8.1.The Northern Ireland Office consulted with a wide range of stakeholders over a period in excess of 12 weeks. A proposal of the instrument was also referred to the Northern Ireland Assembly. A copy of the Assembly’s report is available at www.niassembly.gov.uk and is also laid before Parliament along with this instrument. Aside from the Northern Ireland Assembly, a total of 21 individuals and organisations made responses to the public consultation.
8.2.As a bloc the largest number of responses were made by the Orange Order, 10 in total. These all welcomed the proposed legislation and commented mainly on the proposed inclusion of a “sunset clause”.
8.3.Broadly the legislation and its objective were welcomed by all respondents. The majority of responses (14 out of 21) called for the sunset clause to be removed. The SDLP expressed concerns that coverage was not wide enough and thought the measure had not been adequately equality proofed and called for an alternative, though unspecified, approach to deal with compensation for criminal damage attacks on community halls. The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) also called for the legislation to be amended to include the GAA and other organisations.
8.4.As a result of the consultation exercise the Northern Ireland Office has amended the legislation to remove the sunset clause. A more detailed analysis of the consultation outcome is available on the Northern Ireland Office’s website at www.nio.gov.uk. A summary of responses to the consultation is laid before Parliament along with this instrument.