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Mr. Woodward: The Government published their assessment of the UK economy in the pre-Budget report, which will be updated in the Budget. The Government have not published a separate assessment of the Northern Ireland economy, as this is a devolved matter for the Northern Ireland Executive.
Sir David Varney's review of tax policy in Northern Ireland published in December 2007 found that Northern Ireland's recent economic performance has been good and that it has the lowest unemployment rate of any region in the UK. He found, however, that this promising growth masks some significant structural concerns, which he will address in his second review of competitiveness in Northern Ireland, announced in December 2007.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what his Department's policy is on the use of fair trade goods (a) in staff catering facilities and (b) at official departmental functions and meetings; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woodward: The Government are committed to improving market access to producers in developing countries through increased participation in fair and sustainable supply chains. Each Department is responsible for making its own decisions on such products, against the background of the Government's value for money policy, the EC procurement rules and the Department's objectives.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps the Government is taking to implement the provisions of the (a) Good Friday and (b) St Andrews agreement in relation to the Irish language. 
Following the Belfast agreement, the Government signed up to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, under which 36 provisions representing measures to promote the use of Irish in public life have been adopted. In addition a statutory duty to encourage and facilitate the development of Irish-medium education was placed on the Northern Ireland Department of Education by the Education (Northern Ireland) Order 1998.
The Government have also taken steps to increase access to Irish language broadcasting, with TG4 (formerly known as Teilifís na Gaelige) now available in 90 per cent. of households. Plans are in place to ensure that these levels are maintained following digital switchover in 2012. The Government also established an Irish Language Broadcast Fund to provide financial support for Irish language film and television production.
Following the St Andrews agreement, the Government introduced the Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2006, section 15 of which puts the Northern Ireland Executive under a duty to adopt a strategy setting out
how it proposes to enhance and protect the development of the Irish language. The Government also published two consultation papers on Irish language legislation, the first on 13 December 2006 and the second, containing draft clauses for such legislation, on 13 March 2007. The responsibility for this passed to the devolved Administration following the restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly on 8 May 2007.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many incidents of assault against staff have been reported (a) at prisons and (b) at the Woodlands Juvenile Justice Centre in Northern Ireland in each of the last 12 months; of those incidents, how many have resulted in (i) prosecutions and (ii) convictions; and if he will make a statement. 
(a) In the majority of cases prisoners who assault prison officers will be charged under prison rules and will be subject to an adjudication before a Governor. Either the matter is concluded at the adjudication or the adjudication is postponed pending referral to the police for investigation with a view to prosecution. This does not preclude a governor from deciding to call in the police in the immediate aftermath of an assault occurring, whether prisoner on prisoner or prisoner on staff.
|Month||Number of staff assaulted||Comments|
4 Maghaberry staff were assaulted by a 15-year-old juvenile at Laganside court. Of the 2 Magilligan cases, one prison adjudication charge was withdrawn. Prosecution decision is still awaited in the other case.
(b) The information provided by Woodlands Juvenile Justice Centre is set out as follows. In the majority of cases young people who are involved in assaults on staff will be subject to the consequences of the progressive regime (an incentivised behaviour management programme whereby young people can earn additional privileges through good behaviour) and will suffer loss of privileges earned. When the matter is deemed to be an unprovoked assault or when the intervention of staff during physical control in care procedures develops into a serious incident and staff are injured, these are deemed assaults. Those of a serious nature will be reported to the police for investigation with a view to prosecution. The outcome of the police investigations is not known at this time.
|Month||Number of staff assaulted||Comments|
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to prevent the exploitation by prisoners in Northern Ireland of the system of transfer to other prisons in the rest of the UK; and if he will make a statement. 
Paul Goggins: The transfer of prisoners between UK jurisdictions is governed by Schedule 1 to the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997. Each application is assessed on its individual merits, taking into consideration:
1. the purpose for which the transfer is requested;
2. whether the prisoner was ordinarily resident in the jurisdiction to which transfer is sought prior to the imposition of the current sentence; or whether members of the prisoner's close family are resident in that jurisdiction and there are reasonable grounds for believing that the prisoner will receive regular visits from them; or whether the prisoner has demonstrated through preparations that he has made for his life following release from prison that he intends to reside in the receiving jurisdictions upon release and he is in the later stages of his sentence;
3. whether there are grounds for believing that the prisoner may disrupt or attempt to disrupt any prison establishment, or pose an unacceptable risk to security; and
4. any compelling or compassionate circumstances.
Prisoners transferred to England and Wales could potentially benefit from the 18-day end of custody licence scheme if they met the criteria for that scheme which includes the provision that the sentence must be less than four years.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many suspected members of dissident Republican terrorist organisations have been arrested in Northern Ireland since 1 September 2002; how many of those arrested have been (a) charged and (b) convicted of offences; how many of those arrested were released as a result of charges being withdrawn or otherwise abandoned; and what were the reasons in each case. 
Paul Goggins: The PSNI does not maintain statistics that attribute incidents to individual paramilitary groupings. However the following table provides information on those arrested and those subsequently charged with terrorist offences. The other information requested would necessitate a manual trawl which would incur a disproportionate cost.
|Number of persons arrested under section 41 of the Terrorism Act by attribution( 1) :( ) 1 September 2002 to 31 December 2007|
|Persons arrested||Persons arrested and subsequently charged|
|(1) Attribution is as perceived by PSN1 based on the information available at the time of arrest and does not necessarily indicate the involvement of a paramilitary organisation. Note: Statistics are provisional and may be subject to minor amendment.|
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