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Civil Service (Newry And Mourne)

Volume 406: debated on Wednesday 11 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many posts in the Northern Ireland Civil Service have been publicly advertised since 14 October 2002 for which Irish nationals have been ineligible. [110400]

Since 14 October 2002 the Northern Ireland Office has advertised seven competitions publicly and of these Irish nationals have been ineligible for two.Within the Northern Ireland Administration 13 posts were reserved for UK nationals.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he has received external independent legal advice since suspension on the legality of the exclusion of Irish citizens from reserved posts in the Northern Ireland Civil Service. [110401]

Since suspension the Northern Ireland Office has continued to treat publicly advertised vacancies as before. The business area where the vacancy arises makes the decision as to whether a post should be open to Irish citizens or not. This is based on information used by all Departments when deciding if a post is public or non public service. Therefore since suspension there has been no independent legal advice received on the legality of the exclusion of Irish citizens from reserved posts in the Northern Ireland Office.Within the Northern Ireland Administration independent legal advice on the application of nationality restrictions has been sought but not yet received.