Page last updated at 16:04 GMT, Wednesday, 9 December 2009

OFMDFM committee

The Committee for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) heard evidence from the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council (NICRC) on their annual report on 9 December 2009.

The council promotes equality and good community relations. Chief Executive Duncan Morrow and Chair Tony McCusker presented evidence to the committee.

Mr Morrow said the first audit of the NICRC had found that the council fulfilled government expectations, but he said the lack of agreement at executive level on a policy for a shared future, and the void in the area of policy for victims, made the work of the council more difficult.

In relation to victims' schemes operated by the council, Mr Morrow told the committee: "I should point out, that at this moment, we have no indication of what the transitional arrangements are, that unless we get indications of what the transitional arrangements are, we will have to issue protective notice to our staff in relation to the next three months, starting at the beginning of January.

"So we will have to indicate to the groups that the scheme is simply winding up because there are no transitional arrangements announced."

Jim Shannon and Jimmy Spratt of the DUP criticised the report, saying that it did not give enough praise to the work of politicians in promoting good community relations, while the Alliance Party's Naomi Long said the report was sobering and pointed out the work that remained to be done.

The committee agreed to follow up the issue of transitional funding for NICRC.

OFMDFM committee membership

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