Edwin Poots: The Minister said earlier that the European Union had banned the livestock marts from carrying out their business. Has the Minister contacted the European Union to ask it to support consequential compensation for the livestock marts?
Edwin Poots: This is an issue of great concern. Many people would say that tourism in my constituency of Lagan Valley has not been badly affected, but that is not the case. Lagan Valley has the largest horse-racing festival in Northern Ireland; the second largest motorcycle race — the Ulster Grand Prix; the largest cinema complex; and the top leisure swimming pool complex in the United Kingdom. Last...
Edwin Poots: On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. It is clear that farmers are in a position of hardship and are experiencing problems because individuals broke the law. There are prosecutions in place—[Interruption]
Edwin Poots: 6. asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment to give his assessment of the impact of foot-and-mouth disease on the tourist industry. (AQO 1380/00)
Edwin Poots: This is not the first time that the Minister has ruled out consequential compensation to the tourist industry. He has mentioned that there is a £1 million package available for those in the tourism industry. What innovative ideas are actually coming from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board as to how this money should be best distributed to increase the number of tourists visiting the Province?
Edwin Poots: 7. asked the Minister for Social Development to detail the current waiting time for occupational therapy reports for those needing adaptations carried out to their homes. (AQO 1382/00)
Edwin Poots: How does this compare to previous years? We as elected representatives often have to face people with serious illnesses who come to us complaining that they cannot get adaptions carried out in a reasonable time. How can this list be reduced further so that people will not have to wait so long for necessary adaptions?
Edwin Poots: 6. asked the Office of the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister what consultation it has had with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission on the issue of human rights violations by paramilitary organisations. (AQO 1433/00)
Edwin Poots: That is quite an astonishing answer, given the debate that took place in the Chamber, and given the Knox report, which referred to the see-no-evil-hear-no-evil attitude to punishment beatings carried out by paramilitary organisations. This has been particularly evident in the past three weeks when the IRA carried out two murders. The First Minister and the Deputy First Minister still sit in...
Edwin Poots: 4. asked the Minister for Regional Development to detail the cost to public transport of hoax bomb warnings and terrorist attacks. (AQO 1431/00)
Edwin Poots: Does that figure include the cost of the petrol bomb attacks on buses throughout Belfast and other areas of the Province? What could have been provided by the Department for Regional Development if that extra money were available rather than it’s being used up paying for hoax bombs?
Edwin Poots: 6. asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to detail (a) the waiting time for cardiac surgery in October 2000, and (b) the current waiting time. (AQO 1498/00)
Edwin Poots: Those are quite alarming figures. Many of the 160 people who have been waiting more than 12 months for cardiac surgery are dying because of the delay. We hear that targets for reduction are being set. How are those targets going to be achieved? How can the Minister demonstrate that those targets can be achieved under the current Administration?
Edwin Poots: Does the Minister accept that he has made a very unfair ruling, as Orange Halls are essentially cultural halls? GAA halls are used for sporting purposes, and he finds it completely reasonable to derate those, yet he asks that Orange Halls prove that they are being used to set up children’s groups, youth clubs, youth meetings, and so on, before they can be derated. Those responsible for the...
Edwin Poots: 5. asked the Office of the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister how many members of the Community Relations Council represent church organisations other than the four main churches. (AQO 1542/00)
Edwin Poots: Now is an opportune time to look at this, as I understand that there are eight new appointees to the Community Relations Council. There is a perception in the community that only liberals are appointed to the Community Relations Council. When will we have people who represent the diversity of opinion in Northern Ireland, rather than a group of middle-class liberals pontificating about what...
Edwin Poots: 3. asked the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure whether he intends to continue grant aiding the Gaelic Athletic Association while it retains rule 21. (AQO 1543/00)
Edwin Poots: Is it not the case that there are thousands of young people participating in sports who are being discriminated against through lack of funding for their sports? The Taylor report’s recommendations for safety in soccer stadiums, for example, have not been implemented in Northern Ireland, yet we have a sport being funded that excludes people. Other inclusive sports are being excluded. Surely...
Edwin Poots: 4. asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development to confirm whether pig farmers, who were refused assistance under the pig outgoers scheme, will have their professional fees reimbursed. (AQO 1544/00)
Edwin Poots: I am very disappointed by that response. Around 80 farmers missed out on the pig outgoers scheme, and most of those had had to pay approximately £350 plus VAT to make those applications. That is a relatively small figure for the Department to find, yet it would help alleviate the losses incurred by those who did not gain support under the pig outgoers scheme. I appeal to the Minister to...