“What was the basis of that belief? Where was that belief grounded?”

Máirtín says he had no knowledge of Daithi McKay’s backchannel with Jamie Bryson until it was published last week, even though the inquiry (which was supposed to be investigating Nama) has, as yet, turned out to be little more than a power play against the then First Minister, Peter Robinson.

No political party worth the name mounts such a play without a substantial discussion about the hows, whys and wherefores of such a move. Odd that Sinn Fein would leave Máirtín out of that.

As Jim Wells note this morning, Máirtín effectively led the questioning in most of the sessions. But the key question is, as Gerry Mullan put it, is not whether Mr Ó Muilleoir  knew about the arrangement, but rather when he knew.

Now it is not the case, as Jonathan Bell implied, that there is never contact between committee members and witnesses. But under normal circumstances, it is the clerk’s role to co-ordinate between witnesses and the committee and for them to expand and develop that process.

As Jim Allister noted this morning, what makes this case exceptional is the apparent supplanting of the committee’s interest by a single party interest – highlighting O’Hara’s expectation of gaining a helpful intervention from Mr Ó Muilleoir.

Indeed, Allister’s contribution is worth watching in full, not least because his fire does not all head in the one direction:

Most pertinently, Jim goes back to where Mairtin argued both with force and extraordinary conviction why Mr Bryson should be allowed to give his evidence in public, during Bryson’s public appearance, in which the now Minister for Finance stated:

I think that the public is desperate to find out who was going to benefit from this fixed, crooked, corrupt deal. I believe that Mr Bryson will be able to help us in that. [Emphasis added]

To which Mr Allister adds:

What was the basis of that belief? Where was that belief grounded? Was it grounded from prior sight of the opening statement with the references to persons A,B,C,D and E? Or was it grounded in something else?

Because if he publicly expressed a belief in support of the evidence being given in public that Mr. Bryson would be able to help us in that, then it had to be grounded in something.

And in expressing that opinion of course, he fulfilled the anticipation of the author of the email that he would make a helpful intervention.

And therefore I think it’s not enough for the present Minister to simply say “I knew nothing of these communications”. I think there are many more probing questions in that regard.

Quite so.

, , ,

  • Teddybear

    I’m no fan of SF as anyone knows but if we lose Mairtin O’Muilleor then we have lost the most able and potentially game changing politician and finance minister in Stormont
    what are the SF politicians being punished for? For being political? Hmm

  • Jollyraj

    How would you define “being political” in this case?

  • Teddybear

    Everything a politician does is political just as everything a dog does is canine.

  • mickfealty

    So, if you’ll forgive the pejorative interpretation, every political thing a politician does is okay then?

    Where’s the line in your book?

  • chrisjones2

    Allister’s forensic skills honed at the bar are telling ……. hes firmly nailed him

  • Brendan Heading

    What was the basis of that belief? Where was that belief grounded? Was it grounded from prior sight of the opening statement with the references to persons A,B,C,D and E? Or was it grounded in something else?

    I’m no particular fan of SF or of the present Minister of Finance, but his eagerness to hear what Bryson had to say may well have been found in the pages of the “blog” Bryson published containing the allegations in the first place. I see no smoking gun here, unfortunately.

    On the other hand, it’s not clear exactly why any politicians from SF might have believed that inviting Bryson into the committee to repeat the allegations that he had aired on his blog is something that could possibly have any value or move the process any closer to the truth. Judith Cochrane was pilloried by representatives from all of the other parties, other than the DUP, for questioning this very aspect, and the manner in which a self-publicist who was not a witness or a primary source was being allowed to speak at the committee without the committee having prior sight of what he intended to say.

  • chrisjones2

    No for being devious, not playing by the rules and fundamentally for being dishonest in the operation of the Committee.

    i fully agree that the DUP are generally just as bad but frankly I dont care. Its so hard to nail down any of them that when we do its essential to do it fully and make them pay a price pour encouragez les autres to behave. That applies whatever the party

    It is a shame though that its Mairtin as he is probably the best politician there and one of the sharpest intellectually – which is why he is disliked by the Army wing of his party

  • Paul

    Do I think Sinn Fein knew all about this? Yes.
    Do I think O’Muilleoir knew about this? Undoubtedly, but I doubt this can be proven regardless of how many people come out with the “It’s simply not credible he didn’t know” line.
    Did McKay and O’Hara tell Bryson not to reveal the Robinson’s name to the very last moment? Yes, and as a result McKay has been thrown to the wolves (no doubt to re appear in a year or so as a councillor or some such position).

    While I think SF have been caught coaching a witness to the finance committee, to me this is politics.. political party caught in politicking *shock*. McKay has resigned and that is the end of the matter as far as I’m concerned unless other evidence surfaces which I doubt.

    I also have no doubt that the DUP are shouting about this from the rooftops (certainly a lot more than they did in the previous committee meetings) to deflect from the real issue…lets not forget this was an issue on which Robinson, DUP leader resigned. While Bryson’s evidence might have been fluff and self publicity that alone would tell me that there is no smoke without fire, which to be fair to Allister he alludes to. So the DUP may want to be careful how far they push this depending on what the Police, NCA/FBI find out.

  • Brendan Heading

    I wish I could understand why everyone seems to think think Máirtín Ó Muilleoir is “able” or “potentially game changing”. I’ll grant that he did a fine job as Lord Mayor and was a fine ambassador for the city, and he is of course a successful businessman.

    But since he became Finance Minister, I’ve seen little other than tweets and selfies and videos talking about all the hard work that needs to be done and all the great people he met today. His boundless energy and enthusiasm is commendable but I’ve heard precious little in the way of substance, policy innovation, or plans for reform. If anything he seems committed to continuing the Executive’s conservative approach, avoiding reform, blocking attempts to identify waste (such as duplication in teacher training) or raise new revenue.

    He also seems to have a penchant for interfering in the business of departments he does not control; he confidently stated, shortly after his appointment, that there would be an Irish Language Act (Peter Weir, on the same programme, indicated that there wouldn’t be) and announced that he was going to try to find money to open schools in another constituency in Antrim (surely a matter for the Education Minister). Today I see him tweeting congratulations to someone for creating new jobs – a matter which lies within the purview of the Economy Minister.

    Finally, irrespective of Mr Ó Muilleoir’s boundless talents, nothing gets delivered, in Finance or anywhere else, without the agreement of the Executive acting collectively. The Minister has no power to go on solo runs or launch initiatives on his own, as he can simply be vetoed at the Executive table. His talents may prove useful in persuading other Executive parties to come around to a change in policy – but it remains to be seen if this is even possible within the rarified atmosphere at Stormont Castle.

    I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with his office, and I hope I’m wrong about the absence of policy substance to date. If, under his watch, the Executive changes its attitude to spending and revenue raising I’d happily credit him with delivering tough reforms. But I’m not holding my breath.

  • Brendan Heading

    While I think SF have been caught coaching a witness to the finance committee, to me this is politics.. political party caught in politicking *shock*.

    Sorry, but no. This is not just “politicking”. This is collaborating with an anti-agreement loyalist, who has a stated objective of ending powersharing, for the purposes of damaging the then DUP leader.

    Could someone remind me exactly what it is we are trying to accomplish with powersharing if the idea is to use the instruments of government and accountability to undermine the institutions over a petty political game ?

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Big Call for SF now ! Do they sacrifice a South Belfast Vote Base that has taken them 20 years to grow for the Yankee Dollar ? $$$$$. I think we know the Answer !

  • AntrimGael

    Politics doesn’t have any morals, scruples or standards whether here, in Dublin or London. They ALL make the rules up as they go along and people should realise that in the dark corridors of Stormont, Leinster House and Westminister the only interests that they represent are their own. I don’t particularly like O’Muilleoir and his smug arrogance, if he was chocolate he would eat himself, but how can the DUP jump up any high horse about others when their own Minister Nelson McCausland was absolutely slaughtered by the BBC Spotlight AND a committee of his own fellow MLA’s over the Red Sky/Housing Executive/Glazing business. What was the reaction of the DUP to this……..move him to chair another Committee reporting on the behaviour of other minister’s and MLA’s????? You seriously couldn’t make this stuff up!

  • Teddybear

    Do we condemn a dog for biting when it’s only in its nature to do so? Yes if it’s teeth are in our derrières but that is subjective condemnation and does not detract from the fact that it, like the politician, act in all kinds of manners to further their causes.

    What they do may be good for us or bad for us but nature is nature

    And may I ask what you mean by ‘where’s the line in your book’?

  • Redstar

    I reckon many of you commenting here need a reality check.

    I don’t know / don’t care what O Muilleoir knew or didn’t know. Those of you from each of the ruling elite crying about it sound pathetic.

    Let’s be straight- no matter what happens or who does what does anybody for a second think the cosey arrangement between the two establishment parties will collapse over this or anything else.

    Of course publicly to keep their easily led followers onboard they will huff and puff but beyond that- there’s not a chance of anything changing for the careerist village council junta that plays at government. Wise up folks

  • Paul

    I would imagine the adage of “my enemies enemy is my friend” applies here, plus I imagine the temptation to knife Robinson and the DUP was too much for SF especially after the Maze project was cancelled and the continued failure of an Irish Language Act

  • chrisjones2

    Do we condemn a dog for biting when it’s only in its nature to do so?

    If its dangerous, yes we do and its put down because it should be trained not to bite

  • Granni Trixie

    I think that those who did not want JB to be heard by the dimkitten were being overly cautious As to the legal c sequences ( the reason some committee members gave, especially those on the DUP side).
    Also, doesnt it say something that JB is the one to shine a light on these murky waters whilst the committee seems impotent to do so? For instance there was no robust interrogation of PR when he came before the committee.

    People seem to have focused on their view of Jamie rather than that there might have been
    Something to what he was alleging.

  • Granni Trixie

    So “Being political” to you means setting the bar as low as can be? But insulting to politicians are you not? As for MoM being the most able, well that a matter of opinion.

  • Granni Trixie

    Can’t speak for Mick but what is meant by that phrase in my book is “have you no standards”.

  • Jollyraj

    Worrying number of comments along the lines of: ‘Do I think my dog bit you? Yes, it probably did. It’s in the nature of my dog to bite people, and it’s something I’m happy to live with’.

  • Brendan Heading

    Respectfully GT I completely disagree! 🙂

    I think that those who did not want JB to be heard by the dimkitten were being overly cautious As to the legal c sequences ( the reason some committee members gave, especially those on the DUP side).

    Talk of legal consequences amounted to nothing (there are no legal consequences to libelling someone under privilege) but there was talk of the committee being abused by being denied the opportunity to have sight of Bryson’s “witness testimony” prior to the hearing, which effectively prevented the committee from doing any kind of cross examination, let alone investigation.

    Events have proven that concerns about the credibility of the inquiry were well-founded. It was, as some of us suspected at the time, politically directed and nothing to do with attempting to uncover the truth.

    Also, doesnt it say something that JB is the one to shine a light on these murky waters whilst the committee seems impotent to do so?

    Yes, indeed it does – it says that person or persons unknown chose to make Bryson and only Bryson privy to inside information with the knowledge that he would make it public. That isn’t a reflection on the committee; it is a reflection on the sordid and politically charged mud slinging process that was taking place.

    The committee, had it not been conducting a politically motivated inquiry, would have rejected Bryson’s (burning) desire to be given a forum and insisted that the materials in his possession be handed over to the police. Bryson’s allegations – fraud, deception, misreporting of financial transactions, misconduct in public office, tax evasion, regulatory violations etc – are all criminal matters and are utterly beyond the competency of any assembly committee. Withholding this information from the police is itself an offence.

    I would add once again that Bryson’s appearance at the committee added nothing new. He read from the dossier that he had been given by someone else, and repeated the allegations he had already made in his blog. He did not – and could not – provide any further insight into the allegations because they weren’t his.

    For instance there was no robust interrogation of PR when he came before the committee.

    Because there was no evidence against him, and still isn’t.

    People seem to have focused on their view of Jamie rather than that there might have been Something to what he was alleging.

    I might be a little old fashioned, but I think that allowing people to make libelous allegations in public, and using the instruments of the state to do so in a way that evades penalty, is a seriously unjust thing to do. We have laws against this. If any wrongdoing has been done, and I accept there is a good chance that it has, then it is crime which is supposed to be investigated by the police. Indulging in this kind of pantomime farce undermines several tenets of our democracy and justice system.

  • Declan Doyle

    You are making baseless assumptions again and disregarding statements that do not accommodate your agenda. MMCG is on record as saying that ‘Sinn Fein’ the party, new nothing of the communications. You choosing to ignore that destroys the premise of your argument: being Robbo is a saint but those Shinners are all liars. What were we saying about honesty the other day? it surely doesn’t apply only to politicians?

  • mickfealty

    Declan,

    Try and grapple with the material?

  • mickfealty

    When you decide to cross a revine on a tightrope it pays to keep walking till you get to the other side Red.

    I really don’t know what dunderhead in SF thought it was wise to do business with Jamie. Maybe it was just Daithi, maybe it wasn’t.

    I’m a bit jaded through past experience of Ministers treating committees with contempt, but this was decent precision bombing from Allister.

    This is old business from before the fresh start. But I’d guess the DUP aren’t that keen on where this is likely to go next.

    Let’s see what happens when the dust settles.

  • Declan Doyle

    Material? What material? The only piece of your post that flys even close to substantive curiosity is Jim Als querying of Mairtins anxious enthusiasm. That in itself can be explained by the fact that suspicions and questions had well taken flight at that stage, it would have been quite unusual not to be over curious by then and not surprising that the DUP would have reason to be cautious given Robbo was well in the frame. At the time I believed Robbo was innocent till proven guilty and I still hold that view. But your assertion that Robbo is a Saint whilst all around are conspirators and liars is somewhat shallow tbh.

  • mickfealty

    Where have I said that Robbo’s a saint? (It’s certainly not my personal belief.)

  • Teddybear

    It wasn’t me who caused this ‘scandal’ you know. Just expressing an opinion. Furthermore, how can NI talk about standards when it’s happy to let a former IRA director of murder to be its Deputy FM. coaching a blogger pales in comparison to ordering the blowing up of Patsy Gillespie in Derry

    Sorry am I being off message ? I do apologise

  • Declan Doyle

    Ah now would you stop. You have been an ardent advocate of Robbo’s innocence from the get go. A Shinner with only half such accusations against them and you have them hung drawn and quartered on this site already. Remember the honesty thing again?

  • Roger

    Well if the blog is the answer, the Minister should say as much at the very least.

  • mickfealty

    Balls.

  • AntrimGael

    For all his faults you really do have to admire Jim Alister’s grasp of his brief and how he dissects these things forensically. He didn’t let Emma Pengelly and the DUP off the hook one bit despite Sinn Fein being the centre of attention here. Take away his obvious anti-Nationalist core, he is without doubt the best politician up there. On a far, far more serious note, Gregory will no doubt be sending his warmest congratulations to Celtic for qualifying for the Champions League Group stages and to their fans who are the best in the world.

  • AntrimGael

    Oooh Matron!

  • Declan Doyle

    You always go for a playground jibe when you are sussed.

  • mickfealty

    Sorry, but it is utter balls to suggest on one hand that you always thought Robbo was innocent until proven guilty and then accuse me of bias because I proceeded on the same basis. Try checking your own stuff for sense before you post please?

    You may be mistaking my coolness about a story that has run for over a year – but which from early on seemed to me to be obviously mis-framed – for a cringeworthy belief in Robbo’s sainthood. But the abject capitulation of Mr Graham appears to confirm my first suspicion that much of this story was driven by disgruntled (and still wealthy) developers and PR firms. I was never convinced there was anything more to this story than hot spice to get the media to bite.

    Ask yourself what influence could Robinson have sold for this money? Every proposal he made to Nama was rejected, and for the most part he was out of the loop on any of the decisions. Barring the emergence of new evidence the only two folk that are in trouble (and again this was obvious really early in the story) is Coulter and Cushnahan. Even then it’s far from clear that either have done anything illegal.

    Finally (and back on the direct topic of this thread) how did you not hear ultra loud fire bells clanging (very loudly) inside your head when Jamie Bryson was presented as an expert witness to the Finance committee and then proceeded to read from a pre written sheet of statements that he pretty much refused to be cross examined on?

    Now, that’s not to suggest that I don’t preclude something coming out of the woodwork. There are several criminal investigations in the US and by the NCA that may well turn up something new. I share Jim Allister’s view that it’s not over till its over. His advice that the Finance Committee Chair Emma Little Pengelly should step down when the Committee renews its inquiry into Nama dealings is a sound corrective to the idea this door only swings one way.

    On another note: there is a place for the discussion of bias (mine especially) but unless you do it with evidence, you are in danger of playing the man and not the ball.. It’s a simple rule, and one that’s served us well over the years in creating a decent level playing field for people with different opinions.

    Go and check the comments policy. If it is all too onerous for you, then you know where the door is?

  • Dan

    Surely someone has put Mairtin’s head on to Manuel’s by now.
    ‘I know nothing’

  • kensei

    So he sticks to some sort of line like:

    What was the basis of that belief?
    Worrying reports in the newspapers

    Where was that belief grounded?
    Publicly available statements and personal conviction

    Tarted up appropriately, of course. Exactly how much further can you actually go, with zero evidence?

  • kensei

    Where is this place for discussing your bias? I’ve never seen it.

  • PeterBrown

    Do you have any evidence to support your accusations about either Mick or Robbo? I share Mick’s scepticism about the need to influence NI politicians over this deal when the involvement of the politicians (e.g. planning) was already over – what would anyone receive in return for any alleged bribe? If nothing (and let’s face it there was nothing any politician could bring to this table then its a gift and for all their many strange ways Yanks do not give gifts in situations like this. The buck (in every sense of the word including the money) currently seems to stop with the fixers (advisers and lawyers) and I suspect that’s where it might stay despite this rather crude attempt at mud slinging…

  • mickfealty

    You never did get the hang of that, did you ken?

  • Tochais Siorai

    Tell him not to forget Dundalk for making the Europa group stage (& coming damn close to making the Champions League group stage).

  • Granni Trixie

    If you applied your logic then there is no chance to advance politics in NI at all. Nothing will make up for atrocities but you can’t have the standards set by them be g the standard to aspire to.

    You refer to that of Mr Gillespie. Well,when that happened a group of us formed “Enough” (to campaign on that theme and to oppose so called “legitimate targets” – I have the t-shirt). We too thought this incident showed how low the IRA could sink.

  • Granni Trixie

    Agree that we disagree – we differ in perspectives most notably on our views on JB. I remember being pretty disgusted by the Committee at the time at their apparent lack of heart to get to the bottom of things or to be guided by producing a transparent process as an antidote to other apparently murky goings on.

    Also, why do you think that the PSNI have not taken Bryson in to question him on the material? (For I genuinely would like to know). Interesting reason PR has given for not taking a civil action – namely that JB has no money to sue for.

  • John Collins

    JR and CJ I am agreeing with both of you. Surprise surprise and all that. The simple fact is we will never, as in any area of life, get perfect politicians, but we at should at least aspire to expecting the best possible level of conduct from them.

  • Declan Doyle

    I was merely questioning your eager defense of Robbo in the context of what appears to be an over zealous refusal to give such benifit of the doubt to others most notably Shinners. However, if I have misread this as anti Sinn Fein I do apologise.

  • Skibo

    Peter would politicians who had contact with both parties and fixers not be the same thing.
    Sammy Wilson contacted the Irish government to let NAMA know there was interest in buying the NI based NAMA loans. That is common knowledge. What is not known is what element of discussions did he and Peter Robinson get involved with regarding the buy-out.
    I would think the people who had to renegotiate their loans after the buy-out would be interested in who knew what.
    The whole NAMA story is getting buried in how Bryson’s evidence was displayed.
    Jamie Bryson could assist the story to move forward by either producing more evidence or release his sources.

  • Skibo

    Paul have look back through previous committee proceedings where DUP were on the hook. They stonewalled and delayed proceedings at every turn around resulting in postponement after postponement. The advice on how to address this attitude by DUP was correct and actually worked.
    The advice was good, the way the advice was projected to Bryson was wrong. He should have been directed to an independent adviser. Perhaps Daithi was trying to make a name for himself.
    Unfortunately he has not covered his tracks and dealing with a snake like Bryson will always result in being tarred with the same brush.
    It is a pity that some of his sources were not a bit more picky as to who they wanted to release the information through.

  • PeterBrown

    No the fixers were the inside man and lawyer who were allegedly brokering the deal – merely communicating that possibility to the Irish government is not worth anything to the purchaser and our politicians brought nothing of value to this transaction (no surprises there some might comment ruefully) unlike those claiming the finders fee.

  • Skibo

    Peter nothing in life is as black and white as that. Remember the brown envelope brigade is not linked to just the South. It goes on up here too. High level politicians have more sway than you give them credit for.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Jonathan Bell is technically wrong, because some of the witnesses were fellow MLAs and it would be nigh impossible for an MLA to have no contact with another MLA who may be a witness. Ó Muilleoir would’ve been in contact with McGuinness and Bell himself in contact with Robinson, and both First Ministers were witnesses.

    What makes this so different is that we had a member of the committee, the committee chair no less caught directing a witness on the matter of presentation of testimony.

    It’s irrelevant that a 3rd person was involved, telling someone to go to that third person was a breach of responsibility in and of itself.

  • mickfealty

    Declan,

    This is a forum for people to discuss politics and related matters. It’s for grown ups. If you cannot or will not, there’s a door.

  • Declan Doyle

    Thanks for clarifying the function of the site.

  • Paul

    Skibo, agreed the advice was sound enough and if Robinson had been named at the start they probably would have postponed the committee or something similar.
    It’s my belief that SF will simply stonewall any attempt to get rid of O’Muilleoir, they’ve let McKay go there’ll be no more leaving anytime soon (without anything new coming out that is).

    Like I said the DUP will need to make a decision on how far to push this as they mightn’t like what comes out of it.

    For Sinn Fein it’ll do them no harm this will have played very well with the support base.

    Ironically this may result in Bryson disappearing from the public eye as working with SF won’t have gone down well with some of his local “community” elements.

  • PeterBrown

    Brown envelopes have in the past been almost exclusively for planning permission (says the former chair of a council planning committee) and this land already had planning permission so no need for brown envelopes for the politicians who were too high up the greasy pole to influence planning anyway (even councillors were only consultees until the recent council reorganisation and couldn’t grant or refuse planning permission hence the lack of planning scandals here compared to RoI)

  • Skibo

    I don’t think it is in either of the parties interests to let this drag on and Mairtin is too big a face to push aside. I expect big things from him in the future.
    I think McKay is a loss to Antrim. He was good on the ground from what I hear. I don’t think he will just walk away and may resurface at some time in the future. Sure the last DUP adviser caught out, now works in the office of OFMDFM.
    This wont assist Bryson at all. The only element of DUP who will revel in this story are Robinson’s cronies. I don’t think Sammy has got over the way he was sidelined in the leadership battle and think he still carries a grudge.

  • Skibo

    I believe you actually believe that comment.
    Main politicians run at a different level than the normal five eighth and you are underestimating their influence and usefulness of their contacts.
    What is it they say about bought and sold for English gold. American in this case!

  • PeterBrown

    I have a lot of personal experience of “main politicians” whatever they are and I think you are overestimating the influence and usefulness of their contacts but we will have to agree to disagree on that as neither of us can prove our case or disprove the other’s – you fail to deal with the cash for planning point though, our politicians had no goods or services to exchange for the developers money

  • Brendan Heading

    I would imagine the adage of “my enemies enemy is my friend” applies here,

    Yes, indeed it did, but I think this goes beyond straightforward petty politicking and into the realms of a conspiracy.

    plus I imagine the temptation to knife Robinson and the DUP was too much for SF especially after the Maze project was cancelled and the continued failure of an Irish Language Act

    and, more recently, the DUP rotation of ministers over the murder of Kevin McGuigan.

    The point is, why would you want to be partners in government with someone you want to actively knife ? Is it because SF are so short of initiative or tactical capability that they have no other way of trying to reach agreement on how the country should be governed ?

  • Brendan Heading

    Surely it goes without saying that on face value the “witness” was invited to the committee on the basis of those allegations.

  • Brendan Heading

    Agree that we disagree – we differ in perspectives most notably on our views on JB

    Put it this way. If this were in court, I’d expect that JB wouldn’t be able to testify as a witness.

    Also, why do you think that the PSNI have not taken Bryson in to question him on the material?

    Because Bryson is irrelevant to the inquiry. His role here is that someone chose to make him privy to certain information, which he has already made public. Nothing more.

    Now, they could go after him for “perverting the course of justice” (I love that term) by withholding information about his source; but that might get hairy as he’s claiming journalistic privilege.

    Interesting reason PR has given for not taking a civil action – namely that JB has no money to sue for.

    More than that; even if the court awarded costs to PR, Bryson would declare bankruptcy and would be unable to pay, which would leave PR with the legal bill which could end up reaching into six figures.

  • Skibo

    What they would be paying for is the influence at a high level or to be more precise, the illusion of influence.

  • PeterBrown

    Like I said they rarely pay for nothing or the illusion of nothing – the US lobbying industry is built on results not just influence or the illusion of influence

  • Paul

    Well again I think there is a certain element of old habits dying hard, here was an open goal presented to them with nothing to lose (as long as someone could keep their twitter password protected) and they just couldn’t resist.
    Secondly while they are partners in government… it is a forced, loveless partnership, and I think at times each side has to show they are distinctive entities to their own base support this is one chance they had to stick it to the DUP. Look at the examples of the Consevatives and Lib Dems, the Lib Dems were wiped out because they were seen as Tory Lite or or the very least for failing to stop the Tories carrying out the worst of their policies (of course going back on pledges in their manifesto didn’t help either!).
    Then of course there was Robinson himself. He couldn’t carry the DUP to do anything Sinn Fein wanted: Maze, IL Act etc, at some point the SF leadership probably said “do we stick or twist?” maybe that is crediting them with more foresight than they deserve but if you remember back to the time, Robinson was under extreme pressure from all sides and maybe Sinn Fein figured that this would push him over the edge and they would get a more pliable DUP leader.

  • PeterBrown

    Agreed and who knew the reserve price? It wasn’t the politicians and those who knew are allegedly claiming a finders fee. I suspect the NCA will be concentrating on them and not our politicians….

  • Kevin Breslin

    I honestly wouldn’t give him the benefit of saying that he was malicious … if this was just helping Jamie Bryson articulate his “evidence”, the affair seems to have the goal of leave him with a redner rather than to crash his ivory tower. If I’m being very generous, he was caught up in a spur of the moment.

    There are questions on O’Hara whether his assistance constitutes the fabrication of evidence, in which case there is questions of the Sinn Féin leadership over what responsibilities O’Hara has within the party.

    Sinn Féin aren’t the disciplined force people think they are … frankly no party is.

  • steve white

    the SLDP voted to allow Bryson attend the committee in public,

    were they in on it too?

  • mickfealty

    Not one of Dominic’s finest hours, certainly. I suspect they were responding to the huge coverage in the IN throughout that summer, more than actually being brought in on the act Steve. SF don’t usually share with rivals.

  • Brendan Heading

    It’s only a forced partnership because that is what SF want; they want the system rigged so that they’re always a part of it. This is the price they’re paying for that.

  • Brendan Heading

    The SDLP also attacked Alliance for arguing to block the Bryson farce.

    I think the SDLP were being political; they made a calculation that it would be better to be on the side getting the boot into Robinson rather than face criticism from SF for being seen to protect the DUP. It’s a sad day when people are pilloried for doing the right thing.

  • mickfealty

    Yep. Nasty instincts awakened all around by that story.

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