Assembly Chamber (Sound System)

– in the Northern Ireland Assembly on 15th September 1998.

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Photo of Lord John Alderdice Lord John Alderdice Initial Presiding Officer

At the end of yesterday’s proceedings Mrs Robinson, very helpfully, drew to my attention some problems with the sound amplification in the Strangers’ and Press Galleries and in some parts of the Chamber proper. I have had this matter investigated and it may be that we will need to improve the speaker capacity in the Galleries. As our staff become more familiar with balancing the amplification system, we may be able to overcome some of the other difficulties ourselves.

As far as the Chamber itself is concerned, may I draw the attention of those on the Back Benches to the small recessed speakers, in the carved rail at the top of the Back Benches. For those at the desks, please note the recessed speakers there. Yesterday, some of the staff noticed that Members’ notes were obstructing the desk speakers, and that is why there was difficulty hearing from them. That also reduced the amount of amplification in the Chamber as a whole. Our staff will try to improve the balancing, but if Members are unable to hear clearly, they should check that their papers are not obstructing the speakers and then incline their ears towards them — either on the Back Benches or at the desks. I hope we can overcome this problem.

I am grateful to Mrs Robinson for drawing this matter to my attention. If there are any other teething troubles either inside or outside the Chamber, I would be very grateful if Members would draw them to my attention as well.

Motion made:

That this Assembly do now adjourn to a date and place to be determined by the Secretary of State. — [The Initial Presiding Officer]