Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Caitriona Ruane urged to explain absence

Education minister Caitriona Ruane

Education minister Caitriona Ruane has been asked to explain why she failed to appear in the Stormont chamber to deliver a scheduled statement.

The Sinn Fein MLA was due address the house on a review of capital spending within her department.

But she was nowhere to be seen when the plenary session started, forcing speaker Willie Hay to move on to other business.

Chair of Ms Ruane's scrutiny committee Mervyn Storey said the development was not acceptable.

"This is a totally unacceptable situation that the minister was for whatever reason unable to be here," said the DUP member, asking Mr Hay to rule on the matter.

The speaker said the minister must tell members why she did not appear.

"I'm sure the minister may want to introduce the statement again to the house and I'm sure these are questions that the member and other members may want to ask the minister," he told Mr Storey.

"But certainly I do believe the minister owes an explanation to the house first of all why she was absent this morning in not making her statement and secondly on the issue of why members have not received the statement 30 minutes before the statement was to be made in the house."

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