Alliance Leader demands impartiality over Public Accounts Chair

At this afternoon’s Assembly plenary, Alliance Leader David Ford demanded that the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee be from a party outside of the Executive as is good practice in other democracies around the world. Last month, Sinn Fein announced that their Assembly Group Leader, John O’Dowd would Chair the new Public Accounts Committee at Stormont.

After raising the issue as a Point of Order during the Assembly Plenary, David Ford said: “It is good practice in democracies across the world that the chair of the Public Accounts Committee is from a party outside the Executive.

“This is not the case in the Northern Ireland Assembly where Sinn Fein’s John O’Dowd will chair the committee. This would not be tolerated in Westminster, the Oireachtas, the Scottish Parliament or the National Assembly for Wales.

“This appointment makes for bad governance – how can a senior member of an Executive Party independently and objectively scrutinise the spending of the Executive.

“The Public Accounts Committee is an extremely important body, as it examines how public money is spent. You can only promise to deliver real value for money if you allow full and objective scrutiny of spending. You cannot demonstrate full objective scrutiny if the Chair is a senior member of an Executive party – who actually nominated himself!

“If the Executive parties think that they can get away with denying proper scrutiny on the Public Accounts Committee, they are in for a real surprise. We will hold them to account at every turn and will keep the pressure on them to deliver the best value for money services for local people.”


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