“Sinn Féin councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has called on Belfast Chamber of Commerce President Joe Jordan to ‘stop politicking’…”

It’s not entirely clear to me why Belfast Chamber of Commerce President Joe Jordan has been singled out for criticism by Sinn Féin Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, but he has been.  Here’s the 11 January press release from the Sinn Féin website

Sinn Féin councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has called on Belfast Chamber of Commerce President Joe Jordan to “stop politicking” and unite with political and business leaders to build the city of Belfast.

Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said:

“Sadly, while others have been working full-out to end the protests and back our businesses and communities, Joe Jordan has been more interested in engaging in politicking.

“I would appeal to him to call for the protests to end and condemn the actions of the tiny minority who are disrupting business in Belfast with these protests. 

“Belfast City Council is committed to helping our businesses and will not be deterred from that vital work by this type of politicking.” 

Back on 9 December 2012, Chamber President Joe Jordan did criticise the timing of the Belfast City Council vote on the contentious issue

The president of Belfast Chamber of Commerce, Joe Jordan, has criticised the council for raising the contentious issue so close to Christmas.

“It’s not really a question of how sympathetic retailers are to the protesters and to the debate about the union flag it really boils down to more who is responsible for creating the protest,” Mr Jordan said.

“I think Belfast city council has to hold its hands up and admit that they are to blame here. Why could this protest or this debate not have happened in February or March of next year?”

But that’s some time ago now…

And, since then, as the Guardian reports

The Confederation of British Industry estimates £15m in trade has been lost in Belfast since the outbreak of demonstrations over the city council’s decision to limit the number of days the flag flies atop city hall.

Which could be seen to justify his earlier concerns about the timing.

More recently, Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce has called “an urgent meeting with Belfast businesses to discuss recent events in the City” on Wednesday this week at the Europa hotel.

Chamber President Joe Jordan said the meeting was, “To discuss the downturn in trade over the Christmas period and the continuing hardship on the business community”

He continued, “There is no doubt that the past two months have been incredibly difficult for traders in Belfast. We want to hear the first-hand experience of businesses, along with their views and opinions on the current crisis.”

Meanwhile other local business representatives have been openly lobbying the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, for assistance – only to be, properly, re-directed towards the devolved administration and “local politicians”.  She will pass on their invitation to visit Belfast to the Prime Minister though.  [Those business representatives seem to have escaped Máirtín's wrath - Ed]

Of course, Sinn Féin Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has also been known to take umbrage at the sight of the Union flag on a bit of turkey in his local Asda store.  And, more recently, on boxes of eggs in Sainsbury’s.

So, perhaps, not the most reliable of witnesses…

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  • DC

    There was over a century’s worth of proof that it cost nothing to fly the flag, unlike this new policy position of designated days.

  • redstar2011

    What price accepting a democratic vote

  • DC

    So far £22 million or so?

  • theelk11

    A century of it flying means that it was there at the behest of the council majority . Democracy when respected costs nothing. Time you moved on. 10 million in policing and counting, because democracy no longer works… Apparently ..

  • http://www.banuanlae.org/ Ulick

    This blogger is usually very diligent in providing lots of links about individuals mentioned in the blogs, so it’s strange we don’t get filled in on the political past of Joe Jordan.

  • redstar2011

    DC (profile) 14 January 2013 at 11:02 pm
    So far £22 million or so?

    No that’s the cost of those NOT accepting it

  • willchamberlain

    Not sure if you are being mischievous or misinformed. The invite from Joe Jordan and Chamber of Trade sent out ahead of Wednesday’s meeting actually says it is called “to debate the downturn in trade prevailing due to Belfast City Council’s lack of recognition of the needs of the Belfast business community”
    I am not aligned to any party, but I found the wording quite provocative. The downturn in trade is surely due to 6 weeks of lawbreaking, blocking roads and rioting combined with wall to wall media coverage. I am seriously considering revoking membership of the Chamber due to what I see as politicking and grandstanding at a time when we should be looking forwards for solutions instead of trying to point score in a partisan manner.

  • Sp12

    Probably best it was run through the council outside of the marching season when tensions run higher. Which pretty much leaves December.

  • DC

    It is the cost of division which came as a result of the decision lacking both proper cross-party and cross community support.

    Have we all learned nothing, where’s your majority rule democracy at Stormont, it’s not there.

    Stormont is booby trapped in such a way that you can’t pull this kind of thing off yet at council all the fools down there go ahead and do this anyway. I don’t know what they were thinking, they should stick a Jolly Roger up there and pay them on the 17 days the flag is up.

  • Zig70

    I honestly don’t think the councillors expected this much trouble and nobody before predicted it. Certainly a few rallies and riots, but even in the freezing wet weather? Whether someone blames the council or rioters often belies their attitude to the fleg.

  • DC

    middle class types i blame, pulling policy over working class areas then calling them chav scum when it all blows up in their face.

    Got to bring people with you.

  • http://sammymorse.livejournal.com Gerry Lynch

    It’s not entirely clear to me why Belfast Chamber of Commerce President Joe Jordan has been singled out for criticism by Sinn Féin Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir

    Have you seen the news recently Pete? Seems pretty clear to me. DUP supporter using his position to act as an ‘unbiased’ voice for DUP talking points. Fair enough, it’s a free country, but I think Ó Muilleoir’s criticism is reasonable enough. (Ditto, it’s a free country.)

  • theelk11

    @DC
    Stormont is booby trapped in such a way that you can’t pull this kind of thing off yet at council all the fools down there go ahead and do this anyway. I don’t know what they were thinking, they should stick a Jolly Roger up there and pay them on the 17 days the flag is up.

    stormont and local councils were either booby trapped for 50 years to keep the taigs quiet or it booby trapped now to give them too much of a voice.. Which is it? Think man!
    And by he way no more shagging flegs, not even a Jolly Roger

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    DC,

    You seem to be stuck in a rut and just don’t have the slightest notion about how democracy works. I suggest that you consider a solution I offered on another thread – join the Alliance party and try, democratically, to change their current policy. Invite your “loyalist” friends to do the same.

  • Alias

    You’re not too sure how it works yourself, Joe. That’s a sure route to getting expelled form the party you just joined. Of course, if you don’t agree with a party’s policy, it’s probably more rational not to join it.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    So Alias,

    You think it’s better to stand outside the tent and piss in? Paisley tried that and eventually decided it was better to get inside and work from there.

  • Alias

    Joe, I’m not sure where you got the idea that democracy means you have to be a member of a political party before you can scrutinise its policies but I am sure that it’s a fairly dumb idea and isn’t practiced in any actual democracy. Now, as it is off-topic, that’s that.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Alias,

    Stop pretending to be silly. We both know that all political parties are coalitions. If the faction currently in the ascendacy simply expels those down, the Party won’t last long. You can’t change party policy by demanding it from outside of the party.

  • carl marks

    DC (profile)
    14 January 2013 at 11:19 pm

    middle class types i blame, pulling policy over working class areas then calling them chav scum when it all blows up in their face.

    Got to bring people with you.

    But people who wear masks throw petrol bombs and riot are chav scum.
    the middle class types you mentioned, would they be those elected members of BCC who took a democratic vote and came to a comprimise.
    DC you are a bit confused about this whole democracy thing.

  • seosamh

    Mister Joe

    “You can’t change party policy by demanding it from outside of the party.”

    Certainly you can. Don’t vote for them. Join another party. Ask Jeffery Donaldson, and the legions of those who have ditched the UUP for other parties.

  • Dec

    ‘It’s not entirely clear to me why Belfast Chamber of Commerce President Joe Jordan has been singled out for criticism by Sinn Féin Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, but he has been.’

    Of course not. But it seems clear to others. Here’s a tweet from Claire Hanna of the SDLP back in December:

    ‘Joe Jordan’s comments on Newsline outrageously partisan. Totally not constructive. Bit like his premature bus lane hysteria few months ago’

    and

    ‘…but Joe blaming those who..cast a democratic vote, absolving those who are rioting & ignoring those who called them onto the streets is biased & unhelpful’

    Link: https://mobile.twitter.com/ClaireHanna/status/278206627251888128

    These tweets were in reaction to Jordan’s comments in December where he absolved the protestors of any blame for the City Hall riot and instead blamed it on Alliance, SF and the SDLP in two seperate television interviews.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    seosamh ,

    Nice pitch for the DUP but I don’t think that the Party which kicked off the current mayhem with their ill-considered leaflet inciting people to hatred will find many people rushing to join. As for Alliance, despite the burnings of offices, attacks on homes, and murder threats, I don’t think the members will be so intiminated that they change their Party policy. On the contrary, they will be more determined than ever to promote a society where all citizens are equal and can live without fear when they leave their homes to go out and about their normal business and pleasure.

  • carl marks

    So this is the new DUP line, its being peddled by Sammy in the Assembly and by a supporter of them in the Belfast Chamber of Commerce.
    It goes as follows (excuse my adlibbing) It was the taigs wot done it, how dare they exercise their rights and annoy all those decent people who have no choice but to riot in protest.
    Of course they are right, could i suggest in future to avoid any trouble we set up a consultative body made up of, UVF/UDA/BNP leaders and a collection of chavs and drugged up corner boys, let’s not forget the bigoted old crones (no surrender anyone) then any decision that those we actually elect can be run past them just to check it doesn’t offend them.
    Perhaps they could supply us with a timetable they can mark in red those days that the taigs are allowed to exercise their mandate, (the 12th of Never, when hell freezes over or when the cows come home are some of the dates available).
    40,000 leaflets can be circulated any time the taigs get uppity (this has the bonus of getting Pete his seat back) so the true Masters are kept informed and will know when to mobilise the mob.
    Of course care must be taken that the timing doesn’t interfere with the other activities of our new masters after all the drugs brothels and protection rackets don’t run themselves you know.

  • redstar2011

    Excellent post Carl Marks!!!

  • Granni Trixie

    Joe

    You are spot on. I find it interesting too that most people at the Alliance Party Council meeting just prior to the BCC vote were fully supportive of the compromise amendment proposed by their Councillors – this in contrast to the difficulties getting consensus over same sex marriage policy at the previous Alliance Council meeting.

  • Seamuscamp

    Pete

    Please just admit you werea wee bit remiss in opening the gob before thinking about the outflow. Surely it is only too obvious that JJ had been indulging in political comment when representing a non-political group. So he set himself up to be shot at (metaphorically – he isn’t a policeman). Since excusing the rioters has he condemned their further actions? Or is he the quiet man in the corner who thinks it right to throw stones at politicians he doesn’t like?