Tag Archives | NI Assembly

“…why else would MLA’s fail to protest when their office expenses are taken from them?”

As the Irish Times reports Former Minister of State, Ned O’Keeffe has been fined €3,500 and given a suspended seven month jail sentence after he pleaded guilty to five counts of submitting false invoices to claim over €3,700 in mobile phone expenses. O’Keeffe of Ballylough, Mitchelstown, Co Cork was arrested by gardaí this morning and more…

The Most Popular Drink in Stormont’s Members Bar?

As the son of a Donegal born bar manager who spent most of his working life in Belfast, I like to sit up and listen when Belfast Barman(ager) has something to say. He’s been looking at some facts and figures about what they drink in the members bar in Stormont (yep, they’ve got one)… What more…

And the irreplaceable Willie Hay remains irreplaceable, apparently

The news on Mitchel McLaughlin not getting the seat Peter Robinson once promised him, in two Tweets… One, if Mitchel ain’t getting it, no one is… McLaughlin didn't get the post then as expected? @mickfealty this truly is a farce of a govt http://t.co/Wlf30E34dk — Katie-o (@kateyo) October 13, 2014 Two, some context… Unionists causing more…

Lord Chief Justice Morgan: “Our system of government depends on mutual respect between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary…”

The BBC reports that, after waiting 8 months for a reply, Northern Ireland’s most senior judge, Lord Chief Justice Declan Morgan, has made public a letter of complaint he sent to the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers about comments made by a NI Executive Minister in the Assembly.  From the published text of more…

Men Only: Stormont ‘all party’ Pro Life group revealed

Stormont

Social media was ablaze last night with the news of an ‘all party’ ALL MALE ‘Pro-Life’ group at Stormont. Chaired by the SDLP’s Pat Ramsey, the group also includes Jim Wells (DUP), Jonathan Craig (DUP), Alban Maginness (SDLP), Mervyn Storey (DUP), Jim Allister (TUV), Mark H Durkan (SDLP), David McIlveen (DUP), Kieran McCarthy (Alliance) and more…

“Run like a huckster’s shop” – Redux

[No change since June 2009, then? – Ed]  Have there been any consequences…?  A BBC report that the DUP and Sinn Féin have, belatedly, agreed the outcome of the semi-detached polit-bureau Northern Ireland Executive’s June budget monitoring round was met with understandable criticism from the other NI Executive parties. Justice Minister David Ford, who leads the Alliance Party, described more…

Martina Anderson MEP: “and if the British government lifts its ban on Executive access to the EIB…”

No update yet from Sinn Féin on the meeting they chose to trail a couple of days ago between three of their MEPs, led by the Derry Northern Ireland representative, Martina Anderson, and “the Vice-Chairman of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Jonathan Taylor”.  But let’s hope they were better briefed than the 15 July press release suggests, more…

“What has changed is that it is a clear message to the people of Northern Ireland that NI21 is a cross-community party…”

According to a BBC report, the NI21 party executive has announced a policy change on the eve of the party’s first foray into an actual election.  From the BBC report NI21 has announced it will change its designation at the Northern Ireland Assembly from unionist to ‘other’. The party’s executive took the decision ahead of more…

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

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 his more…

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

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 the more…

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

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 couple more…

Who has the youngest assembly group in NI?

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 surveyed more…

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

6B NI I Assembly Elections Amendment Order 2009

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 it more…

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

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?

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 elections, more…

Stormont facing a crisis of confidence.

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 that more…

The assembly is back-is some minor surgery required?

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 House 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)

6B NI I Assembly Elections Amendment Order 2009

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 Assembly more…

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

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 recent more…

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

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 Consulting more…