Utter Confusion between NI Executive & NIO

< Back To News

Utter Confusion between NI Executive & NIO

Ulster Unionist MLA and Chair of the DAERA Committee, Tom Elliott, has called the situation within the NI Executive as ‘a fiasco’ with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland having taken significant powers that should be within NI government departments.

Mr Elliott said:

“This situation has emerged over recent weeks with the DAERA Minister Muir declaring in the Assembly Chamber, ‘Following the coming into force of the Windsor Framework (Implementation) Regulations 2024, the implementation of the requirements of animal health law in Northern Ireland, including those relating to disease prevention, no longer sits within my ministerial responsibilities. It now comes under the direction and control of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. A significant list of areas is included, such as foot-and-mouth disease, African swine fever, avian influenza, rabies, bluetongue, bovine TB, bovine viral diarrhoea and many more.’

“It appears that Westminster officials dispute this view, it has been suggested they take the position that responsibility for animal health in Northern Ireland remains under the control of DAERA.

“These are two absolute opposite positions. At Thursday’s Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs committee it was agreed to invite DAERA and UK government officials to a committee meeting and brief us from their viewpoints.

“While we have heard from the DAERA Minister, I understand these regulations also impact on other departments. This situation cannot continue, it leaves businesses, farmers and individuals confused and potentially Northern Ireland Ministers do not have powers that they should have.

“This process undermines the very democracy that we have waited so long to achieve and deliver on.

“The loss of devolved powers due to the Windsor Framework (Implementation) Regulations 2024 is a direct result of the DUPs 'Safeguarding the Union' deal with the Government at Westminster.  My party leader, Doug Beattie, has written to the NI Secretary of State seeking clarification on the matter, including budget implications.”