First Minister wants Westminster to take the strain on gender issues…

The deadline for the Gender Goods and Services Directive was today, but there’s no sign of it as Stormont closed its doors this afternoon. Despite the fact that it is a devolved issue, but it looks like the First Minister has got cold feet on dealing with it directly. He’s been asking if Wesminster can deal with it through orders in council. Slugger hears the FM’s faint heartedness led t a rather stormy session of the FMDFM Committee on Wednesday in which members of his own party expressed grave concern that Wesminister is being petitioned to make decisions that should be made by the Assembly.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • Rory

    Gender Goods and Services Directive ?

    What on earth?

    Would I be correct in assuming that this refers to the legislation which was designed to prevent discrimination by suppliers of goods and services to customers based upon the customer’s sex or or of their sexuality?

    If I am correct is it not odd that a word that applies to a grammatical classification of nouns and verbs within a language should be so coyly misapplied?

    Strange indeed that such artificial linguistic shyness should be appropriated and misapllied in legislation aimed at ending the hypocrisy of Victorian prudery.

  • Useless b******s. They’ve been going on for months about how wonderful it is to have local people taking decisions and holding real power. It’s costing us enough money – DO WHAT YOU’RE F**KING PAID FOR!

  • pith

    Was opposition to Orders in council not fundamental to unionist opposition to Direct Rule? Paisley would hardly u-turn on such a thing would he?

  • pith

    Mick Fealty’s headline is spot on. The directive deals with good old-fashioned discrimination between men and women. If Paisley can get Westminster to deal with this one for him, then he will be able to refer to the precedent when stickier ones come along.

  • joeCanuck

    I see junior has finally managed to get his 2nd house registered. That should free up time to do some work. Perhaps he could handle this file for Daddy.

  • getthefacts

    Perhaps Pastor Ian just wants to kick ass first in his own back yard. Or, to put it more appropriately for Ballymena folk, Matthew 7 v. 5 ‘…first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.’

    Government Departments and Agencies of the Stormont Executive are breaking the law by failing to supply ‘Goods and Services’ equitably to male victims of domestic abuse and their children. The Northern Ireland Act 1998 Section 75 (1) (b) says ‘A public authority shall in carrying out its functions relating to Northern Ireland have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity … between men and women..’. When Pastor Ian sorts out this scandal the Executive will be in a better position to require the private sector to do the same in other areas.

  • IJP

    Good spot, Mick.

    This has the potential to set a very serious precedent.

    Not only are our devolved Ministers avoiding making decisions, now they’re getting Westminster to make them for them…

    … so maybe there’s hope for a Westminster Irish Language Act yet, eh Doc?

  • DC

    No doubt the FM has difficultly legislating Gender GFS due to the cover afforded to gender reassignment in GFS.

    The likely practical outworking of such is that a person who is going through gender reassignment, even before operation or chemical transition, may be able to call upon service providers to allow them to use changing rooms of the sex they are switching to, or re-assigning to.

    So to go a little tabloid, you could have a very manly-man in dress entering a changing room where both girls and women will be because of the very desire to live out a female existence.

    What’s the Alliance’s Party’s view on that one IJP, doesn’t bother me.

    But interestingly, there was a Changing Ageing Conference held at the Radisson, which I didn’t notice any parties there save that of Sinn Fein’s Barbara de Brun, where a top civil servant was there from the Department of Communities and Local Government stipulating the need for GFS provision re Age.

    However, the most notable thing was that a top civil servant from within OFMDFM was there too, both female btw, and she was keen to work in conjuction with Britain to square off a Single Equality Bill. It would seem from the conversation between both women that events in Britain will surpass efforts here and that those events in Britain will now form the basis of what will pass in Northern Ireland in the end.

    It looks as though it will be Westminster bringing this in and once again OFMDFM will be hanging of the coat tails making only minor ammendments to fit the NI setting.