Pig Industry

Part of the debate – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:30 pm on 5th October 1998.

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Photo of Lord John Alderdice Lord John Alderdice Initial Presiding Officer 3:30 pm, 5th October 1998

Three specific questions were put to me in terms of a ruling. There is no technical reason why we should not have a full day’s debate on agriculture. That is a matter for discussion through the usual channels, and I shall certainly ensure that the matter is raised and discussed.

Secondly, I was asked about holding a hearing. As Mr McCartney correctly said, the proper forum would be one of the scrutiny Committees. We do not currently have such a Committee and the tenor of the remarks suggested some urgency, which may mean that the matter ought not to be left to that. However, that leaves us with a technical dilemma as to how it can properly be achieved. I shall explore the various possibilities to see whether agreement can be reached through the usual channels, on how the matter might be addressed.

The third question was about an all-party delegation. That is entirely a matter for the parties. It is not a matter for me, and it should be taken up between the parties at whatever level is deemed to be appropriate.