Ritchie says that someone ‘fabricated minutes’…

The Ritchie interview (first part above) at the beginning of Hearts and Minds. There is a lot of detail in there to pick over. But on the main theme, Ritchie details a commitment (and the two UUP Ministers) to share her legal advice (both internal and external) with the First Minister, Deputy First Minister, and the Minister of Finance. But she is adamant that the commitment to report to the Executive meeting was illicitly added to the official minutes.

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  • … she is adamant that the commitment to report to the Executive meeting was illicitly added to the official minutes.

    Sorry to state the obvious: this has passed beyond the normality of political discourse (which is pretty elastic at the best of times). Someone, somewhere has a career gone to join that Norwegian Blue.

    Either Richie is naive, desperate, and thrashing around (which does not seem likely on her performance to date) or she has blown the whistle on an horrendous conspiracy involving Ministers and complicit civil servants.

    Someone (or more) has got to go.

    Who thought the crunch would come this way?

  • JD

    Niave, desperate and thrashing around without a boubt watch this space over the next few days.

  • JD

    sorry obvious typo replace with ‘doubt’

  • Frank Sinistra

    I didn’t think she stood up well to what was essentially quite gentle probing from Thompson on a serious allegation of fraudulent minutes. Shrill and almost hysterical at times.

    She has accused the civil service and her Executive partners of serious malpractice, she will need to have something a little stronger than her recollection to see her through a process that could see the minute taker bringing her before a judge as she didn’t use parliamentary privilege. This one could be a real test.

    Though the Executive itself is not under any real pressure as she is the most junior player and those that decide if it stands or falls aren’t in conflict.

    Difficult times ahead for her as well if she is seeking to negotiate for her department with people she is accusing of pretty much illegal activity.

    I get the feeling she has now lost the run of herself and needlessly put herself out on a limb over minutes instead of sticking to the issue, her decision, which was playing well with the electorate.

    She kicked the ball onto a different pitch and she’s playing a bigger team at a completely new game.

    Good stuff, very entertaining for an Assembly cynic.

  • The Dubliner

    Given that the Irish Department for Foreign Affairs, the British SoS, and the US Special Envoy were all putting pressure on her to toe-the-line in regard to funding organised criminals, and her own department’s civil servants ambushed her with “advice” at the last minute regarding the legality of her decision which was not consistent with independent legal advice that she then received, it seems there are a lot of people very upset and embarrassed that Ms Ritchie upheld common decency and sense against the forces arranged against her, showing that the public’s will and the politicians/bureaucrats will is out of kilter. It shows the amount of puppets there is in Her Majesty’s puppet administration, with PSF’s strings glistening in the spotlight.

  • Pacman

    You sound almost happy Frank.
    Strange but I didn’t detect shrill or hysterical anywhere in the interview.

    I think the PSNI should be called in to examine every PC where the minutes were typed up to establish what was added/amended or whatever as I have to agree with Margaret on this one, SF and the DUP are carving the entire process up for themselves and will happily sink any of the other three ministers to get their own way. As a Nationalist, I can’t speak for the Unionist community but I can speak for my own. Come lection time, SF will be reminded of their entire performance in this debacle.

  • Frank Sinistra

    Happy? Absolutely delighted at anything that shows the whole sham up for exactly what it is.

    They all voted for PFI, they are all against workers (in addition to their numerous other failings) may the whole rotten edifice come collapsing down on each and every one of them.

  • Rapunsel

    I don’t think she was shrill or hysterical either and in fact handled the interview very well given the pressure she is clearly under. Remember two other Ministers have not accepted the minutes either. She did keep bringing the issue back to the decision and actually put up a strong performance

    What I am surprised about is that audio recordings are not made of executive meetings ( perhaps not for far of leaks?)

    Does anyone think it really concievable that Margaret Ritchie if it was agreed to bring information back to the Executive before a decision would then ignore that and place her career in jeopardy. It is not as if she was itching to make the statement on UDA funding given that her deadline had already passed.

    It’s not unknown for people not to say what they mean and to implicitly expect other people to

  • Chris Donnelly

    Absolutely delighted at anything that shows the whole sham up for exactly what it is.

    They all voted for PFI, they are all against workers (in addition to their numerous other failings) may the whole rotten edifice come collapsing down on each and every one of them.

    Frank

    Fancy a job as a Stormont lobbyist???? You clearly know how to charm them….

    On the subject matter, Ritchie does appear to be losing it, know reduced to crying conspiracy over the minutes issue.

    Surely she would have been better conceding the point and sticking to the main story- ie her decision to cut the funding. Then she would have been on much stronger ground; know she’s beginning to look and sound a bit desperate.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Sorry- that’s ‘now’ and not ‘know’ on both occasions used above.

    Time for a rest.

  • paul

    If minutes were changed then heads must roll. If what she says is true then let’s hope that the local media push for those responsible to be hung out to dry.

    There is also the allegation about Junior Doc and the property developer.

    If both things are true then we must have action. If nothing is done and no one is held responsible then it is obvious that we are merely living in a sectarian carve up.

    If she is wrong then she to must consider her position. But to be honest I hope she is right!!

    And yes Frank, what about the poor and marginalised. When are we (akin to across the water)going to start talking about New SF.

  • GavBelfast

    I hope Margaret Ritchie is right, too. But is she?

  • Frank Sinistra

    I note they chose this as the perfect time to collectively endorse a delayed water charge.

    Or a water charge as the clear of thinking call it.

    Seems they all learnt a lesson from Nu-Labour on trying to bury bad news or in this case lies for some. Even Ritchie was happy enough to endorse water charges while having this row.

    Bury it in the minutes while arguing over minutes?

    So they all did manage to come out of the meeting covered in shit. Another day on the hill.

  • The Raven

    “Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said he was very disappointed and said the social development minister was “losing the run of herself”.”

    Hmm.

    And add this to the comments by separated-from-Adolf-Hitler-at-birth Peter Robinson that the minister has obviously “lost it”.

    I am beginning to wonder if the Assembly wants a woman about them. I mean, for all her faults, she has stood up to things far better than Giggles Gildernew has stood up to her officials in DARD. Similarly, the civil servants seem to have Arlene run ragged over in Environment. I don’t want to even think about how Ms Ruane is getting a running a kicking in Education.

    Funny that, though…someone stands up to a morally – and I think ultimately, if it DOES come to a judicial review – procedurally correct decision, and the lads in the parties used to running things their own way suddenly feel threatened enough to cast aspersions on Ms Ritchie’s mental state…

    For shame, boys…for shame.

  • The Penguin

    The crunch here is that two unionist ministers agree with her that the record of minutes were not a fair and accurate account of what was said. They have found balls at last.

    Both Empey and McGimpsey have been around politics for a long, long time. They have decades of experience in meetings, and later perusing for accuracy the minutes of them. It seems almost inconceivable that just as a matter of mere coincidence three people would wrongly feel minutes to be inaccurate.

    I would have thought, as well, in the event of a dispute upon the accuracy of a minute by anyone who was present at a meeting they pertained to, then that minutes just could not be ‘passed’.

    Margaret Ritchie has the DUP, SF, the NIO, senior civil servants, the British, the Irish and the American govs in opposition to what she has done.

    But she has public opinion and a very experienced political party in the SDLP on her side. Let’s hope there is an ace or two up a sleeve somewhere that blows the truth of this whole messy business out into the open.

  • brendan,belfast

    i see the BBC reports that Nigel Dodds want an end to “parliamentary activity”

  • JD

    Frank you obviously come from the school of thought that water falls from the sky then it must be free. Was Durkan and Trimble’s tax forcing us to twice – yes it was, were we already paying for water yes we were, was it being spent on water services – no it wasn’t during long periods of Direct rule. How do we fix the water problem, I think the Review panel have come up with a sensible way forward and separate water charges are now gone.

    But back to topic, it looks like the rest of the entire executive (including the UUP- agreed press release at the end of the mtg)now agree Ritchie’s comments are wrong, she’s definately losing it.

  • Frank Sinistra

    JD,

    Any chance of the wording of the press release the UUP agreed?

    Cheers.

  • Heaven help me, I never thought I’d be saying this, but well said, The Dubliner @ 09:09 PM.

    Thanks to a Slugger tip, yesterday, I’ve had an odd hour reviewing Mary Clancy’s thesis on The United States and post-Agreement Northern Ireland, 2001-6 [http://sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/the-lack-of-transparency-was-far-from-surprising/]

    She starts from a premise that on balance, the United States has tended to side with the Irish government when disputes have arisen between Dublin and London.

    That’s not significant in itself, but she spends some time looking at the activities of Richard Haass and Mitchell Reiss as the Bush Administration’s successive “special envoys” to Northern Ireland. Both have wikipedia entries, worth the trip.

    What is astounding is that these apparatchiks had the licence to make policy on the hoof. Taking Clancy’s exposition at face value, they seem to have switched horses at whim. They certainly seem to be instrumental in undermining Trimble, in cahoots with Dublin, and promoting the DUP/SF (Paisley/Adams) duopoly we’ve been landed with. It also seems that Downing Street spent a lot of time and effort trying to keep up with the US/Dublin project, and being systematically outmanoevred.

    May I therefore commend Clancy: she will provide ammunition for the conspiracy theorists, and grounds for second thoughts for cynics (like me) who need to re-appraise all this stuff.

    So, for once, I don’t instinctively gag at the implications that Dubliner proposes.

    Meanwhile, on the basis of what Clancy is saying, I’d like to know more about the activities of Dr Paula J. Dobriansky, Under-Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, and current occupant of the Special Envoy role performed by Haass and Reiss. She is a “neo-con”.

    In summary, this Ritchie affair is either a load of hot air and piffle or an almighty stitch-up. Or to look at that from another perspective, it will tell us whether Robinson is merely a devious manipulator or the Anointed One (anointed by the US State Department, no less.)

  • paul

    Why aren’t the media questioning the DUP about supporting funds for the UDA? Are they not against funding for republican groups? Surely the DUP are on record as being against funds for ex-prisoner groups.

    The media have been very weak on this point. This is the time for journalists to do some critical work around possible DUP hypocrisy.

    TYhe first thing the ed. of the Telegraph should do is ring the DUP and ask them do they support the CTI and if so why have they previously opposed ex-prisoner funding. If they have changed their attitude to this issue then lets see it explained in black and white.

    Of course instead of H+M digging in on such issues we get an eegit with a guitar telling us that our political masters sound like the note B or C or whatever.

  • The Penguin

    “i see the BBC reports that Nigel Dodds want an end to “parliamentary activity”

    What’s wrong, has he just begun to pick up on how popular Ritchie’s move is within unionism? Or is he trying to look as though he is rowing back from positions he has openly been adopting of late?

    Or is it all part of the strategy to undermine the Ritchie position both from within the executive and outside?

    Whatever it is, it’s pathetic!

  • The Dubliner

    You have to see it against the background of the “briefings” by the puppet masters that were aimed at undermining her authority to act on the matter, and which the minister complained about. Clearly a lot of very powerful people have been caught out by her decision and they now have a more personal motive to conspire against her: if her position is seen as morally correct by the public, then their position must be seen as morally wrong. Ergo, they must persuade the public that they are dealing with an escaped lunatic with PMS who behaved irresponsibly despite the best attempt of the wise mandarins of state to guide her, etc, thereby diverting attention from their own exposed shortcomings.

  • patrique

    The Northern Ireland parliament, with interruptions, has been a failure for over 80 years.

    Time for a revolution methinks.

  • Dewi

    Malcolm – it is an excellent paper – in my view however it reveals the lack of competence of the English civil servants.
    I’m sure MI5 knew what they were doing as did the USA reps. – HMG not perhaps on message.

  • The Penguin

    paul

    Did you not notice about a fortnight ago that the BBC and UTV suddenly started to take the DUP/SF/two governments line on all of this?
    The u-turn was so sudden it was remarkable. Words must have been had in senior ears.

    So don’t expect them to be pitching for Ritchie in the slightest in all of this.

  • Rapunsel

    But back to topic, it looks like the rest of the entire executive (including the UUP- agreed press release at the end of the mtg)now agree Ritchie’s comments are wrong, she’s definately losing it.

    No press release on the Executive website so not sure where this is coming form?

    http://www.northernireland.gov.uk/news/latest-news.htm

  • Frank Sinistra

    So lined up plotting against the SDLP we have:

    DUP
    SF
    Irish Government
    British Government
    American Government
    Civil Service
    BBC
    UTV

    Any more? Sometimes Slugger is excellent value.

    I reckon the Iluminati, the Bilderberg group and Mossad clearly are involved too.

    No hysteria you say? Just my hysterical laughing then?

  • nineteensixtyseven

    This is getting Kafkaesque.

  • Rapunsel

    Linking to an earlier thread, presumably minutes of executive meetings are the responsibility of the head of the civil service , who expressed concerns on Tuesday. I suppose it’s farily obvious that this is the individual where the concerns lie? Funny that the draft minutes of the of the previous meeting were not released until yesterday , but did I not understand this evening that following the last executive meeting a minute or memo was passed to the DSD permanent secretary?

    http://www.ofmdfmni.gov.uk/nigel_hamilton

  • Frank Sinistra @ 10:17 PM:

    Fair point. We’re all dupes. Noted.

    The mood of the moment seems to be Ritchie for the ducking stool. So be it.

    I still find it incredible that anyone, anyone who has climbed that famous “greasy pole” (and, yes, I fell off) could allow herself to be “had” so blatantly. As Cicero put it, Cui bono?

    And there are two Ls in “Illuminati”, by the way.

  • Rapunsel

    Don’t believe that she will be had, i think people are underestimating her? Remember she has never had any occupation or career outside politics, she is unlikely to make this sort of fundamental error at this stage in her career and is an easy enough target for both big parties.
    Funny if she had said she was ” minded” to terminate the funding a la Arlene Foster and the Giants causeway she’d be alright now!!

    Anyone know why executive minutes are not availoable in the same way as those of assembly committee meetings?

  • Ian

    Mick,

    Is there a typo in the title of this thread? How can a minute fabricate a minute?

    Should it read “Ritchie says MINISTERS fabricating minutes”?

    That would make more grammatical sense, although probably not accurate as it would surely be some (senior?) civil servant that would be responsible for typing up the minutes?

  • Aquifer

    ‘Why aren’t the media questioning the DUP about supporting funds for the UDA?’

    Or why a prominent DUPer was supporting the nomination of UDA types onto community forums?

    Dunno Paul

    Though who could blame the media for owing a debt of gratitude to paramurderers of all colours. All those gory headlines over the years, all that banging and flashing, those storys wrote themselves. How dare Ritchie say no more.

  • middle-class ****

    Difficult to work out what’s going on here. Margaret’s struggling on bravely, but looking a wee bit frayed. Understandably.

    I hope the chips fall for Margaret, not least because of the ignominy which would accompany Peter Robinson’s demise – losing your job and your shot at the big ticket by undermining efforts to stop public funding of loyalists! Nigel Dodds mmust be loving this.

    True to form, the SDLP are playing this pretty straight and aren’t thinking about message control. But they need to start thinking about it. In particular, they need to pick their battles. MR should fight the DUP, not SF. SF ministers can’t very well approve the minutes then change their mind just because it hurts the DUP. Moreover, criticising SF for lining up with the DUP is craven sectarianism of the kind that the SDLP always rails against.

    The nationalist parties should resist the urge to slap at each other for electoral reasons. This is an honest to goodness, party-vs-party dispute between the SDLP and DUP. Internecine nationalist squabbling runs the risk of distracting from that.

    If Margaret wins out, it’ll be of more value to her vs Ruane after it’s all sorted out than any point-scoring done during the crisis. What does begin to look a bit unseemly is this “they’re all ganging up on me” stuff. For years the SDLP have been sneering at what they call SF’s persecution complex; this at a time when, in fact, SF faced powerful island-wide and global coalitions against it. SDLP knicker-wetting after five minutes in the thumbscrews doesn’t help them look tough enough to defend nationalist interests in adversity.

    My message to Margaret Ritchie and the SDLP (assuming they’re in the right) is “dig in and say as little as possible!”

  • Rapunsel @ 10:40 PM:

    Anyone know why executive minutes are not availoable in the same way as those of assembly committee meetings?

    Part of your answer is shown on the “business diary” page of the Assembly website [http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/io/whats.htm]

    There is a distinction between “public’ and “closed” sessions. The “public sessions’ are recorded verbatim and come on line pretty quickly (but are open, I guess, to a certain amount of massaging, as happens with Hansard). The “closed” meetings will be minuted, but not kept as a transcript.

    Guess where the real business is done? Yeah; not in either, but settled off stage, off camera, off the record. It was ever thus.

  • 2050

    Agree with Paul’s post and the behavior of the media in this case is interesting.

    Were is the pressure from the media & the DUP on the UDA/UVF/LVF/3rd Force etc to DECOMMISSION?
    None I’d say in comparison to the frenzy of pressure from the same sources prior to IRA decommissioning.

    The focus should move back on decommissioning and criminality.

    What do they need their weapons for now anyway? There is no support for murdering catholics and the war is well and truly over.

    The minister is simply doing her job and the game playing and distraction by the media and DUP is disgraceful.

  • BOM

    I really do have faith in Margaret and know that if she says that minutes have been fabricated and has the support of two others within the Executive then she is telling the truth. I do not believe the woman would ruin her career or her integrity to tell lies and try and dig herself out of a hole.

    I am amazed by what has happened over this past few days between the DUP and Sinn Fein and cannot believe the lack of support and the hard time Margaret has got.

    I believe this is a premeditated effort to oust her from the Executive.

    She is handling it as best she can but I can see the strain on her face – I only hope the electorate – either Loyalist or Nationalist – can too and support her on this. She deserves better.

    Few people would ever have to go through the pressure she is going through both with their party colleagues in the Exec or on their own!

  • The Dubliner

    “I reckon the Iluminati, the Bilderberg group and Mossad clearly are involved too.” – Frank Sinistra

    Do you? I reckon the Irish Department for Foreign Affairs, the British SoS, and the US Special Envoy, the NIO, DUP, PSF, and a plethoraof other vested interests all conspiring to undermine the authority of an Assembly minister is enough to be getting on with – unless you want to add in a state-sponsored terrorist group issuing death threats against the minister for good measure.

  • 2050

    Everyone would welcome UDA decommissioning !

    Paying them indirectly to do it was always a mistake in the 1st place and it would be a mistake to try it again. They had a unique opportunity to make positive moves in that direction & blew it.

    Separate the issue of decommissioning and funding deprived areas.

    The DUP & MEDIA should all apologize and back her up now. The electorate will, next opportunity.

  • ulsterfan

    If this is what real politics is about I like it.
    Look at what we were missing for years.
    Accountability and zero tolerance for any wrongdoing is order of the day.
    It will make them think twice before they say or do anything—Applies to all politicians.

  • URQUHART

    Can we all just take a step back from this for a second? Margaret Ritchie is being isolated and pressurised for what? For actually following through on a threat and withdrawing taxpayers’ money from an armed terrorist group.

    And we’re all going along with this? Are we fecking wise?

  • pete whitcroft

    South Down and Foyle are safe for the SDLP.
    This is now accomplished by the SDLP.
    South Belfast will go, but it was a fluke.
    The UDA remains to be a slipper eel but are irrelevant to the stability of Stormont.

  • Frank Sinistra

    -7.45: She got the minutes last night but earlier last week the draft minute was sent to her permanent secretary and the head of the departmental solicitors and she was aware that wasn’t what was agreed at the meeting.

    What’s that about? Is she accusing her permanent secretary of working against her? Why didn’t she raise the issue then? Did she? If she claims she was aware of a problem a week ago why wait until the meeting to raise it?

  • pete whitcroft

    Slippery.
    An eel in the slipper is another analogy, more like a scorpion.

  • Frank Sinistra

    -1.50: The US praising the UDA engagement with de Chastelain was British inspired pressure to make her change her mind. But she admits praising the UDA for that same engagement too.

    I’m assuming Margaret Ritchie is party of the global anti-Ritchie conspiracy too.

    Hilarious stuff. Please God don’t get rid of this woman she’s great craic.

  • Mick Fealty

    Frank,

    You are working directly into a knowledge deficit here. Thompson did not give her a chance to follow through on that point. But it is my understanding that she followed through with an official objection to that early briefing/memo/draft minutes. There should be a clear paper trail to prove it one way or another. The question is, will we get to see it.

  • Frank Sinistra

    Mick,

    Which one or both? A paper trail to a civil service conspirator or a US one?

  • ulsterfan

    Does anyone think this is a storm in a tea cup. Margaret and Peter are safe as houses.
    In three months time we will be worked up into a frenzy over some other minor matter, and it will be forgotten until the next crisis.

  • Mick Fealty

    18. did not think that your remarks at 22 were entirely serious.

  • me

    how dishonest are our politicians? Surely this is enough to bring it all crashing down.

  • Frank Sinistra

    Sorry Mick, I must have misread your reply. All of a sudden I see the answer to my question.

    One thing is becoming clear the SDLP having been doing a lot of off the record briefing, from the leaks while the meeting was in progress to understandings by bloggers (you).

    Transparency not going to enter this equation at some point?

  • Mick Fealty

    That’s the big question Frank, and I don’t have an answer to that. To shamelessly repeat myself:

    The longer term question revolves around the matter of whether this supposedly democratic institution is capable of delivering any clear outcomes on any given subject, or it is rather a largely rhetorical device for keeping Northern Ireland’s famously troubled politics off the streets?

    As to the question of leaks, take the Minister’s allegation that the front page of the Newsletter contained information privileged to a very limited number of individuals, together with a headline explicitly suggesting her job was on the line.

  • Frank Sinistra

    Mick,

    btw: does that clarification not make the claim to have only seen the contentious item the night before a bit spurious if she had seen and objected to it a week previously? If others agreed that version it then becomes an item for discussion at the meeting and not some last minute revelation as has been being pushed? It’s agenda item 1, minutes from the last meeting with Ritchie’s objection part of the discussion? Or do the SDLP expect disputed minutes agreed/amended before the meeting? Seems like minuting procedure was followed correctly by the civil service.

  • Frank Sinistra

    Oh and on impropriety allegation have a look at this:

    Minister Ritchie will take legal advice and report back to the Assembly.

    Minister Ritchie will take legal advice and report that back to the Assembly.

    One word, some bad handwriting or a slight error in memory and it becomes something entirely different.

    Though of course it could all be a conspiracy involving the DUP, SF, civil service and a cast of thousands.

  • Mick Fealty

    Detail Frank. What she saw on Monday was not a draft minute. I understand it was more of a memo. That would also explain the tightness of the Anderson/Poots line of Tuesday. Of course they might just be telling the truth. In the end: transparency is your only man!

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    Nope, she is ambivalent on that.

  • Frank Sinistra

    Indeed, Mick. Some on this site were questioning how Robinson could have know what her legal advice was, that debate was finished when Ritchie herself informed us she agreed to and did tell him. Without openness it’s just the word of eight (and the note taker) against three.

  • DC

    “The longer term question revolves around the matter of whether this supposedly democratic institution is capable of delivering any clear outcomes on any given subject, or it is rather a largely rhetorical device for keeping Northern Ireland’s famously troubled politics off the streets?”

    Well put Mick and I suppose now is a good chance to say that the analysis on slugger has been great over the last couple of days and everything has unfolded pretty much concurrently with some quality insight provided.

  • USA

    Noel Thompson has only one questioning style – confrontational. Every time he succeeds in lowering the level of his interviews to an arguement. He won’t just talk to his guests positions, he never tries to draw out a position so the viewers can derive a level of understanding. Yes, sometimes a no nonsense confrontational approach is appropriate but not EVERY time. It is so annoying watching him go through the same routine every time.
    This is a complex issue with allegation, counter allegation and legal manouvres….sometimes we need a guests position to be developed which he should endevour to encourage when appropriate….either he is not capable of this or is unaware that
    its the same shite every time. Why would someone want to tune in every week to hear Noel Thompson argue with his guests?

  • ulsterfan

    USA
    Thousands of people tune into listen to Noel Thompson because they have faith that he will ask the hard questions and not let our politicians give spin to every question.
    We want proper answers so long live Noel!!!!!

  • 0b101010

    “On the subject matter, Ritchie does appear to be losing it, know reduced to crying conspiracy over the minutes issue.”

    Gosh, Chris, because conspiracy, collusion and state-sponsored deceit have proved to be so uncommon, eh?

    I’m still waiting for the day, if ever, when we find out exactly how many people on any and all sides are on Her Majesty’s payroll. Is it the government side-briefing the government to oppose the government because the government refused money earmarked for the government? It couldn’t get any more farcical, but I honestly wouldn’t surprised.

    I know one thing for sure, I’m pretty much sick of all this closed-door politics nonsense.

  • Ian

    “Detail Frank. What she saw on Monday was not a draft minute. I understand it was more of a memo. That would also explain the tightness of the Anderson/Poots line of Tuesday.”

    The difference there being that Poots would have been present at the Monday Executive meeting, whereas Anderson wasn’t.

    So did Anderson take Poots’ word over Ritchie? And why?

  • Ian

    Yesterday’s statement by the Executive goes some way towards clarifying things, but I wish they’d release the (disputed) minutes of the previous meeting. Under the ‘apologies’ section, it should clarify whether Gildernew was present.

    If she WAS present (but reportedly abstained in the vote on the previous minutes), then could it be that the Sinn Fein Ministers simply weren’t paying enough attention on the 8th when Ritchie’s course of action was agreed, but only Gildernew had sufficient ‘balls’ yesterday to admit that?