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Clarity now needed on Adoption Bill – Bradshaw

Alliance Health Spokesperson Paula Bradshaw has welcomed news that the Soft Opt-Out Organ Donation Bill will now proceed by way of urgent procedure, but said that the delays over it only now lead to questions of what will happen with the Adoption Bill.

The South Belfast MLA stated: “There is no excuse for the Soft Opt-Out Organ Donation Bill, long since proposed by the Health Minister, to have been subject to such long delay and I welcome that the Health Committee effectively forced the hand of those who had been blocking it by writing to demand a clear account of exactly why so many Bills were still stalled.

“That account is still required around the Adoption Bill which, we should not forget, is already three years overdue because of the failure of the Assembly to legislate over a three-year period.

“Given that legislators were unable to do their job on the Assembly floor for three years, it is entirely inappropriate that such wrangling has gone on around Bills presented either by the Health or Justice Minister. Bills correctly produced and in line with human rights obligations should proceed without delay, not least given the threat of an early election at which time all Bills would fall anyway.

“This whole episode, when considered alongside the farce of re-opening services for one week in November contrary to the Department of Health’s advice, also provides further evidence as to the inappropriateness of the use or threat of the use of what is in effect a sectarian veto in the Executive. It continues to delay progress on important and competent legislation.”