Did you mean Edwin roots?
Edwin Poots: In the past few days, one council that did need it has decided that its chief executive is not being paid enough in this financial year. It has increased the chief executive’s wage to over £100,000 a year. That is a rise of over £10,000. It does not seem as if there are starving councils out there, when you see examples of that type of behaviour.
Edwin Poots: I have made that clear during a number of interviews and in my statement today, but I will reiterate it for the benefit of the Member. That will form part of the historical inquiry established by OFMDFM. We will submit all the information that we have to assist OFMDFM in identifying the issues, and we will fully co-operate with that Department on the issue.
Edwin Poots: I thank the Member for giving way. Just to clarify, there is no evidence that there is a higher prevalence of cancers in South Down, North Down or Strangford than in any other part of the world. You are safe to live in those areas. I also want to clarify that the radiotherapy unit at Altnagelvin Hospital is on target. There has been no slippage.
Edwin Poots: It was not raised at the meeting, but the Member has raised a very important issue. We know that there are large trawlers with multiple nets, which harvest large quantities of fish. A lot of those emanate from France and Spain. Of course, they will not be in our waters if we have the right conclusion to the negotiations that are taking place this week.
Edwin Poots: There are some nine different pieces of plastic involved. It is our intention to roll things out considerably further and to increase the plastic bag levy, which we are doing currently. We recognise the damage that plastic does and the fact that much unrequired plastic has been used in the past. We therefore want to screen out single-use plastics from Departments and, indeed, beyond.
Edwin Poots: Obviously, we did not have time to introduce a bespoke agriculture Bill in this mandate, but it will be for a future mandate and Minister to make that decision. Obviously, the future agriculture policies for support measures that we have proposed are very much bespoke. Leaving the European Union has given us the opportunity to have a much more flexible and nimble approach to that.
Edwin Poots: I met the PSNI recently to discuss that issue. Some 73% of road deaths happen in the south and the west of the Province, so there is clearly a major issue in those areas. I would like to see a greater concentration of police resources in those areas to clamp down on speeding and drink-driving and to target those areas where most road deaths occur.
Edwin Poots: We have an equality team in the Department that works very closely with the Equality Commission and which regularly takes advice from it. When we engage in things such as this, we ensure that we stay within the legal parameters by carrying out everything in a way that complies with section 75 and, indeed, with other laws through consultation. That is what we will always do.
Edwin Poots: Does the Minister accept that the spectacular overreaction yesterday — when pork was taken off the shelves even though no pigs had consumed contaminated material — has not engendered consumer confidence but has caused a crisis in consumer confidence, which is spreading to the meat and milk industries? The sooner that Mr McGimpsey and the FSA take actions that engender consumer confidence,...
Edwin Poots: The member has raised two issues. First, if there is substantiated evidence that the fly-tipping is emanating from the Republic of Ireland, that waste will be repatriated to the Republic of Ireland, which will be expected to bear the costs of disposing of that waste. Secondly, the interconnector is an energy matter. Therefore, the environment sector is not the appropriate sector to deal with that.
Edwin Poots: We want to inform the future planning, development and delivery of HSC services. We also want to drive up the quality of care for clients and patients, improve outcomes, enhance the experiences of patients and clients and deliver efficient and cost-effective services. That is absolutely essential if we are to retain the model of health being free at the point of need in Northern Ireland.
Edwin Poots: I am aware of the comments made locally by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), which draw on the data that the RCN used in its national survey, ‘Frontline First’. I will be meeting the RCN in the near future to discuss a range of issues. What we both share is a desire to ensure that patients and clients have access to safe and effective services.
Edwin Poots: The main way of accessing acute hospital services is through a GP or a GP out-of-hours referral, an emergency department or by admission through an outpatient clinic. Dentists and opticians may refer patients to consultant-led dental services and ophthalmology services. Health and social care trusts have individual local arrangements for direct access to certain acute services by patients...
Edwin Poots: I had some difficulty hearing the Deputy First Minister’s reply to Mr McGrady. I had intended to pursue the question of the Robson indices further. If one must wait until the year 2001 for the census, one needs some system to analyse deprivation now as opposed to waiting until then to draw up plans on the basis of the census figures, since current figures are already obsolete.
Edwin Poots: When this Parliament was originally opened, the wood in this Chamber came from Australia; the wood in the Senate Chamber came from South Africa, and the ebony pillars came from India. We have many close links with our Commonwealth partners that I would like to see continue. Who knows, maybe by the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the Republic of Ireland might even be participating as a Commonwealth...
Edwin Poots: Does the Minister recognise that the current rules governing the sheep meat regime actually work against farmers in Northern Ireland? The sheep annual premium is calculated on a European-wide basis, as opposed to a regional basis, and consequently farmers are losing £7 to £8 per head. Does she intend to support the Irish Government, who have already asked that the rules in the EU regime...
Edwin Poots: Revised PPS 4 will help to achieve a modern vibrant economy, provide certainty and give clarity to businesses, and that should result in faster and better planning decisions. PPS 4 provides up-to-date policy to meet the needs of a modern economy, including IT and research and development. It also includes regional policy for offices, storage and distribution and provides flexibility for...
Edwin Poots: As I said, most war memorials are well preserved and looked after. We can look at the issue and have an open mind on how those pieces of our history are properly and adequately protected and cared for. The Department will be happy to work with Members if they bring forward proposals for looking at those and ensuring that there is proper and adequate protection for them.
Edwin Poots: The two most recent years for which completed funding information is available are 2010-11, in which there was no independent sector provision for neurological services, and 2011-12, in which 2,548 new outpatients were referred to the independent sector at a cost of £1·33 million. A further £1·4 million has been made available to refer an estimated 2,874 new outpatients to the...
Edwin Poots: Once outside the European Union, we will have considerable scope. We are in discussions on state aid to maximise the money that we can have for agriculture and fisheries. State aid for fisheries is still being extensively debated. I hope that we will get an outcome that ensures that we can provide good support to fisheries and enable those local groups to provide support to the industry.