Claire Sugden to be next Justice Minister

Claire SugdenFirst and deputy First Ministers have just announced that independent MLA Claire Sugden will be put to a cross-community vote in the Assembly at noon to be the next Justice Minister.

This leaves the D’Hondt order as follows:

Order of DHondt now Claire Sugden is Justice Minister

  • Msiegnaro

    A puppet on a string!

  • Gingray

    Unlike Ford?

  • Msiegnaro

    Ford was too but at least he had something resembling a mandate, this is a complete insult to democracy.

  • the rich get richer

    What does the Northern Ireland Justice Minister actually do ? (Seriously).

  • Redstar

    Unionist FM, Unionist Justice Minister…… Shinners yet again outmanouvered.

    Why hadn’t they the ballz when DUP said there’s not gonna be a Rep JM to say will then Arlene there won’t be a Unionist one either?

    Surely they aren’t just career politicos ……

  • Msiegnaro

    Take home a fairly hefty salary.

  • Maurizio Paciello

    How? If the two parties representing a majority in the assembly back her, then she has a majority. That is the thing about representative democracy – The parties have a mandate to decide as they see fit for the duration of their term – if they decide to back someone not affiliated with their party – so be it.

  • Msiegnaro

    Sugden hardly constitutes a Unionist and isn’t her vote now neutered anyway?

  • Gingray

    Why? Surely this is how democracy works now parties are choosing to go into opposition?

    The only mandate Ford has was that he had the support of the DUP and SF as a compromise candidate.

    Now we have SF supporting a Unionist as Justice Minister, thats surely progress?

  • Redstar

    Sorry I thought she stood before the electorate as a Unionist, maybe I am wrong

  • Gingray

    Why do you not think she is a Unionist?

  • Msiegnaro

    It makes a mockery of it, Sugden was co-opted in an independent seat, proved barely competent as an MLA and was very much a non entity – struggled to hold her seat and is now elevated to this role with no experience or qualifications.

  • Gingray

    Nope, you are completely correct on this one

  • Msiegnaro

    I think she is a UINO as far I was aware – could be wrong though. Good move by Sinn Fein though and very clever.

  • Redstar

    But surely that’s the muppet show up at Stormont.

    At the end of the day they cannot fart without checking if it’s ok with the British govt, basically they govern on behalf of the Tories

  • Gingray

    And thats a bad thing, why?

  • Msiegnaro

    A barely competent MLA with no experience is a good addition?

  • Neil

    Wait until we see the ministries SF get. This should be a right laugh. They could have insisted on using d’hondt, leaving the DUP to choose either Justice or Finance. Instead they’ve maximised Unionist control. Slow clap.

  • Gingray

    Why is she barely competent? She was on the DEL committee

  • Lionel Hutz

    This is hilarious. Just hilarious. It was a farce when Ford took it up but this is beyond a joke. I really nothing else to say. It’s bizarra

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Maybe you should contact her and check. You’ll get it from the horse’s mouth … but will she try to deceive you?

  • Gingray

    Jim likes her as a person and politically, so he feels she is Unionist enough

  • Msiegnaro

    Ok that is very much in her favour, when did he say this?

  • Gingray

    Two minutes ago in his comments during the debate on her appointment.

    He did not criticize her experience or Unionism, only for being a patsy for SF/DUP.

  • Msiegnaro

    I’m not convinced anyway it’s irrelevant now as she has to be classified as “Other” to hold her role, advantage SF.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The whole big U thing?

  • Neil

    Classification doesn’t actually change reality. She is a Unionist. Advantage Unionism.

  • Msiegnaro

    Nail on head my friend.

  • Kevin Breslin
  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    But is the nail being driven into a coffin?

  • Msiegnaro

    Sugdens? Probably – this is a bad move for her politically but in terms of career it will be good for her.

  • Kevin Breslin

    A Justice Ministry either side of the border with SF at the helm will be delayed for at least a generation. Ultimately it is better to have a locally elected Unionist than a Direct Rule Politician.

  • Msiegnaro

    She will be bound over to keep neutral.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    So are you saying she won’t have a political career after this appointment?

  • Msiegnaro

    Bryson came out yesterday to say it was a joke as he was lampooning the situation regarding who would get the position.

  • Msiegnaro

    What has she accomplished?

  • Teddybear

    What does the Justice Minister actually do each day?
    Someone asked this question below but it wasn’t answered but it’s a serious question.

  • Redstar

    Why?
    For god sake the DUP clearly stated there could not be a Nat JM and SF as ever roll over and say that’s ok just let a Unionist take it.

    Are SF in the real world. They wonder why their vote is stagnating in Nat areas and yet they give tacit support to a sectarian junta

  • Neil

    Administer funding. Just like the rest of them.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Does this mean there is only One Executive Devolved role never occupied by a woman?

    Education – Ciatriona Ruane
    Health – Bairbre De Brun, Megan Fearon
    Infrastructure/Regional Development – Michelle McIlveen
    Communities/Social Development – Margaret Ritchie
    Economy/DETI – Arlene Foster
    First Minister – Arlene Foster
    Finance – Arlene Foster
    Justice-Claire Sugden
    Agriculture/Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs – Bríd Rodgers, Michelle O’Neill, Michelle Gildernew, Michelle McIlveen (role erm never held by a man)

    Even including the Defunct roles
    Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure – Carál Ní Chuilín
    Department of the Environment – Arlene Foster (she’s been in a lot of posts)
    Department of Employment and Learning – Carmel Hanna.

    May explain the Michelle O’Neill decision. 😉

  • Jarl Ulfreksfjordr

    You’ve got to wish her well but really Ms Sugden was crazy to accept the appointment. It should have gone to the Shinners.

    The Stormont junta has little credibility as it is adding a Sinn Féin ‘Justice Minister’ was not going to taint it any further.

    Besides it’s always fun hearing Shinners’ verbal strangulations putting ‘Northern’ and ‘Ireland’ together in the same sentence.

    Think of all the fun we could have had hearing the ‘Minister’ refer to the ‘Police Service of the North’ or the ‘North Prison Service’. The obscenity of a SF ‘Justice Minister’ might just have been worth it.

  • Msiegnaro

    It’s clearly unfair that a woman has never held the role of DFM or indeed leader of the opposition, hopefully the opposition will see sense and appoint Naomi Long to this role in order to restore parity.

  • Kevin Breslin

    In the name of parity there would also have to be a male DAERA minister too of course.

  • Granni Trixie

    On past form you would say that sort of thing, wouldn’t you.
    However I think it is good to shake up a system which isn’t working to push it forwards rather than just sustain. It was right to give time and support for powersharing to work out but at this stage in the Peace Process on one hand I’m just relieved the DUP/SF problem solving isn’t worse and on the other think it is an opportunity wasted to advance decisionmaking/politics.
    Whatever …today is a momentous day which has the potential to come good in the long run.

  • Msiegnaro

    No need for one in DAERA, it’s positive discrimination – we need to protect the sisters.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I don’t believe any discrimination has taken place with these choices. Four rural people were appointed to the job, who just happened to be women.

    http://www.democraticaudit.com/?p=19328

  • Msiegnaro

    Absolutely, no question, all very able sisters one would presume.

  • Katyusha

    There’s no reason why having a SF Justice Minister should damage the credibility of Stormont. In fact it would be a signal that Stromont can actually function as a normal government, with a little maturity and professionalism.
    Instead we have roadblocks and confrontations and special exceptions everywhere. There’s nothing so particularly special about Justice that it shouldn’t be subject to d’Hondt like everything else.
    I don’t understand SF’s motivation in supporting this. They don’t seem to care what their position at Stromont is.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I think the term “positive discrimination” can be quite sexist itself when used in this context. These people weren’t picked simply because of filling ad hoc gender quotas.

  • Msiegnaro

    Have females complained about this now too even though they have benefited through it?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    So, if one is ‘other’ then one can’t be unionist, but one can be ‘other’ and yet somehow be a nationalist and furthermore never ever can one be ‘other’ and really be ‘other’?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Correction *** Meagan Fearon is a junior minister, Michelle O’Neill takes Health.

  • Msiegnaro

    Fairly spot on Am, think you’re finally catching on.

  • kensei

    They’ve got Finance, but I’d have preferred your approach. This just makes them look weak, unless there is something surprising in the programme for Government.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Naomi Long has complained about this.

    http://allianceparty.org/article/2012/0006336/long-says-we-need-a-more-female-friendly-political-environment-rather-than-introducing-a-quota

    Gender quota mentality is largely behind four of these posts being filled by the one person. It does nothing to increase the number of new women who actually get to the executive.

    If the goal is getting more women in politics, having the same women around filling rotated roles is a sign that some women are more equal than others.

    Quotas are not going to ensure a diversity of women or greater opportunities for women. They are not going to ensure that women are able to compete with women to get roles.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Well the SDLP had also had Finance under Durkan and Farren.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    An there was me thinking that a unionist was someone was pro-union…

  • Msiegnaro

    Hmmm not so sure about that.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Well, it’s the accepted definition in the rest of the union: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/unionist

  • Msiegnaro

    The SDLP have “Economic Unionists” within their ranks but I wouldn’t assume they were the right sort of Unionist.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Horray, it’s a joke … Bryson won’t sue me and Fealty isn’t going to accuse me of playing the man!

  • Neil

    I’m glad to be wrong. So they have achieved more than I suspected they would. But making d’hondt the selection mechanism for all ministries should be on the cards. If the DUP want to keep SF out of Justice all they have to do is remain the biggest party.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    A vote for the union is a vote for the union.
    If ‘the wrong sort of unionists’ can vote pro-union then the nationalists (whether they be the right or wrong sort of nationalists) will fail.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Doesn’t Michael Collins count as the North of Ireland’s first Sinn Féin Justice Minister since they didn’t recognize partition back then?

    Or perhaps does Liam Neeson as Michael Collins count as the North of Ireland’s first Sinn Féin Justice Minister?

  • Msiegnaro

    I would prefer if people actually cared about their country and wanted to make it work rather than being here for the money only.

  • scepticacademic

    Strikes me as an odd decision for her to accept this. Why would you stand as an independent (unionist) then agree to prop-up a DUP-SF coalition? Wondering what ‘persuaded’ her to take on the role. Also very odd that the Shinners have agreed this.

  • Lionel Hutz

    It’s all a missed opportunity to show trust exists in the executive. It was a farce in 2010 and it’s even worse now.

  • Gopher

    You have got to take your chance when it comes, she is betraying no one hopefully she will have got more than her wage with respect of the constituents of East Londonderry for saving us from another election. I’m a practical type person so I’m never quite sure with regards the political parties why they agree to something. I can only observe that the poor example the last SF assembly team set with regards good government might have effected their Southern performance. Showing stability in government gives no one a stick to beat you unless of course it’s bland beyond belief.

  • Croiteir

    This is just discrimination. Why is thee no quotas for gays, trannie, coloured, slavs, Moslems, Mormons and every other classification of humanity that can be thought of. Everyone should have a voice. Progressive politics are de riguer

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Fair enough. Why would an economic unionist NOT want to see the country work?

    And like I said, a vote for the union is a vote for the union.

  • Msiegnaro

    It’s a strange one when it’s SLDP members claiming to be “economic Unionists” but yes a vote for the Union even from George Galloway is not to be sniffed at.

  • Jarl Ulfreksfjordr

    We appear to start from different places yet end in agreement.

    You think that Stormont has credibility, and seem to believe that a SF Justice Minister will not effect that.

    I think Stormont has little, if any, credibility, a SF Justice Minister will not effect that, except on a personal level to confirm the correctness of my own views. 😉

  • chrisjones2

    Did you ever consider that perhaps the Shinners secretly didn’t want it?

  • chrisjones2

    Its like the law …the natural order of things is that women do children and matrimonial – called “chick law” while men do the ruffty tuffty stuff like criminal and commercial. Strangely there is usually more money in the latter and historically more judges came from that background. Strange innit

  • scepticacademic

    worry about scathing prison inspectorate reports whilst having no real control of the local prison system?
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-34733832

  • Jarl Ulfreksfjordr

    I believe that is indeed the position of the Army Council, sorry, Party. Barge poles spring to mind.

    How could they ever form a flashmob to appear outside Police HQ when ever “political policing” (i.e. arresting crime suspects, following the evidence etc) or the “Dark Side” makes appearances?

    Barge pole-length deniability is just fine I strongly suspect.

    Yet from a gang that is now supposed to be all about “reconciliation”, “peace and confidence building”, yaada, yaada, yaada, you’d be forgiven for pondering why they passed up the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to run the Justice Department in an open, ‘progressive’ and human rights-focused way (a big thing in soundbite-Shinnerdom I believe) ;D

  • Brendan Heading

    Given that she was originally co-opted as the nominated successor of a Unionist, ran for election as a Unionist, and signed the member’s roll as a designated Unionist I’m at a loss as to how anyone could consider her not to be unionist.

    No, her vote is not neutered. No, she is not classified as “other” (she signed the roll as Unionist and this cannot be changed). The government have no control over how she votes in the assembly.

    As for this UINO thing – aren’t all unionists unionist in name only ? “Unionist” is just a designation of what foot you kick with. It’s got nothing to do with your qualities as a governing minister.

    I’m wondering where you get half this stuff.

  • Old Mortality

    At least Ford wasn’t afraid to squeeze the legal-aid parasites. Whatever happened to their ‘strike’? There’s probably scope to squeeze them a bit more but I doubt that Ms Sugden will have the confidence.

  • Lionel Hutz

    They mediated with the department and came to a fairly good compromise.