A bill to improve adoption procedures will have to be abandoned because of a nine-month delay by the Executive, the Health Minister has claimed.
Michael McGimpsey said he was “stunned and astonished” that measures to ensure children's welfare were held up.
According to the Ulster Unionist minister, officials from the First Ministers’ Office (OFMDFM) are saying the draft Bill did not clearly set out policy proposals.
“I think that is something we should feel ashamed about,” he said.
“I am now at the point where I don’t believe I have any time left in this Assembly to allow me to bring forward this legislation. I think that is a very sad reflection on this house in such an important matter that I am going to have to abandon the Bill.”
He added: “Organisations and interested parties as far as adoption is concerned will be scandalised.”
Mr McGimpsey said the adoption Bill would have created a child welfare checklist, enshrined pre-adoption measures and ensured the welfare of adopted children.