Busy negotiators

The SDLP believe that the DUP had negotiated 100 side deals with the government in the run-up to the abortive Comprehensive Agreement but the NIO is keeping mum about what they were. Maybe it wasn’t only camera shyness and the lure of £26 million that made republicans run away from the deal?

  • Chris Donnelly

    “Maybe it wasn’t only camera shyness and the lure of £26 million that made republicans run away from the deal?”


    Funny that. I could have swore it was the DUP that took to their heels- and, as far as I can see, they’re still running…

  • fair_deal
  • Pete Baker


    FD, The NIO is not just “keeping mum”. According to the BBC report –

    But the government said the information could prejudice the United Kingdom’s relationship with the Irish government.

    It also warned that it might damage the political process.

    Bluster?.. possibly. But heavy-duty bluster.

  • fair_deal

    All we need is Mick to comment and we’ll have the full set 😉


    My read on that the NIO’s grounds for refusal (apart from the continuing culture of secrecy) is that it wants to stop a zero sum cycle starting – we demand you reverse the 100 side deals or we won’t make a deal!!

  • joeCanuck

    And how many side deals did SF get? I doubt that it was none.

  • Pete Baker

    Thing is, FD, that’s not a valid reason to refuse a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

    [although no doubt there’s some caveat which allows them to decide exactly what they publish and when]

  • Yogi Berra

    The trouble with verbal contracts is that they’re not worth the paper they’re written on.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Actually I’d be pretty sure that compromise of relations with a foreign state (not that RoI is under the Ireland Act 1949) wouldqualify for an exemption from the Freedom of Information Act. I don’t think that the Act goes far enough in many ways, but that is one area where it is reasonable in its restrictions.

  • Hee Haw

    Yogi Berra Quotes

    Yogi Berra’s second claim to fame is for being one of the most quoted figures in the sports world. He is credited with coining the deceptively simplistic observation, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” But he’s also known for his flubs. Here is a collection of the most notorious of these.

    * “This is like deja vu all over again.”

    * “You can observe a lot just by watching.”

    * “He must have made that before he died.” — Referring to a Steve McQueen movie.

    * “I want to thank you for making this day necessary.” — On Yogi Berra Appreciation Day in St. Louis in 1947.

    * “I’d find the fellow who lost it, and, if he was poor, I’d return it.” — When asked what he would do if he found a million dollars.

    * “Think! How the hell are you gonna think and hit at the same time?”

    * “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”

    * “I knew I was going to take the wrong train, so I left early.”

    * “If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else.”

    * “If you can’t imitate him, don’t copy him.”

    * “You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.”

    * “Baseball is 90% mental — the other half is physical.”

    * “It was impossible to get a conversation going; everybody was talking too much.”

    * “Slump? I ain’t in no slump. I just ain’t hitting.”

    * “A nickel isn’t worth a dime today.”

    * “Nobody goes there anymore; it’s too crowded.”

    * “It gets late early out there.” — Referring to the bad sun conditions in left field at the stadium.

    * “Glen Cove.” — Referring to Glenn Close on a movie review television show.

    * Once, Yogi’s wife Carmen asked, “Yogi, you are from St. Louis, we live in New Jersey, and you played ball in New York. If you go before I do, where would you like me to have you buried?” Yogi replied, “Surprise me.”

    * “Do you mean now?” — When asked for the time.

    * “I take a two hour nap, from one o’clock to four.”

    * “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

    * “You give 100 percent in the first half of the game, and if that isn’t enough in the second half you give what’s left.”

    * “90% of the putts that are short don’t go in.”

    * “I made a wrong mistake.”

    * “Texas has a lot of electrical votes.” — During an election campaign, after George Bush stated that Texas was important to the election.

    * “Thanks, you don’t look so hot yourself.” — After being told he looked cool.

    * “I always thought that record would stand until it was broken.”

    * “Yeah, but we’re making great time!” — In reply to “Hey Yogi, I think we’re lost.”

    * “If the fans don’t come out to the ball park, you can’t stop them.”

    * “Why buy good luggage? You only use it when you travel.”

    * “It’s never happened in the World Series competition, and it still hasn’t.”

    * “How long have you known me, Jack? And you still don’t know how to spell my name.” — Upon receiving a check from Jack Buck made out to “bearer.”

    * “I’d say he’s done more than that.” — When asked if first baseman Don Mattingly had exceeded expectations for the current season.

    * “The other teams could make trouble for us if they win.”

    * “He can run anytime he wants. I’m giving him the red light.” — On the acquisition of fleet Ricky Henderson.

    * “I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the bat, and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn’t my fault that I’m not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?”

    * “It ain’t the heat; it’s the humility.”

    * “The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase.”

    * “You should always go to other people’s funerals; otherwise, they won’t come to yours.”

    * “I didn’t really say everything I said.”

  • Pete Baker


    If that excuse was true, then it would be even more important to know what could cause such a compromise of relations.

    Although it’s unlikely that Bertie wasn’t told the details.

  • Michael Shilliday

    It would be INTERESTING to know the details, but it would set a precident that would render it the exact opposite of important. I would personaly like to see something closer to absolute freedom of information than we have now, but much of the Home Office, MoD and FCO would need to be exempt, as it is under the current act.

  • joeCanuck

    That’s the trouble with FOI acts in every country that has one. The government touts it as “openness” but, at the end of the day, you still only get to know what they want you to know.

  • joeCanuck

    And, of course, there’s a lot of stuff they don’t want you to know about.
    Back when I used to live in the UK, an uppity civil servant (whistleblower perhaps?) could be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act for revealing how many paperclips his office went through each year. There were such trivial cases (held In Camera, of course, to protect the state(read government of the day) from it’s enemies. Such nonsense kept a lot of mouths closed.

  • Pete Baker


    As I said, it seems unlikely that Bertie hasn’t been made aware of the details of those side-deals – especially if they could supposedly cause such a compromise in relations.

    Btw, it’s the allegation of the compromise they’d cause that makes them important.. not necessarily the details themselves.

  • joeCanuck

    But the government said the information could prejudice the United Kingdom’s relationship with the Irish government.

    There are at least 2 possibilities:
    1. Bertie doesn’t know and would be mightily pissed off if he found out, or
    2. Bertie does know and would be in deep doodoo if the Irish electorate finds out.

  • Peter Robinson

    As usual, the SDLP have got it wrong.
    I didn’t say we had 100 side deals.
    What I said was that we got a side deal.
    When the negotiations kept going back and forth, the Boss kept asking the P.M. if that side deal was still on. Finally, Tony said “Look Ian, if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you 100 times……”

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Yep, the DUP are world-beating negotiators.

    Imagine what they might have achieved for unionism back in 1998, if they had been there, side by side with Trimble, fighting the unionist corner together.

    Now, explain to me again, why weren’t the DUP there in ’98? I’ve forgotten.

  • Mardy Bum

    The exemption doesn’t necessarily mean that to release the information would prejudice international relations, just that it’s a convenient way out of not releasing that information.

  • fair_deal


    “why weren’t the DUP there in ‘98?”

    The late nights must be catching up with you if it is effecting your memory.

    Simple because they kept to their public commitments something nationalists should remember when they ask if the DUP are serious about a deal.

  • unionist

    Fair deal
    If the dup was keeping to its commitments in 98 then what commitment did it give in relation to the comprehensive agreement they came to with sinn fein in dec 04

  • fair_deal


    “what commitment did it give in relation to the comprehensive agreement they came to with sinn fein in dec 04”

    1. None. A deal was not concluded in December 04 so the DUP didn’t give Sinn Fein commitments
    2. In terms of commitments that were being considered I would suggest you read the Comprehensive Agreement (but I know you already have so your question is curious as you should already know the offers made).

  • BooBoo

    In his New York speech a couple of weeks ago Robinson made reference to the 120 issues which had been discussed by the DUP, British and Irish governments and, indirectly, Sinn Fein. Robinson claimed that 119 of the issues had been resolved and the only outstanding one was decommissioning.

    Bearing in mind that the DUP used to attack the UUP for the so-called side deals it did, and that the DUP promised transparency, why can’t Robinson actually list the 119 issues which were resolved. Let’s face it, in late November 2004 Gerry Adams announced that he was happy to sign up to the Comprehensive Agreement, as where the two governments. If Robinson is so certain about the nature of the DUP’s negotiation skills then surely he would want to trumpet success and further rub UUP noses in it.


    It all just strikes me as a little bit murky

  • GWB

    BooBoo, careful, you’ve just articulated in post 22 what fair_deal tried to ignore in post 21.

  • Paul

    BP, where were the DUP in 1996? They were in 1986, give them a chance, they don’t get to 2006 until 2016.

  • fair_deal


    “the DUP used to attack the UUP for the so-called side deals it did”

    When did they do this? Do you mean they atacked them for doing side deals ie objected to the principle? Or they attacked them for what was in the side deals ie how good bad or indifferent what they got was?

    From memory attacking the prinicple of them was more the SDLP and UUP but memory could be wrong.