Executive Office in Brussels (Cost)

Oral Answers to Questions — Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 30th April 2001.

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Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP 2:30 pm, 30th April 2001

2. asked the Office of the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister to detail the final cost of setting up the Executive office in Brussels.

(AQO 1333/00)

Photo of Rt Hon David Trimble Rt Hon David Trimble First Minister of Northern Ireland, Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party

The current estimate is £299,000. The final cost will depend on exchange rates at the time when payment is made. The work of fitting out the office should be completed by the end of May.

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

What was the initial estimated cost for this job, and what process was undertaken to obtain prices for the work? What is the difference between the initial and the current estimates?

Photo of Rt Hon David Trimble Rt Hon David Trimble First Minister of Northern Ireland, Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party

The initial estimate was not a fully worked out costing. The present costing reflects the price of converting open-floor space into office accommodation. The original estimate was much lower than the present one. I regret that I do not have the relevant figure before me at the moment, but I shall inform the Member in writing.

Photo of Joe Byrne Joe Byrne Social Democratic and Labour Party

Although the Executive Office in Brussels will represent the Executive as a whole, does the First Minister accept that key sectors such as finance, agriculture and industry need to develop specific issues with the European institutions? How will these interests be catered for?

Photo of Rt Hon David Trimble Rt Hon David Trimble First Minister of Northern Ireland, Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party

We have established an interdepartmental group chaired by the junior Ministers whose function it is in the first instance to consider the priorities of the Office. In that way we hope to ensure that the Office will reflect the interests of the Administration across all the Departments.