And the other significant party statements of the day…

Some highlights from the party leader’s statements, and top marks to Mike Nesbitt for getting his out earliest:

This is Sinn Fein letting the DUP off the hook.   The public mood clearly indicates they want the facts of the RHI debacle exposed.   To move straight to an election without this taking place is farcical.  They had a choice between the integrity of the institutions and electoral advantage and they appear to have chosen the latter.

Micheal Martin:

“In the wider context, it is a source of very serious concern that at a key moment, just as the British Government prepares to trigger Article 50 and start negotiations on the UK’s exit from the European Union, the region that stands to lose most and requires the greatest level of focus to protect its position, is without a Government, is facing a bitter election campaign, and is mired in recriminations and distrust.

“At a time when people in the North need their representatives to step up to the plate, put differences aside and fight together in the common interest to meet a once in a generation threat, they have been very badly let down by the ruling parties of DUP and Sinn Féin.

“We in Fianna Fáil have been warning for some time about the growing dysfunction within the Northern political establishment and we have been very critical of the failure of the Irish and British Governments to fully engage with Northern Ireland and the fact that they have taken stability and progress in the North for granted. The effect of that disengagement is now clear to see,”

Naomi Long:

“Massive issues remain on the table, in addition to the issue of an estimated £500 million overspend on RHI. Our budget is overdue, which will impact directly on public, community and voluntary sector organisations providing vital services to the public. We need a proper Brexit plan for Northern Ireland, which faces huge challenges in the coming months. But we now have the two parties who were entrusted with leadership responsibility abdicating it in favour of party political posturing and those matters remain unresolved.

Colum Eastwood:

“The Sinn Féin statement references the attacks by the DUP on Irish identity and culture and on the equality agenda.  All of those statements and sentiments are true and I agree with them all. The DUP have governed disgracefully and it has extended well beyond the leadership of Arlene Foster.

“The nationalist community has watched this unfold year after year. However, the nationalist community also know that Sinn Féin have been the lead players in government with the DUP for over a decade. Sinn Féin were jointly in control and are therefore jointly responsible.”

“There is a difference between being tolerant and being timid. “For years Sinn Fein have been addicted to appeasement and are only now waking up to the reality that the DUP have been running rings around them in government. “

And from Secretary of State, James Brokenshire, a terse statement of fact:

“Unless Sinn Fein nominates a replacement to the position of deputy First Minister within the next seven days, it is incumbent upon me to call an Assembly election within a reasonable period. “I would urge Northern Ireland’s political leaders to take the necessary steps to work together to find a way forward and I will work with all parties and the Irish government to this end.”

  • Dan

    Good. Instead of wasting time bickering with remainer agitators in NI, the government can get on with sorting out our relationship with our EU neighbour without them.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    Mike Nesbitts position is a bit odd given he has been calling on Arlene to resign for ages.

    Micheal Martin makes the obvious point that its a really bad time for this to be happenning in the context of Brexit etc.he also represents FF culture by missing completly the issue of possible corruption and half a billiin going awol due to Arlenes incompetence. Maybe she could join FF after this is all over?

    Naomi come closest as always by directing peopls attention to how Arlene and the DUPs arrogance will now deprive the electorate of a functioning government and all the important bread and butter issues at risk.

    Colm as always completly misreads everything.

    Mr Brokenshire is late to the party by calling on leaders to work it out. He has to be aware that the DUP in their present form simply are not fit for government.

  • articles

    Ken Reid was being briefed about a potential election in March; by my reckoning, based on last year’s timescales, we could have one on February 23rd. The shorter the timespan, the fewer the election speeches, the sooner we reach the next stage in this sorry shambles.

  • Mirrorballman

    Might not be such a bad thing not having the DUP at the table to block anything the Irish and British governments propose for us post Brexit.

    Opposition parties positions seem strange to me as they started the calls for the FM to be removed and that was always likely to lead to a break down of the executive and thus an election. Seems SF called their bluff too.

  • Jag

    Not a word from the guarantors of the GFA? Apparently someone relayed the news to Theresa. God knows about Enda.

    Complacent?

  • grumpy oul man

    Those remainer agitators where not able to bicker with anyone since the DUP decided to go down the nodding dog route with Theresa so assembly or no assembly makes no difference in the Brexit thing.

  • mickfealty

    Brokenshire?

  • mickfealty

    You want to fix your typo before you get banned?

  • hgreen

    Looks OK to me.

  • hgreen

    Mike is trying to ride two horses at once. On one hand he’s looking to hammer the DUP but can’t be seen to be siding with SF. This triangulation and lack of a clear strategy will ultimately be their undoing at their ballot box.

  • hgreen

    Round here they haven’t even taken down the posters from the last one. Maybe someone had inside information?

  • hgreen

    Another loyalist against democracy?

  • Dan

    Who?

  • Zig70

    From my reading Colum called it spot on. SF have struggled with Stormont. Their voters don’t want it, nobody respects it and the DUP have ran it like a 1960’s unionist party. The drop in nationalist voting numbers was a big flag and SF didn’t heed it but instead the scolding from the south to keep the crazies in process. In their favour, they caught the mood now, something that the SDLP didn’t do before they got replaced. From what I can see SF don’t have a plan to resurrect it in anything other than the current failed entity. Though in saying that, nor does Colum. MM for that matter can grow some and put his money on the table. All he has succeeded in doing is pissing of northern nats with tropes to the point were he will get wiped if FF come north. Need some strong preconditions to re-entry otherwise it will be a sham fight and turn even more away from voting.

  • hgreen

    Describing people who voted remain as agitators doesn’t seem very democratic to me.

  • articles

    Oh the ignominy. BBC 10 o’clock news, 3rd item, at 10.15pm and Royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell assigned to reporting the crisis.

  • El Daddy

    Nah it’s spelt Colum.

  • hotdogx

    As Arlene says bring it on! When Brexit hits NI will be worst hit, Wasteland NI, DUP Brexiters will have got what they wanted. The only thing the have left to do is to start the troubles off again

  • articles

    Bet they take the old ones down and put new ones up in two separate visits.

  • Obelisk

    But we’re a treasured and integral part of the United Kingdom!

  • articles

    The dual in the crown?

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    That Michael Martin statement…. near 200 words…. for just 3 sentences. Is there full stop rationing going on in their press dept?

  • grumpy oul man

    Brokenshire. New scientist would define a SOS for Ni with that name a example on nominative determinism.
    And to be honest it does sort of fit.

  • grumpy oul man

    It funny how those that get the most votes are called agitators for pointing it out.
    But democracy never was unionists strong point.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    Huh?

  • Anthony O’Shea

    Oh lord sorry. Gen mistake. Soz.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    Oh no, SF will absolutely definately and most certainly not be going back to the status quo of DUP arrogance and Stonewalling.

  • file

    Ah! I missed it! What was the typo? I take it you have corrected it now above.

  • Backbencher

    Did they do a recount or get everyone to vote again? – There was me thinking 52% had voted leave.

    Regards democracy, I suppose the republicans could give the unionists a lesson. Remind me again, who was it bombed and shot their way in to government via a mandatory coalition?

  • mickfealty

    You may find them another job then Anthony. The question that needs to be asked here is two fold. What do northern nationalist voters want? And who is going to get it for them?

    Because right now, no one is getting them anything so far as I see?

  • mickfealty

    You can leave after him then Hugh!! 🙂

  • Anthony O’Shea

    You are correct. And it is partly the fault of SF. They prioritised good relations with their partners in government above their moral responsibility to deliver on past agreements. They allowed the DUP – bouyed by a Unionist resurgence – to introduce a neo unionist supremicist policy platform, with all the bells and whistles of backward religious fundamentalism attached.

    Grassroots shinners up and down the country have been boiling for the last few months after gently simmering over the last few years.

    Nationalist want nothing more than equality in terms of the political social and cultural function of the statelet. As one lad said to me jyst a few days ago ” I didnt even know I was being screwed until Arlene came along ”
    I think that sums it up.
    who can deliver? In truth any and all of the parties can deliver a sound economic future with respect for all traditions and none, if the will is there.
    But if DUP style Unionism thinks it can stonewall, sneer and deprive interminably then they are very much deluded. In 2017 unlike 1967 we have the political and progressive intellect to manage the changes necessarry to create a level playing field and good government.
    Nobody wants another fight.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    I had typed Brokenshite instead of Brokenshire. 🙁

  • hotdogx

    Stop right there! Who brought the guns first!

  • AntrimGael

    Indeed but it’s very much closing the stable door now after the horse has bolted. Anthony, many Nationalists and Republicans have been warning Sinn Fein about serious disaffection for a long time now. You only had to read the Letters Page in the Irish News on a daily basis to realise this. Sinn Fein KNEW people were very unhappy and uneasy at the humiliating treatment the Nationalist community were being subjected to by the DUP. However Sinn Fein continued to court the DUP and ignore their grassroots; they took us for granted and it’s all gone belly up now. The genie is out and won’t be back in the bottle for a long, long time. Where this present scenario takes us all God only knows.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    Well yes i understand what you are saying of course, but the genuine intention was to hopefully eventually coax unionism along toward a more equitable situation.

    Then Arlene happenned, and you might be correct, it might be too late but you can be sure of one thing. There will be no return to Stormont unless the outstanding issues are addressed and a sea change occurs within unionism including a resolution around RHI.

    So make sure you vote when the time comes. A vote for any other party is against DUP recklessness and delinquent negligence.

  • Mike Nesbitt’s actions need to be looked at within the context of unionist politics, as the DUP’s effort to make this about unionism puts he and his party in a sticky situation.

    For those who lap up this usage of the unionist card, they’ll be wondering why the likes of Nesbitt (to quote Jim Wilson on the Nolan Show this morning) are “in the same camp” as Sinn Féin. Nesbitt’s UUP are ultimately laboured by this unionist reality.

  • mac tire

    Sorry, this thread appears to be about other significant party statements, not a DUP political party broadcast.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    But not all Unionists are so easily bought, Nessie needs to reach those Unionists who are not impressed by DUP nonsense. There’s about 200,000 of them out there.

  • ted hagan

    Reminds me of the Norma Desmond line in Sunset Boulevard;
    ‘ I am big. It’s the pictures that got small’.

  • ted hagan

    poor old nationalists, woe and thrice woe

  • AntrimGael

    I thought you were NON sectarian ted? Mask starting to slip? Aren’t you vindicating EVERYTHING I said about Unionism?

  • AntrimGael

    I thought no British SoS could surpass Teresa Villiers ineptitude, irrelevance and disinterest. Step forward James Brokenshire, well done sir!

  • Anthony O’Shea

    Don’t rise to that sort of comment. It is very typical of that sneer and jeer culture which affects a section of Unionism and manifested when they are cornered.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    The Kenyans?

  • AntrimGael

    Surely the Bosnians?

  • ted hagan

    Certainly not. I grew up as a Protestant in Northern Ireland detesting sectarianism from both nationalists and unionists. I aspire towards a united Ireland through reconciliation but detest the sectarian ‘shelters’ and isolation that both nationalists and loyalists have created for themselves in the north.

  • ted hagan

    You obviously fail to recognise the bigotry within yourself and live within your sectarian comfort zone.

  • AntrimGael

    Not so much a shelter for Unionism ted but a 1690 bunker. It’s not the Nationalist community who isolate themselves and turn their backs on others…….just ask Richard Haass what he thinks!

  • ted hagan

    Yea of course not. You just reinforce my views. Your mind is closed. You need to reach out. And who cares about Richard Haas, it’s what you think.

  • AntrimGael

    “Who cares about Richard Haass?” Unionist diplomacy in 2017 lol. No wonder your ideology is doomed…….though it could cost us a fortune in popcorn watching this drama of self destruction.

  • Lucid Talk did polls in December showing a significant drop in Foster’s approval ratings amongst sampled unionists: 63% (2nd December); 44% (19th December). However, I’d be reluctant to extrapolate this as a drop in support for the party itself.

    In the 2014 council elections, the DUP got 144,928 fpv. (23.1%), whilst in the 2016 Assembly election, the DUP got 202,567 fpv. (29.2%). Could a portion of that 6% disparity from the DUP vote in 2014 and 2016 be in play?

    If there is anything to gain from this impending election, it will act as an acid test of the DUP electorate’s actual unionism; will many millions of spunked taxpayers money be the price of their loyalty to the DUP, or will the strength of their political identity win out?

    For now, I remain sceptical about any sizeable swing away from the DUP, but sure let’s find out.

  • mickfealty

    And they’ve succeeded in neither so far as I can see.

  • Jollyraj

    Hmmm…

    “This is Sinn Fein letting the DUP off the hook.”

    Was this the thing Sinn Fein were threatening, Anthony?

  • Dan

    Why?

  • Dan

    If they got most votes, they would have won the referendum

  • grumpy oul man

    Dan i belive we are talking about NI.the majority here voted to remain.

  • grumpy oul man

    Here we go again. Shall we go over the history of the troubles again.starting with the forming of the UVF to everthrow a democratic vote or 1966 and gusty or will we talk about the issues in front of us.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I’ve met quite a few people in the DUP who seemingly believe that the “parity of esteem” issues in the Belfast Agreement only oblidge them to regard opponents in the UUP as deserving some consideration. Even the TUV don’t get a look in.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “Remind me again, who was it bombed and shot their way in to government via a mandatory coalition?”

    And who offered them that model, of an anti-constitutionalist success through physical force, which they were emulating?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulster_Volunteers

    “Monkey see, monkey do……..”

  • file

    well played! But Broken Shire is actually funnier given recent events.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    If you put your foot on someones throat, dont blame them if they choke.