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Explanatory Memorandum to Agriculture (Northern Ireland) Order 2004

Background and Policy Objectives

3.In 2001 the then Agriculture Minister, Mrs Brid Rodgers MLA, commissioned a review of the arrangements for higher education and research and development in agriculture and food science. The review, under the chairmanship of Professor Daniel O’Hare, concluded in 2002.

4.On 31 March 2003 the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Ian Pearson MP, announced the Government’s decisions on the O’Hare Report to the House of Commons. Key aspects were that a new independent body should be set up to deliver agricultural and related science services, the provision of education by the Department at the School of Agriculture and Food Science (SAFS) should be transferred to a University (Queen’s University Belfast was successful after a competitive selection process), and that the functions of the Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland (ARINI) should be subsumed within that new body.

5.The Order is an important stage in preparing the legal framework that will enable these new structures to be established and allow them to function effectively as a core part of the Department’s ongoing programme for change.

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