MLA Attendance

I would like to know how many members are required to attend the various sessions and debates and how we can find out whether and how they voted.

It seems that there is no accountability and if a member fails to attend there is no record or consequence.

On 22nd June there was a vote on the Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill but only 41 of a possible 108 MLAs were in attendance.  How can a vote be held with fewer than half of the members present?

Why is the Northern Ireland Assembly debating the current situation/crisis in the Middle East?

A reader has submitted the following question:

Why is the Northern Ireland  ‘Local’ Assembly debating the current situation/crisis in the Middle East?
I cannot see the relevance of our elected Local Assembly Members wasting public money and time to discuss something that does not have a bearing on the people of Northern Ireland.
Our Assembly finds it hard enough to agree upon and debate important issues that have a bearing on our lives, e.g education, but can organised a debate on something occurring half a world away.
Once again our MLAs have shown they have lost the plot in terms of what the electorate of NI needs.

For those who may not be aware, the Assembly held a special sitting on Friday 4th of June to discuss the following motion:

That this Assembly, conscious of the presence of Nobel laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire on board the MV Rachel Corrie, calls on Israel to conform with international human rights norms and joins with the British and Irish Governments in condemning the disproportionate actions by Israel earlier this week; recognises that every nation has the right to defend itself but that each nation also has a responsibility to respect and comply with international law; and further calls on Israel to ensure that humanitarian efforts in Gaza are facilitated, that an immediate end to the blockade is effected and that the MV Rachel Corrie is given safe passage to Gaza.

You can find the Official Report of the discussion on this webpage.

MLAs, as elected representatives of the people of Northern Ireland, debate many issues of concern. The situation in Gaza is of great interest and it is not unusual that MLAs should debate this issue and add their views to the views of others from across the world.

We publish a list (updated weekly) of proposed motions for debate, which are called No Day Named Motions.  A no day named motion is the term given to a motion for which no date has been fixed for debate and are published on this page

Web Stats

“Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of internet data for purposes of understanding and optimising web usage.”

You can learn more about web analytics from this Wikipedia article.

We analyse visitors to the Assembly’s website 1 to highlight monthly trends.

Web stats for May 2010:
32,279 Visitors 2
80,151 Visits 3
432,115 Pageviews 4

Daily web trends during May 2010

The image above shows how use of the website varies on a day to day basis.  Visits to the site peak during the week and plateau when the Assembly does not meet.

Popular pages on our website include, This Week at the Assembly, Assembly Questions, Membership of the Assembly, Committee pages and the Official Report.

How people get to our site
Graphic showing how our users get to our site

More than 52% of visitors to the Assembly’s website find their way via a search engine, typically using the following search terms:
NI Assembly; Northern Ireland Assembly; Stormont.

The monthly web stats report is available to download here.

1 The Assembly currently uses Google Analytics to evaluate usage of However, you can choose to opt out of this data collection by installing a browser add-on. The Google Analytics site has more information on this here.
2A Visitor is a construct designed to come as close as possible to defining the number of actual, distinct people who visited a website.
3 Visits: The number of times your visitors have been to your site
4 A page view is an instance of a page being loaded by a browser.