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Summary

  1. A cross-party motion nominated Marie Anderson for the role of Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman.
  2. A number of MLAs asked the assembly to support the celebration of International Women's Day 2016 and Assembly Women's Week 2016.
  3. MLAs debated the final stages of the Rural Needs Bill and the Shared Education Bill.
  4. The further consideration stage of the Licensing Bill was debated.
  5. Finance Minister Mervyn Storey and Health Minister Simon Hamilton answered questions on the floor of the house.

Live Reporting

By Robin Sheeran and Brooke Allen

All times stated are UK

  1. The Assembly is adjourned

    Principal deputy speaker Robin Newton adjourns the assembly.

    Join us tomorrow at 9:45 GMT for live coverage of the Education Committee.

    Education Minister John O'Dowd will be briefing members on his department's budget for 2016-17.

  2. Mr Allister's proposal

    Roy Beggs

    Ulster Unionist Roy Beggs says he thinks Mr Allister's amendment "should be on the face of the bill".

    Sammy Douglas of the DUP backs all the amendments and Stewart Dickson of Alliance praises Mrs Cochrane for her work on the bill.

    Jim Allister of the TUV explains why he has brought his amendment.

    "It is modest in its terms, it is not prescriptive," he says.

    Judith Cochrane winds the debate and says she is happy to support Mr Allister's amendment.

    The amendments are passed on an oral vote, and the bill completes its further consideration stage.

    The assembly votes to suspend standing orders to allow the final stage of the Licensing Bill to be debated next Tuesday.

  3. Education Minister: 'Reconsider cutting special nursery school places'

    Nursery school child

    The Education Minister has asked the Education Authority to urgently revisit its decision regarding pre-school provision for children placed in special schools.

    John O'Dowd said: "Given the current level of concerns and what I consider to be a lack of proper consultation on behalf of the authority with parents and schools on this matter, I have instructed the chair to formally revisit the decision reached in June of 2015."  

  4. Licensing Bill

    Judith Cochrane

    Judith Cochrane of Alliance opens the debate on the further consideration of her private member's Licensing Bill.

    The bill would mean outdoor stadia would be able to apply for permanent licences in order to sell alcohol. Currently stadium operators have to apply for temporary licences.

    There are four amendments listed, three are being brought by Mrs Cochrane and are technical in nature.

    She says that she does not see the need for amendment three, being brought by the TUV's Jim Allister.

    This would allow a court to decide whether should be any additional conditions attached to the licence when the stadium is being used for events aimed at under-18s.

  5. Motion passes

    Environment Committee Deputy Chairperson Pam Cameron says "we are all united in the need for more coordinated and holistic approach to tackle this problem". 

    The motion passes on an oral vote. 

  6. Dealing with polluters in court

    Alban Maginness

    The SDLP's Alban Maginness says this is "an important and timely report" and it is important for us in the north of Ireland to have unpolluted waterways as this contributes to "the well-being of our citizens".

    He says the courts need to take pollution incidents "much more seriously" and the polluter should "pay in monetary terms".  

    Environment Minister Mark H Durkan says his department works closely with stakeholders and local groups at catchment level to "identity sources of pollution and to tackle them".

    He says "dealing with polluters rigorously in court would greatly assist my officials when they are trying to encourage industry to put measures in place to prevent pollution". 

  7. Sewage treatment works

    Paul Girvan

    DUP MLA Paul Girvan says the report stems from a number of pollution events on watercourses, many of which empty into Lough Neagh - a major source of drinking water.

    He praises anglers as often "the first people to identify when something has happened", and notes that some sewage treatment works are unable to cope with the load for which they were designed.

  8. River Pollution

    dead fish
    Image caption: Fish kill on the Glenavy River, County Antrim

    Environment Committee chairwoman Anna Lo is presenting the report on a stakeholder event on river pollution.

    She is calling on Environment Minister Mark H Durkan to take forward recommendations in the report including addressing the causes and monitoring of pollution, and enforcement.

  9. The motion passes

    Alastair Ross winds the debate, and the motion passes on an oral vote.

  10. 'An excellent report'

    Justice Minister David Ford says this is "an excellent report".

    Ulster Unionist Danny Kennedy asks about newspaper reports of a large number of cases of imprisonment for unpaid TV licence fees.

    Mr Ford says he has raised the matter with the UK government.

    "I trust that we will see full decriminalisation of TV licence fees. They will be treated just like any other utility, which is in effect what a TV licence is," the minister says.

  11. Youth justice

    Stewart Dickson

    Stewart Dickson of Alliance speaks about the youth justice aspects of the report.

    "We want to see young people to be given every chance in life rather than being marked with a criminal record at the beginning of their lives," he says.

    The DUP's Sammy Douglas says the justice seminars have been "some of the most radical and informative work that any committee has carried out during this mandate".

  12. 'Better judicial outcomes'

    Raymond McCartney

    Raymond McCartney of Sinn Féin welcomes the report and praises the series of seminars initiated by Alastair Ross. 

    He says he found them, "very innovative, very informative and also very challenging because it allowed us to look at how judicial processes can change and bring about better judicial outcomes".

    The SDLP's Alban Maginness says the Justice Committee is "quite definitely the best committee in this house".

    Ulster Unionist Danny Kennedy speaks about the value of the committee's visits to the problem-solving courts in Brooklyn, New York City, and to the Glasgow drugs court in Scotland.

  13. 'Punishment, deterrence and rehabilitation'

    Mr Ross says the conventional view of the justice system is that it is simply concerned with punishing those who do wrong.

    He says that "a smarter justice system is only effective if it achieves the right balance of punishment, deterrence and rehabilitation".

  14. Justice in the 21st Century

    Alastair Ross

    The DUP's Alastair Ross, who chairs the Justice Committee, opens the debate on the report on Justice in the 21st Century on Innovative Approaches for the Criminal Justice System in Northern Ireland.

  15. Motion: Draft General Register Office (Fees) Order

    Finance Minister Mervyn Storey is seeking the members' approval to amend the Draft General Register Office (Fees) Order (Northern Ireland) 2016. 

    He says the general register office is "required to recover the cost of chargeable services" and that passage of this order would ensure that the "cost of providing services is borne by the parties requiring services and not by the public purse". 

    The motion passes on an oral vote. 

  16. Pension motions

    Lord Morrow

    Social Development Minister Lord Morrow seeks MLAs' approval to amend the Pensions (2015 Act) (Consequential Amendments) (Units of Additional Pension) Order (Northern Ireland 2015). 

    He says the amendments to the order are to "prevent a person facing any reduction in their state pensions". 

    The motion passes on an oral vote. 

    Lord Morrow also calls on members to approve the State Pension Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015.  

    The motion also passes on an oral vote. 

  17. Waiting lists

    Fearghal McKinney

    The SDLP's Fearghal McKinney asks the minister to outline his long-term plans to address waiting lists.

    He says the waiting lists are the longest in 15 years, and people are waiting "because the minister cut the elective care fund to prevent an A+E crisis".

    Mr Hamilton says the cuts to funding were "as a direct consequence of the fact that the executive lost £200m as a result of welfare reform penalties".

    He says Mr McKinney's party colleague, Alex Attwood, had described this in the assembly as "a price worth paying"

  18. £4.9m for taxis

    Taxi sign

    Ulster Unionist Sandra Overend asks the minister how much his department "spent on private taxis for patients and staff in 2014/15".

    Mr Hamilton says the bill came to £4,878,261 in 2014/15.

    The minister says the money is being well used to provide "safe transportation for children in care, providing transport for adult mental health patients, to take people to and from day centres, to take people to and from their dialysis".

  19. Health pay rise

    Pay

    In response to a question from DUP party colleague Gordon Lyons, the minister announces that he is accepting the Independent NHS Pay Review Body's recommendation for a 1% pay increase for health service staff.

    "It is an appropriate award for our hardworking staff who, I am sure, will warm welcome the decision," Mr Hamilton says.