Tuesday 07 July 2020
Rachel Woods MLA attended the Assembly debate on the vote of no confidence in Executive Ministers who took part in a funeral which broke Coronavirus regulations last week.
The North Down MLA was not called to speak in the chamber but was prepared to call for the creation of an independent body to investigate suspected breaches of the Ministerial Code.
Rachel Woods MLA said: “I, like many others, felt hurt and disappointment when the Deputy First Minister and other Sinn Fein representatives decided that coronavirus regulations didn’t apply to them, undermining the public health message.
“Families who followed the regulations when laying loved ones to rest during this pandemic have been betrayed as well as bereaved.
“Public trust and confidence in our political system has been damaged once again. How many crises and controversies must be endured before we commit ourselves and our Executive to accountability, transparency and independent oversight?
“The Green Party has called for the creation of an independent process to investigate alleged breaches of the Ministerial Code since 2015.
“Additionally, the post of Standards Commissioner, whose office investigates complaints about MLAs, has been vacant since 2017.
“I welcome today's timely announcement of the nomination of a new Commissioner for Standards. I urge the First and Deputy First Ministers to appoint the remaining members to the Panel of Ministerial Oversight as a matter of urgency.
“We must do so much better if we are avoid our political system becoming a carousel of continual crisis and controversy. An apology costs nothing yet can achieve so much.”
Sinead McIvor - 07701 302 498