Friday 13 January 2012

Secret meetings, deals & political fog

This week the lack of political transparency in Northern Ireland was again highlighted by the secret meetings at Stormont to discuss the future of the Department of Enterprise and Learning and the Justice Ministry.

While a reduction of departments in the Executive is welcome, secret meetings and horse trading over restructuring does little to give the electorate confidence in local democracy.

In response Green Party leader, Steven Agnew MLA has stated, "In the interests of democracy, decisions about the number of departments and the appointment of Ministers should be done in full public view at the Executive and Review Committee and not in behind closed doors meetings. What we need, like the issue over party political funding in Northern Ireland, is complete transparency rather than behind the scenes deals."

It's clear to see that the parties involved in secret meetings are giving political expediency priority over good governance. Under the d'hondt system they accept that Alliance Party should have one ministry but simply opting to get rid of DEL in order to keep David Ford as Justice Minister is just not acceptable and it does not reflect good governance.

The Executive must engage in a proper restructuring of how the Assembly does business for that is what the people of Northern Ireland deserve from their elected representatives.

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