The devolution of Ulster: Committee rules keep check on Assembly ministers
Belfast-born David McKittrick has been reporting on Northern Ireland since 1971, He has written for the East Antrim Times, the Irish Times and was The Independent's Irish correspondent for many years. He is the author of several books including Making Sense of the Troubles (2000) and Lost Lives (1999).
Friday 03 December 1999
It has also been devised to cope with the lack of trust in the relationships among the four major parties. The Ulster Unionists, the Democratic Unionists, Sinn Fein and the SDLP, together holding 90 of the assembly's 108 seats - will have a role in government and opposition.
Beneath the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, the Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble and Seamus Mallon of the nationalist SDLP, is an executive made up of 10 departmental ministers. The Ulster Unionists and SDLP each have three seats on the executive, and Sinn Fein and the Rev Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party have two each.
The ministers will be kept in check by powerful committees. Each of the 10 departmental heads will be shadowed by a committee headed by members of different parties. For example, Martin McGuinness, the Education Minister, will answer to a committee with an Ulster Unionist chairman and a Democratic Unionist deputy chairman. Nine other members will be drawn from a range of assembly parties.
Committees have been given scrutiny, policy development and consultative functions, a role in initiating legislation and the power to summon people and papers and to hold inquiries and make reports.
This is designed to allay any suspicion that ministers might be tempted into discrimination or partiality. The whole system is supposed to be imbued with a spirit of equality and mutual respect. Legislation put before the assembly will need to attract support from nationalists and Unionists to be passed.
- 1 Double chins could be 'cured' without surgery or dieting using new injection
- 2 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 3 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 5 Thank heavens for Louise Mensch and her foul-mouthed tweets to world leaders
Scientists discover way to unboil an egg – and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Greece elections: Greek PM Alexis Tsipras takes aim at 'neo-liberal' Europe as country gears up for prolonged austerity battle
Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary: Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
£125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough, Cam...