Sinn Féin blocks PfG Report.. and any further debate..

Perhaps surprisingly, this doesn’t seem to have made much of a noise in the wider arena. But the Hansard record of Hain’s the Preparation for Government Committee meeting on 15th September, ostensibly to discuss the draft report on Rights; Safeguards; Equality Issues and Victims, couldn’t be clearer [or should that be more confused? – Ed]. After a closed session, in which the Committee agreed what was in the actual report, Hansard started recording again.. and that’s when the trouble started.. Update belowI’ve mentioned some of the exasperating exchanges that have taken place in the PfG committee.. but none as exasperating as this..

This time the Committee met in closed morning session and resumed at 12.08pm.. just in time to take lunch..

On resuming —

12.47 pm

The Chairman (Mr Molloy): I remind members to switch off any mobile phones that may have been on over the lunch break because they interfere with the Hansard recording equipment.

Ms Ruane: Sinn Féin has agreed the content of the report but will not ratify it, because reports are being used as the basis for talking-shop debates. We will not participate in that sham for all the reasons that we have outlined. It is obvious from Ian Paisley’s comments two days ago that the DUP has no notion of, or interest in, power sharing before 24 November. Therefore Sinn Féin will not ratify reports until it sees how they contribute to restoration.

If we are satisfied, at some point in the future, that the reports have such a contribution to make, we will revisit the matter. However, we are not prepared to take part in shams and at the moment will not support the report. We do not agree to its being published or to a motion going forward to the Secretary of State.

Mr McCarthy: I propose that we accept the first of the two motions that were presented to us for a plenary debate and forward that to the Secretary of State.

The Chairman (Mr Molloy): Caitríona, what do you mean by not ratifying the report?

Ms Ruane: Sinn Féin agrees with the content of the report but will not ratify it. We do not accept that the report be published or that it go forward to the Secretary of State, because it is not agreed.

Ms Lewsley: In that case, may I ask for a point of information? My understanding is that when members were asked at each stage of this report whether they agreed it, Sinn Féin said yes. Yet you are saying now that you do not agree the report.

Ms Ruane: No. In answer to your point of inform­ation, Sinn Féin agrees the content of the report, which is why I asked the Chairperson earlier whether the report would be ratified. We do not agree to its being ratified or published, nor do we agree to the motion.

And that’s when it all kicked off..

I’ll just add the final exchange as the meeting was adjourned

The Chairman (Mr Molloy): We can take this no further at this time.

Ms Lewsley: It is a waste of time. Unfortunately, we have all wasted our time.

The Chairman (Mr Molloy): All we can do is adjourn the meeting, on the basis that no further progress can be made.

Since then the PfG Committee met on 18th September to talk to Peter Hain… and the Assembly debated the PfG Committee’s Report on Law and Order Issues[pdf file]… but that report and the motion had been agreed on the 13th September, by the PfG committee – including the SF members – meeting in closed session, as detailed in the minutes.. even if they didn’t subsequently turn up for the debate itself.

Update There’s a further post on this topic here

, ,

  • Mayoman

    Of course, it depends on which bias you’re putting on it Pete. All the DUP have to do is stop arsing around over the real issue, and everything else flows. Always the other side eh Pete?

  • Pete Baker

    Mayoman

    If you want to argue, “Sinn Féin blocked the report from the Committee because…”, then go ahead.. Catríona Ruane attempted to do just that.

    But the facts are they blocked the Report from the Committee.

  • kensei

    Because they wanted to put pressure on the DUP. Or if you like, if you you won’t play, neither will we.

    Makes perfect sense to me. The reports aren’t worth shit if we don’t have the Assembly up anyway.

  • Obviously their masters cracked the whip.

  • Catriona Ruane. Catriona Ruane. Catriona Ruane. What a contribution to public life in the North of Ireland.

    In respect of Mick’s ‘ball not man’ rule, I’ll say no more.

  • circles

    EM “Obviously their masters cracked the whip.” I wonder if you could elaborate on who “they” are and who “the masters” might be.

    Pete: SF blocked a report, the DUP block progress, fingers get pointed, knickers get twisted, huffs get puffed, and bog all gets done.
    Although kensei certainly has a point regarding the reports having a value less than that of a pile of fresh excreta if there is nothing else happening.

  • Rin Tin Tin

    Ms Ruane This is a total disgrace. It is not the DUP you are hurting it is the electorate of Northern Ireland especially the Victims / Survivors of The Troubles. These people have had a raw deal and have been shafted by the Government and now Sinn Fein are shafting them. For anyone interested the minutes for the Committee on the Programme for Government (PFG) can be viewed at

    http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/theassembly/CPFG/cpfg_commpage.htm
    (copy & paste on to your browser)

    See August 25th 2006 for Victims / Survivors Issues. Sinn Fein didn’t add much weight to the debate on this issue. The Columbia 3 got better treatment than the Victims of NI Troubles, but of course Ms Ruane wouldn’t know anything about the Columbia bird-watching 3.

  • Cardboard Vox

    It is pretty obvious that the hierarchy in Sinn Fein or the army council didn’t like what was being included in the Committee on the Programme for Government so sent in the Columbia heavy Catrina Ruane to block it on the pretext of blaming the DUP. like everything else if Sinn Fein don’t like it they block it and blame someone else. Again Sinn Fein are a joke they have made pre-conditions throughout the process like the behind door deals at Weston Park, Leeds Castle, and Hillsborough now they are whinging because the DUP are playing them at their own game.

  • kensei

    “It is pretty obvious that the hierarchy in Sinn Fein or the army council didn’t like what was being included in the Committee on the Programme for Government so sent in the Columbia heavy Catrina Ruane to block it on the pretext of blaming the DUP. like everything else if Sinn Fein don’t like it they block it and blame someone else. Again Sinn Fein are a joke they have made pre-conditions throughout the process like the behind door deals at Weston Park, Leeds Castle, and Hillsborough now they are whinging because the DUP are playing them at their own game.”

    SF aren’t the one blocking the restoaration of the Assembly, bud. In fact, I don’t think this was the case at any point.

  • cardboard vox

    What was the point then kensei saying you know so much. Just spell out what Soinn Feins point was in blocking PFG after saying they had no objections to it?

  • sapi

    Snd Ruane back to Columbia. She can sort out the process ther.

  • dodrade

    Even Francie Molly sounds embarrased by Ruane’s antics.

  • Hippy

    Wonder how uch Catrina submitted for travel expences to attend this Committee meeting. It can’t be a lot petrol/ derv is a lot cheaper from a Spud Murphy tanker

  • Pete Baker

    There has been, apparently, a u-turn

  • Looper

    The Shinners / Republicans have scored an own goal this time with their latest hughely significant, seismic, historic, courageous, momentous & unprecedented decision only this time they are shafting The Victims of the Troubles, and denying them of their HUMAN RIGHTS, by blocking the Committee on the Programme for Government producing the PfG Report on Victims. So much for equality, pariety of estemm,etc etc that Sinn Fein say they stand for. It is obvious that they don’t mean a word of what they say. Hope they are proud of this latest hughely significant, seismic, historic, courageous, momentous and unprecedented own goal, and they had to bring in Catrina Ruane to deliver the blow. Catrina Ruane for those who don’t know of her is the Guardian Angel for the columbia 3.

    Special thanks to The Belfast Telegraph & Pete Baker for bringing this story out into the public arena.