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Green Party MLAs secure Ministerial investigation motion as last Assembly act

Green Party MLAs secure Ministerial investigation motion as last Assembly act

Wednesday 25 January 2017

As their last Assembly act of under the current mandate, Green Party Leaders, Steven Agnew MLA and Clare Bailey MLA secured an Assembly motion calling for the creation of an independent process to investigate alleged breaches of the Ministerial Code of Conduct.

At present, there is no formal or independent process for investigating a complaint relating to an Executive Minister.

The Northern Ireland Assembly Commissioner for Standards can investigate any alleged breach of the Assembly Code of Conduct by back-bench MLAs. However, there is no comparable process by which to investigate breaches by Executive Ministers.

Accordingly, the motion called for an expansion of the role of the Northern Ireland Assembly Commissioner for Standards to allow for investigation into alleged breaches of the Ministerial Code of Conduct.

Steven Agnew MLA said: “The collapse of the Executive represents a waste of goodwill, time and public funding. But, I firmly believe that devolution can survive this difficult period.

“However, we need a truly accountable Executive and transparency in politics more generally. The RHI fiasco and Executive collapse have seriously impacted on public trust and confidence in politics. That’s why this motion concerns a process whiuch can bring independent scrutiny and accountability.

“Our political system should have accountability and transparency at its core. People would quite reasonably expect that Ministers should be held to account by an independent investigator, should any allegation arise. They would also expect to be able to raise concerns about Ministerial conduct themselves as engaged citizens. However, at present there is no process by which to do this.

The North Down MLA continued:

“I had discussions with the then deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness on the creation of the independent process and received a positive response.

“Transparency and accountability must be at the heart of post-election NI politics. This motion calls for a new era of transparent and accountable politics as we look to restore public trust and confidence in the wake of the RHI fiasco and at the conclusion of this mandate.”

ENDS

Media Contact Sinead McIvor

07701 302 498

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