Steven Agnew warns of slipping financial standards without Assembly scrutiny

Green Party leader Steven Agnew has warned that Northern Ireland’s standards of governance are falling into disrepute due to the lack of oversight.

The North Down MLA was commenting on a report by the NI Audit Office  in which the Comptroller and Auditor General Kieran Donnelly expressed concern over the number of findings reflecting conduct that falls short of the high standards expected from those in public life.

“For me, one of the most important roles of the Assembly is the job of oversight and making sure public money is accounted for in the most rigorous way possible,” Mr Agnew said,

“These findings should be deeply concerning to every member of the public in Northern Ireland. This is their money and it needs to be accounted for with rigour.

“We have seen the serious impact on our most recent Assembly of a failure to put proper procedures in place to protect public money.

“Now we find that in the absence of an Assembly, standards are continuing to slide and there is no-one to fulfil the hugely important role of scrutiny.

“This is exactly why we cannot continue with a governance that simply allows Northern Ireland to ‘tick along’. We need the Secretary of State to take these lapses seriously, get tough on the negotiating parties that have failed to reach a deal and do everything in her power to get the Assembly up and running again.”

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