Northern Ireland news

Assembly ‘opposition day' to debate Nama and rural bank closures

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt and party colleagues at Stormont. Picture by Mal McCann
Staff Reporter

PUBLIC confidence in the wake of Nama revelations and rural bank closures are on the agenda today for the assembly's first opposition day.

For the first time since 1972, Stormont has a formal opposition, which includes the UUP and SDLP.

Monday is their first public opportunity to prove they can scrutinise the ministers in the DUP/Sinn Féin Executive.

The UUP had already announced that the first day of opposition business would see a full debate on Nama.

Opposition leader Mike Nesbitt's motion "notes with deep concern the allegations made during the recent BBC Northern Ireland Spotlight broadcast on events surrounding the sale of National Asset Management Agency properties".

It goes on to call on First and Deputy First Ministers Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness to make a statement to "restore public confidence".

An SDLP motion to be debated later notes concern at the number of bank branches being closed in rural areas.

It calls on the minister for the economy to "intervene meaningfully" and encourage the banking sector to maintain a strong network of rural bank branches and to safeguard the existing bank branches within communities from closure".

The UUP has also tabled a motion on the impact on women of changes to the state pension.

Opposition day proceedings are similar to normal assembly business and today will include question time involving the ministers for economy and communities.

There are expected to be another two opposition days before the Christmas recess with at least 10 taking place before June 2017.

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