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Assembly Speech- Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy 2/3/2009

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Mr Speaker / Deputy Speaker

I rise today to support the motion brought forward by the Chair of the Social Development Committee.

The Neighbourhood Renewal programme was warmly welcomed in East Belfast as it offered a coherent way of addressing problems facing the most disadvantaged communities. 

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Assembly Speech- Small And Medium Sized Enterprises 24/2/2009

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Mr Speaker / Deputy Speaker

This is an important matter and in these difficult days it is right that economy is being discussed.

It is a serious matter, not to be toyed with and should not be placed on the agenda today as a political strategy or to become a political football.

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Assembly Speech- Role And Potential Of Credit Unions In Northern Ireland 17/2/2009

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Mr Speaker / Deputy Speaker

Context in which we are discussing this report:

A. A major downturn in the economy with unemployment rising and closures of household name companies commonplace.

B. The situation that has arisen with the Presbyterian Mutual Society, an unregulated organisation that leaves many investors facing extreme difficulties.  They may wish that PMS had considered regulation as the organisation became more sophisticated in its approach.

C. On a more positive note a desire from the Credit Union movement to play an increasingly positive role through increased services to their members.

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Assembly Speech- Spring Estimates 16/2/2009

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Mr Speaker / Deputy Speaker

I am pleased as the Deputy Chair of the Employment and Learning Committee to speak in this Supply Resolution Debate and participate in the overall discussion.

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Assembly Speech- Animal Welfare 26/1/2009

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Mr Speaker/ Deputy Speaker

I welcome this debate and thank Mr Elliot, Mr McCallister and Mr Savage for sponsoring the debate.
I am going to come from a different perspective than previous speakers. I would like to make three points to remind members of past abuses of animals.

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Assembly Speech- Take Note Debate On Economic Downturn 15/12/2008

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Today is a good day for devolution in Northern Ireland.  The Executive has been responsive to needs right across the entire community and in line with the statements from the energy companies today on the reduction of energy costs and the fuel poverty issues that the Assembly has addressed.
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Assembly Speech- Economic Downturn Motion 8/12/2008

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Mr Speaker / Deputy Speaker

I welcome this motion today because it gives us all the opportunity to put on record our recognition and concern for the business community in Northern Ireland during these difficult times.

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Assembly Speech- East Belfast Primary School Education 1/12/08

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Mr Speaker / Deputy Speaker
• Don’t think I will say anything the Minister hasn’t heard before
• Don’t think that East Belfast problems are unique

In this debate I would like to address the following issues –
• Funding issues
• Parental involvement in education
• Primary education strategy in East Belfast.

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Assembly Speech- NEET Debate 18/11/2008

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Mr Speaker

The motion today is timely and also of the utmost importance in today’s current economic climate.  As I have stated many times before in this House, Northern Ireland had one of the best skilled workforce’s in the world.  It was a major reason for investment in the province.  And it is only through the training and education of our young people that a skilled workforce will be created.

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Conference Speech 2008

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Ladies and Gentlemen

Economic prosperity is an essential for a real and sustainable peace in Northern Ireland.  Successful western economies are underpinned by a working age population with skills and knowledge at all levels of attainment.

In Northern Ireland we once had a vocational training and skills programme that was the envy of Europe.  Statutory training boards covered all major sectors of industry and Government Training Centres (GTCs) provided excellence in training for apprenticeship skills.  This successful training system was demolished and replaced by voluntary arrangements.

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