Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

NI Assembly

“a claim on behalf of Mr Green against Sinn Féin has been registered with the Fair Employment Tribunal…”

Tue 8 April 2014, 3:03pm

Tweet When Sinn Fein’s political director at Stormont, Leo Green, failed to appear at the party’s Ard Fheis in February, both Mr Green, whilst confirming that he was no longer their northern political director, and the party were keen to play down suggestions of a dispute.  As Liam Clarke noted at the time Green said he had renewed […] more »

David Cameron: “We will appoint an independent judge to produce a full public account of the operation of this administrative scheme…”

Thu 27 February 2014, 3:56pm

Tweet The BBC reports that the Prime Minister David Cameron has announced a judicial review of the operation of the controversial administrative scheme to deal with so-called “on the runs” which was highlighted in the recent collapse of the John Downey case.  From the BBC report Mr Cameron told a Downing Street press conference: “I agree with […] more »

“must at the very least include a mechanism that makes the broadcasting companies accountable and answerable to this Assembly…”

Tue 26 November 2013, 4:12pm

Tweet Speaking of making the media accountable…  The Northern Ireland Minister for Culture, Sinn Fein’s Carál Ní Chuilín, has declared that she is “considering options such as appointing a panel of experts to review broadcasting in the North and devolution of responsibility locally with a view to bringing proposals forward for cross-party support”.  Here’s a […] more »

Who has the youngest assembly group in NI?

Thu 7 November 2013, 1:07pm

Tweet I had to do a bit of research during the week on the assembly and the people who work in it. On the side I thought it would be interesting to find out just how old the average MLA is and what party has the youngest assembly group. Let’s begin with the overall picture-I […] more »

Timeline of an Assembly vacancy, part two: the correspondence trail

Wed 6 November 2013, 11:19pm
6B NI I Assembly Elections Amendment Order 2009

Tweet Catching up on a few emails, I realised that I’d neglected to post the second part of a post started in early September about the timeline for co-opting a replacement MLA (Conall McDevitt) and the sequencing of the process between the Speaker, EONI and the political party (SDLP in this case). While relatively mundane […] more »

Scotland’s Commissioner to investigate Gerry Kelly’s attendance and speech at Castlederg parade

Tue 24 September 2013, 9:11pm

Tweet With the Northern Ireland Assembly Commissioner for Standards, Douglas Bain, having recused himself from the investigation of the complaints that Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly’s attendance and speech at the controversial Castlederg Parade in August this year was in breach of the code of conduct for MLAs “by glorifying terrorism and damaging community relations”  [Is he washing his hair? […] more »

So we dislike our politicians-but what are we going to do about it?

Tue 17 September 2013, 6:13pm

Tweet In an earlier post I cited the latest Lucid Talk poll which showed Stormont’s approval rating at an abysmal 9%. This low approval rating while perhaps overstated does mirror a sense of disillusionment among the wider general public about the direction that we are heading under this current assembly. We have falling turnout at […] more »

Stormont facing a crisis of confidence.

Mon 16 September 2013, 10:22am

Tweet Today’s Lucid Talk poll in the Belfast Telegraph should be a wake up call for all politicians in Northern Ireland to up their game. When asked the question, compared to direct rule from Westminster, how would you rate the performance of the NI assembly? Just 9.4% said it was either excellent or good and […] more »

The assembly is back-is some minor surgery required?

Wed 11 September 2013, 10:36am

Tweet Stormont sprung to life this week as MLAs returned from their summer holidays. Like children who couldn’t wait to get back into the classroom our MLAs submitted motions that allowed themselves to get stuck in to each other. While I was watching Stormont Today last night, I heard tales from the DUP of ‘Connolly […] more »

Timeline of an Assembly vacancy using South Belfast as an example (bottom line, SDLP need to give a name to EONI by Friday 13th)

Mon 9 September 2013, 5:00pm
6B NI I Assembly Elections Amendment Order 2009

Tweet The NI Assembly has had numerous vacancies and co-options over the years, but few have generated as much interest at the resignation of South Belfast MLA Conall McDevitt and the SDLP’s process of replacing him. So how does the process work? Who’s involved? And what is the timeline? Article 6B of The Northern Ireland […] more »

NI Assembly Commissioner for Standards: “In these circumstances some might have concerns as to my impartiality to consider your complaint…”

Sat 31 August 2013, 6:24pm

Tweet I’m not entirely convinced by the reason given by the Northern Ireland Assembly Commissioner for Standards, Douglas Bain, for his decision to recommend that the NI Assembly Committee on Standards and Privileges appoint an Acting Commissioner to consider the DUP and TUV complaints about Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly’s attendance and speech at the […] more »

[Updated] Another summer storm in a teacup over an MLA’s expenses…

Wed 7 August 2013, 11:47am

Tweet So there’s a stink about Conall McDevitt using his wife’s research company to pay for secretarial work, and research. Tara Mills for BBCNI has most of the detail… For 2010 and 2011 JM Consulting was paid significant sums of money for what was described as ‘research and secretarial’ work. JM Consulting is Joanne Murphy […] more »

“this Assembly notes the lawful but illogical determination issued by the Parades Commission…”

Tue 16 July 2013, 3:44pm

Tweet As the BBC reports, the Northern Ireland Assembly has rejected a tabled Sinn Féin amendment, and supported the DUP’s original motion on the recent north Belfast determination of the Parades Commission by 43 votes to 42 – here’s the Commission’s earlier defence of that decision.  And here’s the resolved text from the NI Assembly That this Assembly notes […] more »

“It is the politics of self-interest, exclusion, and fear…”

Wed 12 June 2013, 10:36pm

Tweet Less than a week after MLAs Basil McCrea and John McCallister announced the launch of their new party, NI21, and the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Business Committee has changed the number of MLAs a party requires to be eligible for a first round place in the order of party speaking rights in the assembly.   A change that affects only the […] more »

“creating consistency between each of the devolved institutions across the United Kingdom”

Mon 13 May 2013, 3:50pm

Tweet While the bullshit distraction that is the DUP/Sinn Féin “Building a United Community” paper [pdf file] was being paraded across the airwaves last week - Think of it as a revamped Contested Space Programme [Don't tell the International Fund for Ireland - Ed], pre-empting consultation on area-based planning, and Girdwood times 10.  [And another non-working […] more »

“they have failed to adopt the responsibility and transparency which goes with power”

Mon 22 April 2013, 4:45pm

Tweet In his Irish News column on Saturday, Patrick Murphy identified three “explanations for the failure of Stormont”.  That’s all he had time for…  From the Irish News article The first is the catch-22 analysis, based on the novel by Joseph Heller.  In it, US pilots in the Second World War were deemed crazy to […] more »

“Already, two Sinn Fein special advisers have been submitted to vetting procedures put in place by Sammy Wilson, the finance minister, as a condition for paying them.”

Sun 24 March 2013, 4:46pm

Tweet In the Belfast Telegraph, Liam Clarke adds some interesting background detail on Jim Allister’s Bill legislating for the vetting of ministerial special advisers.  As he points out, vetting began following the resignation of Sinn Féin’s Mary McArdle - who had been jailed for her part in the 1984 murder of Mary Travers.  From the Belfast […] more »

“the Department had access to all the relevant information and yet…” – redux

Tue 19 March 2013, 3:46pm

Tweet In February 2010, when the UK parliamentary Treasury Committee criticised the NI Department of Enterprise, Trade and Industry’s failure to identify the problems with the Presbyterian Mutual Society, the relevant NI Executive Minister, the DUP’s Arlene Foster, dismissed their report as “the shoddiest piece of work I have seen coming out of Westminster for […] more »

“unless it’s because politicians in Northern Ireland want to be able to sue newspapers more readily…”

Mon 18 March 2013, 3:58pm

Tweet Some interesting added detail in the News Letter report following up on the story of the Northern Ireland Executive’s failure to consent to the Defamation Bill going through the UK Parliament.  To begin with, it’s claimed that it wasn’t the Executive after all… Last Wednesday, the News Letter revealed that the Defamation Bill – […] more »

“Regulation of the internet is not an issue that falls within my responsibility or, indeed, that of any part of our devolved Executive.”

Tue 12 February 2013, 12:16am

Tweet For which, I think, we should be very grateful indeed.  Not that such constitutional technicalities prevented MLAs, of all parties, from enthusiastically debating a Sinn Féin motion last week calling for the Northern Ireland Justice Minister “to explore the introduction of better regulation of [social networking websites]“.  Here’s Newton Emerson’s response in Saturday’s Irish News […] more »

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