Dr Alex Schwartz (QUB)
Northern Ireland’s system of government includes several mechanisms designed to facilitate inclusive cross-community power-sharing. One such mechanism is the “Petition of Concern”; any decision of the Assembly may be subjected to the requirement of cross-community consent where a Petition of Concern is signed by at least 30 MLAs. The Assembly and Executive Review Committee has recently considered changing or eliminating the Petition of Concern in light of criticisms that it is unfair, increasingly prone to abuse, and impedes legislative productivity. This presentation will assess the strengths of these criticisms in comparative perspective, with reference to the experience of other consociational democracies.
Date of seminar: 20 March 2014.