Clear Assembly resolution needed

Foyle MP Mark Durkan has said that a clear resolution is needed in the new Assembly for the radiotherapy unit at Altnagelvin Hospital to proceed.

Mr Durkan said: “The fact is that this has been used as something of a political football by the Health Minister.

“Michael McGimpsey chose to say all along that he had four capital priorities and, yet, he has effectively said in his last day in Assembly office that one of those was going – even though we were told at the time of the Budget that the capital money for the project was there.

“He has suddenly announced that ‘No, I am not making that happen now’.

“Part of the problem here is that Ministers are forgetting that the budget authority in our set-up is meant to be the Assembly.

Unfortunately, the last Assembly forgot that.

“They allowed themselves to be carved out of the budget process for a number of years and this has brought us to a situation where Ministers think that once money is allocated to them that it is theirs to decide what to do with it.

“What we need now is Ministers to be reminded that they work under the Good Friday Agreement – where there is a clear provision that they are bound by decisions of the Executive and of the Assembly.

“What we need now when it comes to a new Assembly is an explicit resolution that makes it absolutely clear that the radiotherapy unit is to proceed – and that any new Minister isn’t able to quote any ambiguity or any confusion between outgoing Ministers and outgoing Executives.”