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 am not sure that I agree with the language of "toing and froing", but I accept that there is perhaps a frustration.  I sense that frustration from talking to some members of staff affected by the issue.  I certainly see it in correspondence that I receive from them, as well as from talking face to face with them.  At this stage, I have sought to engage directly with the Minister of Justice, who obviously has responsibility for the greater volume of staff, to seek a solution that he and I can agree on.  The next natural step after that is to go to the Executive to seek agreement and then hopefully deal with the issue as a result.  I am sure that the Member appreciates that, given the circumstances, Executive and cross-party approval is essential.  In that respect, I hope that, if and when the Minister of Justice and I bring forward a solution to recognise the moral responsibility, it will get full support from all parties represented on the Executive, including the Member's party.