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  1. MLAs debated a number of pieces of legislation including the further consideration stage of the Justice Bill and the final stage of the Employment Bill.
  2. Education Minister John O’Dowd and the Employment Minister, Stephen Farry, answered questions on the floor of the house.
  3. The Employment Committee presented its report on its inquiry into Post-Special Educational Need (SEN) provision in education, employment and training for those with learning disabilities.

Live Reporting

By Robin Sheeran and Brooke Allen

All times stated are UK

  1. Good night

    The motion passes on an oral vote and the speaker adjourns the assembly more than three hours earlier than scheduled. 

    We will be back at 10:00 GMT tomorrow when the Education Committee will receive a briefing from the Education Authority and department officials on the promotion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) in schools, and early years.

  2. 'A net full of holes'

    Claire Sugden

    Independent MLA Claire Sugden says "we have a net, but it's full of holes and unfortunately too many people are slipping through". 

    She says all departments should "collect and share data on those with learning disabilities so that it will better support individuals, to better plan services and decrease duplication". 

    Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry says he is "very conscious that we are coming to the end of the mandate and I do not want to leave this issue hanging". 

    He encourages all assembly members to "make a commitment to seek to ensure there is proper coordination to take on board, not just the recommendations of the committee, but some of the existing practice in a much more holistic way". 

  3. Irish election: Only a few seats left to be decided as Labour minister loses out

    BBC election graphic

    The Irish election recounts are continuing with only three seats left to be decided, two in Longford-Westmeath and one in Dublin South Central.  

    Another major figure has lost his seat today after Labour Party minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin lost his seat in Dublin Bay North. Labour now need Willie Penrose to be elected in Longford-Westmeath in order to guarantee speaking rights in the Irish parliament.  

  4. David Ford 'still hurt' at losing church role over same-sex marriage stance

    David Ford

    Alliance leader David Ford has said he is still hurt about giving up a senior role in his church because of his support for same-sex marriage. 

    He used to be an elder at Second Donegore Presbyterian Church in Ballyclare, County Antrim. In 2013, he left his church post voluntarily after some members of the congregation expressed concern over his support for civil same-sex marriage. 

  5. 'Wholehearted support'

    Education Committee chairman Peter Weir says the committee has "not taken a formal position on any of these recommendations however, they have considered many similar issues". 

    The chairman says he "wholeheartedly supports the recommendations of the DEL report". 

    Anna Lo from the Alliance Party also supports the motion. 

  6. Sinn Féin and SDLP welcome the report

    Bronwyn McGahan

    Sinn Féin's Bronwyn McGahan says she "recommends the adoption of this much-needed report". 

    The SDLP's Gerard Diver welcomes the report and says the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) should "continue to support social enterprises or any other employment providing work experience already".

  7. Barriers still remain

    David Hilditch
    Image caption: David Hilditch

    Mr Swann says that "although action has take place, it has been mainly procedural in nature."

    He says the "numerous barriers facing young people with learning disabilities as they leave school and try to lead productive lives still remain". 

    The DUP's David Hilditch says from reading through the recommendations within the inquiry, "there's no doubt that the opportunities throughout Northern Ireland for those with special needs are patchy". 

    He says "therefore policies, procedures and practices need to be improved in order to maximise opportunities to support transition from education to job opportunities". 

  8. Education Committee inquiry into special educational needs

    Robin Swann

    Employment Committee chairman Robin Swann is asking MLAs to approve a report into post Special Educational Need(SEN) provision in education, employment and training for those with learning disabilities.

    He also asks for the Employment Minister, Stephen Farry, to liaise with his relevant executive colleagues to implement the report’s recommendations. 

  9. Bombardier apprenticeships

    Bombardier Aerospace

    The DUP's Gordon Dunne asks the minister what action is being taken to ensure that Bombardier continues to offer apprenticeships.

    The aerospace company announced last month that it is to cut more than 1,000 jobs in Northern Ireland.

    The company is to suspend its apprenticeship scheme.

    The minister says he is due to have a meeting with Bombardier tomorrow to discuss a range of matters, including training.

    "It is important that we have a critical mass of apprenticeships for the aerospace sector," he adds.

  10. 'The highest level of economic inactivity in the UK'

    Jim Allister of the TUV says Northern Ireland has "the highest level of economic inactivity in the UK".

    He wants to know why the executive is spending £500m to supplement benefits when it has an unfunded strategy to get people back to work "sitting on the shelf".

    He says this is indicative of a "miserable, failed executive".

    The minister says he is not sure whether Mr Allister's comments are "largely rhetorical", but he does share some of his concerns.

  11. Employment and learning questions

    Employment Minister Stephen Farry is answering questions from members.

    Stephen Farry
  12. Irish-medium post-primary college

    Adrian McQuillan

    The DUP's Adrian McQuillan asks how many pupils there are at Coláiste Dhoire, the new Irish-medium post-primary college in Dungiven.

    The minister says there are about 17 pupils. 

    Mr O'Dowd says the alternative would be to bus the pupils to Belfast.

    "These children's parents want them to be taught through the medium of Irish. Why is that seen as such a threat to yourself and others?" he asks.

  13. Nama deal: Politicians' inquiry plea over Frank Cushnahan 'fixer fee' claims

    John Campbell

    BBC News NI Economics and Business Editor

    Frank Cushnahan
    Image caption: Former banker Frank Cushnahan was a Nama Northern Ireland advisor from May 2010 until November 2013

    Politicians have called for an inquiry into the sale of Nama's Northern Ireland loan portfolio following revelations in a BBC Spotlight programme.

    Businessman, Frank Cushnahan, who has been at the centre of the controversy, claimed in a covert recording made last year, that he was due to be paid a fixer fee in relation to the sale.

    Mr Cushnahan was an adviser to Nama. He has consistently denied he was due to receive money.

    Read more.

  14. Investing in the Teaching Workforce

    Alex Attwood

    Alex Attwood of the SDLP asks for an update on the Investing in the Teaching Workforce scheme.

    The minister says the executive has allocated £33m for the scheme "to refresh the teaching workforce through release of teachers aged 55-plus and recruit recently-qualified teachers."

    Mr O'Dowd says he has been "challenged to open the scheme to any teacher without a permanent post".

    He says that any such change to the scheme would require the executive to approve greatly-increased funding, and would mean the scheme did not run again.

    Mr Attwood asks the minister if he understands the  "despair" felt by teachers and asks if Mr O'Dowd has taken legal advice on the matter.

    The minister says he will not share his legal advice, and he accuses some members of using  the matter to enhance their political careers.

    He says they are guilty of giving concerned teachers information that is "false, wrong and is leading them down the garden path".

  15. New school builds

    Alastair Ross

    The DUP's Alastair Ross asks if any announcements made on school new builds made by the minister before the elections "would hold true after the mandate".

    The minister says that if you follow that logic then "no minister could make any announcement from this point onwards".

  16. Question Time

    John O'Dowd

    Education Minister John O'Dowd is answering questions from members. 

  17. Lunch break

    The Assembly suspends until 14:00 GMT to allow the Business Committee to meet.

  18. The motion passes

    The DUP's Trevor Clarke winds up the debate, and members approve the motion on an oral vote.

  19. 'A significant step forward'

    Alban Maginness

    The SDLP's Alban Maginness welcomes the committee report, which he says represents "a very significant step forward".

    Kieran McCarthy of Alliance says success can be achieved if petitions are well organised, and he is happy that the existing system of petitions will continue alongside the petitions.

    George Robinson of the DUP welcomes the system of e-petitions, saying he hopes it "will ensure that the younger members of society will feel they have a channel of direct contact with their government".

  20. Wilson: I wasn't agreeing with 'ethnics out' comment

    Sammy Wilson is speaking on the BBC Radio Ulster Talkback programme about the 'ethnics out' controversy.  

    View more on twitter