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8 Feb 2005 : Column WA95
 

Written Answers

Tuesday, 8 February 2005.

Northern Ireland: North/South Implementation Bodies

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): I have nothing further to add to my Answer given on 21 December 2004 (Official Report, col. WA 135).

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: The table below provides details of the budgets for the North/South implementation bodies for 2005 and the percentage increases over the 2004 budgets. The figures quoted in the table for the agencies of the Language Body are based on draft business plans provided by the agencies, as the 2005 budget figures for the Language Body have not yet been agreed.
North/South body implementation2005 Budget
£ million
Percentage
increase
on 2004
Language Body1.769*3.81*
–Ulster-Scots12.968*0.53*
–Foras Na Gaeilge
InterTradeIreland9.273.00
Special EU Programmes Body2.1958.66
Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission3.6714.69
Waterways Ireland34.167.76
Food Safety6.161.32




* The 2005 budget figures for the Agencies of the Language Body have not yet been agreed.

Waterways Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: The single complainant was seconded to Waterways Ireland at the time and he has since returned to his parent department.
 
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The 20 staff who have collectively alleged that bullying and harassment exists in Waterways Ireland are all still employed by Waterways Ireland. The individuals concerned are employed in a number of different grades within the organisation.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: The number of applicants interviewed for each post were as follows:
Number
CEO6
Director of Operations:10
Director of Finance/Personnel:7
Director of Technical Services:6
Director of Corporate Services:13


The recruitment procedure was carried out under UK employment legislation.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: Due to the large number of applications received for permanent posts within Waterways Ireland, it was necessary to retain a number of seconded staff beyond the proposed termination date to allow the business of Waterways Ireland to continue while the recruitment process took place. In total, 13 civil servants remained on secondment for periods within 2002, one continued into 2003 and one into 2004.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: Some 1,452 applications were received by Waterways Ireland as a result of advertising 47 administrative posts at the end of November 2001.

Northern Ireland Civil Service

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Amos: No member of the Northern Ireland Civil Service has been found guilty of (a) intentional harassment; (b) harassment without malicious intent; or (c) harassment with no deliberate intent. This is in accordance with guidance issued by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, which makes clear that when dealing with complaints of harassment it is the impact of the behaviour which is relevant and not the motive or intent behind it.

Prime Minister: Sinn Fein Meetings

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: I refer the noble Lord to my Answer of 31 January (Official Report, col. WA 3)

Zimbabwe: Orphans and Vulnerable Children

Lord McColl of Dulwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: The plight of orphans in Zimbabwe is tragic. More than 1.3 million children have already been orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS. Within five years, over 20 per cent of Zimbabwe's children will have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS. The Department for International Development is already responding to this challenge in Zimbabwe.

In 2003–04, DfID funded non-governmental organisations to implement feeding programmes at schools and clinics which reached over one million children, many of whom were highly vulnerable or within families affected by HIV/AIDS.

In 2005, DfID is working with UNICEF and other donors to design a programme of international support for Zimbabwe's National Plan of Action for Orphans and Vulnerable Children. DfID support will amount to £25 million over the next five years, including £2 million already approved for community-based activities that directly assist children in need. Activities will include increasing school enrolment of orphans and vulnerable children, as well as their access to healthcare, food and clean water.
 
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DfID Zimbabwe continues to work closely with the United Nations and other partners to ensure that our assistance remains apolitical and provided on the basis of need.

Blasphemy

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The Government acknowledge that there are a wide variety of views on whether the blasphemy laws should be retained, repealed or extended. We have no immediate plans to amend these laws but will keep the issue under review, particularly as the benefits of the new provision against incitement to religious hatred are realised.

Anti-binge Drinking Advertisements

Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Home Office is supporting work by police and trading standards, but is not currently running any advertisements on anti-binge drinking.


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