Monday, 13 February 2012

A good week’s work...

THERE are times when we wonder what worth is the work of the denizens of Satan’s seventh sulphurous circle of hell, also known as the Assembly’s Chamber. For a change the stench of futility was over-powered by the sweet whiff of virtue.

“What!” we hear you cry, surely some mistake, if the cynics spotted something good!
Well, much as we do enjoy working with the malaise of misguided political shenanigans, we also have to doff our cap when there is a result worthy of praise.

This week’s Norn Iron Assembly plenary sessions saw a debate take place on the horror of people trafficking. Let’s lay our cards on the proverbial table here: those who traffic in their fellow human beings - often involving prostitution - are the lowest form of life to walk on legs; all the punishments of our penal system are not enough for them.

Any steps our MLAs as legislators may take to clamp down on human trafficking and those who avail of the services of these modern day slaves must be welcomed.

Thus when it emerged that an Assembly debate on human trafficking had prompted the Minister of Justice to bring forth legislation to combat this bestial trade, it was all we could do not to break into spontaneous applause.

Speakers from all parties spoke passionately on the Sinn Féin motion, and for once there was cross-party consensus that brought a real result.

Also this week, there were pointless debates on Lurgan’s Millennium Way and car insurance that won’t do a thing, there was some waffle about the educational maintenance allowance that won’t solve the problem of youth unemployment and some other platitudes voiced during various ministerial question times.

The Assembly has proven through this high profile action that ministers can make real change for people. While it is doing other good work, it is so disappointing to have these efforts over-shadowed in the public mind by pointless debates.

Let it be a lesson to legislators that work to change people’s lives can be started, and hopefully completed, lest the electorate boycott the ballot box in their droves, come the next election.

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