Robinson thrown out of Stormont…

IRIS Robinson has just been thrown out of Stormont (by DUP speaker Willie Hay), for refusing to withdraw remarks she recently made about Health Minister McGimpsey “misleading” the house over his level of support for the draft Budget. At last, some excitement (even if Iris did make the first ejection of an MLA seem rather contrived, the big drama queen)! As Pete might say, this is a very

  • Glory

    [Text removed – try playing the ball – moderator]

  • Aldamir

    d’Hondt must go!

  • Bisto

    Iris Robinson was spot on. McGimpsey was attempting to decieve people regarding the Health Budget.

  • IanB

    While she as health minister was arguing against more money for her departments budget because her husband is finance minister. She’s a joke and her aggressive style of politics is ineffective and offensive.

  • Bisto


    A. She’s not Health Minister.

    B. Health has got more money – amounting to around 48% of available resources.

    C. Money will not be enough efficiencies need to be made. McGimp wont do this for fear of a trade union backlash.

    D. Michael McGimpsey agreed the budget as did his party leader and every other minister in the executive.

    e. The people of Strangford clearly don’t think she’s a joke – she has one of the largest majorities in Northern Ireland.

  • nmc

    Should that not read:

    D. Michael McGimpsey agreed the draft budget as did his party leader and every other minister in the executive.

    The difference is huge.

    e. The people of Strangford clearly don’t think she’s a joke – she has one of the largest majorities in Northern Ireland.

    Yes she must have gotten all those votes based on her performance? No that’s bollocks, all the DUP and SF have managed in terms of performance is to stop serious politics emerging here. In very real terms they’ve only had 6 months to perform, and they’ve done fuck all in that time.

  • cut the bull

    I am sure this was no easy decision for Willie Hay as the DUP are a tight bunch and he would have neede to dig deep to put Iris out of Stormont.

    With those she steely eyes she could give you a look that would cut a breeze block.

    Im just thinking of what was going through the speakers head as he prepared himself to tell his colleague to leave the premises.

    I think it may have went some thing like this,

  • cut the bull

    At first I was afraid
    You had me petrified
    You almost said Micky was telling lies
    I must be careful with Francie by my side
    But then I spent so many nights
    Thinking What’ll I do if she says something wrong
    And I grew strong
    And I learned how to get along
    And so you know the craic
    You gotta respect this place
    I just walked in to find you here
    Spitting venom from your face
    I should tell you, that the door will be locked
    I ask you to leave your key
    Don’t be thinking for just one second
    You’ll be back to bother the assembly

    Go on now go walk out the door
    Just turn around now
    ‘Cause you’re not welcome anymore
    Weren’t you the one who tried to hurt Micky, saying he was telling lies
    Did you think I’d crumble
    If you give me a look of your evil eye
    Oh no, not I
    I will survive
    As long as I know the standing orders
    I know I’ll stay alive
    I’ve got all my life to live
    I’ve got a few expulsions to give
    And I’ll survive
    I will survive ( Willie hey hey)

    It took all the strength I had
    Not to fall apart
    I just had to say
    Leave the house, get out, depart
    And I spent oh so many nights
    Just feeling sorry for myself
    I used to cry
    But now I hold my head up high
    And you see me
    Somebody new
    I’m not a chained up wee first speaker
    In debt to the party or you
    And so when you feel like dropping in
    Expect to see Francie watching over me
    But now I’m saving all my loyalty
    For my wee assembly

    Go on now go walk out the door
    Just turn around now
    ‘Cause you’re not welcome anymore
    Weren’t you the one who tried to hurt Micky, saying he was telling lies
    Did you think I’d crumble
    If you give me a look of your evil eye
    Oh no, not I
    I will survive
    As long as I know the standing orders
    I know I’ll stay alive
    I’ve got all my life to live
    I’ve got a few expulsions to give
    And I’ll survive
    I will survive (oh)

    Go on now go, walk out the door
    Just turn around now
    ‘Cause you’re not welcome anymore
    Weren’t you the one who tried to hurt Micky, saying he was telling lies

    Did you think I’d crumble
    If you give me a look of your evil eye
    Oh no, not I
    I will survive
    As long as I know the standing orders
    I know I’ll stay alive
    I’ve got all my life to live
    I’ve got a few expulsions to give
    And I’ll survive
    I will survive
    I will survive…!

  • IanB


    Your skills are better suited to churning out press releases than proper debate.

    Facts of the case.

    Iris Robinson is chairperson of the health committee, she says she wants to see a a better health service but she is attacking the health minister for seeking more money for the health section of the budget.

    Health may be getting more money year on year but that is the same for health services across the UK and Ireland. People are getting older, technology and drugs that the health service needs are getting more expensive.

    Iris Robinson like other MLAs will bleat on about people being entitled to expensive new cancer drugs but when it comes to budget time she backs her husband instead of the department she was nominated to chair.

  • Mario Lanza

    Cut the bull

    you write it and i’ll sing it…. very funny although Iris will cut your balls off if she finds out who you are… lol

  • Last time I saw Iris Robinson, she had short and fairly sensible hair. She looks like Lion-O out of the Thundercats in that pic.

  • lámh dearg

    McGimpsey is ahead of the other MLAs in realising that the Comprehensive Spending Review will result in literally thousands of job cuts across the health service in NI, they will all be denying knowledge of this budget in a few months.

    Meanwhile Iris stands by her man, but it makes her position as the champion of the health service a bit more difficult, it is fine and indeed proper for the Committee chair to harry the minister but not at the expense of the service she is supposed to champion.

    On a broader point, I watched live coverage from Stormont on BBC today and was embarrassed by the whole bunch of them. The standard of grammar and diction was appalling never mind the standard of debate, I flicked over to BBC parliament and saw part of a debate from the House of Commons, it was like listening to The Beatles after hearing a Karaoke version in the local pub.

    Catriona Ruane cannot even not answer a question, she can only sound as thick as she actually appears to be, Willie Hay sounds like a poor version of the verger in Dad’s Army. One of the shinners had difficulty reading his own question.

    Bring back Direct Rule, please, the idea of these muppets actually having the power do do something is frightening.

  • Nevin

    Koo-koo-ka-choo, Mrs. Robinson,
    Peter loves you more than you will know.
    God bless you, please, Mrs. Robinson.
    Stormont holds a place for those who play,
    Hey, hey, hey

    Sitting on the benches on a Monday afternoon.
    Going to the minister’s debate.
    Laugh about it, shout about it
    When you’ve got to choose
    Every way you look at this you lose.

  • harry

    “No that’s bollocks, all the DUP and SF have managed in terms of performance is to stop serious politics emerging here”

    ah come on, be fair..

    did you not read Jim Gibney’s complex and thought provoking (lol) article in the Irish news last Thurday?

    well.. according to him (and he would know,so)Paisley and McGuinness get on really well. they have this thing yes..Chemistry.

    well.. apparently,and i didnt know this.. Trimble and Mallon did not have “chemistry”

    i thought this was probing and rigourous critique of the government to date, by a senior sinn fein moccha decaff drinker.

    i am now satisfied with the government.

  • Turgon

    I said on the other thread that Iris Robinson was probably the best of a bad bunch on health. Getting thrown out of the assembly is not, however, a useful way to conduct business nor to advance the cause of health service reform.

    Robinson’s suggestion of “constructive tension” between health care providers may and only may have some merit in some circumstances. McGimpsey on the other hand seems to have no suggestions of any sort at all.

    Neither the DUP nor UUP (nor anyone else) are willing to look at some of the major causes of inefficiency in our NHS. The single most glaring example being the excessive number of hospitals. There was actually a report to the old Stormont in 1966 (I do not have a link) recommending six acute hospitals. That might be to few and certainly they are currently in the wrong place to have only six. However, unless something is done the system will grind on with shattering inefficiency and changes will be ad hoc and piecemeal dependent on the local trusts without any central planning.

    Some jobs probably would be lost be redeucing hospital numbers but more significantly improvements in staff deployment could result in better care more cheaply and with relatively few redundancies of staff actually involved in patient care. There is, however, very little chance of any of the parties making such decisions as they would involve a proper dialogue with the population about what is needed; instead soap opera style dramatics in Stromont is what passes for proper debate.

  • saveus

    There is some spin going on up there alright, this time next year when the CSR kicks in for real and OFMDFM realise that it will cost @6K jobs, do you think they will up their jobs creation target of 5k? Ach sure, they have chemistry and get on well, maths and jobs wont are not that important really and anyone who says they are will be accused of undermining the peace process!

  • joeCanuck

    How many are there right now, Turgon.
    Didn’t an independent get elected to the previous assembly because of an attempt (successful?) to close Omagh hospital as an acute centre?

  • red branch

    Some facts
    1.regardless of the ability of Iris Robinson or otherwise she is the Minister of Finance’s missus so there is a conflict of interest.
    2.getting thrown out of the Assembly means nothing but instant martyrdom
    3.a draft budget is only that – a draft amount of money without reforms in the health service will work
    5.Neither McGimpsey or Robinson are up to the task – our only hope they have good support staff.
    6.Sadly neither Robinson or McGimpsey have good support staff
    7. the Northern Ireland Health Service is bollocks

  • Alex S

    Iris is making a hook to hang herself on, everytime McGimpesy gets flack for cutting jobs / services he can blame Mr & Mrs Robinson, all he has to do is to convince the public that he has no choice and with our health budget lagging behind England’s his case is almost made.

    Mr & Mrs Robinson are learning that it’s easier to bark at the bike than ride it

  • GavBelfast

    The time for Opposition is nigh.

    C’mon, SDLP and UUP, have the balls and leave them to it before they take your skulls anyway.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The main fact that we need to be concerned with is that Robinson accused another MLA of “misleading the house” which is pretty much the most serious charge that can be made of a serving government minister. There are plenty of ways to expose when someone is wrong.

    I agree with Alex S, I think Iris is making a major mistake acting as her husband’s attack dog here. If I were in her position I would be highlighting McGimpsey’s duplicity with respect to collective government.

  • Outsider

    Its clear that the DUP’s main enemies are the UUP, that says it all really and most Unionists are turning away from politics in their droves.

  • Tkmaxx

    Cut the bull – I think Simon Cowell shoud should sign you up and spouses should stay silent until they are in the House of lords or the a quango

  • nineteensixtyseven

    When I heard her say it, it reminded me of the time David Cameron sailed close to the wind. Glad she has been disciplined.

  • Wish I had have been there with my tape player and a Bananaramma CD. You all know the song, Nah Nah Nah Nah, Nah Nah Nah Nah, Hey Hey Hey Good Bye.

    Fair play to Willie Hay. It can’t be easy to have to make a rulling against a fellow party member like that. I’d love to be a fly on the wall next time they’re in a meeting togeather.

  • cut the bull

    I think it’s safe to say Willies off her christmas card list and his selectionbox is in the dog lol

  • Turgon


    In terms of hospitals here is a list (in no particular order) but I may miss some out by mistake:

    Acute Hospitals:-
    Altnagelvin Area Hospital
    Antrim Area Hospital
    Craigavon Area Hospital
    Ulster Hospital Dundonald
    Belfast City Hospital
    Royal Victoria Hospital
    Mater Informum Hospital (Belfast)
    Lagan Valley Hospital (Lisburn)
    Downe Hospital (Downpatrick)
    Daisy Hill Hospital (Newry)
    Causeway Hospital (Coleraine)
    Mid Ulster Hospital (Magherafelt)
    Erne Hospital (Enniskillen)
    Tyrone County Hospital (Omagh)
    Whiteabbey Hospital

    Psychiatric Hospitals where not also general
    Windsor House (Belfast City Hospital)
    Hollywell (Antrim)
    Gransha (Londonderry)
    St Luke’s (Armagh)
    Tyrone and Fermanagh (Omagh)
    Downshire (Downpatrick)
    Muckamore Abbey (learning disabled)

    There are also:
    Musgrave Park (orthopaedic)
    Lurgan (care of elderly) it may have gone do not know.

    Then there are a few other ones.

    You see what I mean. Six may well be too few acute hospitals but there seem to be an awful lot of hospitals some very close together and some very small.

  • joeCanuck

    I agree Turgon.
    Far to many.
    For a comparison, here in Ontario the standard is that you should be within a 40 minute drive of some hospital where your condition can be stablilized. An acute hospital where any procedure can be done can be 150 km away (almost 100 miles) and, if necessary, you will be airlifted there by helicopter.

  • joeCanuck

    BTW, those hospitals where you will be stabilized are manned by the local GPs on call.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    I was thinking about the Robinson ejection later, and contrary to some of you, I don’t think the ‘discipling’ of Iris is all it seems.

    a) It’s guaranteed publicity – and if she’s seen to be ‘punished’ for not retracting a comment in which she basically accuses a minister in the party the DUP is in greatest competition with, then so much the better. Failing to withdraw her comment is the greatest insult she could pay this UUP stalwart, which plays great with the home crowd.

    b) The ‘punishment’ is being thrown out of Stormont for a day. Bonus!

    c) Perhaps most importantly, it gives the perception that there is a gap between the DUP and the (DUP member) Speaker, who is supposed to be seen as neutral, but was said to have consulted DUP members after Margaret Ritchie stopped the UDA-linked funding.

    The fact that it was Mrs Robinson’s husband who created that particular furore and benefits from this one wasn’t lost on me…

    You can hopefully see why I’m quite cynical about this stunt.

  • red branch

    Couldn’t agree more with Belfast Gonzo, little Ms Robo being thrown out because she “told the truth” had a Joan of Arc ring to it.

    Iris has successfully deflected away her dreadful conflict of interest, she has avoided the real budget debate in health and made herself the headlines – much as Peter said she would!
    Lov you darlinxxx

  • pith

    This was clearly a spontaneous act by the Speaker of which Iris Robinson could not possibly have had any prior knowledge. No doubt she is deeply embarrassed by the episode and will not be happy to see her name splashed all over the newspapers.

  • Nevin
  • lib2016

    The DUP do bluff and bluster better than most. In this case it deflected attention away from some interesting questions.

  • Ahem

    Is there anyone, other than the paid mollochs of the public sector unions, who thinks the Gimp is doing anything close to an adequate job? We have an East German welfare state (ie expensive and useless), and all McGimpsey can do is . . . nothing? If I hadn’t already given up on the UUP because of Reg giving the whip to that murdrous scumbag Irvine, putting the Gimp back in office really would have been the last straw.

  • As Tic

    A future in MLB for her then.

  • Turgon

    I agree entirely. I remember that one UUP commentator on this site suggested that McGimpsey might be quietly effective. He appears to have been relatively quiet most of the time (except when whingeing) and absolutely useless all the time.

    The amazing thing is that there are, within health policy, already a number of proposals for moving forward e.g. having a single health authority. Yet McGimpsey blocked that proposal.

    I do feel, however, that Robinson getting thrown out of the assembly was pointless and silly. What she could do which might be useful would be to have hearings in the Health Committee about possible ways forward. If the committee could come up with concrete specific proposals to rationalise the system and improve patient and client care it would be a major step forward. I remain concerned though that the DUP and all the others are too worried about possible negative political reprecussions to begin a proper debate let alone carry any measures through. The spectre of Dot Kirby proclaiming something little more rational than “Think of the children” is probably at the back of every politician’s mind along with the that of another Kerion Deeney.

    In fairness that is a failing in most countries. The French health care system has huge problems but tends to fear reform. The American system is also extremely problematic and much less good value for money than our system. In England we have the spectacle of David Cameron pledging to “save the DGH” (District General Hospital) which translates into opposing all change for what is little other than selfish party advantage. Even Labour ministers have opposed closing hospitals by their own government.

    Health is a very difficult and emotive issue but rather than engage the public in a rational discussion about what is the most efficient and medically useful strategy politicians score party political points to the detrement of the very health of the population which they proclaim they are trying to safeguard.

  • A dedication for Virus

    Sometimes its hard to be a woman
    Giving all your love to just one man
    You’ll have bad times
    And he’ll have good times
    Doing things that you don’t understand
    But if you love him you’ll forgive him
    Even though he’s hard to understand
    And if you love him
    Oh be proud of him
    ‘Cause after all he’s just a man
    Stand by your man
    Give him two arms to cling to
    And something warm to come to
    When nights are cold and lonely
    Stand by your man
    And tell the world you love him
    Keep giving all the love you can
    Stand by your man
    Stand by your man
    And show the world you love him
    Keep giving all the love you can
    Stand by your man

  • danny

    is that not exactly the point- the dup actually are outlining what changes have to be made

  • Joey

    Bizarre reference, absolute nonsense about an ‘East German welfare state’ in reference to the Executive and McGimpsey. Always regarded him as one of the better UUP, and to describe ERVINE (not Irvine) as murderous; very silly indeed. Such non-descript idiosy always raises a a smile. There are serious questions about health, though the whole Stormont engagement with the matter is probably not aided by the marital partnership trist of Mr and Mrs Robinson at the centre of the storm. But put simpy, the levels of spending on health have to be in line with requirements, i.e. expensive ones, as in the UK, IF Northern Ireland is to retain its pretty decent health service. The Robinsons should perhaps explore different types of udgetary squeezes; that darn public are very attached to their health service, as Thatcher found out with her own UK population. Not to say it is devoid of problems, but the health service here enjoys a justifiably good service. Read the other day that many cancer drugs not available in parts of the UK are plentiful and accessible through the NHS in this part of the UK. Witness the almighty shambles in the Republic in relation to health, a great argument to any Unionist might be ‘we lose our NHS in a United Ireland’, if only they could realise it.

    A law to prevent members of the Assembly marrying one another? You know Margaret Ritchie would get together with never-to-be-MP Empey, have to prevent that Union somehow. McGuinness and Paisley not a bad wee couple themselves.