Part of Oral Answers to Questions – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:00 pm on 17th February 2014.

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Photo of Simon Hamilton Simon Hamilton DUP 2:00 pm, 17th February 2014

I would have thought that a learned gentleman like the Member opposite would have appreciated that it is not a legal issue.  Strictly speaking, there is no liability in a legal sense for the Executive to deal with. 

My discussions with the Justice Minister have not reached a conclusion and are ongoing.  I am happy to continue to discuss it directly with him, although officials from both Departments continue to engage to find some way in which the moral argument could be recognised.  I am happy to continue to engage with the Minister of Justice and for engagement to take place between officials from both Departments.  In fact, I am happy to engage with anybody, and, later this afternoon, I will engage with NIPSA on the issue.  They also have a responsibility, having contributed to the raising of expectations on the matter over the past number of months by organising something of a campaign that called on me and other Ministers to solve the problem, as they see it.  They also have a responsibility and a duty to come forward with ideas on how it might be resolved, and I look forward to hearing that from them later this afternoon.