Séan Neeson: I welcome the fact that the Assembly has completed its four-year mandate for the first time since its establishment in 1998. My main priority, as former leader of the Alliance Party and an Assembly Member, was to protect the Good Friday Agreement and latterly the St Andrews Agreement. It has also been a priority for the Alliance Party that devolution in Northern Ireland must be based on power...
Séan Neeson: 10. asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development to outline the action she is taking to develop agritourism. (AQO 1291/11)
Séan Neeson: The Minister will be delighted to hear that I have just left my farewell lunch to be here to ask my question. [Laughter.] To what extent does her Department work with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board to promote agritourism in Northern Ireland?
Séan Neeson: In view of the fact that extra funding has been made available to DRD, does the Minister agree that the A2 scheme, which has been shelved, should go ahead as planned?
Séan Neeson: The Minister referred to the importance of 2012-13. I remind her that, in 2013, the World Police and Fire Games will be held in Northern Ireland. The Minister knows about my interest in maritime heritage. I remind her that we have the Titanic anniversary and that work has already started on the restoration of the SS Nomadic. What effort is being made to promote the SS Nomadic as part of the...
Séan Neeson: We hope that the A5 and A8 schemes will go ahead. However, surely a public inquiry into the A5 will free up funds. Will the Minister not reconsider his decision to put back the improvement of the A2, bearing in mind that I was reliably informed that the A2 was included in his Department’s original budget proposals?
Séan Neeson: We have been waiting for 30 years.
Séan Neeson: Will the Member give way?
Séan Neeson: Does my honourable friend share my concerns that the money that was supposed to be set aside for improvements to the A2 does not seem to be there and that, once again, the scheme has been put back by the Minister for Regional Development?
Séan Neeson: Last week in Committee, departmental officials dealt with Budget issues. Will the Minister accept that members of the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment are still very much committed to a reduction in corporation tax? Will she support the Committee on that issue?
Séan Neeson: 2. asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development what progress her Department has made in promoting rural tourism. (AQO 691/11)
Séan Neeson: I am sure that there are many picture postcard scenes throughout rural parts of County Fermanagh today. To what extent does the Department work with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) and Tourism Ireland on the development of rural tourism?
Séan Neeson: As the Minister knows, I had very good treatment at Antrim Area Hospital as a patient during the summer. Does he agree that for people who do not have their own transport, public transport facilities to and from the hospital are lacking?
Séan Neeson: Mr Deputy Speaker, I thought that my question for oral answer (AQO 674/11) would have been taken along with this question, but I am pleased to be called. To what extent will the present economic climate be considered in the development of the strategy?
Séan Neeson: I thank the Minister for his commitment. I declare the same interest as David Hilditch. Is the Minister aware of Carrickfergus Borough Council’s commitment to the major scheme in Marine Gardens? Secondly, given the streetscape and the relevance of Roads Service, has the Minister had any discussions with the Minister for Regional Development?
Séan Neeson: I welcome the opportunity to debate the strategic energy framework. Energy has always been one of the big interests of the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment. In fact, in the first tranche of devolution, I remember the Committee embarking on an inquiry into energy in Northern Ireland. We anticipated that it would last about six weeks. In fact, it lasted for eight months. I am...
Séan Neeson: Therefore, Mr Deputy Speaker, I welcome the report, and although five minutes is too short a time in which to speak about it, I can say that it represents progress.
Séan Neeson: I was absolutely astounded to learn that the Member had tabled this motion. I know that he is not trying to dictate to the Assembly Commission, but I remind him that, in fact, he does not have the power to do so, thank God. Nevertheless, I will support his motion. The Assembly Commission is well aware of its responsibilities to Members and staff. We are well aware of the impact and...
Séan Neeson: One of the best local museums in Northern Ireland is in Carrickfergus, and the Minister is very welcome to come to visit it.
Séan Neeson: Will the Minister’s Department include the development of maritime heritage as part of its museums strategy?