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Live Reporting

Robin Sheeran

All times stated are UK

  1. Good evening

    Parliament Buildings

    The committee ties up some minor loose ends and Paul Givan draws the meeting to a close.

    They'll have a Q&A session with Justice Minister Naomi Long next Thursday and we'll have live coverage of that.

    We'll be back on Monday with a live plenary session from the assembly chamber.

    In the meantime have a great weekend.

  2. 'Cross border co-operation on modern slavery'

    Patsy McGlone of the SDLP asks about the directorate's responsibilities for modern slavery.

    He says he's a bit concerned that "it appears to be just a Northern Ireland strategy" when the problem is international.

    Julie Wilson

    Departmental official Julie Wilson (above) says they've been working with the health and social care sector to ensure appropriate training has been made available to staff on identifying and supporting victims of modern slavery.

    She says they also work with counterparts in the Republic of Ireland, with policy officials and the organised crime task force.

  3. NI Executive to meet to decide when budget is set

    Jayne McCormack

    BBC News NI political reporter

    Conor Murphy

    The executive will meet on Monday to decide when the next Stormont budget should be set, Finance Minister Conor Murphy has said.

    Departments have been setting out what they need financially to meet existing pressures and new commitments.

    Mr Murphy is due to travel to London for further meetings with Treasury officials next week.

    He said he had no desire to go to Whitehall, but that his job was to "secure as much resource" as he can.

    You can read more about this story here.

  4. 'An end to the societal shrug on attacks'

    The UUP's Doug Beattie asks how the directorate measures success.

    Ms Wilson says there are some measures - such as the level of paramilitary-style attacks and housing intimidation.

    She says there are signs of an end to the "societal shrug" regarding paramilitary-style attacks.

    Paramilitary-style attacks

    Mr Beattie sees a potential contradiction in some of the policies designed to address paramilitarism.

    "We keep linking paramilitaries with organised crime yet we have a paramilitaries task force and we have an organised crime task force," he says.

  5. 'A complex task tackling paramilitarism'

    Time now for a briefing by four officials from the Safer Communities Directorate.

    Julie Harrison (centre right below) outlines her team's responsibilities.

    The witnesses

    Ms Harrison emphasises their responsibilities for the Tackling Paramilitarism Action Plan

    She says that bringing about a community without paramilitarism is "a complex task".

  6. 'The secretary of state and proscribed organisations'

    Committee chair Paul Givan (below) of the DUP opens the meeting to the public.

    They've already had two briefings in private session - including one on a draft UK-wide Coronavirus Bill.

    There's a short follow-up discussion on last week's briefing from the chief constable of the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland), Simon Byrne.

    Paul Givan

    DUP MLA Paul Frew says that Mr Byrne was asked if the Provisional IRA no longer exists.

    The chief constable's reply was: "That is something on which we would rely on the secretary of state for comment."

    The committee agrees to write to the secretary of state to ask how he makes such judgments on proscribed organisations and where he gets his advice from.

  7. Department for the Economy facing £43m of 'inescapable pressures'

    Clodagh Rice

    BBC News NI business correspondent

    Money being passed hand to hand

    The Department for the Economy (DfE) is facing £43m of "inescapable pressures," a committee has heard.

    Officials from the DfE told the Economy Committee that £33m is needed to address salary pressures in the further education sector.

    The remaining £10m is expected to be found from existing EU funding, the committee was told.

    Concerns were also raised about how the rollout of rural broadband, Project Stratum, will be funded.

    You can read more about this story here.

  8. Delay to Justice Committee's public session

    The committee is still in closed session and hasn't yet opened to the public.

    We'll hand you over just as soon as they open the doors.

  9. Irish election: Dáil elects Fianna Faíl TD as speaker

    Seán Ó Fearghaíl

    Fianna Fáil TD Seán Ó Fearghaíl (above) has been returned to his position as ceann comhairle (speaker) of the Dáil (Irish parliament).

    TDs (members of the Irish parliament) elected Mr Ó Fearghaíl in a secret vote on Thursday afternoon.

    The clerk of the Dáil Peter Finnegan said Mr Ó Fearghaíl reached the quota with 130 votes.

    Only one other candidate ran against him - independent TD Denis Naughten, who received 28 votes.

  10. This afternoon's agenda

    Note that the first two briefings are in closed session so we'll be joining the Justice Committee at 15:00.

    Justice Committee
  11. Time for lunch

    Colm Gildernew draws the meeting to a close.

    Time for a break for lunch.

    We'll be back at 15:00 for the weekly meeting of the Justice Committee.

    Join us then if you can.

  12. 'Transformation of the health service'

    Following a short break, three Department of Health Officials begin their briefing on the transformation of the health service.

    They are Sharon Gallagher, Ciara Dolan and Gearoid Cassidy.

    Sharon Gallagher

    Ms Gallagher (above) says there is "a huge and growing challenge" presented by the growth in the ageing population.

    She says that it was this and other issues that led to the publication of the Bengoa Report on the future of health and care services in October 2016.

    It called for a "long-term and sustainable transformation of the health and social care system".

  13. 'Doctors refused leave to get married'

    In reply to a question from the DUP's Pam Cameron, Dr Dorman says it needs to be remembered that GPs' surgeries are small businesses.

    "I my own area we've had two GPs who havent had holidays in two years and thats not sustainable over the long term," he says.

    wide shot of the committee

    UUP MLA Alan Chambers asks about filling the gaps in hospital rotas.

    Dr Black says the Western Trust is spending 25% or more of its staffing costs on locums.

    He says there are doctors applying for a week off to get married and are being refused leave.

  14. 'Need for the second medical school'

    Dr Black warns the members that if the second medical school is not opened in Londonderry it will have serious consequences for the health service.

    He says it will result in "bussing people up to the east of Northern Ireland to see a GP. You'll be seeing a nurse in Fermanagh and then hopefully a GP in Craigavon if you're lucky."

    Doctors in a lecture

    Dr Black notes that 93% of Queen's University Belfast medical students who go on to work in general practice live within 10 miles of Belfast.

    The BMA representative reflects on the pressure on junior doctors.

    "In a members' survey, 40% said they would not recommend Northern Ireland as a place to undertake medical training," he says.

  15. 'Brexit and cross-border health co-operation'

    Colm Gildernew asks about Brexit issues - are there any concerns about the potential effects on cross-border health co-operation?

    "The uncertainty issue is the problem with Brexit - nobody actually knows," says Dr Dorman (below).

    Dr Laurence Dorman

    He says they expect a big rush of concerns coming to the fore in November.

    "What we are keen about is the equivalence recognition of qualifications,"Dr Dorman says, adding that the experience of doctors from the Republic of Ireland is clearly different from those from, say, Australia.

    Dr Black says there are many types of cross-border co-operation, including GP out-of-hours services.

  16. 'Significant pressures and waiting lists'

    Dr Dorman outlines the current situation for doctors in primary care.

    He says GP services are under "significant pressure".

    He identifies three areas for concern:

    • Workload
    • Workforce
    • Workplace
    Dr Tom Black

    Dr Tom Black widens the briefing from a BMA perspective to cover the entire NI health service.

    He addresses the problem of "unnacceptably long waiting lists".

    "We should be able to guarantee a service for all of these patients where time is critical," Dr Back says..

  17. Briefing from the medical profession

    Colm Gildernew

    Committee chair Colm Gildernew of Sinn Féin (above) calls the meeting to order.

    After some committee housekeeping matters the witnesses for the first briefing are introduced.

    They're Dr Tom Black of the British Medical Association and Dr Laurence Dorman of the Royal College of General Practitioners NI.

  18. On this morning's agenda

    Committee agenda
  19. Good morning

    Parliament Buildings

    Welcome to the house on the hill at Stormont for today's live coverage from the Northern Ireland Assembly.

    This morning we have a meeting of the Health Committee from the senate chamber at Parliament buildings - the members will be hearing from the British Medical Association (BMA) and a representative of local GPs.

    This afternoon we'll have our regular Thursday afternoon date with the Justice Committee.

    It all kicks off at 10:30 - do join us if you can.