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Hundreds of Assembly questions to stay unanswered if institutions collapse

Hundreds of Assembly questions to ministers will remain unanswered if the Executive collapses. Picture by Paul Faith, Press Association

HUNDREDS of questions submitted by MLAs to ministers concerning every aspect of daily life in Northern Ireland will remain unanswered if the Assembly collapses.

With the exception of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, ministers are still - for the time being - in position and able to respond to queries from elected representatives.

From the Renewable Heat Incentive fiasco to road repairs, members have lodged more than 10,000 written questions on a range of subjects since the Assembly was elected back in May.

More than 50 questions have already been submitted ahead of the appearance of four ministers at Question Time in the Assembly on Monday and Tuesday, but it remains unclear whether those scheduled sessions will still go ahead.

Since the start of November, there have been 400 written questions which have yet to be answered by ministers.

SDLP South Down MLA Colin McGrath, who sits on the Assembly's business committee, said the current upheaval "certainly does not serve the public".

Mr McGrath said: "There are now hundreds of Assembly questions that will remain unanswered and dozens of bills that will now come to nothing.

“I think what will anger the public most however, is the fact that without an Assembly there will be no budget for our public services, no plan for Brexit and no way to recover the £85,000 daily cost of RHI."

He added: "Calling for the dissolution of the Assembly and a two-month distraction on elections may serve the DUP and Sinn Féin but it certainly does not serve the public."

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