Assembly: Conflicting Ministerial Replies

– in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 12:00 am on 20th November 2000.

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Photo of Mr Eamonn ONeill Mr Eamonn ONeill Social Democratic and Labour Party 12:00 am, 20th November 2000

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. On 2 October 2000 I raised with you my concerns about how I, as a public representative, could proceed with regard to conflicting information I was receiving from two Ministers. Subsequently, the issue was made clear by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development as a result of questions from Mr Ian Paisley Jnr and myself. The Department advised that there was no consultation. Under Standing Order 1(2), you are supposed to rule on the matter. Why is it taking so long to get a ruling?

Photo of Lord John Alderdice Lord John Alderdice Speaker

The answer is twofold. First, it took some time to receive responses from the relevant Departments. Secondly, it would not be proper to give a ruling when the relevant Ministers are not present. To date, it has not been possible to have both Ministers present, but I trust that it will soon be possible to address the matter, because a response has been forthcoming in the terms which I advised at the time would be likely to apply.