Did you mean Edwin roots?
Edwin Poots: I mentioned the two verbal arts programmes, An Turas. Twenty-two programmes were involved, and it would take too long to describe them in detail today. I will write to the Member about the projects that have been involved in the past year.
Edwin Poots: The Member paints a fairly good picture of the Budget outcomes for the Department for Social Development. Does he, therefore, disagree with the previous SDLP speaker, who appeared to attack the outcome of the process and the Minister for Social Development?
Edwin Poots: My responsibility is for Northern Ireland. At present, there is no 50-metre swimming pool in Northern Ireland. The new pool will be the only facility of its type that will be available for the people of Northern Ireland.
Edwin Poots: I fully agree with the Member’s sentiments. I wish to go down that route.
Edwin Poots: When a Member talks about finances and figures, he or she should address their questions to the Minister of Finance and Personnel.
Edwin Poots: I thank the Member for his question and for his lobbying on behalf of Waringstown Cricket Club. We can now award the £40,000 that that club requested in order to proceed with the project that he mentioned, which ties in nicely with what I said about my Department’s support for cricket.
Edwin Poots: The Scottish Arts Council is mirrored by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and, therefore, the responsibility for considering that initiative rests with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. However, I am happy to refer the Member’s query to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland so that it might follow up that matter.
Edwin Poots: Had the Member attended last week’s meeting of the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure he would have heard what I had to say. I refer him to the Hansard record of that meeting, in which I encouraged the Committee to work with me in developing a strategy for indigenous languages.
Edwin Poots: My Department is finalising the terms of reference for commissioning an economic appraisal to assess the viability of establishing some form of navigation authority on Lough Neagh and the rivers Blackwater and Upper Bann.
Edwin Poots: The Titanic Quarter belongs to the Belfast Harbour Commissioners; any plans for the future of the area would in the first instance be a matter for them.
Edwin Poots: Absolutely. In the last round of funding, approximately £450,000 was available to be distributed. Of that sum, only £40,000 was claimed by people from a unionist-identity group. That was clearly dissatisfactory. That issue must be addressed — and I trust it will be — by local authorities when they are allocating funds to the various groups this time around.
Edwin Poots: Sport NI is responsible for the distribution of such funding, significant funds have already been distributed, and the IFA’s recent decision will ensure that that continues to be the case.
Edwin Poots: The Member may not realise it, but the Budget signalled for the first time that that gap was beginning to close. Work is being done on that issue. The gap on spending on the arts in Northern Ireland compared to the rest of the UK is also beginning to close as a consequence of the Budget.
Edwin Poots: I shall visit the Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-operative in the near future to discuss the eel-fishing industry’s needs.
Edwin Poots: Will the Member give way?
Edwin Poots: First, it must be clearly demonstrated whether football fans, or others who were masquerading as people who had attended a football match, were involved in that truly appalling incident. Therefore, it is wholly appropriate that anyone who has any evidence on that matter takes it to the appropriate authority, which is the PSNI.
Edwin Poots: Dog racing is not a recognised sport, and my Department has no statutory responsibility for it. Therefore, there are no plans to develop greyhound racing in Northern Ireland. The allocation of betting levies to the dog racing industry is not a matter for my Department.
Edwin Poots: Excuses, excuses.
Edwin Poots: I was delighted when Donegal Celtic entered the Irish League. The IFA made decisions based on the merit principle. That is a matter for the IFA, which is a self-governing organisation.
Edwin Poots: The Department has received several requests for translations. The Member is correct in asserting that, in the main, requests for translations come from the ethnic minority communities, as opposed to the indigenous language communities.