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 Alban Maginness Alban Maginness Social Democratic and Labour Party 4:30 pm, 8th March 1999

I am grateful to the Member for his intervention. The context in which I said that we could go into Wednesday was as a safeguard, increasing the flexibility of sittings. It would not be taken lightly, and it would not automatically follow. It is a safeguard which gives the Assembly extra flexibility to cope with situations that may arise from time to time.

The important thing is for the Assembly to be innovative. The Scottish Parliament will also be addressing the issue of family-friendly hours. We should set an example for other institutions. We should support the present situation and the draft produced by the Standing Orders Committee. If in the future we find that the hours are not working out, we can revisit this, as we can revisit any of the other Standing Orders. For the time being, my party and I believe that we should support this.