Operations of the Assembly

Part of Assembly Standing Orders – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 4:30 pm on 8th March 1999.

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Photo of Mr Duncan Dalton Mr Duncan Dalton UUP 4:30 pm, 8th March 1999

I agree that children are indeed a responsibility and one that every person should think carefully about before taking on. But that does not detract from the point I am making that, in taking up a position in public life, a person is accepting additional responsibilities that will have an impact upon his family and domestic circumstances.

I welcome amendment 27. It is quite clear from the comments of Mr Dodds that this was raised in the Committee. Clearly Adjournment debates in this place have been relatively ineffective — one speaks into thin air or gets one’s press release into the local papers. For an Adjournment debate to be worthwhile, the appropriate Minister must be present in the Chamber.

Members, especially Back-Bench Members who will not always get the chance to address their concerns to the appropriate Minister, can direct those concerns to the Minister responsible and ask for a reply. That is extremely important for those Members who have vital, pressing constituency concerns or other concerns that they have specialist knowledge in. I do welcome that particular amendment from Mr P Robinson.

Most of the other amendments seem to be corrections of various mistakes or grammatical errors that the Committee has made. It is unfortunate that Mr P Robinson was not on the Committee and could have pointed those out as we went along. We live and learn.