“We have a good story to tell of a united Executive team making good on its promises…” #Not

This is for context and meaning. The extent to which Adams’ statement signals a significant political failure, can be measured by its distance from how Martin and Arlene pitched their joint mission on 13th September (when all the ‘shocking’ detail of RHI was fully in the public domain):

“We have a good story to tell of a united Executive team making good on its promises to the electorate. Ministers are absolutely determined to work collectively to deliver Government that makes a positive difference to people’s lives. This is what a Fresh Start looks like.”

A right old mess.

  • Jag

    ” RHI was fully in the public domain” wrong linky Mick.

  • Jag

    In a proper democracy, if a minister uncovers a massive overspend, like a £400m overspend in the North’s case, the minister would come before the Assembly and make a statement. Why didn’t that happen with RHI?

    In the North’s case, it was for the media, the BBC, which did bring the news of the overspend into the public domain.

    As the RHI scandal festers, costing us £55k/day, £2k/hr, £38/minute, will there be a new limb to the scandal. When did the politicians know? When did SF know? Mairty seems scandalised to learn in late December 2016 RHI overspend could be £490m; he’s been finance minister for six months, was he previously aware it was £400m?

  • Ciaran74

    Is this all really a surprise? The DUP have been playing everyone, and I mean everyone along, all along. Their Executive commitments are window dressings. The DUP are entitled to their positions in the Executive, but the current environment we find ourselves in surely stems from a core opposition to sharing anything. Which appears also to have lead to a ‘doing nothing but look over your shoulder’ culture also. What policy has actually achieved anything from the Executive?

    Arlene Foster and Jeffrey Donaldson opposed the GFA from within the UUP, conspired against Trimble, destroyed his career and many others, hobbled the UUP (their chosen political vehicle) for a generation or more, jumped to the ultra-anti-GFA position and then took power to curb, disrupt and stop Nationalism. Contradictory possibly, but with so many agreements in tatters the DUP may have achieved their goals, until now.

    After the late 90’s and early 2000’s Nationalist euphoria at ‘progress’ Unionism called foul, and ‘outreach’ began allowing arrogance and mismanagement to enter the fray as a sign of untouchability (say anything and I’ll do a war dance) – cosy commercial ties aren’t new within Unionism and NI.

    We’ve all been slapped in the face a few times and it hasn’t even registered, or we’ve shrugged it off to continue to allow them to pass their apprenticeships. Working class people have never really been important to the DUP, as getting their votes has been quite easy.

    Fresh Start was another DUP spoof and we will be the losers. Arlene and co. have never been hungry.

  • Nevin

    Is David Gordon still in post?

    What’s in the public domain isn’t necessarily in the public eye. The BBC Spotlight programme’s vivid imagery and graphic story-telling put it in the latter but it was still incredibly light on the problems of public sector governance, including the RHI debacle. Sam McBride appears to be producing the best journalism but he still has plenty to do before he can draw any firm conclusions.

  • Ciaran74

    Sam McBride and the NL have done a solid job in being honest about RHI and sent direct & uncomfortable signals to the DUP that RHI is not a singular instance, and it’s not acceptable to portray yourself as reliable and trustworthy, and then excuse it away under other banners.

  • Redstar

    But Ciaran it wasn’t just the DUP- their junior partners SF were also telling us everything was great, it was a fair and equal set up on the hill etc

    Now apparently it’s not

    Those of us who have always said the corrupt shambles on the hill was no place for any Republican were told we were haters- and worse

    Has SF just woken from a coma?

  • ted hagan

    The Dup outwitted the Ulster Unionists, plain and simple,

    in the pursuit of power. It’s what politicians do. In the same way Sinn Fein outwitted the SDLP. It was British policy to bring in the extremes and put them in place.
    Ugly, and unfair, indeed, as is the system we have ended up with.

    Both the Dup and SF are chancers and opportunists as far as I’m concerned.

  • mickfealty

    It did. And then almost everyone else piled out of the chamber. Go figure?

  • mickfealty


  • Jag

    Ulster says No!

  • mickfealty

    Such a weird link. I’ve updated it now, I think.

  • johnny lately

    “In a proper democracy, if a minister uncovers a massive overspend, like a £400m overspend in the North’s case, the minister would come before the Assembly and make a statement. Why didn’t that happen with RHI?”

    The total cost to the taxpayer will be around 1.2 billion Jag not £400 million and couple that with all the other financial mishandling from DUP ministers and it would lead one to think the DUP had a scorched earth policy in relation to the future integrity of the assembly, are they deliberately attempting to bankrupt the Stormont institutions. If there is to be a public enquiry or any kind of enquiry then it should also delve in to the financial practices of all DUP ministers in government especially Paul Girvans.

  • Ciaran74

    The patient has been self-medicating against advice of family and friends for too long.

    I think they were telling us all everything ‘could’ be great.

    I also think it’s been plain for the last few years that it was slowing down to a pace that did not suit SF or Nationalism’s penchant for progress but the stance had to remain conciliatory during the sham fights, wilful distractions and other parallel poor governance events. Yes, the writing has been in the wall.

    Robinson put a front on the DUP that appeared more practical vs the weight of the regressive right wing. SF are tenacious as parties go, but Fosters old style Big House unionism coupled with the fundamentalism that was only one step removed from Robinson, may have left few channels for genuine dialogue, excluding Hamilton.

    It’s a wonder they didn’t throw the head up a long time ago.

  • Redstar

    So you would agree that IF Stormont is collapsed ( still very dubious about that) there needs to be root and branch change before any Republican worth their salt would set foot there again?


    The first ministers days in her job are numbered,her own party will dump her she is now a serious liability to the party.Its her fault a half a billion is
    wasted. She made a big mistake playing the gender card and attacking
    everyone else,Nobody believes she is a shy nevous lady either,

  • Ciaran74

    When the Byzantines came to an impasse in local politics they’d come together and riot in an agreed venue. If any hostages were taken, they’d cut their noses off and dump them in the street after. Procedure followed. System upheld. Air cleared.

    I think SF’s avoidance of direct fights has left them a little flabby and not so nimble. Politicians are chancers, a bit like Estate Agents. We need them, but what do they really do for their money?

    SF and every other party need to keep hold of the themes that have lead us here – the DUP’s belief that Deputy means Junior, that compromise is about blocking things from happening, and a cultural belief that it is their house.

    The new story from the DUP will be about Gerry is pulling the strings, he’s on manoeuvre, it’s a distraction from other SF problems, and the Union needs defending.

    Chancers for sure.

  • Steptoe
  • Ciaran74

    All other elements of all agreements must be initiated before service can resume. Integrity in agreements and seeing them through firmly are essential. More deals to break have no interest for me.

  • Redstar


    I fear that is SF speak for more of the same. Squeeze a couple of minor issues out of Dup( which aren’t even concessions as they should have already been delivered) and claim them as major concessions-but in reality it’s same old same old

    The problem for SF with continuing in that vein is the Nat community know after a decade of pointless Stormont it doesn’t deliver anything advancing our communities goals.

    Your vote therefore at best will stay the same and SF will be correctly viewed by many in our community as little more than career politicos more interested in sitting on the hill than actually taking a radically different attitude to progressing a UI

  • Nevin

    Ciaran74, bureaucratic bungling can be found in regional and/or local contexts – and not limited to the DUP. Sam still has to explore the roles and interplay of civil servants, Independent board members and Spads. I’ve no inside information on this debacle but there’s lots of stuff worth looking further into.

  • J D

    RHI allowed Arlene to lock up DUP support for the leadership. C’mon that contest was over waaaaay too easily. Now we know why.

    That is why the heels are dug in and refusal to budge on anything, because it will destroy Foster and the DUP. Not SF. Interesting though who we are hearing from that SF is the only one in hot water over RHI….. hmmmm……

  • Nevin
  • Dan

    If anyone of those wasters at Stormont had any balls at all, they’d have called the scheme a farce right from the beginning. It should never have been introduced in the first place. Never mind the unbudgeted overspend, the rest of the money was a scandalous waste of UK taxpayer money too …. But they were all too happy to jump on the eco green bandwagon, not one of them said no.
    Especially Alliance, the sickeningly sanctimonious, insufferable hypocrites.

  • Jag

    Cheesh Dan, don’t hold back!

    It’s true, isn’t it, the full cost of the Renewable Heating Initiative is £1.2bn, with £0.8bn being given (back) to Northern Ireland from the Westminster Treasury. There are two separate debates though, one is about the incompetent implementation of RHI which is resulting in a £400m overspend, which will have to be found from other local budgets, eg education, health, policing, roads..

    The second debate is about subsidising energy in favour of locally produced wood and away from oil and gas. You can probably appreciate the merits of that debate even if you don’t agree. It strikes me a a huge subsidy for smoke producing wood; why not wind or wave, or a good old nuclear plant for Carrick. But at least that part of the scheme was properly evaluated in Westminster.

  • Ciaran74

    You draw too much from too little RS.

    I agree, the results, and the ignorance shown to the Irish in the north has been disappointing. A firmer Nationalist bloc appears to be what people want. What betterment that delivers beyond a feel good factor is vague in my mind.

    What is a ‘radically different attitude’?

  • eireanne3

    are you a clairvoyant Ciaran?
    “Sinn Fein is intent on using the scandal over a botched renewable energy scheme to extract wider political concessions from Stormont First Minister Arlene Foster, a senior party colleague has claimed.

    Democratic Unionist MP Sammy Wilson also accused Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams of exploiting the “cash for ash” crisis to deflect from his own political difficulties in the Irish Republic”.


  • Granni Trixie

    Not just Republicans – Stormont needs reformed for everyone’s sake.

  • Redstar

    Well at the VERY least if there does have to be an administration operating under the current constitutional circumstances-it must fairly reflect BOTH traditions in all aspects.

    Minor changes like either completely neutral or fully inclusive adherence of that administration to language, symbols etc

    It’s hard to see how the current set up in any way reflects the Nat/Republican community in those areas

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thank you Nevin! Much appreciated.

  • Ciaran74

    My adventures at Leopardstown at Christmas prove not. And my tea leaves have never been infused with the BT!

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Dan, if you check out Steven Agnew’s comments (for one) he did call this scheme’s issues right at the start. I suppose you’d say that the “eco green” lobby itself was first in pointing the finger at the attempts to dress up financial subsidies as an environmentally concerned schemes. Actual “Green” thinking would require sizeable and efficient projects that are genuine and strategically planned for the community rather than this sort of pork barrel project draped in some green crepe.

  • Ciaran74

    I’m for some hardball RS, or at least harder to initiate outstanding agreements, draw firm lines in respecting culture and identity including parity of funding, proper socio-economic all island projects etc.

    This couldn’t really come at a worse moment – the pressures from London and Dublin to clear this up quickly so as not to scupper Brexit implications will be there, and there are pitfalls for both quick and drawn out conclusions.

  • mickfealty

    This is what it should have been: https://goo.gl/IvHmI7. Something weird going on with by ios WP app. Will replace it on the desktop now.

  • mickfealty

    I’ve no idea how either of those two previous URLs were generated.

  • murdockp

    the issue for me is these scandals represent the known knowns.i.e. what we know. what about the unknown knowns. the scandals that we have not been made aware of.

    It seems to me that every department and government folio is a basket case when studied in detail

    what next? health care looks like the ultimate basket case to me that is being currently being mismanaged by amateurs as experts are ignored. as for the new super councils they will go down in history as on of the worst reform projects ever undertaken in the UK.

    the NI assembley is one of the most expensive failures in modern UK governance.

    it’s demise is long overdue.


  • Anthony O’Shea

    “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”

    …and when the stronger partner is hell bent on abusing their position to deprive their partner and their electorate of respect and equality, the journey to hell is all that quicker.

  • Nevin

    I’ve had a quick look. Others were having a problem with ios WP following an update. I’ve hovered the cursor over the links in the top of the thread. The ‘context’ link is fine – a shortened URL appears but in the other it begins ‘file://’ and the htpps thingy appears at the end.

    Try this. Open Scribd article – Click Embed – Select WordPress in format – copy and paste what appears in the box – it begins [scribd id

  • Nevin

    You could also try linking directly to the NIAO webpage:


  • New Yorker

    Does anybody know how much Stormont costs? And, what the savings would be to switch to direct rule?

  • Granni Trixie

    So you really are illustrating DUP accusations of politicking to exploit the crisis? The focus should be firmly on resolving the RHI scandal. Yes, Republicans are justifiably sore for their own reasons but I don’t think it serves the whole community to conflate resolving these with RHI. That said, an examination of what went wrong in RHI case will shine a light on necessary reforms especially lack of an adequate system of accountability.

  • ted hagan

    It would have to be joint rule, I assume.

  • North Down

    Well done too the BBC and Nolan, for bringing the heating scandle to our attention, now I pray that Mr Nolan would look into the welfare d.l.a, etc, scandal, over the last 20 – 30 years good people of the uk have had to pay trillions off there had earned money to people on state hand outs, number one party who has helped people swindle money from the state is sinn fein, even as a unionist I know not to go to the dup but too sf for they know how to screw the system , heating scandal is nothing compared to the people who is screwing the welfare system around me , protestant and catholic alike screwing the welfare system, why do people not get angry over handouts, don’t get me started about whiplash handouts

  • Nevin

    I’ve just updated my Snippets from the Boardroom blog. The October 25 minutes were created on November 18 and modified on December 5, one day before the BBC Spotlight broadcast. Might that be significant? The July and September minutes were each created on November 7 without modification; there was no Board meeting in August.

  • Nevin

    Check out the changes to ‘Snippets from the Boardroom’ in my latest post on this thread.

  • Ciaran74

    I was answering Redstar’s ‘what if’ to Executive collapse and election which appears to be a fair possibility.

    True RHI shouldn’t get away from us and I mention in the thread it’s something we need to hold onto. But it’s a theme, and one that the DUP have to ride. If you want to be close to business and dance then you have to take the outcomes. RHI is not the embryo point for our current morass.

    But if we do go down the rabbit hole of an election pressing the reset button is essential for confidence.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Will do!

  • Nevin

    Here’s a little bit more to add to the story: The Mushroom People, Lurgy Road and the DARD connection.

  • Nevin

    Can anyone assist? Do Departments have Executive Teams, namely groups one level lower than the Departmental Boards but minus the Independent members? If so, how often do they meet?

  • Dan

    i’m happy to read Agnew’s take on it if you can point me in the right direction. Thanks

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Dan, Steven presented his current views two days before Christmas on Slugger:


    In the piece he pointed out direct ministerial responsibility on the matter:

    “the NI scheme was underperforming and therefore we weren’t using up what was, you might call ‘free money’ in terms of AME, so ministers decided the priority should be the introduction of domestic RHI scheme”.

    While this ETI committee session is not yet available, you can check Steven’s record on these issues in detail on all of this at:



  • Dan

    Thanks, i’ll have a read