Ministerial negotiations rumble on…

Noel MacAdam reports on the latest detail up for grabs: the appointment of Ministers. Despite the DUP’s insistence that it will decide when devolution of policing and justice powers will take place, all the main parties are haggling over what shape they should take when they devolve, and how they should be chosen:

Both the DUP and UUP favour a single minister for the new Justice Department, while Sinn Fein suggests a ‘job-share’ – two ministers sharing equal status.

It is a proposal similar to the co-equal nature of the First and Deputy First Ministers office, which could see a joint DUP and Sinn Fein ministry, such as Policing Board member Ian Paisley jnr and Sinn Fein policing spokesman Gerry Kelly.

There is no agreement, however, on how a minister should be appointed, with Sinn Fein, the SDLP and the UUP supporting the d’Hondt system, while the DUP is in favour of the election of a minister by a 70% weighted majority of the Assembly.

  • Pete Baker


    The article seems to be based on the conclusions in the reports from the sub-groups to the Programme for Government Committee [scroll down]

    Including the Policing and Justice sub-group report[pdf file] printed on 22nd January.

    That report also contains the Hansard record of the Secretary of State’s evidence to the sub-group on the 9th January

  • 2050

    DUP’s insistence that it will decide when devolution of policing and justice powers will take place.

    God help us.

    Surely the British government who have the actual power to decide this will make that call? But have they the Balls for it?

    Or are the silent majority to be denied progress by the dinosaurs again.

  • Token Dissent

    I believe that agreement should be reached that the Shinners and the DUP should both stay away from the Justice department.

    From this basis maybe the electorate will decide that other sensitive areas such as health, education, finance, culture, regional development, agriculture etc. are also too important to be left to these parties…

  • Job share? Piss off. The executive and the assembly are both already far too bloated as it is, this is just an excuse for yet another pointless politician’s pay-cheque. What a waste!

    I actually think given the sensitive nature of the post that a weighted majority vote makes sense, the only question is whether or not there’s a single candidate that could achieve that majority.

  • Lubby

    And they’ll all get the 12% payrise due the Civil Service.

  • billy money


    The cheif problem with going for a weighted majority is that both SF and SDLP are demanding it is part of the D’Hondt procedure, despite its huge sensitivity. SDLP claim that a weighted majority is a breach of the Belfast Agreement, even though that’s how Mallon and Durkan took power. Given that top party could have just one seat more than second party, that’s an amazing risk for others to accept.

    If there was a weighted majority, it seems clear that DUP and SF would veto each other, and it’s being suggested that DUP might also veto UUP. That would only leave SDLP, Alliance and Bob McCartney.