Lyttle reveals OFMDFM haven’t attended their committee for over a year

Chris Lyttle MLA has said the First Minister and deputy First Minister are “treating their Assembly Committee with disdain” after it was revealed neither had attended its meetings for over a year.

The Alliance MLA said the non-appearance of either Peter Robinson or Martin McGuinness at the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) Committee since June 2014 was “showing contempt for public transparency and the democratic process”.

Committees are intended to hold Executive Ministers to account by scrutinising their work. However, figures obtained by Mr Lyttle show since 24 June 2015, Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness have not attended their committee a single time. Alliance Ministers Stephen Farry and David Ford top the appearance table, attending their committees eight and six times respectively.

But Alliance OFMDFM spokesperson Mr Lyttle said the absenteeism went back even further.

“It was in fact June 2014 when the First Minister and deputy First Minister last appeared before the committee, which is a disgracefully long time. It shows an utter lack of respect for the Assembly, their MLA colleagues, the public and indeed democracy as a whole.

“Committees play a vital role in Assembly business, holding Ministers to account, while advising and helping develop policy. However, this process cannot take place unless the relevant Minister participates fully and openly. That is clearly not the case in OFMDFM.

“There is a sharp contrast with Alliance Ministers, who attend their committees on a regular basis. It is important the talks come to a conclusion soon so the First Minister and deputy First Minister are able to give their roles their full attention once again.”

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