A Belfast Telegraph Viewpoint picks up on the absence of statements of support from other NI Executive ministers for the Social Development minister’s ultimatum to the UDA – although it does notes the apparent support from the NI Secretary of State. It’s not an issue on which all of the Executive have been completely silent though. And neither have some commentators. The article goes on to ask a few questions about the Executive, collectiveness, and what happens next in our consociational administration – questions that might not be answered by referring to the ministerial code… assuming that Executive can stop ““struggling with its own internal contradictions”
Is this an indication of the way decisions are to be taken in the power-sharing executive, where ministers are solely responsible for their own departments, and the others declare no interest, even in controversial matters? It might be difficult obtaining a consensus on deadlines for decommissioning, but the public would expect some discussion to take place, at least, and opinions aired.
The executive is still bedding down, with no major decisions taken, but the aim must be to provide the leadership and the joined-up government which has been sorely lacking under direct rule. Under power-sharing, the DUP and Sinn Fein must find accommodation on as many policies as possible – and tell the people so, together – or the benefits of devolution will not be realised.