Operations of the Assembly

Part of Assembly Standing Orders – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:45 pm on 8th March 1999.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Rt Hon David Trimble Rt Hon David Trimble First Minister of Northern Ireland, Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party 3:45 pm, 8th March 1999

I was making a very simple point which I thought Mrs Bell would understand. Young children need parental care in the mornings and afternoons rather than the evenings. With older children, of course, parental care is demonstrated in other ways.

I return to the primary point that I made earlier. Work has to be done outside this Chamber, and the sittings of this Chamber have to be organised with that in mind. That is why similar bodies have tended towards sitting in the afternoons and evenings. The pattern of sitting from 10.30am to 6.00pm has not been a problem with the Assembly only sitting intermittently, but it will be a problem in the future when the Assembly will be sitting on a regular basis. In time those who do not see substance of my present argument will come to appreciate that this is a matter that we will have to return to.

I wanted to make that argument and to share with Members some of the reasons why experience has led other bodies to sit at the times they do. Experience will also have an impact on what we do in the future. However, I shall not be pressing these amendments to a Division. From my soundings, I have already gathered that the House would be against them.