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Which consultants were commissioned by the Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in 2001 to work with the Ulster-Scots Language Society to help develop a strategic planning capacity. [HL2748]
Whether the languages, histories, cultures and identities of the Ulster Scots and the Irish should be treated equally; and why bodies representing Ulster-Scots culture do not receive the same level of resources as bodies representing Irish culture. [HL3022]
Baroness Amos: The Government treat bodies representing Ulster-Scots and Irish Language and culture fairly and impartially in accordance with the principles of good public administration. In relation to funding for the agencies of the North/South Language Body I refer the noble Lord to my Answer of 20 May 2004 (WA 95).
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord President on 11 March (WA 185) concerning the cross-border implementation bodies and their current policy of care and maintenance (which only allows for the continuation of existing policies), whether stopping an existing policy is currently regarded as a new policy initiative. [HL3009]
Baroness Amos: Those qualifying as teachers in Northern Ireland are educated and trained through the higher education institutions in Northern Ireland. A
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consideration of initial teacher education is currently under way in Northern Ireland, involving the Department for Employment and Learning, the Department of Education and the main stakeholders. This will embrace all aspects of current policy provision.
Baroness Amos: The Government take seriously their duty to encourage and facilitate integrated education and respond to parental demand for integrated education where this does not involve unreasonable public expenditure. The numbers of post-primary pupils are declining and this is impacting on many schools across Northern Ireland. The viability criteria for the establishment of a new post-primary integrated school includes the requirement that a school must achieve a minimum year-eight intake of 50 pupils to be approved for receipt of recurrent grant, and to demonstrate its long-term viability before capital grant is made available. Procedures are also in place for transforming existing schools to integrated status.
What progress there has been, since the referendum on the Annan Plan, to remove obstacles to trade between Turkish Cyprus and the European Union; and, whether such imports still require approval from the Greek Cypriot authorities. [HL3180]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The 26 April General Affairs and External Relations Council tasked the Commission to come forward with proposals to end the international economic isolation of the Turkish Cypriots. We look forward to those proposals and have been encouraged by the extra impetus given to them by the UN Secretary-General.
We continue to work with our EU and international partners to ensure that all Cypriots can enjoy the benefits of EU membership, and that efforts to reunify the island are underpinned by practical measures to reduce disparities between the two sides. We believe that the Government of Cyprus share that aim.
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What was the percentage of lessons in which the quality of teaching of physical education and school sport was assessed to be good or better by Ofsted inspections for the years since 200102. [HL3298]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The department does not hold this information. I have asked HM Chief Inspector to write to the noble Lord setting out the information requested, and to place copies of his letter in the Library.
At the time the Ministry of Defence was informed of the Mirror's intention to publish the photos, officials did not know they were fake. The Daily Mirror intended to publish the photos the following day, which did not give us sufficient time to check whether or not they were authentic.
There is clear public interest in exposing the actions of coalition forces if those actions are in breach of the United Kingdom/United States obligations under the Geneva conventions. We believe that had we sought an injunction counsel would have advised that the public interest outweighed any national security reasons for preventing publication.
Whether interrogation techniques involving physical or mental coercion have been used by members of the British Armed Forces or other United Kingdom personnel; if so, what is the nature of such techniques; and whether they are compatible with international human rights and humanitarian law. [HL2868]
Lord Bach: All UK interrogators must successfully complete a stringent course prior to undertaking any operational interrogations. During the course they are specifically instructed that individuals being questioned must be treated at all times in accordance with the Geneva Conventions. The conventions ban the use of all forms of coercion.
What is their present military commitment in Northern Ireland, in terms of numbers, units and roles; what changes in this commitment have taken place over the past two years; and whether they are contemplating any future changes in the commitment. [HL3102]
At 30 April 2004 12,870 military personnel (Army, Royal Navy, Royal Marines and RAF) were stationed in Northern Ireland under the command of the General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland compared with 13,288 at 30 April 2002. Currently the GOC NI also has under his command troops that are rear-based in Great Britain and Germany that can be called forward to the Province as and when required. In addition other troops can be made available to the GOC NI from Land Command if required, for example during the marching season.
The role of the Armed Forces in Northern Ireland is to support the police in the defeat of terrorism and in the maintenance of public order so as to assist the Government in their objective of restoring normality. The level of military support is under continuous review and troop numbers are adjusted to meet the changing security environment as and when it is deemed appropriate and after consultation with the Chief Constable. Accordingly, as my right honourable friend the Minister for the Armed Forces announced in another place on 17 June 2004, (Official Report, Commons, col. 4849 WS) two battalions assigned to Northern Ireland duties but not routinely based in the Province can be removed from the command of GOC Northern Ireland on 16 July 2004 as they are not required for routine support to the police in Northern Ireland.
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