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Summary

  1. MLAs debated a UUP call for the appointment of a Mental Health Champion.
  2. Education Minister Peter Weir made a statement on GCSE grading.
  3. Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard made a statement on the Rural Road Initiative.
  4. The Committee on Standards and Privileges brought a motion on the registration of members' interests.
  5. Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen and Communities Minister Paul Givan appeared at Question Time.

Live Reporting

By Robin Sheeran and Brooke Allen

All times stated are UK

  1. Good evening

    Stormont Live will return tomorrow from 10:00 BST with coverage of the Economy Committee. 

    Committee members will receive briefings from Invest NI and Tourism NI. 

    Until then, have a good evening. 

  2. Assembly adjourned

    Assembly logo

    As it is the last plenary sitting of the assembly before the summer recess, the Deputy Speaker Patsy McGlone wishes members "a restful recess period, given that we have just come out of an election followed by a referendum". 

    The assembly is adjourned. 

  3. Situation has been 'badly handled'

    In her response to the debate, the Health Minister, Michelle O'Neill, says she "recognises that the situation has been badly handled". 

    The minister talks about budgetary constraints in her department but say wants to transform the health care system and provide support for people with learning disabilities. 

    She says she takes the issue seriously and will be engaging with the families involved. 

    "I want to see a change in picture," she says.   

  4. A 'massive blow' to families

    Gary Middleton of the DUP says this is "not all about finance", but rather people will not get back the time with their family members and the support they missed out on 

    Sinn Féin's Michelle Gildernew says "this [situation] has nearly been treated as a bereavement" as people thought the funds were not available and now have found out that they were. 

    "This has been a massive blow to families", she says. 

  5. Issue 'didn't just drop out of the sky'

    Michaela Boyle

    Sinn Féin's Michaela Boyle says she met trust officials on 20 May for a briefing in relation to "how this underspend came about" and that the trust said it was down to a "resettlement programme, going back a number of years". 

    The SDLP's Mark Durkan says "this issue didn't just drop out of the sky" but it was "never confirmed". 

    "Now, finally, it has been confirmed by the trust that there has been a huge underspend in this area," he says. 

  6. 'The Western Trust and the Case of the Missing Millions'

    The DUP's Thomas Buchanan says this "reads like a children's mystery book entitled 'The Western Trust and the Case of the Missing Millions', yet unfortunately this is not a case of fiction". 

    He says that the "most vulnerable in our society have been discriminated against and let down by the trust" and says there must be a "robust intervention" and the Trust should be "held to account" for what has been done. 

  7. A '20-year scandal'

    Ross Hussey

    Mr Hussey says he was contacted in April this year by a member of his constituency of West Tyrone, who highlighted the underspend of £8m on adult learning disability services. 

    Furthermore, he says there have been claims that over the last 20 years, "over £100m has not been allocated to the parents or to suffers of adult learning disabilities". 

    "If that is the case, shame on us," he says.   

    "This is a 20-year scandal," he says, "now is time for us to uncover the truth".

  8. Community groups and Brexit

    Regarding the result of the EU referendum, Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly asks the minister how he intends "helping the many voluntary and community groups who rely on the funding from the EU".

    Mr Givan says work is already underway within his department, but that the Executive Office "will lead on this".

    He says that for the community groups - "like everybody, uncertainty can create anxiety and we need to give them the best support that we possibly can".

  9. Benefit fraud

    Job centre

    In reply to a question from the DUP's William Humphrey, the minister tells members that investigators detect £50m off benefit fraud each year.

    Sinn Féin's Fra McCann puts it to Mr Givan that more money is lost in departmental error than in fraud.

    The minister says Mr McCann has a point. 

    He says "it is important that we don't stigmatise people who receive payments in error".

  10. NI MEPs 'won't turn backs on Europe'

    Martina Anderson and Diane Dodds

    Two Northern Ireland MEPs say they are not turning their backs on Europe in the wake of the EU referendum.

    The DUP's Diane Dodds tells the European Parliament the EU and the UK can work closely together, while Sinn Féin's Martina Anderson pleads for Northern Ireland to be allowed to stay in the EU.

  11. Welfare advice

    Trevor Lunn of Alliance asks about the additional welfare advice support recommended by the welfare reform mitigations working group.

    Mr Givan says the department has allocated £8m over four years for advice services, and they are currently finalising arrangements with the service suppliers. 

  12. Communities Questions

    Paul Givan

    Communities Minister Paul Givan is answering questions from members.

  13. Brexit and the environment

    Pat Sheehan of Sinn Féin asks about the impact of the EU referendum on existing environmental legislation.

    Mrs McIlveen says "it's still very early to have a clear picture".

    Mr Sheehan asks if the assembly will have to develop local environmental legislation.

    "It very much depends on the outworkings of the negotiated exit," the minister says.

  14. Farmers and the EU referendum

    farm

    Justin McNulty of the SDLP asks the minister if farmers will continue to receive their Single Farm Payment.

    Miss McIlveen says "the outworkings of the result last Friday are being worked through".

    She says the majority of farmers supported a Leave vote in the referendum "primarily due to reasons of red tape and bureaucracy",

  15. Larne oil spill

    Caterpillar factory

    Ulster Unionist Roy Beggs asks the minister for her assessment of the severity of the recent oil spill in the sea off Larne, County Antrim.

    Miss McIlveen says the diesel involved is a light oil and evaporated quickly.

    She says that Caterpillar NI (the company responsible for the spill) "will be required to put in place safeguards to ensure this sort of incident cannot happen in the future". 

  16. Question Time

    Michelle McIlveen

    Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen is answering members' questions.

  17. Back at 2pm

    Today's business is progressing faster than expected so the assembly is taking a short break.

    We resume at 14:00 BST with Question Time.

  18. Pleased with 'such a constructive debate'

    Ulster Unionist Jo-Anne Dobson says she is "pleased this has been such a constructive debate". 

    The motion and amendment both pass on an oral vote. 

  19. O'Neill to become 'Executive's mental health champion'

    Michelle O'Neill

    Mrs O'Neill outlines recent improvements to mental health services and additions in investment, and says she "hopes to achieve political consensus on how we transform the health service". 

    The minister talks about the appointment of a mental health champion and says she will be "the Executive's mental health champion".  

    "I am open to considering the benefits of the appointment of an independent mental health champion who would defend the rights and interests of people with mental health problems," she says. 

    However, in terms of who might take the role, the minister says we "need to give it a bit more attention".  

    She thanks members for the "tone of the debate".