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Summary

  1. The enterprise minister made two statements on North South Ministerial Council meetings.
  2. The Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, and Regional Development Minister, Michelle McIlveen, appeared at Question Time.

Live Reporting

By Robin Sheeran and Robert Ainley

All times stated are UK

  1. The Assembly adjourns

    Join us tomorrow at 10:30 GMT for more live coverage of the Assembly.

    Tuesday's business includes a debate on the consideration stage of the bill that would reduce the number of MLAs from 108 to 90, and John McCallister's Assembly opposition bill.

  2. Public Services Ombudsman Bill

    Mr Nesbitt introduces a single amendment brought in the exceptional further consideration stage of the bill.

    This additional debate arises as a result of the Attorney General's concern that the bill was "outwith the Assembly's legislative competence," says Mr Nesbitt.

    The amendment relates to "non-disclosure notices" in the bill, in cases impacting on national security.

    Alex Maskey, who sits on the OFMDFM Committee says Sinn Féin opposes the non-disclosure element of the bill.

    He says his party will vote against the amendment, but "will not push the Assembly to a divison".

  3. Suspension of two standing orders

    Mike Nesbitt

    UUP leader Mike Nesbitt, who chairs the OFMDFM Committee, moves the motion to to suspend two standing orders to allow a debate on the exceptional further consideration stage of the Public services Ombudsman Bill.

    The motion is agreed.

  4. 'Relatively wide disclosure'

    Stewart Dickson of Alliance says his party was "generally content to support the bill at this stage", though he did share some concerns with a housing rights group over the "relatively wide scope of incidences in which disclosure could be made".

    The bill progresses, after an oral vote, to further consideration stage.

  5. 'Practical benefits'

    Dolores Kelly of the SDLP thanks the department for its co-operation with the committee and for taking into account the concerns of stakeholders when making amendments.

    Ulster Unionist Roy Beggs welcomes aspects of the bill that address anti-social behaviour. He speaks of the "practical benefits", citing a situation in the Monkstown estate in Newtownabbey where "the issue could have been perhaps addressed earlier if the information had been shared".

  6. Housing (amendment) Bill

    Lord Morrow

    Social Development Minister Lord Morrow introduces the consideration stage of the Housing (Amendment) Bill.

    The bill primarily deals with the disclosure of details about anti-social behaviour by tenants of social housing. It also allows for greater information-sharing about vacant properties.

    Sinn Féin's Alex Maskey, who chairs the Social Development Committee, speaks in support of the bill and its amendments.

    The DUP's Paula Bradley also backs the bill.

  7. LCM agreed

    Patsy McGlone, the SDLP chairman of the Enterprise Committee and Gordon Dunne of the DUP speak in support of the LCM.

    Mr Dunne says the provisions updating the 1979 Estate Agents Act would "improve the sector for both the agents and the customer".

    The minister, Mr Bell, lauds the professionalism of the Enterprise Committee.

    The LCM passes on an oral vote.

  8. Housing and Planning Bill

    Houses

    Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell introduces a Legislative Consent Motion (LCM) that would see the Housing and Planning Bill extend to Northern Ireland.

    He says the LCM will make changes to the 1979 Estate Agents Act, amending existing law on housing, rental charges, planning and compulsory purchase orders.

    Failure to apply the LCM could lead to "unfit and fraudulent" estate agents operating in Northern Ireland, says Mr Bell.

  9. Airport rail link

    Translink train

    Trevor Lunn of Alliance asks whether it is not time to open a rail link to Belfast International Airport.

    The minister says "the usage around the airport would need to increase to around 10m passengers a year".

  10. A5 upgrade

    A5 road project

    Sinn Féin's Declan McAleer asks the minister when she will sign the draft order to allow the project to upgrade the A5 road to progress.

    The minister says she had an "open and frank discussion" with landowners in December.

    She hopes to introduce a lands acquisition compensation bill that would bring the level of compensation payable on compulsory purchase into line with Great Britain.

    "This is a clear anomaly," Miss McIlveen says.

    The next stage in moving forward the A5 project is the sign-off of draft orders.

    The minister says she is "hopeful that an announcement can be made quite shortly".

  11. Regional Development questions

    Michelle McIlveen

    Regional Development Minister Michelle McIlveen is answering questions from members.

  12. 'Sleepwalking' into Brexit?

    Alastair Ross

    The DUP's Alastair Ross notes there has been speculation that there may be an in/out referendum on EU membership in June, shortly after the assembly elections, and asks Mr McGuinness if he is concerned.

    "Yes, I would absolutely share that concern," he says.

    The deputy first minister say she has "huge" concerns" that the approach adopted by the prime minister could be "sleepwalking all of us into an exit from Europe".

  13. Appointment of commissioners

    Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People

    The SDLP's Karen McKevitt asks whether it is intended that the power to appoint commissioners, including the older people's commissioner and the children's commissioner, should remain with the new Executive Office.

    Mr McGuinness says the commissioners will come under the remit of the new Department of Communities, "with the exception of the appointments of the respective commissioners".

    He says there is a need to show the commissioners have confidence across the communities.

  14. Question Time

    Martin McGuinness

    Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness is answering questions from MLAs.

  15. Rates bill progresses

    The Sinn Féin amendment passes on an oral vote, while MLAs divide over the UUP pigeon-racing amendment.

    After a vote, the amendment on pigeon clubs passes by 55 votes to 29

    The bill now moves to its final stage.

  16. Clubs with bars 'lucky' to get 80% rates relief

    Mervyn Storey

    Finance Minister Mervyn Storey, responding to the debate, says he was not convinced the Sinn Féin amendment "added material value" to the bill, but was content to endorse it.

    He says that amateur sporting clubs that have a successful bar "should count themselves lucky" to enjoy the 80% rates relief they currently receive, which is "not exactly deemed as unreasonable".

  17. 'Policy has wings'

    Claire Hanna of the SDLP spoke in support of both amendments.

    On the UUP's amendment incorporating pigeon clubs in the bill, she adds, "We'll let this one fly, we think the policy does have wings and the clubs should get their rates cheap cheap".

  18. 'Trailblazer'

    pigeons

    The DUP's Ian McCrea says he does not think he has enough information to support the UUP amendment, but would support the Sinn Féin amendment.

    Ulster Unionist Leslie Cree presented his party's amendment which gives "the minister an opportunity to be a trailblazer and an opportunity to be a champion for pigeon men and women".

  19. Rates Bill

    Members begin the debate on the further consideration stage of the Rates (Amendment ) Bill.

    Sinn Féin's Daithí McKay brings forward an amendment which would put community amateur sports clubs on the face of the bill. 

    He says he would have liked to have seen "clubs with licences, with bars" included under the rates relief arrangements, per his own amendment.

    He believes excluding them creates a disincentive for clubs with bars to build further facilities for their members.

    Mr McKay sees no reason why a UUP amendment including pigeon-racing clubs under the ambit of the bill should not be included.