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South Eastern Regional College: Capital Investment

Employment And Learning – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 2nd November 2009.

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Photo of Leslie Cree Leslie Cree UUP 3:15 pm, 2nd November 2009

5. asked the Minister for Employment and Learning to outline the level of capital investment in the South Eastern Regional College during the last two years.   (AQO 293/10)

Photo of Reg Empey Reg Empey UUP

There has been a significant investment in all of the main campuses of the South Eastern Regional College. Three major projects, with a capital value of £62 million, are spread over six campuses. Newcastle and the first phase of Downpatrick were opened earlier this year, and Bangor, Newtownards, Ballynahinch, Lisburn and the second phase of Downpatrick will be delivered by October 2011. A mix of conventional procurement and public-private partnership is being used to deliver the projects.

Photo of William Hay William Hay Speaker

That ends Question Time. We now return to the motion —

Photo of Danny Kennedy Danny Kennedy UUP

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Will you undertake to review the Question Time session held with the Minister of Education? Many sides of the House are concerned that she consistently fails to answer or address the questions posed to her. That leads to background noise in the Chamber, and I am mindful of your earlier comments about that. I remind the House that all Ministers have a duty to come to the House for Question Time and to give proper and full answers to the questions posed.

Photo of William Hay William Hay Speaker 3:30 pm, 2nd November 2009

I have some sympathy with the Member, but, as I have often said in the House, it is not my job to get involved in, or sit in judgement on, the way in which any Minister might answer a question. There are a number of avenues open to the Member through which he might resolve the issue of Ministers answering questions.

Photo of Cathal Boylan Cathal Boylan Sinn Féin

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. During Question Time to the Minister of Education, a Member of the House, from a seated position, shouted either “get up” or “hurry up” while the Minister was sifting through her notes to respond to a question. Will you make a ruling on whether that is appropriate behaviour in the Chamber? Go raibh maith agat.

Photo of William Hay William Hay Speaker

I already said during Question Time that it is absolutely wrong for any Member to try to speak from a seated position. There were quite a number of Members in the House during Education Question Time who were, I believe deliberately, shouting from a sedentary position. I have ruled in the past, and will certainly rule in the future, that that is something that I will not tolerate in the House, irrespective of who the Minister might be. When a Minister has the Floor, the Minister should be entitled to the Floor without interruption.