Jim Allister is warned to moderate his remarks


The Speaker, William Hay, issued a warning to Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister to moderate his remarks about other members, on 12 March 2013.

Mr Hay asked the North Antrim MLA to clarify a comment he had made from a sedentary position during a speech by Sinn Fein's Pat Sheehan.

Mr Allister had asked: "How much of the £26m from the Northern Bank robbery did you get?"

He said he was referring to Sinn Fein as a party and not Mr Sheehan as an individual.

The Speaker said Mr Allister needed to be "very careful in future" about his use of language or he would deal with him "a lot stronger".

Education Minister John O'Dowd then reported back to the house on a recent meeting of the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) on education.

He drew particular attention to plans for the expansion of the Middletown Centre for Autism.

"The expansion of services in the north will enable a greater number of children to receive direct support from the Centre," he said.

Education Committee chairman Mervyn Storey of the DUP said the statement was, "more about what is not in it, than what is in it".

The SDLP's Dominic Bradley wanted to know why there was no mention of Irish medium education anywhere in the statement.

The minister listed a number of Irish language initiatives and said he was "satisfied there is a healthy stream of work".

Danny Kinahan of the UUP observed that Mr O'Dowd seemed more inclined to speak to his southern counterparts than to members of other parties.

He called on the minister to sit down with the other parties to "find a way forward".

"I pride myself on being accessible to all MLAs and parties," Mr O'Dowd said.

He invited Mr Kinahan to arrange a meeting with him.

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