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Minutes of Proceedings

Session: Session currently unavailable

Date: 07 September 2020

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

1. Prayers

Members observed two minutes' silence.

2. Speaker's Business

Royal Assent

The Speaker advised Members that Royal Assent had been signified on 25 August 2020 to The Executive Committee (Functions) Act, and that Royal Assent had been signified on 28 August 2020 to The Housing (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2020.

Assembly Business

The Speaker recorded formally his gratitude to the Principal Deputy Speaker, Deputy Speaker Beggs, and the Temporary Speakers for conducting Assembly Business during his period of shielding.

Accelerated Passage for Executive Bills

The Speaker advised Members that, after discussion with the First Minister and deputy First Minister, he had made a new ruling that if Ministers seek to shorten the passage of a Bill through the Assembly, separate to the accelerated passage procedure for Committee consideration, they are required to provide a statement when submitting the Bill for introduction.

Ad-Hoc Committee on COVID-19 Response

The Speaker informed Members that, as the Assembly intends to resume two sittings each week, it should provide sufficient opportunity for Ministers to make statements and, therefore, there would be less need for sessions of the Ad Hoc Committee on COVID-19 response. He also indicated that the Ad Hoc Committee will continue to be available in emergency circumstances.

Correspondence

The Speaker informed the Assembly that he had written to all Members setting out the issues he had raised with the Executive, including the courtesies and conventions expected from Ministers towards the Assembly, and their being available on sitting days and bringing major announcements to the Chamber to take questions from Members as appropriate.

3. Matter of the Day

Implementation of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland

Mr Matthew O'Toole, under Standing Order 24, made a statement on the Implementation of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland. Other Members were also called to speak on the matter.

The Principal Deputy Speaker took the Chair.

4. Assembly Business

4.1 Motion: Appointment of the Northern Ireland Assembly Commissioner for Standards

Proposed:

That this Assembly, in accordance with Section 19(1) of the Assembly Members (Independent Financial Review and Standards) Act (Northern Ireland) 2011, appoints Dr Melissa McCullough as the Northern Ireland Assembly Commissioner for Standards.

Mr John Blair
Mr Keith Buchanan
Mr Robbie Butler
Mrs Dolores Kelly
Mr John O'Dowd

Debate ensued.

The Question being put, the motion was carried without division.

5. Private Members' Business

5.1 Motion: Custodial Sentences for Attacks Against Emergency Workers

Proposed:

That this Assembly supports tougher custodial sentences for those convicted of attacks against emergency workers in Northern Ireland, including police officers, prison officers, firefighters, search and rescue workers and frontline health care staff; welcomes the campaign led by the courageous widow of PC Andrew Harper in favour of whole life sentences, which reflects widespread public frustration with the current outcomes in such cases; acknowledges the recent UK Government commitment to increase penalties applicable under the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018; notes that in the Republic of Ireland there exists a set tariff of forty years for the murder of a police officer, whilst, in Northern Ireland, the starting tariff in equivalent circumstances is between fifteen and sixteen years; and calls on the Minister of Justice to bring forward, as a matter of urgency, a revised sentencing framework which better reflects the seriousness of these crimes.

Mr Paul Givan
Mr Mervyn Storey

Amendment

Proposed:

Leave out all after 'Assembly' and insert:

'recognises the seriousness of attacks against emergency workers in Northern Ireland, including police officers, prison officers, firefighters, search and rescue workers and frontline health care staff; further recognises the important contributions by victims, campaigners and respondents to the Sentencing Review Consultation which closed in February of this year; and calls on the Minister of Justice to bring forward proposals for a revised sentencing framework after consideration both of the outcome of that important consultation and sentences available for equivalent offences in other jurisdictions in these islands.'

Mr Stewart Dickson
Mr John Blair

Debate ensued

The debate stood suspended for Question Time.

The sitting was suspended at 1.48pm.

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

6. Question Time

6.1 Infrastructure

Questions were put to, and answered by, the Minister for Infrastructure, Ms Nichola Mallon.

6.2 Justice

Questions were put to, and answered by, the Minister of Justice, Mrs Naomi Long.

7. Question for Urgent Oral Answer

7.1 COVID-19 at Craigavon Area Hospital

The Minister of Health, Mr Robin Swann, responded to a Question for Urgent Oral Answer tabled by Mr John O'Dowd.

The Deputy Speaker, Mr McGlone, took the Chair.

8. Private Members' Business (cont'd)

8.1 Motion: Custodial Sentences for Attacks Against Emergency Workers (cont'd)

Debate resumed.

The Question being put, the Amendment was made.

The Question being put, the motion, as amended, was carried without division.

8.2 Motion: Future Support for Businesses and Workers during COVID-19

Proposed:

That this Assembly recognises the significant impact that the COVID-19 crisis has had on the public; notes that Department for the Economy projections show more than 100,000 people could be unemployed by the end of 2020; acknowledges that COVID-19 has continued to spread and may result in further restrictions on workers and businesses; expresses deep concern at the political decision to end the furlough scheme in October; and calls on the British Government to extend the furlough scheme to provide future support to businesses and workers during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic as a critical lever to economic recovery.

Mr Colin McGrath
Mr Matthew O'Toole
Ms Sinead McLaughlin
Ms Nichola Mallon

Amendment

Proposed:

Leave out all after second 'workers' and insert:

', and to amend the scheme deadlines to allow for new entries to the scheme including where businesses are forced to close as a result of clusters or further lockdowns.'

Dr Caoimhe Archibald
Mr John O'Dowd
Mr Maolíosa McHugh

Debate ensued

The Question being put, the Amendment was made.

The Question being put, the motion, as amended, was carried without division.

9. Adjournment

Proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

The Speaker

The Assembly adjourned at 6.10pm.

Mr Alex Maskey
The Speaker
07 September 2020

 

Northern Ireland Assembly

Papers Presented to the Assembly on 19 August 2020 to 7 September 2020

1. Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly

The Executive Committee (Functions) Act (Northern Ireland) 2020

The Housing (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2020

2. Bills of the Northern Ireland Assembly

3. Orders in Council

4. Publications Laid in the Northern Ireland Assembly

HSC Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT) Charitable Trust Fund Accounts 2019-20 (Department of Health)

Charity Commission Northern Ireland (CCNI) Annual Report and Accounts 2019-20 (Department for Communities)

Overview of the Northern Ireland Executive's Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic (Northern Ireland Audit Office)

Office of the Discretionary Support Commissioner Annual Report 2019/20 (Department for Communities)

5. Assembly Reports

Report of the Examiner of Statutory Rules to the Assembly and the Appropriate Committees First Report of Session 2020 - 2021 (NIA 40/17-22) (Examiner of Statutory Rules)

6. Statutory Rules

SR 2020/185 The Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (Amendment No. 7) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 (Department of Health)

SR 2020/186 The Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) (No. 6) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 (Department for Communities)

SR 2020/187 The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (Amendment No. 2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 (Department of Health)

SR 2020/188 The Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 (Department for Infrastructure)

SR 2020/189 The Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (Amendment No. 8) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 (Department of Health)

SR 2020/190 The Taxi Licensing (Amendment No. 2) (Coronavirus) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 (Department for Infrastructure)

SR 2020/191 The Agricultural Commodities (Coronavirus) (Income Support) Scheme (Northern Ireland) 2020 (Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs)

7. Written Ministerial Statements

8. Consultation Documents

Consultation on Public Services Pensions: Changes to the Transitional Arrangements of the 2015 Scheme (Department of Finance)

Transposition of the EU Electricity (Recast) Directive 2019 – Consultation (Department for Economy)

9. Departmental Publications

Coronavirus Act 2020 Temporary Modification of Education Duties (No.10) Cancellation Notice (Northern Ireland) 2020 (Department of Education)

Coronavirus Act 2020 Temporary Disapplication of Education Duties (No.11) Notice (Northern Ireland) 2020 (Department of Education)

Coronavirus Act 2020 Temporary Modification of Education Duties (No.12) Notice (Northern Ireland) 2020 (Department of Education)

10. Agency Publications

11. Westminster Publications

12. Miscellaneous Publications

 

PROXY VOTING NOTICES – MONDAY 7 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 7 September 2020:

Martina   Anderson

Liz Kimmins

Caoimhe Archibald

Naomi Long

Kellie   Armstrong

Gordon Lyons

Clare Bailey

Séan Lynch

Roy Beggs *

Chris Lyttle

Cathal Boylan

Nichola   Mallon

Sinéad   Bradley

Declan   McAleer

Paula Bradley

Fra McCann

Pam Cameron

Daniel   McCrossan

Pat Catney

Patsy McGlone

Stewart   Dickson

Colin McGrath

Linda Dillon

Philip   McGuigan

Diane Dodds

Maolíosa   McHugh

Jemma Dolan

Sinead   McLaughlin

Gordon Dunne

Justin McNulty

Mark Durkan

Andrew Muir

Sinéad Ennis

Karen Mullan

Arlene Foster

Conor Murphy

Órlaithí   Flynn

Robin Newton

Colm   Gildernew

Carál Ní   Chuilín

Paul Givan

Michelle   O’Neill

Deirdre   Hargey

Edwin Poots

Harry Harvey

George   Robinson

David   Hilditch

Emma Rogan

Cara Hunter

Pat Sheehan

William Irwin

Emma Sheerin

Declan   Kearney

Christopher   Stalford

Catherine   Kelly

Robin Swann

Dolores Kelly

Peter Weir

Gerry Kelly

 

*Roy Beggs indicated that his proxy was in place up until 3pm on 7 September 2020.

 

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