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Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent discussions he has had with the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister on the effects of the recession on Northern Ireland. 
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent discussions he has had with (a) ministerial colleagues and (b) the Northern Ireland Executive on the security of energy supply across the border with the Republic of Ireland. 
Paul Goggins: Energy supply in Northern Ireland is a devolved matter and is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment. Energy supply and security has also been discussed at recent summit meetings of the British-Irish Council, attended by representatives of both the Government and the Northern Ireland Executive.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many fire engines in Northern Ireland were (a) damaged and (b) taken out of service due to criminal acts in each month of the last five years; and at what cost to the public purse; 
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many complaints were made against Police Service of Northern Ireland officers relating to their use of firearms in the last five years. 
Paul Goggins: Dealing with such complaints is the operational responsibility of the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland. I have asked the chief executive to reply to the hon. Member directly, and will arrange for a copy of the letter to be placed in the Library of the House.
Paul Goggins: The Secretary of State has met representatives of the Police Federation twice in the last six months to hear directly their views on areas of interest to their members, including their concerns about the continuing programme of phasing out of the Full-Time Reserve. The Federation is also in regular contact with officials, including at the quarterly meetings of the Police Advisory Board for Northern Ireland, at which the future of the FTR has been discussed.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much his Department plans to spend on (a) Irish and (b) Ulster Scots lessons for Police Service of Northern Ireland officers in 2009-10. 
Sammy Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of the running costs associated with his Department's political directorate in each of the last five years. 
|Running costs (£)|
The Political Directorate provides parliamentary and private office support to Ministers as well as policy support for the Northern Ireland political process and other issues including elections, human rights and public inquiries. In preparation for the completion of devolution, the directorate, which will form the core of the future NIO, has also taken management responsibility for relevant corporate services, hence the increase in expenditure in 2008-09.
The condition of Royal Mail's post boxes is an operational matter which is the direct responsibility of the company's management. I have therefore asked the chief executive of Royal Mail, Adam Crozier, to provide a direct reply to the hon. Member.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many companies notified his Department of changes in security staff as required by Article 13(1) of Schedule 13 of the Terrorism Act 2000 in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Woodward: The Terrorism Act 2000 provisions fell in 2007 and were replaced by interim arrangements as set out in schedule 6 to the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007. The numbers of companies notifying the Department of changes up to 2007 was as follows:
|Number of companies notifying changes|
|(1) Only to 31 July. Arrangements as set out in the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007 came into force on 1 August.|
Paul Goggins: I remain committed to seeking further reductions in all criminal activity by providing support to the PSNI and other law enforcement agencies including through the work of the Organised Crime Task Force.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what reports he has received on progress in disbanding the command structures of loyalist paramilitary groups which have recently decommissioned their arms. 
Paul Goggins: The 21st report of the independent monitoring commission stated that the UVF is in the process of downsizing and that most elements in the leadership of the UDA were seeking to downsize their organisation.
Paul Goggins: The PSNI have briefed the Secretary of State and myself on the outcome of the internal review of their policy on personal protection weapons, and we have held meetings with a number of political representatives on foot of requests received.
through the Think Family programme, ensuring key services are supporting them; and
our plans to reduce the number of women in prison and provide additional community services, through £15.6 million of new funding.
16. Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of procedures for the enforcement of employment tribunal awards; and if he will make a statement. 
Bridget Prentice: The tribunals service recently undertook research into the enforcement of employment tribunal awards. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (Jack Straw) made a statement on 19 May 2009 announcing the publication of this research and the measures that the Government are taking to improve the enforcement of these awards.
17. Dr. Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he plans to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Oxford West and Abingdon on ways of working with non-governmental organisations to publicise the abolition of the offences of sedition and criminal libel in England and Wales. 
Claire Ward: I apologise to the hon. Member for Oxford, West and Abingdon (Dr. Harris) for the delay in replying to his letter of 9 June 2009. He will by now have received from my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (Jack Straw) a letter of 16 July 2009 which addresses the issue he raises.
18. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent representations he has received on the jurisdiction of UK courts over cases involving crimes under international law committed in other countries. 
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent representations he has received on the jurisdiction of UK courts over cases involving crimes under international law committed in other countries. 
Claire Ward: The Government receive representations from time to time about the jurisdiction of the UK courts for particular categories of crimes under international law. We have received representations recently about genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. We have responded positively to these representations.
19. Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the ratio of prison officers to prisoners was at HM Prison Wymott and HM Prison Garth in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Bridget Prentice: The Government are making good progress. In April, we changed court rules so that accredited media have the right to attend most family proceedings. We are also developing information pilots which will place anonymised judgments online, and we will be bringing forward legislation in the next session to revise reporting restrictions in the family courts to allow for greater reporting of family proceedings.
21. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what arrangements his Department makes for the provision of legal services to people requiring a sign language interpreter; and if he will make a statement. 
Bridget Prentice: The Ministry of Justice has a strong commitment to disability equality in the delivery of its services. Courts and tribunals can provide British sign language and other sign language interpreters for hearings and will meet the reasonable costs of these. In addition, where necessary the Legal Services Commission's rules allow (for those clients who are eligible) for sign language interpreter costs to be met from legal aid.
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