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The approved budget for the Northern Ireland Events Company in 2007-08 is £2,050,000.

Northern Ireland: Transitional Funding

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: Transitional funding support of just over £8 million was set aside in 2006-07 to help schools manage the movement from seven separate formulae to a common funding formula. Each school's share of the transition fund was determined at the time of introducing the new formula to reflect the difference between allocations under the separate funding formulae and allocations made via the common funding formula. The transition arrangements were put in place for two years, with all schools moving to full formula funding in the 2007-08 financial year.

Both the original proposals for a common funding formula (2001) and the consultation undertaken in 2004, prior to the introduction of common funding from April 2005, were subject to equality impact assessments.

Olympic Games 2012: Travellers

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The London Development Agency, which is responsible for delivering the land for the Olympic zone, consulted the Gypsies and Irish Travellers who are to be relocated, and the London boroughs that operate the existing sites, and has proposed alternative sites that are capable of accommodating all of those that need to be relocated.

Police: Northern Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: Annex B of the agreement at St Andrews confirms the Government's commitment that the temporary 50:50 arrangements for recruitment to the PSNI will lapse when Patten's target for Catholic officers has been achieved.

Lord Kilclooney asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: I am advised by the Chief Constable that one former An Garda Siochana officer and 321 former members of constabularies in Great Britain are now serving as members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Lord Kilclooney asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: There are currently no persons born in Poland serving as members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. There are presently 463 applications from persons born in Poland to join the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Prisoners: Parole

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:



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Lord Rooker: The Northern Ireland Prison Service operates a pre-release home and resettlement leave scheme which facilitates sentenced prisoners to apply for periods of temporary release during the last 12 months of their sentence. Pre-release leave is not an entitlement, but a privilege to be earned. The underlying principles are as follows:

the decision on whether to grant leave is critically dependent on the outcome of a risk assessment. This will assess the risk of harm/danger to others, the risk of reoffending and/or engaging in illegal activity on release, the likelihood of absconding and whether the conditions of release will be honoured;the decision on whether to grant leave must take account of evidence of behaviour while in custody, including behaviour on previous periods of pre-release leave and/or compassionate bail, and of whether effective use is being made of time in prison. For example, this could be reflected by attendance at resettlement and reoffending programmes offered and/or by pursuit of educational and other constructive activities; every period of leave applied for takes account of a prisoner's pursuit of a resettlement plan. Leave taken should be relevant and structured to complement reintegration and resettlement; the amount of leave for determinate sentenced prisoners, where granted, is governed by the length of time continuously in custody; leave for life sentenced prisoners will vary, subject to a yearly maximum, to complement the agreed release programmes;leave is subject to specified conditions signed up to by the prisoner prior to a period of release; for example, return to prison, conduct self in a lawful manner, no alcohol or drugs, no contact with victims; and victims' interests, where the victim has registered with the Victim Information Scheme, are considered in the decision on whether to grant leave and in the conditions specified where leave is granted.

The decision to release prisoners under this scheme has been delegated to dedicated local prison Home Leave and Resettlement Boards. Home Leave Boards are multidisciplinary and are comprised of representatives from the security, probation, resettlement, psychology departments, the prisoner's residential location, and if appropriate the multi-agency strategy risk assessment management team (MASRAM—relating to sex offenders). The board is chaired by a nominated prison governor, on behalf of the governing governor*. Home Leave Boards convene weekly to consider applications made by prisoners for home or resettlement leave. Prisoners on occasions are permitted to appear before the board.

The final decision to release a prisoner or otherwise is taken by the Home Leave Board chairperson after full and careful deliberation by the board members of all relevant factors pertaining to the application. The board is also required by the

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Human Rights Act 1998 to give effect to the rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Ultimately the governing governor of the prison takes responsibility for the decisions of the Home Leave Boards. The governing governor and his deputy have the right to overturn any decision(s) made by the board.

The Prison Service also operates a compassionate temporary release and home visits scheme for prisoners to visit close family relations who may be critically and/or terminally ill. The same consideration will apply.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: Before a Northern Ireland prisoner is temporarily released from prison custody he/she must agree to the conditions of his/her release.

All prisoners who have breached pre-release home or resettlement leave conditions, on returning to prison, are charged with an offence under prison rules where there is prime facie evidence to support a charge. The prisoner is then adjudicated on by a governor during a disciplinary hearing. If found guilty of breaching prison rules, the prisoner will be the subject of an adjudication award(s). Adjudications awards range from a maximum of 14 days' cellular confinement, to loss of association with other prisoners, to loss of prison earnings. In addition to cellular confinement there are other losses of privileges for varying time periods.

Since summer 2002, following a European Court ruling, an adjudicating governor no longer has the power to increase a prisoner's sentence by awarding loss of remission. However, on returning to prison the prisoner's release date is recalculated and extended by the length of time the prisoner has been unlawfully at large.

Where prisoners have absconded and failed to return to prison by the designated date and time the adjudicating governor may decide to deal with the matter internally or can adjourn the hearing and refer the matter to the PSNI for investigation and consideration for prosecution. The matter is referred under the provisions of Section 25 of the Prison Act, which carries a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment for the offence of being unlawfully at large while under sentence. The Prison Service has a memorandum of understanding with the PSNI and PPSNI that any prisoner, who has absconded for a substantial period of time, normally over eight weeks, can be considered for prosecution. The majority of cases are dealt with internally by the Prison Service under the adjudication process without recourse to the PSNI and PPSNI. Resorting to the courts has rarely resulted in a fresh sentence.



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Finally, each individual prisoner's pre-release and resettlement leave quotas under the pre-release home and resettlement scheme are based on the length of sentence and continuous custody. If a prisoner breaks continuous custody by remaining outwith the prison unlawfully for an entire calendar day or more, the prisoner will have been deemed to have broken continuous custody. As a result the prisoner's entitlement to pre-release and resettlement leave will be recalculated from the day on which he returns to prison, and consequently his home leave quotas will significantly reduce.

In any fresh application for home or resettlement leave, account is taken of any previous leave failures by the Home Leave Board as part of its consideration.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The Prison Service keeps its pre-release home leave decision-making process under continual review and incorporates lessons to be learnt from cases where prisoners are unlawfully at large.

While the service seeks to reduce the risk to the public to the minimum by screening out less suitable candidates for temporary release, it is not possible to predict with absolute certainty that a prisoner will return to prison at the specified time. Past behaviour, including any failure to abide by temporary release conditions, is always taken into account when considering applications.

Pre-release home leave is an essential part of preparing prisoners for release and reducing the risk of reoffending. This includes the maintenance of family relationships. Temporary release assists with obtaining jobs and support to address addictions, obtaining accommodation, or managing debt.

Prisons: Northern Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The number of prisoners who failed to return is shown in the following table.

YearNumber of Prisoners who failed to return to prison following a period of Compassionate Temporary Release

2001

0

2002

9

2003

5

2004

7

2005

2

2006

3

2007 to present

1



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The statistics requested were not collated in the format required prior to 2001.

Of the above, one prisoner remains unlawfully at large, 14 were returned to prison by the PSNI, 11 returned of their own accord and one prisoner died while still unlawfully at large.

Rally Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The Northern Ireland Events Company (NIEC) is currently finalising payments to Rally Ireland for 2005 and 2006. To date, Rally Ireland has received £321,869.75 for 2005 and £570,004.21 for 2006.

Final payments have been made to the Circuit of Ireland for 2005 and 2006. The Circuit of Ireland has received £6,000 in 2005 from NIEC and in 2006 has received support to the value of £100,000 under the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) Business Support Scheme, which is jointly funded by IFI and public funding from NIEC and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB). Final payments have been made to the North West 200 for 2005 and 2006. The North West 200 has received £85,897.73 in 2005 from NIEC and in 2006 has received support to the value of £145,687 under the IFI Business Support Scheme.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The final amount of sponsorship for the 2007 Rally Ireland event will be dependant on the amount of potential benefit to Northern Ireland demonstrated in the approved business case.

Roads: Newry to Dundalk

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:



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Lord Rooker: The chief executive of Roads Service (Dr Malcolm McKibbin) has been asked to write to the noble Lord in response to these questions.

Letter from Dr Malcolm McKibbin to Lord Laird, dated April 2007.

You recently asked Her Majesty's Government two Parliamentary Questions regarding:

i. whether they have any evidence that illegal waste from the Republic of Ireland is being deposited under the carriageway which is currently being constructed between Newry and Dundalk; and, if not, whether they will carry out tests to verify whether such dumping has taken place.; and

ii. what are the security arrangements for guarding the carriageway currently under construction between Newry and Dundalk during the hours of darkness.

As this issue falls within my responsibility as chief executive of Roads Service, I have been asked to reply.

I can advise that neither Roads Service, our technical advisors, who are monitoring the construction of the A1 Cloghogue to the border dual carriageway (part of the A1/N1 Newry to Dundalk link road), nor the contractor, have any evidence that illegal waste from the Republic of Ireland is being deposited under the carriageway currently being constructed. Therefore, in the absence of any evidence that might indicate the location where such waste may have been deposited, I regret that I am unable to justify the significant costs of carrying out tests along the 4.5 km stretch of the road scheme located within Northern Ireland, to investigate whether such dumping has taken place.


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