David Ford MLA said: “I would like to pay tribute to William Hay as he steps down from his duties as Speaker. He was the first Speaker chosen by the Assembly to fill this role and under his leadership the Assembly has progressed enormously in the past seven years.
“He was a courteous, fair and honourable Speaker who served the Assembly well during his time in office. He commanded respect from every party and his presence in the Speaker’s chair will be missed by all. Outside of the Assembly, he played a key role in resolving parading issues in Londonderry.
“I would like to wish him a full and speedy recovery following his illness, and look forward to seeing him take his seat in the Lords.”