Northern Irish PQs wanted…

Just had an interesting meeting with Owen Patterson, David Liddington’s replacement as Conservative Shadow Secretary of State. He’s open to suggestions for posting Parliamentary Questions in the House of Commons. It struck me that this could be an opportunity to open it out further to Slugger readers, as an experimental form of Crowd Sourcing. I have no idea how it well it will work, but it seems like a good way to get important (rather than trivial) questions answered in the public domain. So if you have burning questions that you feel need a tangible answer, post it below, or {encode=”” title=”email me”} directly. Let your passions dictate your questions (although may be best not to get too passionate in the way you phrase them).


  • RG Cuan

    To Culture & Media Minister:

    What is being done to ensure that Irish Gaelic speakers in Northern Ireland are receiving the same level of media provision as received by Gaelic speakers in Scotland and Welsh speakers in Wales?

    Currently the BBC spend £57.36 on each Scottish Gaelic speaker, £27.58 on each Welsh speaker and £5.32 on each Irish Gaelic speaker.

    When this is compared to the populations of each country that have proficiency in each language – 2%, 28% and 10% respectively – it is clear that this expenditure disparity must be addressed.

  • Nice question RG, maybe one of the MLAs reading this will pick it up and run with it.

  • Todd

    What about posting questions to Dail Eireann…

  • Alan

    You’re not taking part in one of those extended concept job interviews for a less onerous position within politics, are you, Mick ?

  • Frank Sinistra


    Surely it’s a pointless exercise on topics other policing and justice? Nearly everything else is a Stormont or general British issue. Unless you want a series of questions on the Barnett formula.

    He made the offer about 15 years too late for it to be of any use and that’s probably why he needs others to dream up some questions for him.

  • English for All

    To:Finance Minister

    How much has been spent on minority language development issues in Northern Ireland in the last 3 years, or budgeted for over the period of the current CSR? Has a VFM audit been carried out on this expenditure and if so, can the results be published? Figures for both Irish and Ulster Scots should be presented seperately.

    By way of illustration, how does the totality of this expenditure compare with the level of contingency plan cutbacks required by the DHSSPS from HSS trusts within Northern Ireland over the last 3 years?

    Is it possible to estimate many hospital beds could have been supported by diverting such expenditure, and how many lives could have been saved thereby?

  • RG Cuan

    maybe one of the MLAs reading this will pick it up and run with it.

    Media and Broadcasting are Westminster issues and must be dealt with there.


    Try not to corrupt the thread.

  • English for All

    RG Cuan

    I would have thought that Health, Finance and Minority Languages are all devolved, so ideal for an MLA to “run with”.

    Or is it only ok to ask pro-Irish questions?

    If so. then i suppose thats an indication of how things would be for the majority in your Totalitarian Gaelic Statelet of North-East Ireland.

    If not, then explain how questions relating to the cost of your hobby can be accused of “corrupting” the thread. If your case is so strong then defend it with facts, not deflections.

    I contend that Public Sector financial support for Irish/Ulster-Scots activities are a waste of valuable public resources, and i asked the question to allow the cost of said languages to be quantified in a way understandable to a wide range of people. If you feel that services should be cut elsewhere to fund your hobby, please advise which ones should be cut.


  • Shawn

    English for all

    Excelent, then do you also support the cancelation of all 11th bonfires and 12th parades so as to free up much needed council clean up monies and policing rescources

  • nmc

    Now now Shawn. That’s sensible talk.

  • Alan,

    I would certainly like a less onerous position in politics, but I doubt this is it.


    I’m not being prescriptive at this stage. RG’s question included comparative stats across the UK.


    The offer we have in hand is from a senior Conservative MP. Now if we can get a TD to provide a similar service, I would have no objection. But comparative cross border stats are notoriously difficult to read across.

  • English for All


    In a word, “yes”.

    Th bonfires are an embarassment, and an excuse to get drunk and “abuse the fenians”. The parading issue is another gross waste of time, since if your only way of expressing your culture is to gratuitously offend others then in my view perhaps it is best to keep your culture to yourself.

    I hope this clarifies my position for you.

  • Danny O’Connor

    I think this would only be for reserved matters.policing justice defence foreign affairs,trying to get some real answers about mi5-no chance,anything contolled by the assembly will probably be referred on.

  • Frank Sinistra


    That’s what I thought with the addition that foreign affairs and defence wouldn’t be accepted at NI PQs.

    Pretty pointless offer.

  • Danny O’Connor

    I can say that in my experience written answers are a fob off which you have to follow up with even more written questions-civil service speak answers-all keeping themselves in jobs at a huge expense to the taxpayer for each question.Oral answers are not much better because invariably you get the answer that have been prepared-if the minister cannot answer your supplementary -yes-you get a written answer.

  • Shawn


    Thank you

  • wild turkey

    ‘Surely it’s a pointless exercise on topics other policing and justice? Nearly everything else is a Stormont or general British issue. Unless you want a series of questions on the Barnett formula. ‘

    I think Frank has a point. I may be mistaken but given devolution, the only NI issues that can be debated/discussed or subject to PQs at Westminster are ‘reserved’ matters.

  • noel adams

    May not be possible to get a question asked as its probably a devolved issue but when are councilors here going to have a mandatory code of conduct like GB.I doubt in England a councilor would be allowed to vote on a planing application if the developer had signed his nomination papers.