Frenetic start to the week for Northern Ireland’s Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir. At the weekend he was trailed in the media as saying he would try to persuade DUP colleagues to go back to the normal 1 budget a year model to get NI through the Brexit crisis.
That’s how most governments do it: Brexit crisis or not. However, despite Fresh Start, Máirtín clearly hasn’t run it past the First Minister. There’s no real block on it, since the reason for doing budgets over three years was to take account of the fact there were five parties round the table.
It came up in an interview on Inside Politics on Radio Ulster at the weekend, in which there was that odd business about Máirtín’s re-appointment as Director of the Belfast Media Group. John Manley in the Irish News:
When asked why he had resigned from the board and rejoined it after a matter of days, the minister said his accountant had advised him that he could not be paid his Belfast Media Group pension unless he was a director of the firm.
According to the assembly’s register of interests, Mr Ó Muilleoir will receive around £10,000 from his private pension this year.
“What changed is I can’t get paid my pension from Belfast Media Group if I’m not a director so my accountant said: ‘You need to back on as a director’,” he said. The finance minister said he was “very happy to do so”.
Not sure how that stacks up. Nor why the Finance Minister mentioned one-year budgets without first talking to DUP colleagues about it.
Fresh Start, or business as usual?