WRDA statement on the resignation of the first minister.

The resignation of the First Minister has caused instability in the devolved institutions, and this will have severe impacts on the most vulnerable In Northern Ireland. Due to these concerns, WRDA made a direct appeal to the First Minister to stay in post.

At the point of the First Minister’s resignation over 20 pieces of legislation were progressing through Stormont including the Abortion Services (Safe Access Zones) Bill, Period Products (Free Provision) Bill, Domestic Abuse (Safe Leave) Bill and the Protection from Stalking Bill. All this legislation and the work put into it by WRDA and our colleagues in the Women’s Sector is now at risk of not completing its passage. We are thankful to the members of the Executive and wider Assembly who have worked to try and ensure as much of this legislation is progressed as possible.

The instability caused by the First Minister’s resignation will also impact on the financial security of the already underfunded Community and Voluntary Sector in NI. The Executive match funding for the European Structural Fund programme is due to run out in March 2022 while ESF funding is to end completely in March 2023. The potential loss of the NI Assembly’s first three-year budget is therefore a major blow to the charity sector as it had the potential to offer longer term, secure funding.

WRDA and the entire Women’s Sector will continue to work hard for our members and service users as we have always done during times of political instability. We are disappointed and frustrated by a manufactured crisis in our democracy which is threatening the wellbeing of everyone who lives in NI.

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