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Statement by Peter Hain about the Preparation for Government Committee, (25 May 2006)

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Text: British Government ... Page compiled: Brendan Lynn

Statement by Peter Hain, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, about the Preparation for Government Committee, (25 May 2006)


"The failure of the Assembly to form an Executive on Monday was not unexpected, but it underlines the need for all parties to work together on the necessary preparations if devolution is to be achieved before the Assembly runs out of time on 24 November. I have spoken to all the parties in recent days and all recognise in principle the value of such a committee.

I have asked the Speaker to convene the first meeting of this committee and I have suggested that the major parties attend its meetings.

The parties have consistently asserted that their desire is to see locally accountable Government restored to Northern Ireland. That is shared by the two Governments and indeed all those who have the interests of the people of Northern Ireland at heart. But crucially it is the desire of the people of Northern Ireland.

I hope that this committee will use the month of June productively to scope the work that needs to be done in preparation for Government, before the Prime Minister, the Taoiseach, Dermot Ahern and I return to Stormont for intensive talks with the parties before the summer break. At that meeting we need to set a clear timeline for addressing these issues."

The Secretary of State has asked the parties to indicate by the time of the next Assembly Business Committee meeting on Tuesday 30 May whether they are willing to take part.


  • The first meeting of the committee will take place on Tuesday 6 June.
  • The Speaker has agreed to convene the first meeting and the committee will discuss chairing arrangements.
  • The core membership will comprise up to three members each from the DUP, Sinn Fein, UUP and SDLP, and up to two from Alliance.
  • The initial task of the committee will be "to scope the work which, in the view of the parties, needs to be done in preparation for Government". The committee may choose to develop this remit by consensus over time or to establish sub-groups to address particular issues.
  • It would be beneficial for appropriate issues, as they are identified, to be referred by this committee to the Business Committee for debate in the Assembly.
  • The committee will be established following a Referral by the Secretary of State under section 1(1) of the Northern Ireland Act 2006 and a direction under Paragraph 4(1) of Schedule 1 of that Act.


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