Northern Ireland Act 1998: Section 75

House of Lords written question – answered on 24th February 2005.

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Photo of Lord Laird Lord Laird Crossbench

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What progress they have made in the review of Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act concerning the extension of the public bodies designated within the Act's remit to include the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Office of Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, as envisaged in the report of 1 May 2003, Continued Implementation of the Agreement.

Photo of Baroness Amos Baroness Amos President of the Council, Privy Council Office, Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Lords (Privy Council Office)

The two strands of the Joint Declaration commitment referred to in the Question—the review of the Section 75 equality duty and the process of designation—are entirely separate. Professor Eithne McLaughlin and Neil Faris were commissioned to carry out the independent element of a review of the operation of Section 75 and the Government published their report on 9 December 2004. A period of public consultation on the review will commence shortly.

Separately Translink, as an integral part of the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company (NITHCO) was designated by Order in Council in July 2004. The Government have concluded that convincing arguments in favour of the designation of the post of Secretary of State for Northern Ireland or the BBC have not yet been advanced, but it remains open to interested parties' views.

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