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Northern Ireland Assembly Essay

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JUNE 2009
Assess the extent to which the Assembly has made the government of Northern Ireland more democratic. [26]

The assembly of Northern Ireland which was established after the Good Friday Agreement and the Northern Ireland Act 1998 has for various reasons made NI more democratic. Under The GFA and consequently the St Andrews agreement the democratic deficit no longer exists that was evident under direct rule, the representative and scrutiny functions now in place can be viewed as more democratic to a certain extent while the power sharing executive formed from the assembly has also provided more democracy. There are however limitations with the assembly that suggest it is not totally more democratic and still lacks complete democracy.

The fact a scrutiny function is now in place suggests there is more democracy. Under direct rule this was non-existent with policies made by MPs from Westminster not being scrutinised and with MPs not being held accountable. Now within the assembly the committees take on the role of scrutiny. The main form of scrutiny comes from statutory committees. They hold the executive to account by examining each department and their ministers. They do this by looking at the actions and policies of the minister and suggesting amendments, criticising the minister and proposing legislation. They have the power to get expertise f...

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