Northern Ireland Budget Bill

Part of Miscellaneous – in the House of Commons at 8:18 pm on 13th November 2017.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 8:18 pm, 13th November 2017

It is a pleasure to speak in this debate. The Secretary of State is not currently here, but I thank him and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for their hard work in bringing forward this legislation; we appreciate their efforts. Let me make it quite clear that this situation is not what I wanted, this is not what the DUP wanted, and this is not what the people of Northern Ireland wanted when they cast their votes for the second time in a year. The only people who want this stalemate and who should be here speaking about the situation that they have caused are those in Sinn Féin, but they are not here—although they might be found skulking in the corridors, hiding from people while supposedly earning their money. They refuse to do what they are elected to do both in this place and in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

For that reason, we are here in an impossible situation, and my heart rails against the injustice of the predicament that my constituents and the people of the Province have been strong-armed into by those who are not fit for purpose—those who are elected to represent and will not do so. I wonder how our schools would be if a teacher applied for a job, was granted the position, took the money and then proceeded to refuse to teach because they wanted the summer holiday to start in November and Christmas to be moved to July. Our education system would be in tatters, and that is a fact. The problem is that, due to the reticence of Sinn Féin to do their job over unmet, outrageous and unworkable demands, our education system will be in tatters.

The Killyleagh outdoor centre is in my constituency, and I have met the education authority to press for the centre to be retained. That will happen, but it will happen because of an arrangement with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council. There is the new building at Glastry College in my constituency, too. We are waiting on both those projects to happen.

I am my party’s health spokesperson in this place, and I have had an opportunity to meet some of the guys back home. We have longer waiting lists in almost every department because the moneys are not there to get them moving. People have come to me who have been waiting on a list for orthopaedics for three years and cannot get their operation or their examination. There is something wrong.

The issue of insulin pumps was in the press last week, and the pumps are sitting in cupboards up at the Ulster Hospital and the Royal Victoria Hospital and cannot be used. We have to ask ourselves what is happening. This week we have had the story that Bupa has moved out of Northern Ireland because it can no longer work with the NHS and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety. Those are just some examples. There is also infrastructure, the economy and every other Department.