25 November 2014

Question Time - Agriculture Monday 24 November 2014


Agriculture minister Michelle O'Neill answered questions on a range of matters, including agrifood exports to China, single farm payments and the transfer of her department's headquarters to Ballykelly in County Londonderry.

Ballykelly

Gregory Campbell asked the Minister what private sector industries in, or related to, agriculture or rural development are being sought to complement the move of her departmental headquarters to Ballykelly. The Minister stated that " I can advise the Member that, as a result of the soft market testing exercise on the Shackleton site by the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister earlier this year, over 40 expressions of interest were received, principally from the private sector, although there was also partnership and public sector interest. OFMdFM is giving consideration to uses from the wider Shackleton site as part of the plans to develop it".

Department's Budget 2015-16

The Minister was also asked how she intends to deliver savings in her Department's budget in 2015-16 by Mike Nesbitt. The minister said  that her officials will be in discussing all of her Departments Budget 2015-16 proposals, including savings, at the Agriculture Committee meeting this week. She said she will aim to publish DARD's draft budget consultation document on the website on Wednesday.

During the 15 minutes of Topical Questions to the Minister she was asked questions on Fishing Quotas in Ardglass and Kilkeel, Avian Flu, Single Farm Payments and the River Agency Flooding Resources.