Is Causewaygate our bridge to ‘real politics?’

Two of our weekly political commentators have had a go at the DUP- and others- over the continuing Causeway’gate’ controversy this weekend. Brian Feeney’s comment piece (subs required) focused on both the mess Arlene Foster has got herself into and the manner in which the DUP’s Executive table partners have remained fairly silent on the matter. Feeney uses the occasion to criticise the Executive parties for their relative inactivity to date and he questions whether or not the Assembly as a forum is capable of facing “the sort of row any democratic forum requires.” Meanwhile, in the Sunday Life, Linda Gilby, beneath a headline ‘Welcome to real politics’ identifies an ‘unbelievable political gaucheness’ in the responses of the DUP leader and his son on the matter to date.

  • Nevin

    Chris, has the UUP put anyone in to bat? Ford, the Alliance leader, has led from the front but the SDLP has only put up O’Loan and McGlone and SF, McKay.

    Gilby’s piece is only a light précis and I’ve not seen Feeney’s article.

  • nineteensixtyseven

    And Dallat.

  • Nevin


  • DC

    It’s Arlene Foster who has been made to look the right fool with her comment stating she was “minded” to approve it.

    In the political circles people having been cracking jokes about how they are “minded” to do this and to do that and offering out litigation should anyone disapprove of their mindedness.

    What a right prat she is for this ‘gaucheness’.

    But seriously, when did the tendering for this begin? It would seem Seymour has gotten wind of all of this since the centre burned down back in 2002/03 even though then up until recently it was deemed a public investment, hence Hain’s announcement of the winning architect.

    But Seymour’s assiduousness looks like it is going to pay off when the switch to privateering of the Causeway was annoucned.

    But is he the only private developer who can really pull this off, is he the only one in the running over everyone else? Where is everyone else?

    If settled to go into private hands, which it probably shouldn’t due to its commercial uniqueness, should it not be the case that government should open up a new and fully inclusive bid/tendering process to build privately on the site ensuring the best building design and builder/developer gets it.

    But ultimately, for something that was “minded” why the indecisiveness over it.

    Real politics yes it certainly is, but of the Tory sleaze and grease variety.

    Apart from the local media it has been received with a silence among the wider Northern Irish society, begging questions of the UUP as to where the opposition and fight is in order to stoke up concern over this DUP aberration.

  • McGrath

    Makes one wonder why the original building burned down, anyway.

    The explanation is going to be a real political challenge for Ian Senior and Ian Junior. What with other members of their own party caught with their hand in the a fundamentalist / creationist cookie jar as a motivation for it, its a political reality check.

    One wonders if Ian Senior, in his advanced years has the will and stamina to deal with it, Ian Junior certainly doesn’t have the wit.

    I think SF’s relative silence on the issue indicates their thinking (their own reality check) on the political damage it could cause. Certainly, a few years ago they would have gone for the jugular.

    No good is going to come out of it, for anyone.

  • McGrath

    I meant the cronyism, not the original fire.

  • The Dubliner

    “As for Paisleys snr and jnr, welcome to the world of real politics, chaps, where every move and possible motivation is open to scrutiny and questioned.” – Lynda Gilby

    It isn’t ‘real politics’ when the consequences to your actions don’t involve being held accountable due to the whole enterprise of ‘government’ depending on your patronage. If Paisley pulls the plug, Stormont goes down the drain. And besides, no matter who you vote for, you’ll still get the same all-party executive. That’s kiddies’ politics.

  • Briso

    Posted by The Dubliner on Oct 08, 2007 @ 06:00 AM
    And besides, no matter who you vote for, you’ll still get the same all-party executive. That’s kiddies’ politics.

    Indeed, how will we ever stop Trimble and Mallon extending forever this current SDLP/UUP hegemony? Voting is a waste of time.

  • Nevin

    Visitor Centre fire – 30 April 2000

    Divisional Fire Officer David Blair said: “Malicious ignition cannot be ruled out but I would stress that we are not looking at that as a cause at this moment in time.

    “The fire may well have been accidental. There are a number of causes that we must rule out first.” …

    Firefighters found that 80% of the building had been destroyed when they arrived on the scene after the fire was reported at about 0130 BST.

    They said the centre was engulfed within three minutes of their arrival as the sea breeze fanned the flames.

    I’ve not seen a report on the cause of the fire.

    Giant’s Causeway plan scrapped

    There were several YES/NO votes in Moyle Council before DETI assumed responsibility for the development of a new centre.

    The Seaport outline plan that Minister Foster has been ‘minded’ to approve is on Seaport owned land to the west of the original visitor centre site. PACNI rejected plans to build on this land in 2002.

    Margaret Hodge is the DCMS minister responsible for the protection of all UK World Heritage sites. Perhaps she should be offering some advice to our newbie ministers on ‘dangerous liasons’.

  • Gum-gate

    Can we stop adding ‘gate’ to the end of any word thats associated with scandel? The weekend papers brought us ‘Dianagate’, ‘Crowngate’ (the Queen and the BBC), and ‘Bertiegate’!

  • pith

    Paisleygate has a certain ring to it.

  • Garibaldy

    Like there was nothing among the parties to justify such allegations as cronyism or corrption before the Assembly. More likely that certain elements of ‘real politics’ have been chugging along nicely the whole time.

  • I think that manner in which this has turned into a huge political issue just points to a worrying level of demagoguery, because this shouldn’t even be an issue, the two Paisley’s opinion shouldn’t be taken into consideration at all, as all the appropriate authorities have rejected the Sweeney plan and it has been proved that the Ian Sr. and Jr. had prior social-business relationship with him. Sr. and Jr. should have admitted their wrongdoing, and stopped pushing the issue, that this is even debatable is just another signal that this government (or should I say Executive) will never work without some serious shifting in attitudes.

  • Nevin

    AR, there’s nothing wrong in having a relationship so long as the relevant information, if any, is declared in the Register of Interests.

  • This isn’t our route to normal politics, but the classroom assistants’ dispute, FE lecturers’ dispute, PPS 14 and the water rates might be.

  • Nevin

    PPS 14 and the Causeway debacle both feature Seymour Sweeney/Seaport. Check Gary McGhee of Carson McDowell.

  • The Dubliner

    “And besides, no matter who you vote for, you’ll still get the same all-party executive. That’s kiddies’ politics.” – The Dubliner

    “Indeed, how will we ever stop Trimble and Mallon extending forever this current SDLP/UUP hegemony? Voting is a waste of time.” – Briso

    I didn’t say it was a waste of time, I said you’ll still get the “same all-party executive” because you operate in a kindergarten environment where you are not trusted with real power, denying you the power to elect government by the principle of democratic majority and denying the minority of moral voters who sustain democracies the power to vote a party into opposition by means of democratic sanction, since they would be the only group with the power to do so in a warped political and social context where votes are cast along purely sectarian lines.

    In effect, you have a glorified super-council where real power is retained by a government that you do not elect. If in doubt, see Woodward Vs. Ritchie for a demonstration of where the real power is. If that doesn’t clue you in, see how successfully those you elect to your super-council frustrate the establishment of a Truth Commission because it is in their interests, not the people’s interests, to do so. All you can do is shift portfolios around the all-party executive, but you can never change it.

    Unless, of course, you plan on changing the practice of voting along sectarian lines, so that you may be trusted with real power by the guardians of the kiddies’ playground. Hope springs eternal, eh?

  • Nevin

    “In effect, you have a glorified super-council where real power is retained by a government that you do not elect.”

    As a supposed Dubliner, I’d have thought you’d have been up to speed on UK/RoI relations post-1985 – not to mention limitations imposed by EU membership!!