Key issues to escape scrutiny
In a reply during Assembly question time to the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, it was stated that there will be no committee established within the Assembly to scrutinise key areas of responsibility within their offices. Liaison with the North-South Ministerial Council, with the International Fund for Ireland, with the policy innovation unit will not be scrutinised by elected representatives. The same goes for cross departmental co-ordination and the Assembly Ombudsman, who will have responsibility for liaison and appointments issues.
Instead, Seamus Mallon and David Trimble have stated that they will simply report directly to the Assembly on these matters, thus further diluting the powers of all members to influence these issues and debates. This is clearly an attempt by the Ulster Unionists and the SDLP to attempt to consolidate their power base.