“This Action Plan has been compiled on a financial year basis..”

Stop me if/when you notice something odd here.. In the Assembly today, 21st April 2009, the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, announced the publication, on 31st March 2009, of the NI Executive’s response to the Report of the European Commission Task Force for Northern Ireland which was formally presented to the previous First and deputy First Minister in Belfast on 14 April 2008 – The Task Force report is here [pdf file]. That NI Executive reponse is “Priorities for European Engagement – Action Plan 2008-2009“. From page 14 of that Action Plan [pdf file]

This Action Plan has been compiled on a financial year basis, to mainstream our European priorities with other departmental activities. The intention has been to synchronise quarterly monitoring with normal business and Programme for Government reporting cycles. Biannual progress reports will be considered by the Barroso Task Force Working Group.

The Action Plan will roll forward from one financial year to the next. Annual reports on achievements will be compiled at the end of each business year and forwarded to the Executive for consideration, along with a draft plan containing European priorities for the year ahead. OFMDFM Ministers will travel to Brussels in early summer each year to present the European Commission with a list of achievements and seek support for the Executive’s new action plan for the financial year ahead.

The Action Plan does include assessments of whether key targets have been met, up to 31st December 2008.. And the section on Animal Health, and why those key targets have not been met, will be of particular interest to some..

But where’s the draft plan for the next financial year [2009-2010]?

From the NI Assembly record

[The deputy First Minister] “As I said, the Executive have mandated junior Ministers to chair an interdepartmental working group to oversee implementation and provide ongoing strategic leadership. That group will identify a set of key targets for the 2009-2010 financial year that build on progress to date, and the next meeting of the group is scheduled for 30 April.”

And that Action Plan, along with its “key targets”, will be published..?