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The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): Departments do not clear job applications for either Waterways Ireland or the Ulster-Scots Agency. Indeed, such involvement in the recruitment process would be unethical.
Baroness Amos: The normal budget process for the Ulster-Scots Agency is as set out in the North/South Language Body's financial memorandum. This process was not followed to the letter because the agency's business plan for 2003 was only received by the sponsor departments for comment on 13 November 2002 and the processes set out in the financial memorandum were based on the assumption that the agency would bring forward its business plan to the North/South Ministerial Council, in consultation with sponsor departments and finance departments in July-August 2002.
Baroness Amos: There are approximately 2,500 car parking spaces within the Stormont Estate. Around 400 of these are adjacent to Parliament Buildings and are for the use of Assembly members, staff and visitors. The remaining 2,100 are used by civil servants working on the estate, together with visitors and contractors. This total includes spaces designated for use by people with disabilities and for visitors. No extra spaces have been created since 1995 apart from 25 temporary spaces provided recently. Work commenced late September 2003 to upgrade a redundant builder's compound to provide an additional 70 parking spaces. Any further development for parking will be dependent upon the implementation plan stemming from the NI Civil Service accommodation review.
Baroness Amos: An environmental improvement scheme covering the area from the Albertbridge Road junction to the Holywood Road junction in East Belfast was funded through the Belfast Regeneration Office Action Plan in 200001. Funding for this scheme ceased in March 2001 and Her Majesty's Government are not aware of any environmental improvement schemes ongoing in the Albertbridge Road/Holywood Road area.
Baroness Amos: The Answer given to the noble Lord on 13 October 2003 (WA 95), contained figures for applications for judicial review in Northern Ireland only, and so the comparative analysis which the noble Lord makes is therefore not valid.
Baroness Amos: The incorrectly titled paper, which related to staff remuneration of the Language Implementation Body, was an agreed paper presented by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in Northern Ireland and by the Department of Community, Gaeltacht and Rural Affairs in the Republic of Ireland.
Baroness Amos: No inter-governmental discussions have taken place about banning smoking in Northern Ireland although officials discuss areas of mutual interest, including tobacco control measures, through existing North/South channels. The Government have no plans to legislate in this area at present.
Baroness Amos: It is the responsibility of Tourism Ireland, working closely with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB), to promote Northern Ireland internationally. The Natural Resource Rural Tourism Initiative (NRRTi) is specifically aimed at enhancing Northern Ireland as a unique and attractive destination and does not have an international marketing role.
Tourism Ireland recognises the significance of the "Scots Irish" heritage in securing future tourism growth to the island of Ireland. In support of this, areas of the United States with significant Scots Irish populations have been identified and an advertising campaign is being targeted at these.
Further phases of the marketing campaign will collect relevant information and target respondents through direct mail. Tour operators will also be identified to create tailor-made packages aimed at the Scots Irish population in the United States.
Baroness Amos: The budget for the North/South Ministerial Council is not subject to agreement under the arrangements contained in the exchange notes between the two Governments dated 19 November 2002. Budgets for North/South implementation bodies are subject to these arrangements. The arrangements contained in the exchange notes between the two Governments do not require proportionality to be discussed.
Baroness Amos: The extra annual costs are estimated at £9 million for 200304, £10.5 million for 200405, and £15.6 million for 200506. A pilot project for the new service will commence on 1 December 2003. Until the pilot has been fully evaluated it is not possible to predict the savings that will be made by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, but removing the police from a prosecuting role will allow them to focus even greater effort on the investigation and detection of crime.
Baroness Amos: The Warrington Project (NI) was developed as a pilot project and funded from April 1998 to August 2001 through the EU Physical and Social Environment Programme (PSEP II) supported by the Department of Education in Northern Ireland. This source of funding is no longer available.
The Department of Education through its Community Relations Core Funding Scheme supports voluntary organisations, based in Northern Ireland, which are working towards the improvement of community relations among young people from different communities in Northern Ireland. Proposals designed to improve relations on a cross-border or inter-island basis will also be considered for funding, provided that they have a direct impact on community relations in Northern Ireland.
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