Successes and Failure of the Northern Ireland Executive
The Northern Ireland assembly is a consociational model of democracy where there is cross community power sharing at executive level, this means that there is a joint office of First minister and Deputy First minister where the largest party from each designation (nationalist and unionist) get to choose the first and deputy first ministers. The Northern Ireland executive is a mandatory coalition of unionist and nationalist parties of which the membership is decided by the d’Hondt system. Each party’s membership in the executive is determined by their performance in the elections. Current membership in the executive is as follows: •
SF - 4 Ministers
Alliance- 2 Ministers
SDLP- 1 Minister
Since 2007 the Northern Ireland executive has come under a lot of scrutiny from various organisations and people over a number of issues, one of which is the ongoing issue of welfare reform. The rest of the UK has already changed there benefits system yet the NI Assembly still continue to stall on passing the Bill, despite the fact that it was introduced well over a year ago and discussions had been taking place much longer than that. Having political power is all about making the difficult decisions needed and taking the responsibility. The choice for the Executive is very simple. Either implement reform like the rest of the UK, possibly with some special provisions for Northern Ireland, or go its own way and maintain the old system. If it takes the second option then the costs will rise to about £200 million per year and Stormont will have to find that money from the block-grant, which means cutting spending on schools, hospitals and other public services not the mention being at risk of a £1 billion fine that would need to be paid over a 5 year period. Continually when the executive meet a deadlock and they cannot agree on something they just seem to brush the problem under...
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