Appreciating the Assembly’s Answers

If you haven’t already discovered this little gem then I suggest you add it to the list of favourite websites. The Northern Ireland Assembly’s Answers Booklet is published on a weekly basis and consists of answers to the written questions posed by MLAs from all sides of the House.
Here’s a taster summary of what you can discern from simply glancing through one of the weekly answer booklets:
March 26th 2010 (my summaries)
• There are a helluva lot of bands receiving up to 5k for new instruments via DCAL;
• One third of Integrated schools do not meet the minimum threshold regarding number of pupils drawn from the respective minority community required to be actually recognised as ‘integrated’;
• The number of children being educated at home is increasing;
• The number of apprentices is increasing significantly year on year across the north, with the largest number of apprentices located in Fermanagh South Tyrone and West Tyrone;
• Jeffrey Donaldson wants the DEL Minister to pressurise St. Mary’s College to join UCAS;
• There have been 77 vehicles clamped or seized in the Larne area in the last 12 months;
• Inpatient admissions per 1000 population is steadily increasing year on year, from 163 to 170 from 2006/07 to 2008/09;
• There are approximately 1100 GPs working in Northern Ireland;
• An hourly Enterprise Service between Belfast and Dublin would require three additional operational trains costing £40m and annual operational costs of £5m, costs which would be shared with Iarnrod Eireann.
Go read for yourself and join the anorak club.

  • Mark McGregor


    It is good nerd stuff but I’d like them to do it like Europe – as well as getting the broader lists, every MLA should have a page where you can click into their individual speeches, questions etc.

  • sdelaneys

    Good link Chris and by christ there’s some quare payments there.

  • Drumlins Rock

    1,100 GPs at I believe an average of 100,000 quid each, gives 110 million, or am I away out there?

  • Driftwood

    Classic stuff;

    And on and on and on

    Good to see why nearly 4,000 were murdered for this shite.

    Makes the House of Lords look incredibly relevant, and important. really it does.
    But…who gives a shit?

  • aquifer

    If we don’t give a shit our MLAs are not asking the right questions.

  • Pigeon Toes

    Our MLAs don’t really seem to like asking questions, any more than the departments like answering the questions properly.

    A bit like FOI, they wriggle out of answering the actual question and MLAs don’t appear to be very good on following up afterwards.

  • ding dong

    You missed my personal favorites,

    what is the rat population in Northern ireland?


    when will the minister iradicate viruses from hospitals?

    Absolute classics and neither were asked on April’s fools day – just by fools!

  • David Crookes

    Here we see tokens of healthy normal politics in a small community. What’s the problem? Political health involves a lot of triviality. It isn’t all cosmic constitutional questions.

  • Mack

    There are approximately 1100 GPs working in Northern Ireland

    This is 61 per 100,000 citizens. In 2008 there were 56 per 100,000 in the Republic of Ireland.

    It may just be Dublin, but I’ve generally found it easier to get a Doctor’s appointment in the south (with less time queuing).

  • sdelaneys

    “Will the minister iradicate viruses” reminds me of the story concerning a sth Armagh councillor who allegedly said that the new public toilets were working to full ‘capissity’.

  • Drumlins Rock

    course you do Mack, at 50 quid a skite your not going to go to see the doctor unless your dying, wheras up here people go just to get the gossip in the waiting room.

  • Mack, you pay in the South.

  • Mack


    Mack, you pay in the South.

    You pay in the UK too. Not least through higher National Insurance contributions. The unemployed don’t pay (Medical Card), and lower paid workers (who generally have higher salaries in the south) pay a lot less tax than equivalent workers in the UK. GP visits are tax deductable and are often at least partially covered by health insurance.

    Probably what you meant is the marginal cost of making a doctors visit (for a patient) is 0 in the UK but between 0-€50 in the south (in reality normally a good bit less than €50). So, of course UK citizens would be more inclined to make extra doctor’s visits, perhaps when they don’t really need them?

    Also, GPs in the south get paid per patient they see. That means that GP’s that see more patients, organise their visits more effectively, have a higher income, could this have an impact on GP productivity?