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Press release – Baroness O’Loan joined by 23,000 calling on NI assembly to be recalled by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 


Baroness O’Loan joined by 23,000 calling on NI assembly to be recalled by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 

This afternoon Baroness O’Loan has written to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Julian Smith, calling on him to recall the Northern Ireland Assembly.

She has been joined by 23,000 who have signed a petition to Julian Smith:

Baroness O’Loan’s full letter is below:

Subject: Open Letter to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland URGENT

Dear Julian

I have seen your most recent call to the political parties in Northern Ireland.  Now I am writing formally to ask you to go one step further and to recall the Assembly before 21 October.  The situation with regard to the Assembly in NI is, as you know, most unsatisfactory. There have been many calls from all quarters to our MLAs to go back into the Assembly. 

Most recently  as of this morning, more than 23,000 people have signed a petition which I have on 

People continue to sign as I write.

The petition, as you will see, is addressed to you, asking you to recall the NI Assembly, and to our MLAs asking them to return to the Assembly. 

I ask you to respond positively to this request given the urgency of the situation. We need our own legislature to deal with matters relating to Brexit, to all the numerous and urgent problems which exist in Northern Ireland, and most of all to deal with the difficulty of the situation with regard to abortion if the Assembly and Executive are not reformed. 

This situation is unprecedented. Despite the recent publication of Guidelines there is an enormous lack of clarity about the situation which will prevail between 22 October and the introduction of new Regulations. 

There are significant legal uncertainties pursuant to the publication of those Guidelines, and in the absence of any legal certainty which might derive from properly articulated legislation, they give rise to great concern for the safety of mothers and their unborn babies, and about the absence of any clear statement of the legal rights and obligations of those who might be affected by the Guidelines.  The legislative and administrative lacuna which will occur on Tuesday next will mean that there will then be no specific laws regulating the conduct of individuals who, or institutions which provide abortion services in Northern Ireland between 22 October and the passing of further new law. Effectively we will be back into the situation which prevailed before 1803.

I would also like to meet you in the very near future to discuss the Guidelines which have been issued and the work being done to prepare for the public consultation referred to in the Guidelines.