HL Deb 21 October 2004 vol 665 cc94-5WA
Lord Laird

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord President on 7 July (WA 79), on what dates discussions took place between officials of the Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and the Ulster-Scots Agency concerning the agency's budget; who attended those discussions; and whether minutes were taken. [HL3732]

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos)

The dates on which meetings took place between officials of DCAL and the Ulster-Scots Agency on the 2004 budget for the Agency were: 3 October 2003, 17 October 2003, 30 October 2003 and 6 November 2003.

There are paper records relating to all of these meetings. Under Part 2, paragraph 2 (internal discussion and advice) of the code of practice on access to government information, it would be inappropriate to provide minutes of these meetings.

There was a mistake in the Written Answer on 7 July 2004 (WA 79). While DCAL officials attended the five meetings mentioned, Ulster-Scots Agency officials were present at only four of those meetings.

Furthermore due to an administrative error the answer given on 22 June 2004 (WA 113) was incomplete. The answer should have read as follows:

  • "As a result of a typographical error the answer given on 22 April 2004 (WA 55), incorrectly stated that a Meeting took place on 2 October 2003 rather than 3 October 2003. The Meeting on 3 October 2003 was also omitted from my answer given to the noble Lord on 22 March 2004. (WA 73).
  • The meeting on 3 October 2003 was held in the offices of DCRGA in Dublin and involved officials from DCAL, DCRGA, the Irish Language Agency and the Ulster-Scots Agency.
  • I should also clarify that the meeting on 18 September 2003, as included in the answer given on 22 April 2004 (WA 55) was held at DCAL and solely involved officials from the WA 95 two sponsor departments, DCAL and the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (DCRGA). Irish Language Agency officials were not present at that Meeting.
  • In relation to providing copies of the minutes of these meetings I refer the noble Lord to the answer given on 23 April 2004 (WA 63)."

Additionally the Answers given on 12 July 2004 (WA 115) and 22 July 2004 (WA 64) referred to this incomplete answer and all references to the answers given on 22 March 2004 (WA 73) and 22 June 2004 (WA 113) should now refer to the wording above. I apologise for these errors. I understand that the Minister with responsibility for Culture, Arts and Leisure is writing separately to the noble Lord apologising for these errors.