Economy Minister 'displaying contempt' for Assembly, says Sinéad McLaughlin MLA

Thu, 29/04/2021 - 11:25 -- Editor

Economy minister Diane Dodds is displaying contempt for the Northern Ireland Assembly by failing to attend its economy committee for over four months, says the deputy chair of the economy committee, Sinead McLaughlin MLA.  

McLaughlin was speaking after Wednesday's meeting of the economy committee, which minister Dodds did not attend. She has not attended any economy committee since 16th December last year, despite its role scrutinising the work of the minister and her department. 

McLaughlin, an SDLP MLA, said it was unacceptable that Diane Dodds has not attended an economy committee meeting since the triggering of the Brexit Protocol. She also failed to present her economic recovery plan to the economy committee, or explain why she had agreed only limited financial support to higher and further education students.  

McLaughlin said: “Diane Dodds has a responsibility to present her policies and to defend them against criticism. This is fundamental to the functioning of democratic accountability. It is particularly unacceptable that the minister has not attended the committee even once since the Brexit Protocol came into place. 

“Furthermore, we have a major programme of economic recovery that the economy minister has published, yet failed to present to committee, or defend against the many criticisms of its limitations.   

“Minister Dodds has declined to meet student bodies in the face of criticisms that she has not extended financial support to Northern Ireland students who are at university in Great Britain or in the South of Ireland, nor further education students here.  

“This is not the behaviour expected of a responsible government minister, committed to accountability.” 

Economy minister Diane Dodds is displaying contempt for the Northern Ireland Assembly by failing to attend its economy committee for over four months, says the deputy chair of the economy committee, Sinead McLaughlin MLA.  

 

McLaughlin was speaking after Wednesday's meeting of the economy committee, which minister Dodds did not attend. She has not attended any economy committee since 16th December last year, despite its role scrutinising the work of the minister and her department.

 

McLaughlin, an SDLP MLA, said it was unacceptable that Diane Dodds has not attended an economy committee meeting since the triggering of the Brexit Protocol. She also failed to present her economic recovery plan to the economy committee, or explain why she had agreed only limited financial support to higher and further education students. 

 

McLaughlin said: “Diane Dodds has a responsibility to present her policies and to defend them against criticism. This is fundamental to the functioning of democratic accountability. It is particularly unacceptable that the minister has not attended the committee even once since the Brexit Protocol came into place. 

 

“Furthermore, we have a major programme of economic recovery that the economy minister has published, yet failed to present to committee, or defend against the many criticisms of its limitations.  

 

“Minister Dodds has declined to meet student bodies in the face of criticisms that she has not extended financial support to Northern Ireland students who are at university in Great Britain or in the South of Ireland, nor further education students here.  

 

“This is not the behaviour expected of a responsible government minister, committed to accountability.”