The Northern Ireland Assembly has been dissolved. The election will take place on Thursday 5 May 2016.

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 15 January 2013

Venue: Room 106, Parliament Buildings


1.1 Apologies were noted from Lord Morrow and Mr Ramsey. The Speaker sent best wishes to Mr Ramsey for a speedy recovery.

2. Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 08 January 2013

2.1 The minutes were agreed and signed by the Speaker.

3. Matters arising

3.1 There were no matters arising.  

4. Finalisation of Order Papers for plenary meetings in week commencing 21 January 2013

Assembly Business

4.1 Members agreed to schedule two motions to change Committee Membership, one from the UUP and the second from Sinn Féin; and a motion to fill a vacancy on the Assembly Commission from Sinn Féin.

Executive Business

4.2 Members noted that, in addition to Executive Business agreed previously, a further Ministerial statement may be scheduled on Monday 21 January. 

4.3 Members noted that, although no further Executive Business had been scheduled for Tuesday 22 January, there may be further Ministerial statements.

Committee Business

4.4 There was no change to the Committee Business already agreed.

Private Members’ Business   

4.5 Members noted that, after last week’s meeting, the DUP notified the Clerk that the following motion had been selected for debate on Monday 21 January:

  • ‘The Economic Value of Northern Ireland’s Historic Environment’

(Mr S Hamilton, Mr P Weir, Mr P Frew); and

that the following adjournment topic had been selected for debate on Tuesday 22 January:

  • ‘The promotion of mental health services in South Antrim’

(Ms P Brown).

4.6 Junior Minister Bell confirmed that all relevant Ministers were available to respond.

4.7  The draft Order Papers were agreed.

5. Provisional arrangements for plenary meetings in week commencing 28 January 2013

Executive Business

5.1 Members noted that, apart from Question Time to the Office of the First Minister, and the Minister of Education, no further Executive business was scheduled for Monday 28 January. However, the possibility of Ministerial statements was noted.  

5.2 Members noted that, in addition to Question Time to the Minister for Employment and Learning, and the Minister of Finance and Personnel, the Further Consideration Stage of the Business Improvement Districts Bill (NIA 9/11-15), had also been scheduled for Tuesday 29 January.

Committee Business

5.3 Members agreed to provisionally schedule a motion on the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Conformity with Equality Requirements: Welfare Reform Bill for debate on Tuesday 29 January, with the usual timings.  

Private Members’ Business   

5.4 Members agreed to schedule two Private Members’ motions on Monday 28 January, and one on Tuesday 29 January. Under the system of allocation, the selections lay with Sinn Féin, SDLP and DUP. The following motions were selected:

  • ‘Programme For Government: Commitments to Tackle Social Disadvantage’ (Mr A Maskey, Mr M Brady, Mr McCann);
  • ‘Review of Public Administration’ (Mrs D Kelly, Mr C Eastwood); and
  • ‘Rose Energy’ (Mr T Clarke, Ms P Brown, Mr P Frew).

5.5 Members agreed that up to 1 hour 30 minutes should be allocated for each debate, with the usual speaking times.

5.6 Members agreed to schedule an Adjournment Debate on Tuesday 29 January. Under the system of allocation, the selection lay with Sinn Féin.  The following adjournment topic was selected:

  • ‘Progress of the Education Campus at Lisanelly, Omagh’

(Mr D McAleer)

5.7 Having already advised of the limited availability of some Executive Ministers on Monday 28 January and Tuesday 29 January, junior Minister Bell confirmed that all relevant Ministers were available to respond to the selected debates.  

5.8 The provisional Order Papers were agreed.

6. Any other business            

6.1 The Speaker referred members to a point of order, raised after the earlier debate on ‘Commitment to Inclusivity, Mutual Respect and Peaceful Democracy’, requesting that Standing Order 28(1) be suspended to allow the vote on the amendment, affected by the Petition of Concern, to be taken without delay. He advised that there appeared to be two options for consideration.  Firstly, if the parties agreed to proceed on the basis of a business motion to suspend Standing Order 28(1), a revised Order Paper could be issued, and the votes taken after Question Time.  The alternative option would be to reconvene the Assembly on Wednesday 16 January 2013, with a single item of business, namely the votes on the amendment and the motion.

6.2 Following discussion, no consensus could be achieved to allow the votes to be taken before Monday 21 January. The Speaker advised Whips that he would be willing to consider an alternative, consensus-based approach to the situation, if one could be agreed upon following the meeting.

7. Date and Time of next meeting

7.1 Members agreed to meet at approximately 12.30pm on Tuesday 22 January 2013 in Room 106.

The Speaker brought the meeting to a close at 12.58pm. 

Mr Speaker

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