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Last Updated: Monday, 11 September 2006, 17:40 GMT 18:40 UK
Welsh leader praises devolution
Rhodri Morgan praised the effects of devolution on his visit to Stormont.

Welsh First Minister Rhodri Morgan has praised the effects of devolution to NI assembly members.

In a visit to Stormont to talk about what has been achieved since the Welsh assembly's inception in 1999 he cited a fall in unemployment

He also said shortening hospital waiting lists have been one aspect of an improving health service.

"It has increased our national self-confidence and has developed a greater trust," he said.

He rejected suggestions that he could guide Northern Ireland assembly members on how to do their jobs.

"I'm not here to give advice to the politicians," he said.

"That is entirely a matter for those elected by the people of Northern Ireland."

Despite the successes, he refused to back any calls for tax-raising powers to be granted to his assembly.

Deadline

"I think it would be a betrayal of those people who voted for the Welsh Assembly in the referendum almost exactly nine years ago," he said.

"We promised them this was not going to be a tax-raising body."

Mr Morgan's visit follows an earlier trip to Stormont by Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell in May.

Mr McConnell told MLAs that although he did not want to tell them how to conduct politics, devolution in Scotland had boosted confidence and helped tackle long-standing problems.

Devolved government in Northern Ireland has been suspended since October 2002.

The British government has set the local parties a deadline of 24 November to restore it.


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