Poots calls for ombudsman to examine Liam Adams case

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The Health Minister, Edwin Poots, called for the Police Ombudsman to examine the PSNI's handling of the Liam Adams case, on 8 October 2013.

Adams was convicted of raping and abusing his daughter, Aine, over a six-year period when she was aged between four and nine.

Mr Poots said Aine Adams was "let down by the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary), she was let down by her uncle, Gerry Adams, and she has been let down to some extent by the PSNI".

"I will be looking for independence to be applied in this case so that no-one in the public has any sense that anybody is above the law," he said.

Mr Poots also said there should be zero tolerance for those who cover up child abuse.

The health minister challenged Sinn Fein members who had called for Cardinal Daly to resign over the matter of clerical abuse "to step up to mark today".

Earlier, Alex Attwood of the SDLP asked the employment and learning minister for an assurances that he would "not adopt the Tory proposals, outlined by the prime minister last week, that sees young people penalised by daily signing-on, questionable work activities and other punitive measures".

The minister, Stephen Farry, said he recognised the grave concern about this matter in the community and that the executive had discussed it at a recent meeting.

"It is safe to say that, across the board in Northern Ireland people do not see the relevance of this programme, or how it makes a huge amount of sense," he said.

The TUV leader, Jim Allister, said that over £8m a year was being spent "educating over 4,000 students from the Republic of Ireland free of charge" and suggested that people might expect the money to be spent on people from Northern Ireland.

Mr Farry said this was a matter not just for the Northern Ireland taxpayer, but for the UK taxpayer as a whole.

He said three-quarters of the number probably reflected the Donegal to Derry corridor and that there was a legal duty to treat citizens of other European Union countries the same as home students.

"We have no choice in this matter," he said, adding that the answer was to encourage the Republic of Ireland to invest in its own education system, particularly in the north-west region.

A number of members asked about capital funding for regional colleges in their constituencies.

In reply to a question from the SDLP's Dominic Bradley, the minister confirmed that the Southern Regional College had been under-represented in capital allocations over the previous 10 years.

He said he expected to receive a business plan from the college soon and hoped to make an announcement in the coming months.

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