14 January 2014

Question Time: First Minister and deputy First Minister 13 January 2014

Questions to the Office of First Minister and deputy First Minister covered topics including the recent floods; inward investment from Asia; Freedom of Information, Sexual Orientation Strategy; Energy Efficiency & the Haass Talks. You can find a full list of the questions on our website.


Michael CopelandKieran McCarthy and Sammy Douglas quizzed The First Minister on his assessment of the collaboration between the Executive Departments and their agencies during the recent flood warnings.

The First Minister stated:
The Executive met on Friday 3 January to assess the risk from coastal flooding and agreed that our Departments and agencies would cooperate fully in the emergency response, which was led by the PSNI.  We urged the public not to risk their own safety and to continue to cooperate fully with responders.  The PSNI led the multiagency response, involving 40 organisations, which responded quickly to minimise the risk and impact of the flooding.
In all, some 45,000 sandbags were used to protect homes and key infrastructure.
That highly effective response reflects the level of preparedness that was in place to deal with a whole range of emergencies, including flooding.
George Robinson and Declan McAleer wanted the First Minister to provide an update on any inward investment from Asia resulting from their recent visit to the area.

The First Minister was optimistic and insisted that their efforts during the past year had created a number of potential investment opportunities. The First Minister also revealed that his office is continuing to engage with officials from the Chinese Government on a number of projects, including the opening of an office in Beijing later this year. The First Minister also informed the house of the longstanding and active business relationship Northern Ireland has with Japan.  Major Japanese investors include Fujitsu, Terumo BCT, Japan Tobacco, Ryobi and Canon and collectively they employ some 3,000 people across Northern Ireland.

Danny Kinahan wanted to know how many Freedom of Information requests to the Office of First Minister and deputy First Minister were not answered within the initial 20 working day time limit, in each of the last three years.

The First Minister stated:
Three years ago, 58% of freedom of information requests were answered outside the 20-day time limit. That improved to 56% in 2012 and 35% in 2013.
During Topical Questions, The First Minister responded to questions regarding The Haass Talks; CAP Reform; Victims’ Commissioner; Apologising for the Past; Social Investment Fund; Dickson Plan.

You can read a full transcript of Question Time on our website.