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9 Oct 2006 : Column 329W—continued


Medical Schools

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent discussions he has had with interested parties regarding the implications of the proposed closure of the Lindsay School in South Belfast and the South and East Belfast Health and Social Services Trust's proposal for the replacement of the Adolescent Mental Health Inpatient Unit and Child and Family Centre. [89761]

Maria Eagle: While neither Ministers nor the Department of Education have had any direct discussions regarding the proposed closure of Lindsay School, the South Eastern Education and Library Board (SEELB) has made the following comment:

As I have indicated previously, any proposal to close the school will require the SEELB to publish a Development Proposal, which initiates a 2-month public consultation period during which comments, including objections, may be submitted to the Department of Education. The Department will give full consideration to all representations made during this 2-month period, before making a decision on any such proposal.

Migrant Workers

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what measures his Department is taking to reduce the incidence of violent attacks on migrant workers in Northern Ireland. [76630]

Mr. Hanson: The Department is working in partnership with a number of agencies to improve hate
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incident reporting and provide practical support to victims. A new pilot project in South Belfast will record all forms of hate incidents with the aim of collecting information on the nature and extent of hate incidents including attacks on migrant workers. The information collected through this pilot will help inform actions to reduce the incidence of violent attacks. A number of Community Safety Partnerships have also developed welcome packs for migrant workers in a range of languages which provide information on community safety issues and assist their integration into the community.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has the lead role in protecting minority or vulnerable groups, including migrant workers. The PSNI recently issued a new Hate Incident policy aimed at ensuring an effective, consistent and proactive response to all hate incidents. Important new initiatives in respect of cautioning, supervision, investigation reviews and restorative cautioning have been introduced to further compliment those measures already in place.

In a number of areas where attacks have taken place, the PSNI continue to work with local communities, statutory and voluntary agencies to address the causes of hate incidents. This has included dialogue with local communities to break down barriers and address specific perceptions.

The PSNI Hate Incident and Minority Liaison Officers not only continue to support victims of hate incidents but proactively work with employers to raise important issues such as personal safety and hate incidents. Interpreters (telephone and face-to-face) are available 24/7 to ensure that non-English speakers have immediate access to the police.

Hate crime legislation that became law in September 2004 also includes a statutory requirement for judges to treat racial aggravation as an aggravating factor when sentencing. This gives judges greater powers in sentencing where aggravation is proven.

Ministerial Visits

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on how many occasions the President of the Irish Republic has paid official visits to Northern Ireland in each of the last two years; and which official UK representative met her on each visit. [62624]

Mr. Hain: The information is as follows.


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Official UK representative

2004

11 February

Lord-Lieutenant for the County Borough of Belfast, Lady Carswell

27 April

Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim, The right hon. The Lord O'Neill TD

18 June

Vice Lord-Lieutenant for the County Borough of Belfast, Commander Keith Cochrane RD DL RNR

15 September

Vice Lord-Lieutenant of County Down, Mr Patrick Forde JP DL

26 October

Vice Lord-Lieutenant of County Fermanagh, Lord Anthony Hamilton DL

26 November

A Deputy Lieutenant of County Armagh

10 December

Vice Lord-Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast, Commander Cochrane RD DL RNL.

2005

24 February

Lord-Lieutenant for the County Borough of Belfast, Lady Carswell

12 April

Lord-Lieutenant of County Armagh, The right hon. The Earl of Caledon

29 April

Lord-Lieutenant for the County Borough of Belfast, Lady Carswell

7 June

Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Londonderry, Mr. John Baxter.

8 September

Vice Lord-Lieutenant for the County Borough of Belfast, Commander Keith Cochrane RD DL RNR

25 October

Lord-Lieutenant of County Armagh, The right hon. The Earl of Caledon

17 November

Lord Lieutenant of Tyrone, The Duke of Abercorn KG

8 December

Deputy Lord-Lieutenant for the County Box of Belfast, Lady McCollum

2006

18 January

Lord-Lieutenant for the County Borough of Belfast, Lady Carswell

31 January

Vice Lord-Lieutenant for County Armagh, Captain Robert Lowry DL

20 February

Lord-Lieutenant for the County Borough of Belfast, Lady Carswell

28 March

Lord-Lieutenant for the County Borough of Belfast, Lady Carswell

29 June

Vice Lord-Lieutenant for the County Borough of Belfast, Commander Keith Cochrane RD DL RNR

28 August

Lord-Lieutenant for the County Borough of Belfast, Lady Carswell


Mrs. Attracta Harron

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what action he plans to take following the reports of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the Probation Service of Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Prison Service on the circumstances that led up to the murder of Mrs. Attracta Harron; and if he will make a statement. [90602]

Mr. Hanson: The murder of Attracta Harron was a horrific act done by Trevor Hamilton, who is now in prison for the rest of his life. None of the agency reports, or the independent case review, suggest that the actions of Hamilton could have been prevented by the agencies. Nonetheless, the arrangements for risk assessment and management of sex offenders have developed considerably since 2003 and further action has already been taken to implement all the recommendations in the agency and independent reports. I have also asked Kit Chivers, Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland to review the implementation of the recommendations and report to me by the end of the year.

I also intend to legislate in the near future to place these important multi agency public protection arrangements on a statutory footing and extend their remit to include certain serious violent offenders in
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addition to all sexual offenders. Both types of offenders will always be present in our communities and those who are assessed as continuing to pose a high level of risk will be targeted by the various criminal justice agencies, with the assistance of social services and others, with the aim of reducing the likelihood of harm to the public when an offender finishes his prison sentence and returns to the community.

I am also considering the entire sentencing framework in Northern Ireland and will be making a further statement on this later in the year.

NI Directive 2002/91/EC

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether his Department has published a regulatory impact assessment for the implementation of Articles 7 to 10 of EU in Northern Ireland Directive 2002/91/EC; and what the timetable is for the implementation of these Articles. [78230]

Mr. Hanson: A regulatory impact assessment in support of articles 7 to 10 of EU Directive 2002/91/EC has not yet been published. It is planned to launch a consultation in October 2006 on proposals to implement the provisions of these articles in Northern Ireland. An initial regulatory impact assessment will form part of the consultation documentation.

It is anticipated that regulations pertaining to these articles will be made in September 2007, coming into operation by way of a phased approach between January 2008 and January 2009.

North West Gateway Initiative

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether funding for North West Gateway Initiative projects will be additional to the Northern Ireland block grant. [89754]

Mr. Hanson: Northern Ireland departmental expenditure on projects within the North West Gateway Initiative will not normally be additional to the Northern Ireland block grant.

The two Governments have however also indicated that, as part of the Initiative, in drawing up programmes under the new round of EU structural funds, due consideration will be given to the needs of the North West. Northern Ireland's income from the new EU structural funds will be additional to the block grant and any EU income for projects within the North West Initiative will therefore be additional to the block.

Orange Halls

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many Orange halls have been the subject of (a) criminal damage and (b) arson attacks in each of the last five years; and how many of those incidents have resulted in the conviction of those responsible. [89770]

Paul Goggins: Please note that these attacks are those which are deemed to be security related. PSNI has given figures for malicious fires and other types of attacks.


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Malicious fires Other attacks( 1)

2001

7

7

2002

1

3

2003

3

16

2004

3

3

2005

8

22

2006 (to 12 June)

6

(1) Type of attacks include: petrol/paint bombs thrown, stones/missiles thrown, sectarian graffiti, etc. Notes: 1. 2006 statistics are provisional and may be subject to minor amendment. 2. PSNI cannot comment on the number of convictions.

Organic Farming Scheme

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to introduce continuing organic reward payments for farmers beyond these which are available through the Organic Farming Scheme. [89759]

David Cairns: The Organic Action Plan Group Northern Ireland (OAPGNI), a cross sectoral forum independent of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), has recommended to DARD that post-conversion reward payments should be introduced for organic farmers in Northern Ireland. Discussions with officials are ongoing and I shall meet with an OAPGNI delegation later this month to discuss how best we can support the organic sector in the context of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2007-2013.

Paediatric Gastroenterology

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will carry out an assessment of paediatric gastroenterology service (a) provision, (b) standards and (c) needs in Northern Ireland. [63121]

Paul Goggins: Commissioners have assessed the demand for and provision of paediatric gastroenterology for children in Northern Ireland and have determined that the service should be further developed. Consequently, funding has been allocated for a consultant paediatric gastroenterologist and appropriate support staff. The consultant post has been advertised and the recruitment process is progressing. The appointment of a dedicated paediatric gastroenterologist will be a significant step forward in improving the quality of paediatric gastroenterology care provided locally.

The Department has recently issued "The Quality Standards for Health and Social Care" which provide a framework against which HPSS organisations will be able to assess the quality of care they provide.

Parliamentary Questions

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many parliamentary (a) questions and (b) draft answers on Northern Ireland matters tabled by (i) hon. Members for Northern Ireland constituencies and (ii) hon. Members for constituencies in Great Britain have been notified to
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the North/South Ministerial Council Secretariat in the last 12 months, broken down by hon. Member. [91588]

Mr. Hanson: Northern Ireland Civil Service officials in the North/South Ministerial Council Joint Secretariat receive a daily list of all parliamentary questions tabled to Northern Ireland Departments. They have drafted nine answers to parliamentary questions in the 12 months up to 30 September 2006 from members of the House of Commons. In addition they provided inputs to seven further questions.

The breakdown for the questions answered is as follows.

Number

The hon. Member for North Belfast

4

The hon. Member for South Antrim

3

The hon. Member for Foyle

1

The hon. Member for East Londonderry

1


The breakdown for the part inputs is as follows

Number

The hon. Member for Upper Bann

3

The hon. Member for East Belfast

2

The hon. Member for East Antrim

1

The hon. Member for Aylesbury

1


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