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Minutes of Proceedings

Session: Session currently unavailable

Date: 28 September 2020

The Assembly met at noon, the Speaker in the Chair.

1. Prayers

Members observed two minutes' silence.

2. Speaker's Business

2.1 The Speaker indicated to Members that as the Statement relating to the first item of business was not received within the timeframe detailed in Standing Orders, he would suspend the sitting for a short period to allow Members to peruse the statement.

The sitting was suspended at 12.02pm.

The sitting resumed at 12.12pm, with the Speaker in the Chair.

2.2 The Speaker made Members aware that the First Minister would respond to oral questions on behalf of the Executive Office as the deputy First Minister was unwell and unavailable to attend.

3. Executive Committee Business

3.1 Statement – Legislative Error Resulting in Invalid Convictions for Sexual Offences

The Minister of Justice, Mrs Naomi Long, made a statement to the Assembly regarding a Legislative Error Resulting in Invalid Convictions for Sexual Offences, following which she replied to questions.

The Deputy Speaker, Mr Beggs, took the Chair.

3.2 Statement – Public Expenditure: 2020-21 Covid-19 Economic Recovery Assessment

The Minister of Finance, Mr Conor Murphy, made a statement to the Assembly regarding Public Expenditure: 2020-21 Covid-19 Economic Recovery Assessment, following which he replied to questions.

The sitting was suspended at 1.54pm.

The sitting resumed at 2.00pm, with the Speaker in the Chair.

4. Question Time

4.1 The Executive Office

Questions were put to, and answered by, the First Minister, the Rt Hon Arlene Foster. The junior Minister, Mr Declan Kearney, also answered a number of questions.

4.2 Communities

Questions were put to, and answered by, the Minister for Communities, Ms Carál Ní Chuilín.

The Deputy Speaker, Mr McGlone, took the Chair.

5. Executive Committee Business (cont'd)

5.1 Legislative Consent Motion: The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill

Proposed:

That this Assembly agrees, in line with Section 87 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, the principle of the extension to Northern Ireland of the provisions of the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill dealing with social security co-ordination as contained in the Bill which was introduced in the House of Commons on 5 March 2020.

Minister for Communities

The Question being put, the motion was carried.

6. Private Members' Business

6.1 Motion: Children with Hearing Difficulties and Deafness

Proposed:

That this Assembly recognises the importance of early detection, intervention and support for children with hearing difficulties and deafness; acknowledges the negative impact that delay can have on their future educational attainment; and calls on the Minister of Health to take immediate steps to identify and address urgently the backlog of postponed audio appointments and cancelled cochlear implant procedures that have arisen as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Ms Catherine Kelly
Mr Colm Gildernew
Ms Órlaithí Flynn
Mr Pat Sheehan

Debate ensued.

The Question being put, the motion was carried.

The Speaker took the Chair.

6.2 Motion: Introduction of Legislation Equivalent to Helen's Law

Proposed:

That this Assembly recognises the ongoing pain and trauma experienced by families in Northern Ireland whose loved ones have been murdered and who continue to have no knowledge of the whereabouts of their remains; welcomes the progression in the UK Houses of Parliament of the Prisoners (Disclosure of Information About Victims) Bill, otherwise known as Helen's Law, placing a statutory obligation on the Parole Board to take into account an offender's non-disclosure of such information when making a decision about their release from prison; notes that these obligations apply to prisoners serving a sentence for murder or manslaughter, or for taking or making an indecent photograph of a child; and calls on the Minister of Justice to introduce urgently equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland to ensure that prisoners convicted of murder and child sex offences are not eligible for release until they disclose the location of their victims' remains or the identity of their victims.

Mr Alex Easton
Mr Paul Givan

Amendment

Proposed:

Leave out all after the first 'child' and insert:

'acknowledges that such matters are already routinely considered by the Parole Commissioners for Northern Ireland when assessing prisoners' suitability for release on licence; and further welcomes that the Minister of Justice has already commissioned a focused consultation with key stakeholders on Helen's Law, to run in parallel with finalising the outcome and next steps flowing from the Sentencing Review, including legislation where appropriate.

Ms Kellie Armstrong
Ms Paula Bradshaw

Debate ensued

The Question being put, the Amendment was negatived.

The Question being put, the motion was carried.

7. Adjournment

Proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

The Speaker

The Assembly adjourned at 6.42pm.

Mr Alex Maskey
The Speaker
28 September 2020

 

Northern Ireland Assembly

Papers Presented to the Assembly on 23 September 2020 to 28 September 2020

1. Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly

2. Bills of the Northern Ireland Assembly

3. Orders in Council

4. Publications Laid in the Northern Ireland Assembly

Northern Ireland Audit Office Annual Report and Accounts 2019-2020 (Northern Ireland Audit Office)

5. Assembly Reports

Report of the Examiner of Statutory Rules to the Assembly and the Appropriate Committees Fourth Report of Session 2020 - 2021 (NIA 44/17-22) (Examiner of Statutory Rules)

6. Statutory Rules

SR 2020/201 The Rates (Coronavirus) (Electronic Communications) Order (Northern Ireland) 2020 (Department of Finance)

SR 2020/202 The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (Amendment No. 5) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 (Department of Health)

SR 2020/203 The Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (Amendment No. 12) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 (Department of Health)

SR 2020/204 The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (Amendment No. 6) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 (Department of Health)

7. Written Ministerial Statements

Public Expenditure, 2021 COVID-19 Allocations (Minister of Finance)

COVID-19 Update (Minister of Health)

Outcome from the Recent Competition to Appoint a New Head of the Civil Service (First Minister and deputy First Minister)

8. Consultation Documents

9. Departmental Publications

10. Agency Publications

11. Westminster Publications

12. Miscellaneous Publications

PROXY VOTING NOTICES – MONDAY 28 SEPTEMBER 2020

The following Members notified the Speaker, under Standing Order 112, that they wished to avail of proxy voting arrangements for the sitting on Monday 28 September 2020:

Martina   Anderson

Liz Kimmins

Caoimhe Archibald

Naomi Long

Kellie   Armstrong

Gordon Lyons

Cathal Boylan

Séan Lynch

Sinéad   Bradley

Chris Lyttle

Paula Bradley

Nichola   Mallon

Jonathan   Buckley

Declan   McAleer

Pam Cameron

Fra McCann

Pat Catney

Daniel   McCrossan

Stewart   Dickson

Patsy McGlone

Linda Dillon

Colin McGrath

Diane Dodds

Philip   McGuigan

Jemma Dolan

Maolíosa   McHugh

Gordon Dunne

Sinead   McLaughlin

Mark Durkan

Justin   McNulty

Sinéad Ennis

Andrew Muir

Arlene Foster

Karen Mullan

Órlaithí   Flynn

Conor Murphy

Colm   Gildernew

Robin Newton

Paul Givan

Carál Ní   Chuilín

Deirdre Hargey

Michelle   O’Neill

Harry Harvey

Edwin Poots

David   Hilditch

George   Robinson

Cara Hunter

Emma Rogan

William Irwin

Pat Sheehan

Declan   Kearney

Emma Sheerin

Catherine   Kelly

Christopher   Stalford

Dolores Kelly

Robin Swann

Gerry Kelly

Peter Weir

 

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