Veteran journalist from the BBC and now the Belfast Telegraph Eric Waugh examines the relationship between the Secretary of State and the erstwhile (well this is Northern Ireland) First Minister. He comments on the difficulties of d’Hondt mechanism for deciding cabinet positions:
“In a normal Cabinet, Ministers are riven by jealousies and may hate the sight of each other: they usually do. …but they are obliged to present a united front to the public eye in the over-riding interest of the survival of the administration. The weakness of the Assembly’s wobbly structure is that the Stormont Ministers are relieved of this responsibility.”
“More than four years later (after the Agreement was signed) the IRA is still an active armed terrorist army, as are the loyalists. Nationalists are more, not less nationalist, and on the unionist side the moderates are under siege from the DUP. In north and east Belfast the tribal battle is fought out on the streets. This is not what was meant to happen.”
Sinn Fein remain the devil incarnate for some.