Alliance Leader David Ford has said the Assembly Executive has failed the people of Northern Ireland by not bringing forward real or meaningful legislation on important local issues.
Mr Ford, who has repeatedly criticised the lack of Executive business from the floor of the Assembly, said only two out of 23 Bills passed show “substantive original input from Northern Ireland ministers”.
Mr Ford said: “What we need in Northern Ireland is real devolution, not just parity with Great Britain. Yes, legislative housekeeping is very necessary – but it is equally important that the Executive brings forward legislation on matters specific to Northern Ireland. We are in danger of looking as though we are playing legislative catch-up all the time.”
“The Executive has clearly not exploited its devolved powers under the Good Friday Agreement. That is a grave disservice to the people of Northern Ireland.”
“I would argue that only two out of 23 Bills passed show substantive or original input from Northern Ireland ministers, and much of the rest is legislating for parity with Westminster Acts or minor housekeeping.”
Last Monday in the Assembly, Junior Minister Denis Haughey defended the Executive’s legislative record. He argues that since devolution, the NI Assembly had enacted 23 Bills, whereas in the equivalent period, the Scottish Parliament had passed 29 pieces of legislation. Alliance has since found that:
·There are 384 clauses in the 23 Northern Ireland Acts; there are 784 in the 30 Scottish Parliament Acts.
·There are only four Bills in progress in Northern Ireland at the moment. In Scotland there are 15.
·The two original and substantive Northern Ireland Acts were Ground Rents and Street Trading. In contrast, the Scottish Parliament has enacted Bills on Ethical Standards in Public Life, National Parks, Education, Schools, Care Services, Housing and Homelessness.