Standards and Privilege

Part of Assembly Standing Orders – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 8:15 pm on 9th March 1999.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Alan McFarland Alan McFarland UUP 8:15 pm, 9th March 1999

It did not seem to be difficult at the time, but it has obviously become a difficulty since. Two parties have indicated that they are going to vote against the Commission’s being proportionate in the same way as the other committees are.

The problem with this — and we are into political reality here in the Assembly — is that the Commission will be making decisions on minor matters such as flags and emblems. It is going to have to decide on whether or not we have simultaneous translation into Irish or Ulster-Scots, or whatever.

A number of things that are extremely political are about to arrive at the Commission’s door, and it may be difficult for Members to believe that these very contentious issues will get a totally impartial hearing. For that reason it was felt that we might boost the Commission up to reflect the party strengths and give a proper political view on how these things should function. The reality is that in Northern Ireland it is not possible to take a Westminster-style and completely neutral view on such matters.