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14 Oct 2003 : Column WA99

Written Answers

Tuesday, 14th October 2003.

Palace of Westminster: Accommodation

Lord Dubs asked the Chairman of Committees:

    How many staff accommodated in offices at the House of Lords' end of the Palace of Westminster are:


    (a) staff of the House;


    (b) staff employed by political parties or the Whips' offices;


    (c) departmental civil servants; and


    (d) others.[HL4736]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): A total of 230 members of staff are currently allocated accommodation in the House of Lords' portion of the Palace of Westminster. Of these, 172 are staff of the House; 33 are employed by political parties and groups, the Whips' offices and the office of the Leader of the House; 25 are departmental civil servants, all of whom are employed by the Department for Constitutional Affairs.

Northern Ireland: Mental Health Tribunal Rules

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will amend the Mental Health Tribunal Rules (Northern Ireland) 1986 in the light of the declaration of incompatibility made by the English Court of Appeal in R (H) v London North and Eastern Region Mental Health Review Tribunal (2002) QB 1. [HL4324]

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): There are no plans, at present, to amend either the Mental Health Tribunal Rules (Northern Ireland) 1986 or the Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986. However, a review of mental health legislation is being undertaken as part of the wider review of mental health and learning disability (Northern Ireland) currently under way. One of the issues, which the review will be considering, is the compatibility of the Mental Health Order with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: Register of Researchers

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Who is on the register of researchers held by the

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    Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission; and what were the criteria for their selection. [HL4353]

Baroness Amos: There are 52 names on the current register of researchers. These are individuals or organisations with particular experience and knowledge of human rights research who have submitted their details to the commission and who are retained on the register which the commission refers to when seeking external work.

The commission selects researchers according to their particular skills and experience relevant to the research project at hand, as well as giving due consideration to practicalities such as availability and cost and to its commitments as outlined in the NIHRC equality scheme.

The complete list is as follows:

Register of Researchers 1 October 2003

Names

Laura McMahon

Mark Bell

Nazia Latif

Fiona Boyle

Una Convery

Nicola Browne

Patrick Mulligan

Gearoid Tennyson

Mary McMahon

Johanna Keenan

Patricia Maxwell

Samantha Connor

Anne Lavan

Kathleen Cavanaugh

Colin McIlheney

Linda Massie

Neil Faris

Linzi Conway

James McManus

Jonathan Doak

Pauline Prior

Erica Hatton

James McCusker

Caroline Nolan

David Russell

Tracey Irwin

Paula Murray

Lauren Arner

Michelle Bresland

Patrick Turtle

Michael Potter

Geraint Ellis

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Roger McCallum

John Murdock

Thomas Stewart

Mairead Nic Craith

Conan Fegan

West Belfast Economic Forum

Gavin Davidson

Bill Rolston

Brendan McKeever

David Floven

Jane Winter

Gillian Robinson

Teresa Geraghty

Jospehine McFall

Earl Storey

Eithne McLaughlin

Julie McCaughan

Robin Wilson

Gerard Finnegan

Lorraine Rowan

Northern Ireland Parades Commission: Budget

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord President on 8 September (WA 8) concerning the Northern Ireland Parades Commission, what is the Commission's budget per year broken down under normal headings.[HL4407]

Baroness Amos: A breakdown of the Parades Commission's operating costs for 2002–03 is available in its annual report, which was laid before Parliament on 8 September 2003.

North/South Implementation Bodies: Funding

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord President on 8 September (WA 6) concerning North/South Implementation Bodies, since creation,

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    whether any funds have been transferred from one financial year to the next; if so, by which body; for how much; for what purpose; and what was the approval procedure.[HL4452]

Baroness Amos: No funds have been transferred from one financial year to the next in respect of North/South Implementation Bodies budgets since the bodies were established in December 1999.

Northern Ireland: Employment

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to increase the number of government jobs in Strabane District Council area.[HL4466]

Baroness Amos: At present the Department for Employment and Learning has 23 staff in the Strabane District Council area based in the Strabane Job Centre. It is currently estimated that this number will increase by 5.5 when the office becomes a Jobs and Benefits Office in October 2005.

The North-West Development Office of the Department of Social Development is the key driving force behind the successful regeneration and development of Londonderry, Limavady Borough Council and Strabane District Council area. In the past it assisted with the identification of suitable sites for the new Pension Centre, Londonderry, officially opened in June 2003. In the future, it will continue to provide similar assistance in the Strabane District Council area.

Northern Ireland: Ballymena to Portrush and Londonderry Railway

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What work has been done to the railway line from Ballymena to Portrush and Londonderry in each of the past five years; how much it cost; and what work is proposed for the next five years.[HL4533]

Baroness Amos: Translink has advised that in each of the past five years the following maintenance work has been carried out on the lines from Ballymena to Portrush and Londonderry:

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£000

1998–991999–20002000–012001–022002–03Total
Permanent Way5385545715886742,925
Crossings4647495060252
Signalling146151155160210822
Structures9699102105100502
Property131135139263235903
9579861,0161,1661,2795,404

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Translink has further advised that, although it is unable to provide figures for expenditure on capital projects in each of the past five years, the following sums were incurred over the five-year period:

£000
Permanent Way980
Signalling70
Structures1,088
Property875
Total3,013

The Department for Regional Development has offered Translink grant aid to undertake the following projects in the next five years:

Remedial action on an embankment at Galdanagh

Installation of strail crossings at four level crossings north of Ballymena

Points and crossings at Coleraine

Demolition of an accommodation overbridge at Coleraine

These projects are expected to be completed in the early part of the five-year period and further projects may be approved during the period. Maintenance work will also continue.


Northern Ireland: Public House Licences

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will refer the arrangements for the allocation and inheritance of public house licences to the Equality Commission for assessment of their adherence to current equality law and good practice. [HL4535]

Baroness Amos: No. There are no known equality implications arising from the current Northern Ireland legislation governing the grant, renewal and transfer of liquor licences allowing public houses to sell alcohol. Such licences cannot be inherited.

Belfast City Airport: Underpass

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the cost of the new underpass at Belfast City Airport; what is the estimated number of cars currently using the underpass; and what was the estimated use when the decision was taken to construct the underpass.[HL4537]

Baroness Amos: I have asked the chief executive of Roads Service to write to the noble Lord in response to this question. A copy of the letter will be placed in the Library.

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Northern Ireland Compensation Agency

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have a policy to reduce the need for payments from the Northern Ireland Compensation Agency by promoting greater understanding among all sections of the community.[HL4555]

Baroness Amos: No. Government policies are focused on promoting greater understanding among all sections of the community, as part of their commitment to taking forward peace and reconciliation. They have also developed policies on crime reduction and crime prevention. Collectively, these policies should, over time, reduce the need for payments under the compensation schemes.


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