Foster open to getting rid of the Petition of Concern

Speaking to the BBC she said;

“We talk a lot about the petition of concern and our opponents talk a lot about the petition of concern,” she said.

“We would actually like to see the petition of concern got rid of for everything, but I think our opponents would like to keep it for the things they want to to use the petition of concern for and not allow us to use it.”

The Alliance Party Leader, Naomi Long made some remarks on this topic today saying;

Last May, during negotiations around the Justice Ministry, Alliance made a series of proposals to Sinn Fein and the DUP. One of those was reform of the petition of concern mechanism. It would have seen the tool reverted to what it was originally intended for – the protection of minority rights.

“However, both parties rejected that idea. Those same two parties also stated the issue would be addressed under the so-called Fresh Start deal, but that was not the case. Neither expended an ounce of political capital on getting the issue resolved.

“In the last term alone, the petition was used to block a motion of no confidence in the Assembly Speaker, which was a further display of the arrogance and disrespect which showcased much of the mandate, and which allowed him to cling to office despite the majority of MLAs and the public wishing to see him step aside.

“The abuse of that veto power has led to many of the issues which directly contributed to the collapse of the Assembly, as well as seeing Northern Ireland lag behind on a number of equality issues. We need to get it back to its original intent and away from what it has become, which is used and abused to protect parties’ selfish interests.”

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