Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill

Published date : 22 February, 2023
I think we all know why we are here yet again: the continued refusal of some to resume their seats in the Assembly and the continued impasse caused by Conservatives placing Brexit at a higher, more prized level than what they call their precious Union. It should go without saying that Northern Ireland is always governed better when it is governed locally and that the best place for MLAs is back at work in a fully functioning Assembly that is holding to account a fully functioning Executive that are getting on with tackling the many problems that exist in Northern Ireland today. The SNP will support an extension again, because at this point we do not see a great deal of point in driving voters in Northern Ireland to the polls until the politics have moved on somewhat.

It will come as an enormous relief to all concerned that I do not intend to speak in the later stages of the Bill’s proceedings, but I hope you will permit me, Madam Deputy Speaker, to make some remarks about Dáithí’s law, as others have done, and to pay my own tribute to his family for the thoroughly inspirational campaign they have conducted. Although the amendments to the Bill may be a less than perfect way of introducing that law, they at least get Northern Ireland where it needs to be. I agree wholeheartedly with the Secretary of State that this process should not become the norm in the absence of an Executive that can pass legislation, but on this occasion the ends very much justify the means, and we can very much justify looking the other way.

Dáithí’s law will bring renewed hope to many, and I very much hope he gets the outcome we all earnestly hope for, because so much hope and such positive outcomes can be brought to people in Northern Ireland. When Dáithí gets the outcome he deserves, as I am sure he will, it will allow him to lead a long and happy life, and I hope that that heart will be able to hold all the love that his mummy, his daddy and his family can possibly give him.

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