

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 9 January 2006, Official Report, column 329W, on IRA decommissioning, what the (a) original and (b) final estimates were for the size of the IRA arsenal. [46467]

Mr. Woodward: It remains the case that publishing estimates of IRA armaments would be tantamount to pre-empting the IICD's report, which it intends to hand over to Government at the conclusion of its work.

The Government expect a full report on armaments to be published when the IICD's mandate is complete.

IRA Prisoners (Early Release)

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many members of the IRA have been released from jail before their sentence has been fully served since 1997, broken down by the year which they were released. [43752]

Mr. Woodward: The information sought is available only in relation to the perceived affiliation of those persons who were released 'early' under the terms of the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998 as follows:
No Affiliation12

For those believed to be affiliated to PIRA the number of releases by year since 1998 are as follows:
Number of Releases

Perceived affiliations are noted at the time of a person's committal to prison or taken from a prisoner's assertion at time of application for 'early' release.

IVF Treatment

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland for how many patients IVF treatment has been commissioned in each of the last five years. [44822]

Mr. Woodward: It is not possible to provide precise data on the number of patients that have received IVF treatment as the data collected refer to treatment cycles provided rather than patients treated. The following
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table sets out the number of IVF treatment cycles commissioned since 2002–03. Accurate data are not available prior to 2002–03.
Number of IVF cycles commissioned


Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans there are to change the amount of personal advice available to unemployed people at jobcentres in Northern Ireland. [44911]

Angela E. Smith: Jobs and benefits offices provide a personal adviser service for every jobseekers allowance, income support and incapacity benefit claimant. The Department and the Social Security Agency are increasing the support offered to incapacity benefit (IB) customers through Pathways to Work pilots in Lurgan, Magherafelt and Ballymoney. IB claimants in these areas are supported by a specialised personal adviser, who is trained to deal with the additional challenges these customers face. It is intended to expand the pilot to an additional seven offices during 2006–07.

Kidney Transplants

Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will provide ring-fenced funding for kidney transplants in Northern Ireland. [44921]

Mr. Woodward: The kidney transplant service in Northern Ireland, based at the Belfast City Hospital, is one of a number of specialised services commissioned by the Health and Social Services Boards, which work collaboratively through the Regional Medical Services Consortium to ensure a co-ordinated, regional approach. Funding for specific specialist or regional services is not normally ring-fenced. There are no plans to ring-fence funding for the kidney transplant service.

Lavery Report

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in respect of each recommendation of the Lavery Report on vetting and child protection in Northern Ireland (a) whether the Government accepts the recommendation, (b) the action that the Government have taken to date in respect of the recommendation; (c) any further action he intends to take; (d) the time scale for such further action and (e) whether the recommendation requires legislation. [43914]

Angela E. Smith: The Government issued a response to the report by the Commissioner for Children and Young People on vetting arrangements in Northern Ireland, A Right to Protection", which was conducted by Ruth Lavery on 22 November 2005. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of the House. Government have accepted all of the Commissioner's recommendations. The response sets out the actions that have been or will be taken. Government have agreed to provide the Commissioner with time scales for the completion of outstanding actions as soon as possible. Finally,
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legislation will be required for those recommendations linked to the implementation of the Bichard Report in Northern Ireland.

Measuring Public Opinion

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what criteria are used to assess confidence of the public in the police in Northern Ireland. [44743]

Mr. Woodward: A range of quantitative surveys are commissioned by both the Northern Ireland Office and the Northern Ireland Policing Board with a view to measuring community confidence in various aspects of the service provided by the police in Northern Ireland.

Three main quantitative surveys are used, each of which is conducted by the Central Survey Unit of the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency:

Public confidence in the police is presently being measured as part of the NIO 2004 public service agreement (PSA target 1). The aim of target 1 is to increase confidence in the police throughout all parts of the community in Northern Ireland by 3 percentage points, by April 2008, from a composite baseline figure of 73 per cent. (obtained through NICS 2003–04 and the April 2004 Northern Ireland Omnibus Survey). The NICS is being used to monitor progress towards this target via a suite of seven indicators, which elicit views on the fairness and effectiveness of the police and policing arrangements:

The Northern Ireland Omnibus Survey is used by the Policing Board to commission research on public perceptions of the police, DPPs and the NIPB. Results from these surveys are published twice a year and can be found on the Policing Board website at

Ministerial Meetings

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many meetings Lord Rooker has attended in (a) Brussels and (b) Westminster on sea
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fisheries since taking up the position of Minister with responsibility for Agriculture and Rural Development. [44696]

Angela E. Smith: Lord Rooker has not attended any meetings in Brussels and Westminster on sea fisheries matters, but he has been fully briefed by senior officials on issues of significance and has contacted ministerial colleagues to press the Northern Ireland case as appropriate.

He met with EU Fisheries Commissioner Borg when he visited Kilkeel on 11 November 2005.

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