Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Justice what discussions she has had with the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs on the development of a banned animal cruelty offenders register.
Minister of Justice: Policy responsibility for the welfare of animals sits with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).
Any decision to develop a register of those convicted of animal welfare offences under the Welfare of Animals (Northern Ireland) Act 2011 for the purposes of improving animal welfare would be a policy matter for that Department.
The implementation of any such register is, therefore, also the responsibility of DAERA.
I am keen to support measures to ensure that those banned from keeping animals cannot continue to do so unlawfully and, to that end, I met with Minister Poots last year regarding his plans for the introduction of an animal cruelty register.
Department of Justice officials have also engaged with their DAERA counterparts on a number of occasions to assist with the identification of the key issues that DAERA officials would need to consider and address as part of this exercise.
While I have not had any discussions with Minister Poots during this mandate, I understand that he has decided not to proceed with the establishment of a register.
I also understand that you, along with a number of other Assembly Members, have asked a number of follow up questions of Minister Poots in terms of this decision.
I do not believe I have anything to add at this time.