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Northern Ireland: Tyrone County Hospital

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: It is not envisaged that the recently announced changes to public administration in Northern Ireland will have any impact on decisions about services at Tyrone County Hospital in Omagh.

On 19 September the Health Minister, Shaun Woodward, placed in the public domain three reports that highlighted the urgent need for changes to hospital services in the Sperrin Lakeland area. On 11 October the Minister issued for consultation his proposals to address the safety and sustainability issues identified in the reports.

The consultation period finished on 25 November and the Minister's decision on the way forward is expected shortly. It would not be acceptable to compromise patient safety by delaying the necessary changes.

Northern Ireland: Unemployment

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: Unemployment levels from the claimant count in the Strabane District Council area at September 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 are provided in the table below.
Unemployment level
September 20011,429
September 20021,299
September 20031,244
September 20041,218
September 20051,190

Northern Ireland-Scotland Links

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

6 Dec 2005 : Column WA97

Lord Rooker: There are already links, such as those within the British-Irish Council, between Northern Ireland departments and their Scottish counterparts both to address specific issues, as the need arises, and to share best practice across a broad range of business, cultural and tourism areas.

Philippines: Death Penalty

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Triesman: Under our presidency of the EU, this case has been discussed regularly by EU missions in Manila.

With UK presidency support, the Spanish Embassy in Manila has raised this case with the Philippines' Government. We have raised the broader issue of the death penalty in the Philippines at senior level with the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, as well as with the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Teacher Exchanges

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Adonis: A meeting with the French Education Ministry is expected to take place before the end of this year to build on existing agreements for bilateral education co-operation, including teacher exchanges. We have strong links with Germany through its embassy and our partnership with the British Council, through which we fund a range of teacher exchange
6 Dec 2005 : Column WA98
and linking activity. The EU education programme Socrates also supports teacher interaction, including visits, between 31 European countries, including the UK, France and Germany. Through these and other programmes and resources that we fund directly, we expect to see continued and expanding opportunities for teacher exchanges and visits between our three countries.

Waterways Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: This is an ongoing internal matter for Waterways Ireland and no conclusions have yet been reached.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: This expenditure was approved by the senior management group of Waterways Ireland in December 2002.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: I refer the noble Lord to my Answers of 14 June 2005 (WA 117) and 30 June 2005 (WA 51–52). The creation of the post of director of marketing and communications at Waterways Ireland was agreed by the North/South Ministerial Council on 27 June 2001.

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