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The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): There was no consultation with officials of the Irish Government before the announcement on 3 December 2003 on the proposed relocation of the Irish Language Agency to Donegal. However the announcement made it clear that any such move would be subject to NSMC agreement.
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord President on 10 June (WA 42) concerning the Language Implementation Body's budget, why there was no agreement with the agencies concerning the setting of the 2004 budget. [HL3304]
Whether they have discussed with the Eire Government the suitability of certain grants made by the Ulster-Scots Agency to groups supporting Ulster-Scots culture; and if so, when such discussions were held. [HL3315]
Baroness Amos: I can confirm that no such discussions were held. The board of the agency has responsibility for the exercise of the functions of the agency. Decisions on the payment of specific grants are primarily for the board of the agency with due regard to the approved business and corporate plans and also the remit of the agency.
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord President on 14 June (WA 53) concerning the appointment of a Cultural Affairs Officer by the Northern Ireland Department of Culture and Leisure, what steps the officer has taken to promote the work of the Ulster-Scots Agency outside the island of Ireland. [HL3480]
Baroness Amos: The Cultural Affairs Officer has offered the Ulster-Scots Agency the opportunity to promote its work at meetings and events in the United States. The agency's website has been featured on a number of occasions at events in Washington and a package of leaflets produced by the agency ("The Ulster-Scots in America") was among literature distributed at a number of events in the United States.
Baroness Amos: "Ulster-Scots culture" is defined in the North/South Co-operation (Implementation Bodies) (Northern Ireland) Order 1999 as relating to the cultural traditions of the part of the population of Northern Ireland and the border counties which is of Scottish ancestry and the influence of their cultural traditions on others, both within the island of Ireland and in the rest of the world.
What, since 1990, has been the required number of pupils enrolling in a school in Northern Ireland for the school to receive government funding; whether there have been any exceptions; and, if so, what schools were involved; and what were the reasons given. [HL3365]
Baroness Amos: The numbers enrolled at schools are kept under review with the relevant school authorities and amalgamation or closure is agreed for schools that are no longer considered viable. There are no set enrolments below which funding is automatically withheld: viability is considered on a case-by-case basis. To receive government support schools must also satisfy the following requirements:
School managementthe school must have a scheme of management under Article 123 of Education Reform (NI) Order 1989 and a board of governors constituted under Article 11 of the Education and Libraries (NI) Order 1986.
Curriculumthere is a specific statutory requirement under the Education Reform (NI) Order 1989 that to qualify for grant a school must teach the Northern Ireland school curriculum as specified in the order.
The criteria for primary schools have been in place since 2000 and for post-primary schools since 2001. In recent years, new schools have generally been in either the integrated or Irish-medium sector. The criteria that applied to integrated schools prior to the introduction of the current requirements are below. These covered the Irish-medium sector since 1998.
|Primary Year 1 intake||Secondary Year 8 intake|
(i) In 1996, Meanscoil Feirste, the only Irish-medium post-primary school in Northern Ireland, was awarded grant-aided status, although it did not achieve the required intake. There was, however, firm evidence from the school's previous intakes and the growth in the Irish-medium primary school sector that the school would shortly achieve the level of enrolments and that these would be sustainable.
(ii) In 2002, Bunscoil Bheanna Boirche, an existing independent Irish-medium primary school in Castlewellan, was approved for funding with a year 1 intake of 10 instead of 12. The decision was taken on the basis that the school had just fallen short of the minimum but had 12 pre-school children in the attached pre-school unit. The school at the time also had a total of 32 children of compulsory school age already attending.
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord President on 22 June (WA 115), why Tourism Ireland has not promoted and supported Loyal Order parades in Ulster as tourist attractions; and what steps it is now taking to do so. [HL3438]
Responsibility for promoting and marketing detailed listings of tourist attractions in Northern Ireland lies with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) and in the Republic of Ireland it falls to Failte Ireland. NITB maintains a database record of the
12 Jul 2004 : Column WA118
major Loyal Order parades and ensures these are published on its consumer website.
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord President on 22 June (WA 115), concerning the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, why the only Loyal Order parade listed in the annual events listing brochure for 2004 was the Maiden City Festival. [HL3439]
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