Government chair for key scrutiny committee

There was another comedy moment in the chamber the other day when John O’Dowd, leader of the Sinn Fein Assembly party asked himself to be Chair of the Public Accounts Committee (scroll 2/3 of the way down), potentially one of the most powerful committees in the assembly since they have to scrutinise the spending of all the ministers. Normally, it is a role for an opposition politician, but with only 10 MLAs outside the Ministerial parties, that has never been the case in Stormont (Alliance is not pleased). The PAC in the Commons has a Tory Chair. In the Dail an FG Chair. And the Audit committees in Holyrood and Cardiff are chaired by a Tory and a Plaid representative respectively. It will interesting to see if John can be seen to act as independently as the job clearly requires.

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