The highlight of the week for me has been resettling into my newly appointed roles on the committees of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL), Employment and Learning (DEL) and Standards and Privileges.
The week, as for most Assembly members, begins with their Party group meeting to discuss the week ahead. Monday also saw the motion on Libya being discussed in the Assembly Chamber as proposed by MLA’s Jeffrey Donaldson (Lagan Valley) and Nigel Dodds (North Belfast).
In support of this motion, I felt that it was only fair that victims of the IRA seek compensation from the Libyan government for its role in providing the weapons used to commit murder and create mayhem here in Ulster.
Monday’s can be a long day due to the Assembly sitting – this week the debate finished about 6pm. After that it was off to meet the MP for my area, William McCrea and colleagues to discuss local issues.
Newly appointed to the DCAL committee, I attended a briefing by the Clerk of the Committee to bring me up to speed on this most recent issues brought before the Committee.
Since taking the Department in 2007 the DUP has secured equality of funding for Ulster-Scots. As part of my role in the committee, I hope to push Unionist cultural issues and seeking equality for minorities such as the Chinese, Polish and Eastern European to name a few.
At 4.30pm on Tuesday the DCAL committee held a special meeting with the Minister to be briefed on ‘Digital Britain’. This scheme is related to the ‘rolling-out’ of Digital TV, replacing analogue all over Britain. A scheme is being piloted in other parts of the UK; however Northern Ireland has been left out of the scheme.
On Wednesday at 10 am the DEL committee discussed the apprenticeship scheme among other issues. My first meeting of Standards and Privileges committee was held in the afternoon.
On Thursday morning at 10.30am DCAL met again with UK Playwrights, including Gary Mitchell. The committee discussed the fact that not enough people from NI are being represented in the national theatre scene. Ulster acting and writing talents were not being used or promoted creating a significant absence in the theatre world.
Friday’s for MLA’s are usually reserved for constituency calls – and I did just this from my office based in the heart of his constituency in Antrim.
Trevor Clarke entered the NI Assembly in March 2007 for South Antrim. From Randalstown he was a local businessman before entering front line politics having previously been involved in community groups as well as his local Orange District, where he served as District Master until recently.
He is committed to delivering a fair deal for Unionism and seeks to represent the people of his constituency to the highest possible standard. He has been critical of inefficiencies existing in the PSNI and recently opposed to the scheme to close both Randalstown and Ballyclare Police stations which exist to serve the local community.
He has a website at www.trevorclarke.com