The ban was lifting in England, Scotland and Wales in November 2011, but Edwin Poots continually fought attempts to legalise the move in Northern Ireland while helming the Health Department.
Kieran McCarthy MLA, the Alliance Party’s Health spokesperson, said: “It is absolutely ridiculous that in a time of severe economic crisis, with major pressures facing the health service that a Minister would use so much money fighting his own agenda.
“Throughout January the bad weather and on-going pressures led to emergency departments being unable to cope with the volume of patients. With Health Trusts forced to cancel some minor surgeries and procedures as a result, patients across Northern Ireland are suffering due to the DUP’s failure to put public before party in the Health Department.
“The DUP should not be allowed to waste anymore taxpayers’ money on this personal crusade and I would urge the new Health Minister Jim Wells to put a stop to this immediately, allowing Northern Ireland to be brought in line with the rest of the UK.”