When in a hole, etc…

STORMONT Trekkie and UUP chief whip David McNarry has told the DUP Finance Minister to “Get your lawyers ready for this one Peter, you are on Hansard” after he was accused by Robinson of plagiarising a speech on the fishing industry by Robinson’s wife, Iris. The DUP man replied: “I am going to and in the clearest possible terms, indeed Mr Deputy Speaker, can I challenge the member to take any legal action he wants.” Robbo has reasons to be smarmy. For one, you don’t need lawyers if it’s in Hansard, since it’s protected by parliamentary privilege. And secondly, even if the accusation was made outside the Assembly, anyone with eyes in their head can see that large parts of McNarry’s speech (in the comments here) bear more than a passing resemblance to Iris’s.

  • Kevster

    I wish he would have gone into trek mode again. I can hear him imitating Mr. Scott pleading that his engines can’t take much more of this abuse..;o)

    This hasn’t been a very good couple of days for McNarry. I almost feel sorry for him.

  • Ginfizz

    I am pretty sure devolved administrations do not enjoy parliamentary privilege. As for McNaryy’s threat, I would think PR is one safe ground – read the statement Iris Robinson put out on the issue – he (DM) clearly copied her speech.

  • Cruimh

    Are parliamentary speeches copyrighted ?

  • Gareth

    Under section 50 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, proceedings and publications of the Assembly are privileged.

  • Ginfizz


    Fair enough. Perhaps McNasty knew this when he threatened Pete with legal action?

  • JG

    Great minds think alike and there are only so many words in the English language ….


    I love McNarry, but he’s not as good as Charlie Chaplin.

  • Belfast Gonzo


    I rather think it was an empty threat, yeah.

  • Elvis

    Perhaps McNasty knew this when he threatened Pete with legal action?

    Or perhaps he is just plain thick? After all he has been caught out plagarising a speech – a clever person in that situation would surely have kept their head down

  • snakebrain

    Strong intellects will independently arrive at the same conclusions, and there is a limited range of means of expressing those conclusions.

    And that’s all my own work JG.

  • Cruimh

    “After all he has been caught out plagarising a speech”

    but has he ? Depends on the definition of plagiarism. Did he claim it was his own work?
    He should have attributed, but was the original copyright?

  • Legaleagle

    If the Robinsons had been able to sue McNarry for that speech they would have but no copyright exists on speeches given in parliament as they well know thus all they can do is slag McN off.

    However McN probably could have sued the DUP for libel given the nature of some of the press releases put out after McNarry gave his speech. They were certainly defamatory.

  • point of order

    Well perhaps if we had both speeches linked we could compare them for ourselves but we don’t

  • snakebrain

    Good point Cruimh – is “plagiarise” not a strictly academic term? Though much of what goes on up there could be described as academic.

  • nmc

    Point of Order check out Soupersoupy’s comment’s have way down the thread.


  • delta omega

    legaleagle – I’m not so sure that there isn’t some intellectual property in a parliamentary speech. Surely IR would have performance rights on this material and if DM “performed” the same material by giving a speech which is evidently a reproduction of her work, then is he not infringing?

  • nmc,

    Thanks for the link…. lol what a wanker that McNarry is

  • Cruimh

    delta – do you think the newspapers and media contact every politician whose speeches they carry ?

  • Billy Pilgrim


    “Depends on the definition of plagiarism.”

    Plagiarise – to pass off the ideas or work of another person as your own.

    “Did he claim it was his own work?”

    The work (or speech) would be asssumed to be his own work, except for passages clearly marked or annotated in order to accredit a secondary source.

    So unless he stood up and said: “I am now going to read a speech written by Iris Robinson,” it would conventionally be accepted that his statement was his own, and on behalf of himself.

    “He should have attributed, but was the original copyright?”

    It needn’t have been – that would only be an issue if Robinson was threatening to sue for breach of copyright or intellectual property theft. However, here it is McNarry who is threatening legal action against Peter Robinson for libel – on the grounds that Robinson has accused him of plagiarism.

    If the two statements are as alike as everyone is saying, then clearly Robinson could mount his defence on the grounds of fair comment. But there is no suggestion that, if indeed he has plagiarised Mrs Robinson’s speech, that David McNarry has broken any laws.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    No, but he still looked mighty silly.

  • Cruimh

    “Plagiarise – to pass off the ideas or work of another person as your own. ”

    Have a look at the various definitions here Billy.


  • delta omega

    Cruimh – regarding the newspapers etc they do not need to contact every politician as there is an exclusion within the copyrights act which allows fair dealing for the purposes of criticism or review.