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11 July 2006 : Column 1769W—continued


Knives

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many knives were recovered in each district council area in the Province during the recent knife amnesty. [83726]

Mr. Hanson: A total of 886 items were handed in during the recent knife amnesty in Northern Ireland. The numbers deposited in bins in each district council area were as follows.

Number

Antrim

26

Ards

26

Armagh

22

Ballymena

29

Ballymoney

23

Banbridge

63

Belfast

102

Carrickfergus

31

Castlereagh

35

Coleraine

42

Cookstown

17

Craigavon

40

Derry City

33

Down

4

Dungannon/South Tyrone

38

Fermanagh

28

Larne

26

Limavady

22

Lisburn

62

Magherafelt

11

Moyle

8

Newry and Mourne

8

Newtownabbey

46

North Down

48

Omagh

33

Strabane

7


The other 56 items were surrendered to bins managed by the harbour police and Ministry of Defence.


11 July 2006 : Column 1770W

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of the number of knives that are carried in Northern Ireland. [83727]

Mr. Hanson: It would be impossible to make an estimate of the number of knives carried in Northern Ireland. Knives are used in a variety of professions and for hobbies and pastimes such as camping and diving in a way that does not break the existing laws.

The Government are however determined to tackle the culture of carrying knives for illegal purposes. One way that we can judge the success of policies, campaigns and initiatives is to note their impact on the recorded crime figures where the use of a knife is involved.

Current initiatives that seek to address the culture of knife carrying among young people include the year- long public information campaign and the education package that will be delivered in post-primary schools from September.

Media Monitoring

Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much his Department spent on media monitoring in each of the last five financial years. [77223]

Mr. Hain: Media monitoring expenditure in each of the last five years is detailed as follows and comprises both equipment and staff costs.

Equipment costs
£

2001-02

3,096.13

2002-03

20,982.08

2003-04

25,975.36

2004-05

13,543.24

2005-06

2,513.02


The rise in expenditure in 2002-03 and 2003-04 was due to the NIIS media monitoring facility transferring to a digital service from video to DVD.

Staff costs

There are four staff employed in the Media Monitoring Unit and their combined average salaries for the last five years are as follows:

£

2001-02

61,868

2002-03

64,544

2003-04

67,220

2004-05

69,896

2005-06

72,568


Migrant Workers

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps his Department is taking to ensure that migrant workers to Northern Ireland have access to information on (a) health, (b) social services, (c) housing and (d) other public services. [80961]


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Maria Eagle: Northern Ireland Departments provide a wide range of information and services to migrant workers. Key areas are:

Migrant worker access to information on health

The Department for Health and Social Services and Public Safety is currently developing a booklet for those new to Northern Ireland which provides key information about health and social services and how to access them. This will be made available in a range of languages.

The Department is currently in discussions regarding the future provision of interpreting, with the aim of meeting the needs of the changing migrant worker communities.

The Department in collaboration with the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland will produce a second edition of the 2003 good practice guide “Racial Equality in Health and Social Care” by March 2007.

Migrant worker access to information on social services

The Social Security Agency has a statutory obligation to ensure that migrant workers have access to social security benefits where they satisfy the necessary conditions. The Agency ensures that migrant workers are, on request, allocated a national insurance number to enable them to pursue legitimate employment or obtain access to social security benefits.

The Agency publishes benefit information and fact sheets in a number of languages including Arabic, Chinese, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish and works closely with voluntary sector support groups to ensure that information about the benefits system is as widely available as possible.

Telephone and face-to-face interpreting and translation services are provided by the Agency to those customers who have difficulty communicating in English.

Migrant worker access to information on housing

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive provides or facilitates the following services to ensure that migrant workers in Northern Ireland have access to information about housing services.

Migrant worker access to information on other public services

Government Departments who provide services to migrant workers are taking similar measures as are being taken on health, social services and housing, some examples include:


11 July 2006 : Column 1772W

A key step that the Government are taking is the recent establishment by the Race Forum of a thematic group on migrant workers. This group will examine the work that individual Departments and agencies have been doing to date and identifying those information practices which should be consistent across all Government. It will make recommendations to Ministers in the autumn.

Ministerial Meetings

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on what dates the Minister for Social Development has met representatives of the (a) Democratic Unionist Party, (b) Ulster Unionist Party, (c) Progressive Unionist Party, (d) Ulster Political Research Group and (e) Orange Order in the last 12 months. [82991]

Mr. Hanson: The information requested from June 2005-June 2006 is as follows:

Party Dates

DUP

19 July 2005

18 October 2005

21 November 2005

15 March 2005

30 March 2006

8 May 2006

11 May 2006

26 June 2006

UPRG

9 June 2005

19 September 2005

12 December 2005

PUP

21 June 2005

24 October 2005

30 March 2006

Orange Order

23 January 2006

2 February 2006

UUP

30 March2006


As Minister for Social Development I have also met representatives from the parties on other occasions in different ministerial capacities during the 12-month period.


11 July 2006 : Column 1773W

Model United Nations General Assembly

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how much funding the Model United Nations General Assembly has received from his Department in each of the last five years; and how much funding has been allocated for the next three years; [84105]

(2) what his assessment is of the contribution to reconciliation in Northern Ireland made by the Model United Nations General Assembly organised by the Council for Education in World Citizenship Northern Ireland. [84106]

Maria Eagle: The Model United Nations General Assembly is organised by the Council for Education in World Citizenship NI (CEWC NI). The Department of Education funded CEWC (NI) through its Community Relations Core Funding Scheme for the period 1 April 2001 to 31 March 2004, total funding £136,584. A breakdown for each of the last five financial years is displayed in the following table.

£

2001-02

39,918

2002-03

51,201

2003-04

45,465

2004-05

0

2005-06

0

Total

136,584


The overt objectives of the Model United Nations General Assembly (MUNGA) are not around reconciliation
11 July 2006 : Column 1774W
in Northern Ireland. However, it is recognised that any programme that widens the experience of young people in the context of Global Citizenship and their understanding of diversity has merit.

The next round of core funding, 2007-10, was launched on 5 July 2006 and CEWC (NI) are welcome to apply. All applications will be judged on how they meet the scheme’s criteria/objectives.


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