Six bills, including free hospital car parking, passed on last day of term
The assembly passed six bills in a hectic final day before the election.
The legislation included a bill to ensure that key documents, particularly relating to people born in mother-child households, will be retained.
Alliance MP Paula Bradshaw pointed out that “at least 27 bodies of babies” have been bequeathed by Mother and Baby Homes to Queen’s University Belfast for medical research.
“We understand this was done without the consent of the mothers,” she said.
Another, contributed by SDLP MLA Pat Catney, ensured that period products will be freely available to all in schools, colleges and public buildings.
A bill introduced by Green Party MP Rachel Woods means that employees who experience domestic violence will be entitled to 10 days of ‘safety leave’ each year to enable them to access services including legal advice and a safe alternative accommodation.
Free parking in hospitals will be introduced after the passage of a private member’s bill, originally introduced by former Sinn Féin MLA Fra McCann.
Alliance MP Chris Lyttle also won support for his private member’s bill on fair employment for teachers. Teachers will be able to apply for jobs without being asked about their religious background.
A private member’s bill from Green Party leader Clare Bailey means ‘safe access’ zones will be set up around services offering abortions. It was intended to prevent women seeking dismissal from being harassed or intimidated.
Last night pro-life group Precious Life said it planned to launch legal action against the legislation.
Earlier, the UK government announced that it would prepare work on new regulations to ensure the availability of abortion services in Northern Ireland.
The government said it was becoming ‘increasingly clear that the Northern Ireland Department of Health will miss the end of March deadline to ensure abortion services are fully operational in Northern Ireland’.