Assembly Standing Orders

Part of the debate – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 12:30 pm on 9th March 1999.

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Photo of Joe Byrne Joe Byrne Social Democratic and Labour Party 12:30 pm, 9th March 1999

I am grateful for the clarification. This is a good debate about this issue, and I thank Mr Robinson for bringing forward many of these amendments.

This one, however, is in danger of suffering from an acute case of "Committeeitis". My worry is that were we to set up this committee, we could shackle the discharge of duties at the Centre.

The Economic Policy Unit (EPU), which is at the Centre, has no statutory function as laid out in the report of the First and Deputy First Ministers (Designate). Essentially it has a servicing role in relation to its work as part of the Executive Committee. Indeed, the Executive Committee itself will, I am sure, have to carry out a critical examination and formulate an effective role for the EPU once the Executive is up and running.