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Lord Williams of Mostyn: No employees have been recruited as yet. The Irish Language Agency is in the process of obtaining the necessary approvals to allow it to recruit staff for the Belfast office. A proficiency in the Irish language will be required because the working language of the agency is Irish. As the work of these officials will be carried out wholly or mainly in Northern Irleand the equality laws of Northern Ireland will apply to the recruitment process.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: Linguistic Diversity Branch (LDB) is an administrative unit of the Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL). The North/South Language Body has a remit to advise both governments on Irish and Ullans. DCAL has developed links with two Scottish Universities, the University of Strathclyde and the University of Aberdeen. LDB has also received advice from Mr Miguel Strubel, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya; Mr Joe Lo Bianco, Visiting Professor, Scottish CILT, University of Glasgow; Mr John Walter Jones, Chief Executive, Welsh Language Board; Mr Dauvit Horsbroch, Department of Celtic, University of Aberdeen; Professor Colin Williams, Department of Welsh, Cardiff University; and Dr Padraig O Riagain, Research Professor, Institiud Teangeolaiochta Eireann. Advice was sought in relation to broad-ranging minority language issues from these sources.
DCAL has also co-operated with a number of bodies such as the European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages (EBLUL), the European Centre for Minority Issues, Queen's University, Belfast, the University of Ulster and the Placenames Project of Northern Ireland on projects or conferences which would increase awareness of Irish language and Ulster-Scots, heritage and language.
Mr Donall O Riagain has been engaged as specialist adviser in relation to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Mr O Riagain is a former president and secretary general to the European Bureau of Lesser Used Languages.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: Linguistic Diversity Branch is an administrative unit of the Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL). The remit of DCAL includes advising the Secretary of State and Northern Ireland departments on their obligations in respect of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and the Belfast Agreement.
The Government have submitted their report on the implementation of the charter to the Council of Europe. That report is now under consideration by the Committee of Experts who will, in due course, produce an opinion on the progress by the Government in fulfilling their obligations. A copy of that report has been placed in the Library of the House.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The North/South Ministerial Council approved the appointment of a new member to the board of the North/South Language Body, in accordance with Annex 2, Part 5, paragraph 2.8 of the North/South Implementation Bodies Agreement, made between the British and Irish Governments on 8 March 1999, at a meeting in the Language Sector held on 7 December 2001. The person appointed has responsibility for the functions of the body in relation to Ullans and Ulster-Scots cultural issues through the Ulster-Scots Agency.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: It was agreed by the Northern Ireland Department of Finance and Personnel and the Department of Finance in the Republic of Ireland that an exercise should be carried out by the Business Development Service (BDS), DFP to evaluate the grading level and salary scale for the chief executive posts in all the North/South bodies. As part of that exercise BDS interviewed the interim chief executives and drew up a job description to assist them
Waterways Ireland employed a consultant who sourced the necessary information to advise the organisation on the impact and implementation of human rights legislation. Waterways Ireland has collated human rights information from the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and from the Republic of Ireland's Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. Waterways Ireland is continuing to consult with relevant organisations on equality and human rights issues.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: This is a matter for the Northern Ireland Hospice as an independent voluntary organisation. However, the level of specialist palliative care provided by the Northern Ireland Hospice has been inspected, and will continue to be inspected, by the Eastern and Northern Health and Social Services Boards' Registration and Inspection Units, which have statutory powers to ensure that a good standard of care is provided for patients at the adult and children's hospices respectively and to take action if patient care is affected. Recent inspection reports have found that the standard of patient care is satisfactory.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: Waterways Ireland continues to develop the Shannon navigation on an ongoing basis as a multi-purpose amenity and recreation resource offering facilities for navigation and other activities for the benefit of the general public.
Three main capital projects, which had commenced prior to the establishment of Waterways Ireland, have since been completed on the Shannon navigation as follows: Limerick harbour; Boyle harbour; Ballinasloe harbour.
Work is currently in progress on the following capital projects: Ballyleague, County Roscommon: new harbour to be completed June 2004; Shannonbridge, County Offaly: 180 metres of moorings to be completed June 2003; Scarrif, County Clare: extension to existing quay to be completed June 2003.
Some 6 million euros will be expended by the end of 2002 and the balance is ear-marked for projects scheduled for development, subject to the usual planning and budgetary constraints, between 200306.
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