Question Time: Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister Monday 30 September 2013
The recent tensions in Northern Ireland over the summer period was a recurring theme as deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, faced the questions of his Assembly colleagues.
During topical questions Danny Kinahan asked the deputy First Minister about recent comments in the media about a crisis in his office. Mr McGuinness acknowledged that there are “quite severe difficulties” pinpointing the recent violence in the streets as a catalyst. The collapsed plans for a peace building resolution centre were also highlighted as an area of contention, calling for the “commitment of all of us to stand by the agreements we have made”.
The topic returned during the scheduled Oral Questions as Alex Attwood asked the deputy First Minister about the need for accountability mechanisms in order to address the past. Mr McGuinness spoke of the work of the Haass panel (due to conclude in December) and of a Victims Forum working group which is looking at the situation and will then report to the Victims Commissioner. The Minister also sought to reassure the Chamber that he doesn’t accept that the Haass talks will be unsuccessful. However a resolution requires a "generosity of spirit”, saying that the good will of all participants will ensure that a satisfactory outcome is found.
Junior Minister, Jennifer McCann, also updated the Assembly on the progress of the projects which are part of the Signature Programmes under Delivering Social Change as well as the measures being put forward to tackle child poverty, revealing 2020 as the target for its eradication.