Climate Change (No. 2) Bill: Final Stage

Part of Executive Committee Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 11:15 am on 9th March 2022.

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Photo of Philip McGuigan Philip McGuigan Sinn Féin 11:15 am, 9th March 2022

I suppose that I thank the Minister, the new Member for South Belfast, for his interjection. I am surprised that he chose to interject to mention the RHI scheme, which was a disastrous DUP scheme that did nothing to redress global warming but did instigate a financial crisis and the collapse of this institution. Minister, we need to ensure that any progress that we make is based on green energy schemes that work and do the job that they set out to do.

The Minister takes me on to my next point very well. Stormont often gets a bad press, primarily because of the actions or inaction of the DUP. Often, people do not notice the impact of the work that is done here, but a cursory glance at what has happened in the Chamber in the past three days — since Monday — gives an indication of what the Assembly can do. We have considered the Private Tenancies Bill, which will protect renters in the private housing sector, an autism Bill, the first gambling legislation in close to 40 years, sexual offences and trafficking victims legislation, free period products legislation and a domestic abuse Bill. This evening, after we have debated two climate Bills — potentially — we will consider free hospital car parking legislation from my colleague Aisling Reilly.

Every one of those pieces of legislation is much needed to help, assist and protect individuals, communities and society as a whole in the North. Whilst I do not want to rank any of the work that we do here by importance, I am glad that, before the end of the mandate, we will finally have a climate Bill. That is an important legacy to leave for those who are elected to here in May, but, more importantly, it is a legacy and an opportunity for our children and grandchildren well into the future.