Motion addressing ministers' High Court battle falls
A UUP motion expressing concern that a disagreement between two Executive ministers was brought before the High Court failed to win support, on 20 January 2014.
At the end of 2013, Finance Minister Simon Hamilton took legal action to prevent the Agriculture Minister, Michelle O'Neill, distributing more than £100m of EU funding over six years without consulting the Executive first on exactly where it was going.
Mrs O'Neill told an earlier debate that she believed transferring 7% of Common Agricultural Policy funding to rural development projects represented a good balance between the other priorities she had to consider and would have helped support investment in the agri-food industry.
The UUP motion, which "expressed dissatisfaction" with the agriculture minister's "failure to effectively consult" with her Executive colleagues, was defeated by 63 votes to 34.
Mrs O'Neill said she had twice raised the matter with the finance minister before legal action was taken "and not a problem was raised".
The DUP's William Irwin described this as "a falsehood".
"We tried to engage with DARD (Department of Agriculture and Rural Development) on this important issue in a bid to get a resolution before commencing court action," he said.
Mr Irwin said the court decision, which had ruled in Mr Hamilton's favour, had ensured that £137.5m of funding remained with farming families across Northern Ireland.
Mr Irwin's party colleague, Sammy Wilson, said if the 7% of funding had been transferred it would have taken money away from farmers for developing their own farms.
Mrs O'Neill said Northern Ireland was now the only part of the UK where there was no transfer taking place.
She said she feared this "risked depriving our farmers, our rural community and the protection of the environment of much needed investment".
The minister said she was one of the strongest supporters of the farming and rural community and was committed to seeking additional funding to enable her to carry out the projects farmers were asking for.
An Alliance amendment, which re-worded the original motion so that blame was not placed solely on the agriculture minister, did gain support.
The first part of the debate can be viewed here.