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Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: Resources made available by DCAL to fund the three festivals in the three financial years in question were part of the department's annual budgets for arts and for the Northern Ireland Events Company as approved by Parliament in the annual Budget orders.
 
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Northern Ireland: Immigrant Workers

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Rooker): Many migrant workers in Northern Ireland are living in accommodation which can be classified as houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). It is the responsibility of the Housing Executive to inspect privately rented houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and to enforce physical standards through the issues of statutory notices.

The Housing Executive has actively taken steps to ascertain the addresses of multi-occupancy properties in which migrant workers are living by contacting employers and employment agencies and recognises the challenges posed in this particular area of remit by the arrival of increasing numbers of migrant workers in Northern Ireland. To date, approximately 170 properties occupied by migrant workers have been inspected and 80 statutory notices have been served. There are a further 36 notices in preparation at present.

Under the Rent (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 and the Rent Book Regulations 2004, every tenant must be provided with a rent book providing details of the rent and rates which can be charged for the tenancy. However, these provisions do not apply to lodgers and other licensees who are sharing accommodation either
 
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with their landlord or with someone else who is the tenant of the property as a whole.

Northern Ireland: Prosecutions

Baroness Park of Monmouth asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Rooker): This is solely a matter for the prosecuting authorities and not for the Northern Ireland Office.

Northern Ireland: Prostitution

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Rooker): The Police Service of Northern Ireland is acutely aware of the problems experienced in other jurisdictions and continues to monitor the situation closely.

PSNI works closely with the Immigration Service and An Garda Siochana on illegal immigration matters.

Northern Ireland: Robert McCartney

Baroness Park of Monmouth asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Rooker): The investigation into the murder of Robert McCartney is ongoing and the question of charges is a matter for the PPS. The PSNI advises that two persons have been charged with the murder of Mr McCartney and with the attempted murder of Brendan Devine. They are awaiting their pre-trial hearing.

The investigation into the ancillary related offences surrounding the murder of Mr McCartney continues and to date has resulted in two arrests being made, with charges being reported to the Public Prosecution Service for conspiracy to murder, affray and one for assault. A full file is being forwarded to the Public Prosecution Service for these matters to be brought to trial.

Northern Ireland: School Closures

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Rooker): It was for the respective education authorities to consider the future viability of these schools in light of the trends in enrolments and to decide on proposals for closure.

Decisions on closures of schools follows a statutory development proposal process and take account of suitable alternative provision for the children involved. I am content that school closures can be reconciled with the obligations under equality legislation and the objectives of the Belfast agreement.

The individual school information showing enrolments averaged over the two years prior to closure is as follows:
 
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Primary SchoolClosure dateEnrolment to closure—Two-year average prior to closure
Ballypriormore31/12/0333
St Joseph's, Lisconrea31/8/0318
Toberlane31/8/0323
Ballyrock31/8/0415
Brackalislea31/8/0411
Granville31/8/0520
St Mary's, Laught31/8/0512
Ardmore31/8/0615
Loughbrickland31/8/0628



 
 

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Rooker: The Department of Education expects education and library boards (ELBs) as funding authorities to take action to ensure that boards of governors fulfil their responsibility to live within the
 
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budgets allocated to their schools. Where this does not happen, ELBs have the power to remove from a board of governors the right to a delegated budget.

The department recognises also that a deficit budget can also be an indicator that a school may no longer be educationally sustainable and, in such circumstances, expects school managing authorities to consider how best to ensure that children have access to a high quality education.

Northern Ireland: Sinn Fein

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Rooker): No undertakings have been made to Sinn Fein in respect of education policy in Northern Ireland.

The Government published a document—Proposals in Relation to On the Runs (OTRs)—in May 2003 setting out how they intended to address the remaining issue of OTRs in the context of acts of completion by republican paramilitaries. The Government told Sinn Fein that legislation giving effect to this commitment would be announced immediately after an IRA statement signalling acts of completion and would be introduced when Parliament came back in the autumn. The Secretary of State, in his published letter to MPs of 28 July, said that the Government would introduce legislation in the autumn to resolve the outstanding issue of paramilitary suspects on the run. These commitments were made to demonstrate that the Government were ready to accept that the IRA's statement was intended to express acts of completion.


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