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Mr. Desmond Browne: In Northern Ireland, a consultation exercise took place between October 2000 and January 2001 on the document XConfidence in the Future", which addressed prevention, recognition and management of poor performance in the HPSS. The recommendations made in this report are currently being taken forward. Discssions are also ongoing with national bodies such as the National Clinical Assessment Authority on how to put in place further guidance to the HPSS on the management of poor performance when it is identified.
Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the Government's policy towards funding animal sanctuaries in Northern Ireland; and if money raised by licences will be used to help fund these bodies. 
Mr. Pearson: Animal sanctuaries in Northern Ireland are not required to be licensed under the 1972 Welfare of Animals Act. In line with developments in Great Britain, DARD will be reviewing the need to introduce specific welfare controls on animal sanctuaries, which may include licensing. As part of that review, the issue of funding sanctuaries can be considered but there is no financial provision currently available for such funding. If a licensing fee were to be introduced it is unlikely that this could provide a significant source of income for animal sanctuaries.
Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the South Eastern Education and Library Board made application to the Chancery Court in connection with the status of the former Castle Gardens Primary School building in Newtownards; and when the ruling by the Chancery Court is expected. 
Jane Kennedy: As the South-Eastern Education and Library Board wishes to retain these premises for alternative educational purposes, it has obtained advice of senior legal Counsel about this matter. Acting on this advice, the Board has made contact with Charities Branch, DHSSPS, with a view to the Board being
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Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many incidents and attacks on Fire Service and Ambulance Service personnel and vehicles have been recorded in each month since January; and what measures he has taken to protect staff of the emergency services. 
Jane Kennedy: The Northern Ireland Fire Brigade report all attacks and associated incidents as 'civil disturbance' calls. It is not possible to identify the number of actual attacks on the brigade, however, they do record the number of firefighters injured and appliances damaged as a result of these 'civil disturbance' calls. The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service record the actual number of attacks on personnel and vehicles. These are detailed in the following table.
The Government condemn attacks on those who are there to provide a vital service to the entire community. Those who engage in this type of behaviour need to be reminded that some day they or their families may need to call on the assistance of these same emergency services.
|NI Fire Brigade||NI Ambulance Service|
|Month||Personnel injured||Appliances damaged||Personnel attacked||Vehicles attacked|
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions have taken place between the Northern Ireland Office and the Fire Brigades Union on strike action by firefighters. 
Mr. Desmond Browne: The Secretary of State met representatives of the Fire Brigades Union on 6 September 2002. The subject of pay, conditions and potential industrial action was raised and the Fire Brigades Union set out their position, which the Secretary of State noted.
I met with the Fire Brigade's Union on 24 October 2002 about their proposed industrial action. At that meeting I asked the Fire Brigades Union to reconsider their threat to strike and to co-operate with the independent review which is examining the issues of pay and modernisation.
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Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what measures will be in place to give fire cover in the North Down constituency if the Fire Brigades Union takes strike action. 
Mr. Desmond Browne: In the event of strike action by the Fire Brigades Union, fire cover will be provided throughout Northern Ireland, including the North Down constituency, by the Army, supported by the Police Service for Northern Ireland, with the strategic deployment of 32 Yellow Goddesses and 19 Breathing Apparatus Rescue Teams. Deployment locations for these resources include Belfast and Bangor. These alternative arrangements cannot replicate the current firefighting capability, but will try to minimise the danger to human life. There is also likely to be cover provided by members of the Retained Fire fighters Union in rural locations but the extent of support will not be apparent until near the first day industrial action.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what preparations he has made to ensure the safety and continuity of service to the public in the event of a firefighters' strike; and what the cost is to the Department of these actions. 
Mr. Desmond Browne: In the event of a firefighters' strike, emergency cover will be provided in Northern Ireland by the Army, supported by the Police Service for Northern Ireland, using 32 yellow goddesses and 19 breathing apparatus rescue teams. These alternative arrangements cannot replicate the current fire service capability, but will try to minimise the danger to human life to ensure that day to day activities can continue as normal. Government Departments and the Fire Authority have been involved in providing advice to businesses, public bodies, including schools, and the public on reducing the risk of fire and road traffic accidents.
Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage of retained organs at the Royal Victoria Hospital were (a) destroyed after a short period of time, (b) used for research, (c) sent to other hospitals and (d) stored at the Royal Victoria Hospital between 1972 and 2001. 
Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many persons have been held accountable for the errors in organ retention at the Royal Victoria Hospital; and what the ratio of organ retention was during the (a) pre-trust and (b) post-trust periods. 
Mr. Desmond Browne: The Board of the Royal Group of Hospitals Trust has fully accepted all the criticisms and recommendations outlined in the report of the Human Organs Inquiry. No individuals have been held
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accountable, since the actions taken previously were in line with what was considered appropriate professional practice at the time.
Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many organs were retained at the Royal Victoria Hospital between 1972 and 2001; what the ratio was between heart and other organs; and what definitions of (a) organs and (b) tissues were used. 
Mr. Desmond Browne: The inventory provided by the Royal Victoria Hospital to the Chief Medical Officer in March 2001 showed that a total of 1,131 organs were retained and stored in the period 1970 and 2001 (including 151 paediatric organs that pre-dated 1970). Approximately one-third of the organs were hearts.
For the purposes of the inventory an organ was defined as an entire organ or something that was recognisably an organ. Tissue referred to the contents of blocks and slides derived from organs or larger samples. The Human Organs Inquiry used the following definitions: XOrgan(s)a part of the body composed of more than one tissue that forms a structural unit responsible for a particular function (or functions)"; and XTissueorgans contain tissue, ie collections of cells which give organs their special functions".
Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when Mr. William McKee was appointed (a) Chief Executive of the Royal Victoria Hospital and (b) Chief Executive of the Royal Group of Hospitals. 
(b) He was appointed Chief Executive of the Royal Group of Hospitals and Dental Hospital Health and Social Services Trust from November 1992.
Ms Rosie Winterton: I have been asked to reply as I have ministerial responsibility for the Northern Ireland Court Service, which includes the administration of the Coroners Service. A coroner in the exercise of his judicial discretion may order a post mortem examination in respect of deaths notified to him under the Coroners (Northern Ireland) Act 1959. Where organs are removed for forensic analysis following such a post mortem they may be retained for such period as
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the coroner thinks fit. It is now policy to inform the relatives of a deceased person if any organs have been retained following a post mortem. At a later stage after the cause of death has been established the Coroner will usually exercise his judicial discretion to return the retained organs to the family.
Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when Dr. Sodhi was employed as resident pathologist at the Royal Victoria Hospital; and how many hearts he retained after post-mortem during that time. 
Mr. Desmond Browne: No record of the employment of Dr. Sodhi nor of any details of organ retention by him/her is available. This may reflect the fact that records of staff employed prior to the 1980s were not retained.
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