Why did it take two years to close this deal?

Interestingly, Mairitin’s advice to celebrate what seems to be victory the slightly tweaked version of the Comprehensive Agreement of two years ago, for the DUP, is being taken up by the party (even if Brian Feeney argues the reverse is true). However, as Mary Riddel pointed out, just before the last deal was scuppered, the real reasons for the deal are more intensely mundane than either Sinn Fein or the DUP might wish to admit. The sharper question is: why did it take two years, almost exactly, to close this straightforward deal?

  • Henry94

    I agree that the DUP should sell it as a victory. Their’s are the only voters that need to be brought into the tent. They have the toughest job and the rest of us need to let them at it.

  • Why did it take two years? Well, from the absentee ministers’ point of view, it gave them the space to hike all of our stealth taxes through the roof, thereby reducing the drain on their subvention to the province.
    From local politicians’ point of view? I guess it’s just Sunningdale for the slowest learners on Earth.

  • fair_deal

    This should not be sold as a victory. By all means stress what is good in the proposals but sell it simply as a fair deal.

  • Ziznivy

    Have I missed something or are these great victories the DUP has secured (i.e. academic selection and the rates cap) not merely the beneficial side-effects of devolution in any case?

  • slug

    “The sharper question is why did it take two years, almost exactly, to close this straightforward deal? ”

    I question whether this question is sharp.

    Surely the NB robbery and the Robert McCartney murder and cover up were obvious delaying factors?

    The deal looks similar to but better than the comprehensive agreement in so far as its clearer how the accountability of ministers arrangements will work.

    Further, something that nobody seems to have noticed, is that in this deal, even if SF become the biggest party in the assembly, they do not get the First Ministership; instead this will be drawn from the largest party from the largest designation. That is to unionisms advantage (assuming the UUP at some point take seats from the DUP or SF take more seats from SDLP).

  • lib2016

    The deal in Scotland seems to have focussed entirely on Strand 1 and the need for a ‘stable NI’. The DUP seem to have realised at last that the important thing was to demonstrate that devolved government in NI can actually work, given that the Constitutional decision will be made by the electorate as a whole.

  • Mick Fealty


    that’s been obvious for at least three and a half years. Nothing in the party’s proposals (as opposed to media output) intimated that they were even remotely concerned about Strand Two.

    Indeed, the truth is more likely to be that Trimble locked down Strand Two in the Belfast Agreement, sufficiently for it not to have caused disturbance amongst the wider Unionist community.


    Okay, but perhaps I should have reminded people that the first deal foundered two weeks before the NB robbery.

  • joeCanuck

    What I would like to know is “Will there be photographs of the handshake to prove that a rapprochment has finally been achieved?”

  • I agree with fair deal that the St Andrews deal should not be referred to as a victory for the DUP.

    However what should not be underestimated is the fact that SF representing Irish republicanism will have to accept endorsing the enforcement of British law and justice on the Island of Ireland as a precondition of power sharing.

    The rates issue and academic selection comes for behind this in importance.

  • Ziznivy

    had the Draft Education Order passed into law in its’ current form and devolution subsequently been restored then to overturn the ban on academic selection would have required an unobtainable cross community double majority so, no, the retention of academic selection would not have been a beneficial side effect of any restored executive. It is a benefit specific to what happened at St Andrews.

  • Ziznivy

    Other than the fact that the issue would never arisen if the Assembly had been working in the first place. It was DUP intransigance that raised the possibility this would be pushed through.

  • Ziznivy

    er, no.

    The threat to academic selection was a direct result of the failure of the last devolution experiment to deliver accountable government.

  • POL

    Just semantics paul p. The shinners were always gonna sign up to policing.They knew it the entire nationalist community knew it and so did the dupers.
    I think that the dupers had to make it out that the shinners signing up to policing was something invented by them, could then claim a victory and wriggle into devolved govt stealing all the uups limelight.
    Come on lets face it the dupers are pretty much in the same position the uup were in.The question is will the unionist community see thru the duper bluff and realise they`ve been sold a pup.

  • Greenflag

    What’s this 2 years business FFS ?

    This shite has been going on in one form or another for almost 40 years !

    The prospect of getting both British and Irish Governments to dig deep into their pockets for the privilige of seeing Adams and Paisley ‘shaking hands ‘ is nothing to look forward for the taxpayers of either England or the Irish Republic . The DUP and SF should be told to take their mutual double beggary act elsewhere .

  • tiny

    now that the gov has conceded a rates cap and some form of selection, they will find it hard to go back regardless of what happens on the 10th Nov

  • Keith M

    To answer the question posed in the thread, two words; “decontamination period”. The Colombia Three, The McCartney Murder, Stormontgate and the Northern Bank raid meant that there was no way DUP supporters could countenance a deal with SF/IRA. With all of these going to be over two years old before the executive is formed, trust may be beginning to be built.