Minutes of Proceedings

Session: Session currently unavailable

Date: 29 April 2024

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

1. Prayers

Members observed two minutes’ silence.


2. Speaker’s Business

2.1 Member Resignation

The Speaker informed Members that Mr Patrick Brown had resigned as a Member of the Assembly for the South Down constituency with effect from 23 April 2023. The Speaker further informed Members that he had received notification from the Chief Electoral Officer that Mr Andrew McMurray had been returned as a Member of the Assembly for the South Down constituency.

2.2 Standards of Debate

The Speaker reminded Members of the standards of parliamentary courtesy that are expected to be upheld in the Assembly.


3. Members’ Statements

Under Standing Order 24A, the following Members made a statement to the Assembly:

Mr Pat Sheehan
Mr Alan Robinson
Ms Sorcha Eastwood
Mr Mike Nesbitt
Ms Cara Hunter
Mrs Cathy Mason
Mr Brian Kingston
Ms Kate Nicholl
Ms Sinéad McLaughlin
Ms Cheryl Brownlee
Mr Jim Allister
Mr Gerry Carroll


4. Executive Committee Business

4.1 Motion: Suspension of Standing Orders 10(2) to 10(4)

Proposed:

That Standing Orders 10(2) to 10(4) be suspended for 29 April 2024.

The Executive Office

The Question being put, the motion was carried with cross-community support.

4.2 Applicability Motion: Regulation (EU) 2023/2419

Proposed:

That Regulation (EU) 2023/2419 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 October 2023 on the labelling of organic pet food should be added to the Windsor Framework by the United Kingdom and the European Union within the Joint Committee in Accordance with Article 13(4) of that Framework.

The Executive Office

Debate ensued.

The Question being put, the motion was carried with cross-community support (Division).

The Deputy Speaker, Dr Aiken, took the Chair.

4.3 Further Consideration Stage: Hospital Parking Charges Bill (NIA Bill 02/22-27)

The Minister of Health, Mr Robin Swann, moved the Further Consideration Stage of the Hospital Parking Charges Bill (NIA Bill 02/22-27).

Bill NIA 02/22-27 stood referred to the Speaker for consideration in accordance with section 10 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.
 

4.4 Motion: The draft Period Products (the Department for the Economy Specified Public Service Bodies) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2024

Proposed:

That the draft Period Products (the Department for the Economy Specified Public Service Bodies) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2024 be approved.

Minister for the Economy

Debate ensued.

The Question being put, the motion was carried.

4.5 Motion: The draft Lay Magistrates (Eligibility) Order (Northern Ireland) 2024

Proposed:

That the draft Lay Magistrates (Eligibility) Order (Northern Ireland) 2024 be approved.

Minister of Justice

Debate ensued.

The debate stood suspended for Question Time, the Speaker took the Chair.


5. Question Time

5.1 The Executive Office

Questions were put to, and answered by, the First Minister, Ms Michelle O’Neill. The Junior Minister, Ms Aisling Reilly, also answered a number of questions.

5.2 Economy

Questions were put to, and answered by, the Minister for the Economy, Mr Conor Murphy.


6. Question for Urgent Oral Answer

Budget 2024-25

The Minister of Finance, Dr Caoimhe Archibald, responded to a Question for Urgent Oral Answer tabled by Mr Eóin Tennyson.

The Deputy Speaker, Dr Aiken, took the Chair.

 

7. Executive Committee Business (cont’d)

7.1 Motion: The draft Lay Magistrates (Eligibility) Order (Northern Ireland) 2024 (cont’d)

Debate resumed.

The Question being put, the motion was carried.

7.2 Motion: The draft Period Products (Department of Justice Specified Public Service Bodies) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2024

Proposed:

That the draft Period Products (Department of Justice Specified Public Service Bodies) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2024 be approved.

Minister of Justice

Debate ensued.

The Question being put, the motion was carried.

The Deputy Speaker, Mr Blair, took the Chair.


8. Private Members’ Business

8.1 Motion: Loneliness Strategy

Proposed:

That this Assembly notes the high prevalence of loneliness in Northern Ireland with almost one in five people feeling lonely at least some of the time and one in twenty identified as chronically lonely; further notes the severe social and economic impact of chronic loneliness, including on people’s physical and mental health, such as increased risks of developing heart disease and depression; recognises the urgent need to address loneliness among people of all ages and backgrounds; calls on the Executive to support the development of a cross-departmental loneliness strategy to tackle this issue on a long-term basis; and further calls on the Executive Office to lead on the development of a cross-departmental loneliness strategy.

Mr Robbie Butler
Mr John Stewart
Mr Doug Beattie

Debate ensued.

The Question being put, the motion was carried.

The Principal Deputy Speaker took the Chair.

8.2 Motion: Ban Petroleum Licensing and Fracking

Proposed:

That this Assembly recognises that tackling climate change is a global priority and, to be successful, must be grounded on the principles of fairness and a just transition away from fossil fuel dependency towards a fairer and greener society powered by renewable energy; further recognises that we need to develop solar, tidal, onshore and offshore wind resources across the island of Ireland and off our coast; believes that a move towards renewable energy with a diversity of sources can increase energy security by reducing reliance on fossil fuel imports which are more susceptible to international markets; acknowledges the deep concerns communities have about the environmental and public health risks associated with practices such as hydraulic fracturing; and calls on the Minister for the Economy, as an important first step in moving away from fossil fuel dependency, to introduce a ban on petroleum licensing, drilling, and extraction.

Mr Philip McGuigan
Miss Nicola Brogan
Mr Pádraig Delargy
Miss Áine Murphy

Amendment:

Proposed:

Leave out all after ‘introduce’ and insert:
‘legislation to ban petroleum licensing, drilling and extraction before the end of 2024’.

Ms Sinéad McLaughlin
Mr Mark Durkan

Debate ensued.

The Question being put, the amendment was made.

The Question being put, the motion as amended was carried.


9. Adjournment

Proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

The Speaker

The Assembly adjourned at 6.19pm.


Mr Edwin Poots
The Speaker
29 April 2024


Northern Ireland Assembly

29 April 2024 – Division

Applicability Motion: Regulation (EU) 2023/2419

Proposed:

That Regulation (EU) 2023/2419 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 October 2023 on the labelling of organic pet food should be added to the Windsor Framework by the United Kingdom and the European Union within the Joint Committee in Accordance with Article 13(4) of that Framework.

The Executive Office

The Question was put and the Assembly divided.

Ayes: 72
Noes: 2

AYES

NATIONALIST:
Dr Archibald, Mr Baker, Mr Boylan, Miss Brogan, Mr Delargy, Mrs Dillon, Mr Durkan, Mrs Ennis, Mrs Ferguson, Miss Flynn, Mr Gildernew, Miss Hargey, Ms Hunter, Mr Kearney, Mr Kelly, Ms Kimmins, Mr McAleer, Mr McGlone, Mr McGrath, Mr McGuigan, Mr McHugh, Ms McLaughlin, Mr McNulty, Mrs Mason, Miss Á Murphy, Mr C Murphy, Ms Ní Chuilín, Mr O'Dowd, Ms O'Neill, Mr O'Toole, Mr Sheehan, Ms Sheerin.

UNIONIST:
Dr Aiken, Mr Allen, Mr Beattie, Mr Brett, Mr Brooks, Ms Brownlee, Ms Bunting, Mr Butler, Mrs Cameron, Mr Chambers, Mr Clarke, Mr Dunne, Mr Elliott, Mrs Erskine, Ms Forsythe, Mr Givan, Mr Harvey, Mr Kingston, Mrs Little-Pengelly, Mr Lyons, Mr Middleton, Mr Nesbitt, Ms Sugden, Mr Swann.

OTHER:
Ms Armstrong, Mr Blair, Ms Bradshaw, Mr Dickson, Mr Donnelly, Ms Eastwood, Ms Egan, Mr Honeyford, Mrs Long, Miss McAllister, Mr McReynolds, Mr Mathison, Mr Muir, Ms Mulholland, Ms Nicholl, Mr Tennyson.

Tellers for the Ayes: Mr Brooks, Mr McGuigan.

NOES

UNIONIST:
Mr Allister, Mr Easton.

Tellers for the Noes: Mr Allister, Mr Easton.


Total Votes                     74      Total Ayes              72 [97.3%]
Nationalist Votes            32      Nationalist Ayes    32 [100.0%]
Unionist Votes                26      Unionist Ayes        24 [92.3%]
Other Votes                     16      Other Ayes            16 [100.0%]

The motion was carried with cross-community support.


Northern Ireland Assembly

Papers Presented to the Assembly on 24 April 2024 to 29 April 2024.

1. Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly


2. Bills of the Northern Ireland Assembly

3. Orders in Council


4. Statutory Rules

SR 2024/0000 Draft The Period Products (Department for Infrastructure Specified Public Service Bodies) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2024 (Department for Infrastructure)

For information only

SR 2024/100 The Road Races (Tour of the Sperrins) Order (Northern Ireland) 2024 (Department for Infrastructure)


5. Legislative Consent Memorandums


6. Assembly Reports

Report on the Legislative Consent Memorandum on the UK Government Tobacco and Vapes Bill (NIA 12/22-27) (Committee for Health)

Report on a complaint against Mr Tom Buchanan MLA [NIA 14/22-27] (Committee on Standards and Privileges)

7. Written Ministerial Statements

Public Expenditure - Budget 2024/25 (Department of Finance)

Public Expenditure - Budget 2024-25 (amended) – Minister of Finance

Update on the Introduction of Urgent Legislation to Address the Disparity of Legal Protection to Citizens Affected by Defective Premises (Department for Communities)

Curraghinalt Project (Dalradian) Public Inquiry - Concerns Raised to the Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs by the Water Appeals Commission (Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs)


8. Publications Laid in the Northern Ireland Assembly

Integrated Education Section 10 Report (Department of Education)


9. Publications Presented in the Northern Ireland Assembly

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