Page last updated at 16:40 GMT, Wednesday, 8 December 2010

OFMDFM Committee

The meeting of the OFMDFM Comittee was cut short as two MLAs were unable to make it to Stormont due to the wintry weather, on 8 December 2012.

The DUP's Jonathan Bell and Sinn Féin's Francie Molloy were due to give evidence to the committee on European matters. They are both members of the EU Committee of the Regions.

The OFMDFM Committee discussed the Armed Forces and Veterans Bill.

This is a private member's bill sponsored the UUP's David McNarry, which aims to make greater provision for the support of the armed forces and their families.

The committee agreed to invite representatives from ABF the Soldiers Charity, the UDR Benevolent Fund, the British Legion and the Equality Commission to give evidence on the bill.

The committee decided to go ahead with a research briefing on the bill.

The assembly researcher was not due to give his briefing until the following week but happened to be in the room.

The clerk advised the committee that it was possible to continue with the briefing as it did not have to be classed as evidence and would not have to be recorded by Hansard.

The Alliance Party's Stephen Farry said he would be prepared to speculate that some members not present would be extremely unhappy. He said, "we'll go for it then and take it on the chin".

There were no members of Sinn Fein or the SDLP present at the meeting.

Michael Potter from Assembly Research Services ran through the main points of the bill.

He said there was no equivalent legislation in other devolved regions of the UK. There were armed forces advocates in the Scottish parliament and the Welsh Assembly.

The researcher added that the Ministry of Defence had commented on proposals for veterans' legislation and concluded it would be heavy-handed and probably unnecessary.

The Scottish Parliament had debated a proposal for a Scottish veterans charter, he said.

OFMDFM committee membership


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