The Harbours (Grants and Loans Limit) Bill: Accelerated Passage

Part of Executive Committee Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 11:45 am on 1st December 2020.

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Photo of Andrew Muir Andrew Muir Alliance 11:45 am, 1st December 2020

The Alliance Party regrets that the Bill is coming through accelerated passage. As an MLA, I have quickly become all too well aware of the shortcomings of the procedure. We appreciate the fact that the lack of devolved government for three years and Brexit preparations have meant that the need for this legislation has become urgent. However, we struggle to understand why the legislation was not brought forward some years ago.

In evidence to the Committee, departmental officials stated that the original plan was for the limit to be raised as part of a more holistic governance review. We assume that that review will still take place at some point; perhaps there will be an opportunity for the Committee to consider how the limit is managed on a long-term basis. I would like to hear more about the prospects of that review from the Minister in her closing remarks. That said, I am satisfied that the need for this legislation is urgent, as Mr Beggs outlined, and that the Bill seems relatively straightforward. Based on the briefings to date, it seems that no additional serious complications need to be considered, and, on that basis, we are prepared to support accelerated passage.