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6 Feb 2003 : Column WA41

Written Answers

Thursday, 6th February 2003.

[The following Written Answer should have been printed in the Official Report of 5th February.]

A14: Litter

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the amount of litter along the A14 trunk road between the M11/A11 link road and the A12 at Ipswich is acceptable; and, if not, what steps they intend to take to keep this road clean.[HL1354]

The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): Under the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the sweeping and cleansing of trunk roads is the responsibility of the district, borough and unitary councils through which they pass. There are six councils responsible for clearing litter along the A14 trunk road between the locations mentioned. These are South Cambridgeshire, West Suffolk, St. Edmundsbury, Mid Suffolk and Babergh District Councils and Ipswich Borough Council.

The Highways Agency encourages all councils to ensure that, whenever possible, litter is cleared when lane closures are in place for other reasons such as routine maintenance. In addition, the agency arranges for the immediate removal of refuse or debris reported or found on the trunk road that is considered to be a safety hazard.

The Highways Agency is not aware of any recent litter problems on this section of the A14 that could pose a safety problem.

Northern Ireland Multi-Party Talks, 19 December 2002

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the purpose of a document concerning political and security issues which caused some parties to leave the Northern Ireland multi-party talks on 19 December 2002; who was responsible for preparing it; whether it indicated that the IRA was still re-arming, recruiting and targeting; and what were the circumstances surrounding its supply to a member of the media.[HL951]

The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Williams of Mostyn): I understand the document concerned to have been an internal Irish Government briefing paper. It has not been copied to Her Majesty's Government. The content of the document, its preparation and the circumstances of its becoming public are not the responsibility of the Government.

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Northern Ireland: Republic of Ireland Civil Servants

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether recruits to the civil service of the Republic of Ireland who work in Northern Ireland and elsewhere are required to take an oath of allegiance on appointment, and, if so, why; and whether this has been referred to the Irish Human Rights Commission.[HL988]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: This is a matter for the Government of the Republic of Ireland. I would advise the noble Lord to write directly to the Department of Foreign Affairs. I apologise for the delay in answering this Written Question.

Irish Government: Respect for Traditions

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 9 January (WA230) concerning the site of the Battle of the Boyne, which members of the Unionist tradition in Ireland are on the appropriate committee; and what are the grounds for considering that its progress has been good, as was suggested in an answer on 7 November 2002 (WA174-175).[HL1040]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: This is a matter for the Irish Government. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has responsibility for the said site.

North/South Ministerial Council: Equality Scheme

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 9 January (WA232) concerning the North-South Ministerial Council, whether the Answer means that the equality scheme only applies to Northern Ireland; and if so, why.[HL1072]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Equality Scheme for the North/South Language Body applies only in Northern Ireland because the statutory duties imposed on public authorities by Section 75 and Schedule 9 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, under which equality schemes are made, apply in respect of their functions relating to Northern Ireland.

Ulster-Scots Agency

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 13 January (WA1) concerning the funding of the North/South Implementation Body, whether no funding was paid to the Ulster-Scots Agency in the period 1 January to 31 March 2002.[HL1118]

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Lord Williams of Mostyn: During the period 10 January to 31 March 2002 the Departments of Culture, Arts and Leisure and of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs provided funding in response to one application from the Ulster-Scots Agency.

Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure: Linguistic Diversity Branch

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 7 January (WA171) concerning the Linguistic Diversity Branch of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL), on what projects or conferences DCAL has co-operated with the European Centre for Minority Issues which would increase awareness of the Irish language.[HL1119]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Lingusitic Diversity Branch accepted the invitation of the European Centre for Minority Issues to take part in a conference held by it from 23 to 24 June 2000 in Flensburg, Germany entitled "Evaluating Policy Measures for Minority Languages".

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 7 January 2003 (WA171) concerning the Linguistic Diversity Branch of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL), on what projects or conferences DCAL has co-operated with the University of Ulster which would increase awareness of the Irish language.[HL1120]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Officials from DCAL took part in planning discussions with the organisers of the conference on the theme of "Scotland and Ulster, A Common Heritage, Language, History and Identity 1600–2000" in Magee College, University of Ulster, on 29 to 30 June 2001. One official spoke at the conference.

Mr Michael McGimpsey, former DCAL Minister, addressed the "Conference on Communicating Cultures" held in the University of Ulster on 20 to 22 June 2002.

Irish language and Ulster-Scots heritage and language were dealt with at both conferences.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 7 January (WA171) concerning the Linguistic Diversity Branch of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL), on what projects or conferences DCAL has co-operated with Queen's University, Belfast which would increase awareness of Ulster-Scots heritage and language.[HL1121]

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Lord Williams of Mostyn: Officials from DCAL participated in the following conferences organised by Queen's University, Belfast:


    The Dialect 2000: Language Links Conference 9–16 August 2000;


    Symposium on Language and Politics, 23–25 August 2001;


    Symposium on Language and Politics, 18–20 September 2002.

These symposia provided opportunities for Irish and Ulster-Scots interests to come together to discuss their general positions and to address specific areas of interest or concern.

Cabinet Committees

Baroness Nicol asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the membership of each Cabinet committee.[HL1552]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Copies of the current list of Cabinet committees, their membership and terms of reference have today been placed in the Libraries of the House. Details will also be updated on the Cabinet Office website at http://www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/cabsec/index/cabcom/index.htm.1st John B

Sex Offenders: Travel Restrictions

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether those on the sex offenders register are subject to travel restrictions which allow them to leave the United Kingdom or to move internally or externally in the United Kingdom; if so, what are the restrictions; and how are they monitored.[HL1041]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): Offenders subject to the requirements of Part 1 of the Sex Offenders Act 1997 (the register) must notify the police of their name(s); date of birth; home address and any other addresses in the United Kingdom where they stay for 14 days or more in a 12-month period; and any changes to those details. They must also inform the police if they intend to travel abroad for a period of eight days or longer. If the police believe such offenders pose a risk to children or other members of the public in another country, they can pass that information to the authorities in those countries. The decision to pass on such information would be made only on the basis of a risk assessment.

As we stated in the paper Protecting the Public published in November last year (Cm 5668) and my right honourable friend the Prime Minister has confirmed to the House of Commons, we will be bringing forward measures to strengthen the registration requirements, including those on foreign travel, in the forthcoming legislation on sex offences.

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