A very local form of direct rule…

Can’t see this one flying, but hey, stranger things have happened. Gearóid O Cairealláin proposes opening up the Dail to Northern Irish representation, and then distributing ‘direct rule’ type ministries amongst local MPs/TDs. Not least of the difficulties it faces is the unpopularity of the ‘representation without taxation’ gambit with the political establishment in Dublin.

It’s unlikely that they would boycott the elections, although they might. It would make no difference, however, especially when you consider that the vast majority of the nationalist representatives boycott Westminster. Of course, there would have to be special arrangements made for the actual running and good governance of the six-county area, but surely the two governments, in conjunction with the elected representatives, could come up with some system of committees that would allow local politicians, democratically elected by the people, to administer the region.

Imagine the two governments agreeing that Martin McGuinness TD and MP should serve as the minister for education, say, and that Peter Robinson, MP and TD, should serve as minister for the environment. Then if Peter Robinson did not want to take up his position because he disagreed with the system, then the department could be run by a committee headed up by an appropriate and agreed appointee. Until such times as the elected representative changed his mind.

The beauty of it all is that the DUP would never have to take part in a power-sharing executive with Sinn Féin. They would just have to continue doing what they do now – get elected to Wesminster.
Similarly, Sinn Féin could continue their boycott of Westminster, yet get appointed to ministerial office on foot of decisions made by the taoiseach and the British prime minister.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty