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 http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/io/noday.htm.

2 Responses

  1. I believe the real motive which lay behind the tabling of this no day named motion was so that parties from both sides of the community could once again entrench themselves in the bickering that is so typical of the Assembly. I would far rather such motions be devoted to the local economy, public services, health, schools and policing and justice.

  2. I agree with the comments made by the ‘poster’- I believe the answer is simply that our politicians have no real power over anything important to ‘ordinary people’. I spent ten years working as an advice worker and regularly dealt with (helped) people who had either never worked or hadn’t done so for years who were considerably better off than I was – I’m single with no children and virtually every day i was helping people whose disposable income was sometimes more than twice mine – once travel costs to work and housing costs are paid from wages.
    Since losing my job 18 months ago I now receive £65p.w. JSA whilst I’m acutely aware how much better off many of my neighbours are – some of them actually take a couple of foreign holidays a year and drive nice cars whilst I had to get rid of mine (I’m comparing my circumstances to that of single people like myself).
    Every time they make a job announcement it inevitably means NMW rates or – if you are lucky – a few pence an hour more – I have had to turn down two jobs recently in Derry and Belfast – call centres – as public transport from my home to both cities does not even arrive before 8.35am – 9am in the case of Derry city.
    The only conceivable solution to this farce whereby its virtually pointless working is that people being paid ridiculous salaries – like most people here – do not have 22-25% of their salary deducted in tax and N.I. payments. I would love to see MLA’s here survive on take home pay of £200 p.w., pay 40% + on housing costs and then pay for travel to work – maybe then they would understand why I refuse to vote (remember P Robinson’s remark when he was questioned by Martina Purdy on bbc newsline following the revelation he had submitted an expense claim for his £50 meal in Westminister – he replied ”for goodness sake, some people expect us to sleep on a park bench”). If it wasn’t so serious it really would be funny – I know civil servants who travel 120 miles (return) a day to work who have not much more than that amount to spend on a weeks food, light and heating – some chance of this ever changing if our first minister equates paying for his own meals out of his obscene salary (remember this man is better paid than your local gp).
    I really could talk about this for a week – this problem exists in England but bearing in mind average salary in N.Ireland is considerably lower than in England it is a much greater issue here. I genuinely believe politicians here will never deliver anything to ordinary working people – in the same week I was made redundant Ian Paisley (snr) issued a statement declaring he wanted N.Ireland to be a ‘world economic powerhouse’ and a few days later G Adams issued a statement on the Cuban economy – you couldn’t make it up – these people are laughing in our faces.

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