Dallat: Public appointments should be as inclusive as possible
East Derry Assembly Member John Dallat who attended a briefing in Stormont House on behalf of the SDLP said:
"This secondary legislation is to be approved on the second anniversary of the collapse of the Assembly and in a very real way underlines the absolute need for common sense to prevail and decisive action taken to restore the institutions that would normally make these appointments.
"Public appointments were intended to create opportunities for people from the wider community to play an important part in shaping decisions reached by government and its agencies. The system wasn’t perfect and commissioners for public appointments in the past had great difficulty persuading some departments to make it work properly but at least there was an opportunity to make it better and now that is also gone with the Assembly.
"In a number of Freedom of Information (FOI) request responses I am concerned that there appears be a pattern of multiple appointments of individuals to public bodies creeping back into the system and again no new thinking on how we can encourage more people from the community to apply for these positions.
Today I left Stormont House with a heavy heart and a number of questions in my mind. When is the Northern Ireland Assembly going to function again and if it does will we take seriously the right of the wider community to participate in influencing decision-making for the right reasons through public appointments and finally are we going to have a civil forum as was outlined in the Good Friday Agreement."