HC Deb 20 April 1998 vol 310 cc433-4W
Mr. Maginnis

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, pursuant to her answer of 23 March 1998,Official Report, column 27, under whose authority Mediation Network facilitates links between the RUC and others, (a) nationally and (b) internationally; with what activities relating to the RUC it has been involved; to whom the body is accountable in respect of Government funding received; and what accounts have been published. [37385]

Mr. Ingram

The Mediation Network is an independent association formed to develop alternative, non-violent approaches to conflicts and disputes in different settings in Northern Ireland. It therefore needs no authority other than the agreement of those it works with.

The Mediation Network has already worked with the Royal Ulster Constabulary training branch on the RUC's Community Awareness programme. The current project is intended to develop with the RUC, as service providers, and others ideas for the evolution of policing and community relations in Northern Ireland.

The Mediation Network is accountable to the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council for its financial assistance and the latter is in turn accountable to the Department of Finance and Personnel, by which it is funded under the Community Relations Programme.

The last published accounts for both the Mediation Network and for the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council cover the financial year ending 31 March 1997.

Mr. Maginnis

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, pursuant to her answer of 23 March 1998,Official Report, column 27, what studies have been commissioned by her Department from Mediation Network, and what studies or recommendations have been offered to her Department by Mediation Network, in relation to the future structure or operation of the RUC; and if she will place a copy of such papers in the Library. [37380]

Mr. Ingram

The Northern Ireland Office, through its Statistics and Research Branch, is currently part funding a Mediation Network project entitled 'Policing Our Divided Society'. This particular project was proposed by the Mediation Network in consultation with the RUC, and contributes to the RUC's Policing in Partnership strategy. The Mediation Network approached the Northern Ireland Office, amongst others, to seek funding.

The Mediation Network has identified the aim of the project as 'To Assist the Evolution of Policing and Community Relations in Northern Ireland'. Work will involve discussions with various groups about policing in Northern Ireland including with the Royal Ulster Constabulary, as the service providers.

The Mediation Network will produce a report for the NIO which summarises points of significance emerging from the process. In due course, a summary of the main conclusion will be published.