Belfast Telegraph

MLAs 'should be proud of full term'

Assembly members have risen to the occasion to ensure the institutions at Stormont survived a full term, its speaker said.

William Hay said the elected members should be very proud of being part of the 2007-2011 mandate.

At the start of the last sitting, he said in the four years there had already been 277 plenary sittings and 69 bills approved while ministers had answered 11,624 questions on the chamber floor and 32,411 by way of written response.

"This is the first devolved assembly in a generation to complete a full term and this is an achievement and something that members should be very proud of," he said.

"It's a very historical achievement for politics in Northern Ireland."

Mr Hay, a Democratic Unionist representative from Foyle, received praise from all sides of the house for the way he had conducted himself over the term.

"I have been very humbled to have been speaker of this assembly especially at a time when this assembly in a generation has done its full term," he said.

"But I couldn't have done it without the co-operation of all members of this house and I want to thank all members for their co-operation, sometimes through the very difficult times in this assembly, but at the end of the day I think we all rose to the occasion."

The speaker, who will be a guest at next month's royal wedding, thanked all retiring MLAs and wished them well in the future.

He added: "As we look forward to the next four years I believe in Northern Ireland the best years are yet ahead of us."

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