Poll: Back to work on the 26th…

Interesting to note the Slugger poll on a possible return by 26th March is so positive. At the moment only 24% of you believe that Sinn Fein and the DUP will not do a deal. Although more think a deal will be done some short time after the deadline (49%), there’s been a slight rise since this morning in people thinking that it will be done by that time… According to Nolan this morning (15 minutes in), they have had 85% (4,000 text votes in ten minutes) of people who want devolution back by 26th March 2007.

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

  • Pete Baker

    Well, truth be told, Mick, it’s an even less rigorous poll than the Belfast Telegraph’s.. ;op

  • SuperSoupy

    As the DUP are the only people preventing it, it would be more revealing to know how their supporters feel.

  • Mick Fealty

    Pending a decision from the Ard Comhairle surely Soupy? Or are we going to get a ‘finessing’ of that as well as the DUP’s call for paramilitary structures to be disbanded?

  • Mick Fealty


    At least I’ve set it this time so that whilst people can vote as early as they like, they can’t do it as often they might!

  • Pete Baker


    I’d still say it’s less rigorous.

  • Unfortunately the good burghers of norn iron don’t realise that “it really is the last chance” saloon.
    This deadline CANNOT be extended, so to vote “it’ll happen later” is not as such an option.

  • Rubicon

    Polls have their place Mike – but just after an election I’m not sure wher the Slugger poll since it’s more a matter of faith/belief/hope than an expression of what people think should be done. The SAA should have sorted this out with a referendum. Instead it conceeded to DUP political priority. I doubt that concession was without cost.

    Nolan’s poll (and it pains me to say this) is more valuable. The question Nolan asked cut to the chase – the question the media didn’t insist on the DUP answering, or the British government demanding.

    There is a pay back for this gift to the DUP. It is likely to take the following form:

    1. On or before the 26th Paisley and MMcG will go forward as designates to F & DFM.
    2. On the 26th D’Hondt will run.
    3. Ministers appointed will agree to not meet for several weeks.

    I’ll not try and teach Sluggers how to suck eggs – most will see a logic in the above.

    Will it come to pass?

    Dunno – but I think so 😉 (BUT I lost ALL my bets on the election!)

  • Mick Fealty


    I agree the deadline itself cannot be delayed. But as Rubicon points out there are ways and means of not quite cutting the deal by the 26th. Think 24th November, when ‘not yet’ was taken as a ‘yes’?


    Agree, to an extent. Nolan has a mass audience too. 4,000 texts in ten minutes? Slugger’s audience is tiny in comparison. I deliberately cut the question the way I did, because I wanted to know how our ‘audience of esteemed pundits’ thought it might pan out.

    I take Pete’s slightly tongue-in-cheek caveat as read.

  • hmmn still believe SF won’t wait that long ( 24th Nov ), and Hain is certain when he says a fully functioning assembly on 26th March.

    Adams unequivocal statement on the murders over the weekend is proof that there can be no more delaying factors, just to keep the DUP from splitting.

    Gov’t must play hardball , and they are.

  • The Pict


    Hurry up! There is a poll with credibility!

  • susan

    As further precaution, for today’s meeting Hain ordered the halls of Stormont infused with the aroma of fresh baked cinnamon buns and subliminal broadcast of the Beach Boys’ classic “Do It Again.”

    Progress was inevitable.

  • susan
    It was either than or Enya, with the aroma of lunch: pig’s arse, cabbage and shpuds;

    I think yours was a sounder choice .

  • Rubicon

    If the 26th runs (as Paisley’s statement today makes it seem increasingly likely) who is most likely to get nominated?

    Robinson, Dodds, Campbell and Donaldson for the DUP?
    Murphy, Ruane and Kelly for SF?
    Empey and McFarland for the UUP?
    Durkan for the SDLP?

  • susan

    Parcifal, many have observed that Paisley’s been marching to the beat of a different drummer of late. Few and far between yet realise that drummer is actually the late great Dennis Wilson.

    Whatever you say, say nothing.

  • Ian

    “I agree the deadline itself cannot be delayed. But as Rubicon points out there are ways and means of not quite cutting the deal by the 26th. Think 24th November, when ‘not yet’ was taken as a ‘yes’?”

    Can someone who knows the ins and outs of the legislation (NI Act 1998 and St AA act, etc) answer this:

    If the SoS de-suspends devolution on the 26th of March, does the six-week period still apply for FM and DFM to be elected, before a new election is theoretically called (but more likely re-suspension occurs)?

    If that were the case, that could effectively give 6 weeks of wriggle room for the parties. The DUP would be able to argue that they broke past Hain’s supposedly immovable deadline. But another IMC report on paramilitary activity is due in April, so that would give the DUP a pretext to go into power-sharing six weeks later and not be accused of just messing around for the sake of it.

    Six extra weeks would take us to the 7th of May as the Final Final deadline, which would be just in time for Blair to claim his legacy and would still suit SF as they would be power-sharing in the north as they go into the southern elections.

    Interestingly, it could also allow for one final weekend of to-the-wire negotiations before Blair announces his departure after presumed Labour defeats in the Scottish elections on May the 3rd. And Brown might be able to pull a few financial goodies out of the hat that he can’t offer prior to the Scottish elections for fear of upsetting the applecart there.

    Anyone got any odds on powersharing resuming on May the 7th?

  • Homer

    At our last prayer meeting after a show of glasses,it was agreed by the parishoners fo Stroke City Mosque that henceforth teh 16 th of March would be know as Saint McGuinness of the Ashes Feast Day in honour of that great day of atonement when the Saintly Martin dons his sackcloth and ashes to be led by the great Pope Paisley up the gold paved steps into the holy of holies at Stormont.

    Truly hypocrisy has a thousand faces ,and this new feast day will celebrate them all for ever as the most historic day in hypocrsy,s entire history,I wonder how close the grim reaper will be at their heels.There will be for sure a vast throng of ghosts following in thier foot steps.

  • Rubicon

    Ian – you pose a very interesting question. The St. Andrews Act states a requirement for the 26th to be, “if it appears to him (the SoS) that one or more of the Ministerial offices has not been
    filled in accordance with paragraph 2 of Schedule 2 by the end of 26 March 2007” the Assembly will be suspended on hte 27th.

    You are correct about the 6 week period – it was allowed under the NI Act 1998. The SAA over-rules that period for the 26th of March – but only for that day. If the Assembly is not suspended on the 27th the timings then revert to those of the NI Act 1998.

    Think about it – there’s wriggle room here! A resignation of either the FM or DFM on the 27th would (in my opinion) trigger the 6 week period and open up the opportunities you identify.

  • Rubicon

    I see Eastwoods have removed their restoration bet from theit site. They were offering 4/5 on restoration on the 26th – it then drifted to 5/4 – but has now disappeared. Pity.

  • Ian


    I thought there might be something in it. But it needs double-checking. Under the 1998 act, the resignation of FM also means the DFM is out of office (or vice versa) because the two posts are filled on a joint ticket. Since StAA changes the mechanism for filling the two posts to two parallel nominations from each of the two major designations, have you checked that the clauses that brought about that change in mechanism don’t also amend the six-week rule?

    Resignation of the one-day First Minister Paisley on March the 27th would tweak my Final Final Deadline to May the 8th.

  • Rubicon

    I think you’re on to something there Ian. Have you read the SAA and the convoluted way the schedules are worked? Cross referencing this with the 1998 Act would blow a fuse in this aging mind. I think I’ll leave this one to the lawyers ;). It’s good to know they earn their money now and then.

  • The Pict

    “Parcifal, many have observed that Paisley’s been marching to the beat of a different drummer of late.”

    have some brilliant drummers to march to. (And credibility as well)