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Northern Ireland: Liquor Licences and Additional Permitted Hours Applications

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: Fees in respect of liquor licences and applications for additional permitted hours in Northern Ireland are the responsibility of the courts. The department has issued a consultation on licensing, copies of which are available in the Library.

Northern Ireland: Post-primary Education

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: Schools will develop the arrangements necessary to ensure access to the curricular entitlement framework with other schools in their locality and with further education colleges. In doing so they will seek to minimise disruption to the school day; for example, by the use of synchronised timetabling, e-learning and distance learning. As these arrangements will be developed locally, it is not possible at this stage to estimate the costs associated with them.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Rooker: The pupil profile will provide a range of useful information on each pupil's progress, aptitudes, interests and aspirations and will help parents, teachers and pupils to make informed choices throughout each pupil's education. CCEA has been trailing and developing the pupil profile over the past two years to ensure that it is robust, manageable and useful. Development work is continuing in 2005–06 and details of the outcomes of the first two years of trials were recently published on the CCEA website at

The information in the pupil profile will be based on ongoing teacher assessment supported by a range of assessment tools. CCEA will ensure that the pupil profile will meet standards of validity and reliability by benchmarking them against the assessment reform group's principles for effective teacher assessment.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The role of primary and post-primary schools in the new admissions arrangements for post-primary schools was part of the recent consultation on the new arrangements which will operate when academic selection ends after 2008. The Government will be announcing decisions on new admissions arrangements in early December.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: Progress is being made in planning for implementation of the Costello proposals, and we remain on schedule to put key arrangements in place before 2008 when the final transfer tests take place.

Further detail on recent developments is contained in the Department of Education's Entitled to Succeed newsletter, which is distributed to schools and published on the department's website. Copies of the newsletter have been placed in the Library.
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Northern Ireland: Provisional IRA

Lord Kilclooney asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The Government believe that General de Chastelain's declaration that the IRA has completed disarmament has created an historic opportunity for progress.

The chairman of the Independent International Commission for Decommissioning (IICD), General John de Chastelain, announced on 25 September 2005, that it had witnessed full and final decommissioning by the PIRA of arms and weaponry.

The seventh Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) report published on 19 October 2005 recognises that statement as "very significant" and that "initial signs following the PIRA statement are encouraging". The report concluded "we have no evidence of training or recruitment after the 28 July statement".

The IMC's January report will be important in showing whether the commitments made in July are being met.

Northern Ireland: Railways

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: I answered this same question on 2 November 2005 (Official Report col. WA 34).

Northern Ireland: Real IRA

Lord Kilclooney asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The Independent Monitoring Commission's 7th Report, published on 19 October 2005, confirmed that RIRA is continuing to recruit and train new members and that existing members are receiving training. Chapter 2, section 3.22 of the report concludes that RIRA remains "active, prepared to use violence against both law enforcers and the general public, and has continued terrorist and other criminal activity as its clear aim".

The Government's position is clear: In order to create the conditions for political progress to continue to flourish, there must be an end to all criminality and paramilitary activity.
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Northern Ireland: Reform of Liquor Licensing Laws

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: There are no known equality implications or community balance issues arising from the reform of the liquor licensing laws in Northern Ireland in relation to the surrender of existing licences.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The higighted words indicate that the proposed abolition of the surrender provision would be phased in over a specified period of time to prevent licences losing overnight the commercial value they have acquired over a number of years. This would allow current licence holders to adapt to the change in market. The consultation is open until 31 January 2006.

Northern Ireland: Smoking in Public Places

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: Prior to his decision to introduce comprehensive tobacco controls on smoking in enclosed public places and workplaces in Northern Ireland, Health Minister Shaun Woodward made fact finding visits to Dublin and New York. The Dublin visit took place on 4 and 5 July 2005 and involved discussions with officials from the Department of Health and Children, the Office of Tobacco Control, the Restaurants' Association of Ireland, the Irish Hotels' Federation and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), Ireland.

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