Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Stormont extension holds us in contempt

A recent decision was made to extend the term of the Assembly by one year to 2016. This decision went largely under the radar.

The NIO held a consultation in 2012. This posed the question of whether the life of the Assembly should be extended by one year to 2016? Of the 27 responses to this question, 23 (85%) were against this extension. Why, then, was the current term extended?

All is revealed in explanatory notes of the recently published Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill. It states: "On 12 June 2012, Northern Ireland's First Minister, Peter Robinson, deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Justice Minister David Ford wrote to then Secretary of State Owen Paterson making clear their view that they wished to see the current term of the Northern Ireland Assembly extended until May 2016. That position was confirmed in a letter to the current Secretary of State, dated 15 April 2013, from the First Minister and deputy First Minister."

So there we have it. In spite of the clear indication that 85% were against the extension, it was overruled by the joint first ministers.

What else has slipped under the radar that has been decided in a similar way?

GRASSROOTS UNIONIST

Rathfriland, Co Down

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