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Stormont ministers embroiled in waffle palaver

Published 26/01/2016

Hot air was in abundance at Stormont
Hot air was in abundance at Stormont

Claims of waffling abounded during Assembly question time at Stormont, with one minister accused of it and another admitting it.

Environment minister Mark H Durkan was overheard telling a colleague "that was pure waffle" as he took his seat after answering a question on the restoration of historic buildings.

The SDLP representative later took to Twitter to explain, claiming he felt "frustrated that I had been unable to give a better, more concise answer to an important supplementary question. I felt I waffled".

Mr Durkan's comment, which was audible on the Assembly chamber's microphones, came ahead of Health Minister Simon Hamilton being accused of serving up his own waffle.

After the DUP minister answered three questions in an allotted 30 minute slot for scheduled queries, Alliance MLA Kieran McCarthy raised a point of order with Principal Deputy Speaker Robin Newton.

"I have been in the House for 18 years, and I think that this is the first time that I have had to complain," he said.

"It is in relation to the performance of the Health Minister today. Despite your efforts to remind him that he had two minutes, he managed to answer only three questions. That is a disgrace. I ask you to go to the Deputy First Minister and First Minister and tell them to advise ministers to waffle less, give more answers and get through the business."

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