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Mr. Browne: The introduction of the Human Rights Act 1998 played a major role in safeguarding human rights throughout the UK as a whole, including Northern Ireland. The Human Rights Act puts human rights at the heart of policy making and operations for all public authorities and means that all public authorities, including courts and the police, must act compatibly with the convention rights. It gives further effect throughout the UK to the rights and freedoms set out in the ECHR and provides the basis for a new culture of rights and responsibilities.
The Northern Ireland Act 1998 restricts the Northern Ireland Assembly's powers to ensure it can only pass legislation that is compatible with convention rights and requires all NI Ministers and Departments to act compatibly. The Act also created the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission whose remit includes making sure laws and practices conform to the European convention, promoting awareness of human rights and offering advice and guidance to individuals. The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is currently considering the scope for a Bill of Rights to reflect the particular circumstances of Northern Ireland.
The report of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland (the Patten report) recommended that there should be a comprehensive programme of action to focus policing in Northern Ireland on a human rights based approach.
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The Independent International Decommissioning Commission exists to remove the tools of terrorism, which has been the biggest source of denial of basic human rights in Northern Ireland over the past 30 years.
The Criminal Justice Review Group recommended that human rights be made central to the justice system. In formulating their recommendations, the review group looked not only at the European convention on human rights, but also at 15 other international human rights standards and instruments. The entire review was drafted with these principles in mind.
Dr. John Reid: The Belfast agreement has had a positive impact on many aspects of life in Northern Ireland. The economic and social benefits are perhaps some of the most noticeable to arise from the agreement. Increased investor confidence has led to growth in the retail, construction and manufacturing sectors, helping to keep the economy buoyant and unemployment at a low level. While at the same time, more young people are staying to make their way in Northern Ireland society, now rooted firmly in the principles of individual rights and equality of opportunity for all.
Dr. John Reid: Significant progress has been made. The devolved institutions are stabilising following the election of a new First and Deputy First Minster. The SDLP have signalled their support of the new policing arrangements, leading to the establishment of the Police Board and subsequent unanimous agreement by that board on a new badge for the Police Service of Northern Ireland. The IRA have carried out a significant act of decommissioning involving ammunition, arms and explosives. We must now build on these developments to ensure that the implementation of the agreement continues on all fronts.
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23. Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent road safety campaigns the police service of Northern Ireland has mounted in schools; and if he will make a statement. 
Jane Kennedy: Road safety education is a key element of the PSNI strategy to reduce death and injuries on the roads. It forms an integral part of the PSNI community safety programme. The road safety message is delivered to schoolchildren ranging from Key Stage 1 (young primary) to Key Stage 4 (15 to 18 year-old).
Because the driving behaviour of young male drivers is a matter of concern in Northern Ireland, the PSNI has developed a multi-agency roadsafe roadshow for Key Stage 4 schoolchildren. In addition to the police service, the fire service, various elements of the medical service, a voluntary group and seriously injured victims make contributions. The PSNI is currently developing a teaching resource pack to build upon the success of the roadsafe roadshow.
Jane Kennedy: The IICD reported on 23 October that it had witnessed the IRA putting a quantity of arms, ammunition and explosives completely beyond use. The IICD described this as a significant event. This move by the IRA was historic and gives the clearest possible signal that it is moving away from violence for good. It is imperative that we now see further progress in the transition away from violence. All paramilitary groups should now build on this very significant progress.
Jane Kennedy: There is a daily exchange of security information between the Garda and the RUC, and the security forces on both sides of the border co-operate frequently in planned and co-ordinated operations against the activities of dissident republicans. In the last year 42 dissidents have been arrested within the two jurisdictions.
29. Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the legislative and Government structures and institutions operating in Northern Ireland. 
Dr. John Reid: Since devolution in December 1999 local politicians have acted with great commitment, integrity and energy to represent their constituents' needs, and the needs of Northern Ireland more generally, in a fair and effective manner on issues of real concern to ordinary people. Since the election of a new First and Deputy First
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Minister last autumn the devolved institutions have continued to stabilise, which I believe demonstrates the widespread support that devolution has throughout Northern Ireland, on all sides of the community. In addition, the structures put in place to develop North-South co-operation continue to function smoothly. All of this contributes to the normalisation of politics and society in Northern Irelanda development which the Government are committed to giving their wholehearted support.
Dr. John Reid: Responsibility for arrangements to celebrate Her Majesty's Golden Jubilee falls to the devolved Administration. The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure is co-ordinating plans for community celebrations throughout the Province. To date, over 300 events and projects have been planned.
Dr. John Reid: Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate, the Northern Ireland Office DEL will be increased by £36,363,000 from £1,078,374,000 to £1,114,737,000 and the gross administration costs limits will be increased by £21,336,000 from £138,069,000 to £159,405,000. Within the DEL change, the impact on resources and capital are as set out in the following table:
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the take up of Departmental Unallocated Provision of £9,767,000;
net transfer £1,148,000 to the Northern Ireland Executive;
net transfer of £2,217,000 to UK Departments which covers £2,200,000 to the Court Service for transferred functions, £213,000 to the Home Office for Criminal Cases Review Commission and £4,000 for our contribution to the Group European States Against Corruption, £33,000 to the Cabinet Office for fast streamers and £233,000 from Home Office Legal Advisers Branch;
a virement of £1,700,000 to current from capital.
the take up of Departmental Unallocated Provision of £576,000;
increase of £500,000 from Capital Modernisation Fund;
a virement of £1,700,000 from capital to current.
£4,426,000 in respect of the Capital Modernisation Fund;
£4,278,000 in respect of Agri-Monetary Compensation;
£1,893,000 for costs incurred in dealing with foot and mouth diseaseof which £1,000,000 is in respect of Business Rate Relief, £398,000 Assistance for Rural Businesses and £495,000 for Charitable Match Funding;
£164,000 for the Evidence Based Policy Fund;
transfer of £50,000 from the Department for Work and Pensions;
net transfer of £1,148,000 from the NIO;
transfer of £2,130,000 to Department of Health;
transfers of £284,000 to the Scottish Executive;
transfer of £18,000 to the National Assembly for Wales;
transfer of £25,000 to the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency;
transfer of £59,000 to the Inland Revenue;
transfer of £7,000 to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
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