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Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps are being taken to conduct an open recruitment competition to fill the vacancy for the Children's Commissioner for Northern Ireland. 
Angela E. Smith:
We intend to follow a very similar process to the 2003 appointment process for the first Commissioner for Children and Young People for Northern Ireland, which was widely regarded as very successful. We will commence the public appointment process in May and hold interviews in late June.
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Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the change in the condition of children's teeth and general dental care over the past five years in Northern Ireland. 
Mr. Woodward: The information is not available in the form requested. Monitoring of the dental health of children is undertaken as part of the Children's Dental Health Survey which takes place every 10 years. The last survey was undertaken in 2003. The following below outline the change in dental decay levels in five, 12 and 15-year-old children in Northern Ireland over the ten year period 1993 to 2003.
In terms of general dental care, we have introduced several measures in 2005 to improve the dental health of children, specifically a targeted preventive fissure sealant scheme and an evidence-based caries reduction programme.
2 May 2006 : Column 1477W
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people in each Department and Government Agency in Northern Ireland have been on long-term sick leave in each of the last three years (a) in total and (b) broken down by grade; and how many of these cases related to stress. 
Angela E. Smith:
Sick absence statistics for the 11 Departments of the Northern Ireland administration and the Northern Ireland Office are analysed by financial year. Tables detailing the information sought for the period 200203 to 200405 have been placed in the Library. The analysis of sickness absence in Northern Ireland Departments for 200506 is currently being finalised and should be available in the autumn of 2006.
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Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the change was in the estimated annual numbers of drugs prescribed to people in Northern Ireland suffering from depression between 1995 and 2005. 
|Anti-depressant prescription items||Percentage change|
|Total number of prescription items||Number of anti-depressant prescription items||Anti-depressants as percentage of total prescription items||Change in percentage|
|Mid-year estimate of population||Anti-depressant prescription items per head of population||Percentage change|
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many groups in Northern Ireland have made successful applications for funding under the development fund for minority ethnic communities announced in February 2005; and what total amount was paid out in Northern Ireland in the last 12 months. 
Angela E. Smith: There were 75 applications for assistance to the development fund for minority ethnic communities, announced in February 2005. 15 organisations were successful in obtaining core funding and four were awarded time-bound project funding. A total amount of £0.6 million was paid to these projects over the last 12 months.
Angela E. Smith: The number of dangerous dogs destroyed in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years from 2001 to 2005 (inclusive) is detailed in the following table. Dogs designated as dangerous dogs, under the Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1983, as amended by the Dangerous Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1991, are pit bull terrier, Japanese tosa, Dogo Argentino and the Fila Braziliero. All of the dogs destroyed in Northern Ireland over the last five years were of the pit bull terrier type.
Angela E. Smith: The Western Education and Library Board changed its transport policy in September 2005 to restrict home to school transport assistance to eligible pupils. As a result it withdrew concessionary transport for pupils travelling to a number of schools including Fountain primary school.
Derry city council is considering the provision of short term funding of around £3,000 towards transport costs to cover the period April-June 2006 and this will be discussed at the Councils Development Committee meeting on 11 May.
I met with the hon. Member for Foyle (Mark Durkan) and a delegation from Fountain primary school on 5 April 2006 where it was accepted that the Western Board could no longer fund the transport costs for pupils at Fountain primary school. I have, however, agreed to liaise with my hon. Friend, the Member for Delyn (Mr. Hanson) Minister of State for Northern Ireland, to discuss the feasibility of a longer-term solution to the transport problem. Officials from DE and DSD will be meeting shortly to take this issue forward as a matter of urgency.
2 May 2006 : Column 1480W
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