Junior’s shopping list from St Andrews…

The following is from a Press Release from Jim Allister, the DUP’s estranged MEP. Nevin has a copy of this on his blog (which would give him the SCOOP guys, when you are writing this up in the Dead Tree Press). It pretty much concurs with much of the discontent we were picking up in the lower ends of the DUP: ie that Team Paisley were using the St Andrews negotiations to feather their own constitutency’s nest rather than attending to the wider party constituency. On the critical last day of the negotiations David Hanson, NIO Minister of State, wrote to Ian Paisley Junior in the following terms:

From Jim Allister:

ST ANDREWS BOMBSHELL

“I am appalled by what I have today discovered by a Freedom of Information request as to how the DUP conducted itself at St Andrews last October, particularly Ian Paisley Junior.

With Unionists back home hoping and believing that the DUP leadership was there negotiating hard for the best deal possible in defence of the Union, I believe most will be outraged to discover that Ian Paisley Junior was wasting valuable leverage on securing concessions from the PM no less, not on matters of importance to Unionists, but on issues of mere commercial or constituency import.

When Unionism needed concessions on a vast range of issues, including an end to mandatory coalition, the decoupling of OFMDFM, a resolute insistence on an end to the Army Council, an enhanced financial package for NI and much more, why did Ian Paisley Junior think it appropriate to move the focus onto these irrelevant issues? Patently by this tactic the DUP took its eye off the ball. Little wonder the outcome was so disappointing for unionists.

While I was part of the wider DUP delegation at St Andrews I was carefully excluded from all negotiating meetings. Now, I better understand why!

Ian Paisley Junior and the DUP leadership now owe a full, unvarnished explanation to the people, not only as to why these matters were prioritised but precisely what is involved in each. For example, what is meant by the reference to a resort spa with housing, who were the beneficiaries, why were the Sweeney lands at the Causeway made part of the negotiations and likewise why were the Ballee lands in the mix? Each and every one of the four senior negotiators who attended the meetings with Hanson and the Prime Minister must explain, but above all Ian Paisley Junior must come clean.

It will be no answer to try and divert attention by attacking me as the messenger, let’s have utter transparency, honesty and candour.”

, ,

  • Bannsider

    DUP MLA lobbies for infrastructure and tourism improvements. Big whoop. At least he was seeking good things for the Province. What did Trimble get? Oh yes a “K” for Reg.

  • Glensman

    Bannsider,

    I don’t really see how dropping a judicial review would help to promote infrastructure or tourism. It seems to me to be more protection of cronies and land developers…

  • URQUHART

    It’s going to be very inetesting watching how the connections stack up.

    Did the others in the negotiating team have shopping lists too?

  • Well, well. Allister’s censure is fully justified. Why on earth was Baby Doc wasting his time with North Antrim parish pump issues at a time like that? Answer: it’s how the DUP operates, from top to bottom. Contrary to Bannsider’s attempt at whitewash, a lot of us would like to know who was going to benefit from the spa proposal. Was Junior representing other interests? Does he need his memory jogged on this subject as well? Imagine bringing that kind of shopping list to the Prime Minister. One minute Broon is dealing with Iraq and Afghanistan, the next he is involved with judicial reviews in Ballee.

    Not for the first time a team of unionist negotiators has been exposed as a bunch of parochial amateurs. Pathetic. And these are the people supposed to be fighting for unionist interests. What a wretched shower of imbeciles.

  • Bannsider

    The Watchman

    Tell you what, if you could do better, why not run for office outlining how you would make the Province a better place. Unionist politicians concerned with provincial issue? Hmmm…might have something to do with the fact that we are living in a Province. No?

  • Chuckle

    Is this great wee place “Norn Iron” a country or a pravince? Make your minds up.

  • Bannsider

    It’s a country which is also a Province. Stop being childish.

  • pith

    Bannsider,

    I’m intellectually vapid line of argument which states, “why don’t you run then and show us how it’s done” won’t work. It is quite simple – Junior was there as part of a delegation from a party representating unionism in negotiations over the constitutional future of Northern Ireland. It is entirely inappropriate that he was lobbying the Prime Minister on issues such as private sector involvement in the Giants Causeway development or the Resort Spa.

  • Very tempting offer, Bannsider, but frankly I couldn’t put up with the kind of people whose horizons are apparently bordered by Kells, Ballycastle and Rasharkin. You obviously think that throwing all that parish pump stuff for the Paisleys’ backyard into the negotiating mix at St Andrews was a good idea. Me, I would have been embarrassed. (Oh and did the DUP try to represent the issues of any of the other 17 constitutencies? A dual carriageway all the way to Rossnowlagh? One of the new councils to be named after the Punt family?) Open your eyes, Bannsider, that kind of stuff does not belong in the negotiation of a constitutional settlement. If you think it does, you should be in the pay of the DUPers. If you’re not already.

  • Bole

    Considering the A26 dosent go to Ballycastle, it shows how well Junior knows the constituency he represents

  • ballamena hi

    Heres one for the loo wall Mick i think that baby doc and the big Slab have soo much in common that they should start their own party.Nope hang on but they are almost like one party as it is oh well.

  • pith

    Has it been put to Junior that maybe he ought to resign from his ministerial position or do arrangements at Stormont preclude that sort of responsibility-bearing?

  • joeCanuck

    Why tease us with only half of a joke?
    What’s the punchline?

  • methinks

    What a waster. Glad to see Noel Thompson make him squirm. For Mr Arrogant to apologise, takes something. Wish he meant it. Doubtless, though, the more serious issue is that the DUP negotiators, as Allister said, took their eye off the ball. So unionism is the loser.
    Remember the promised default mechanism to put Sinn Fein out if they defaulted, pity Junior didn’t give that more priority than his pet projects.
    If there was anyone with any guts left in the DUP they’d lance this boil once and for all. Instead, I fear, Junior and his approving Dad will go on to new excesses.

  • heh heh

    Can you imagine Blair’s exasperated hilarity after being given this most small-time of crony wish lists?!
    Frankly tho IPJ can clearly get away with ANYTHING while his father is around. In the post IPS world, he’ll be toast in days. He’ll last as long as a set of hair straighteners in the Sweeney mansion.

  • methinks

    How right you are, heh heh. Blair must have been falling about laughing, but then he knew well from his one to one meetings with big Paisley that they were a pushover. Stroke the ego and offer a few sweeties and the deal was done.

  • Bemused

    When is this utterly, utterly, utterly corrupt prat going to just do us all a favour and resign? He appears to have been up to more huckstering jiggery-pokery than a Fianna Fail Councillor in the 1980’s.

  • marty

    When is this utterly, utterly, utterly corrupt prat going to just do us all a favour and resign?

    Totally agree Bemused, problem is though there’s no opposition in Stormont to apply the required pressure.

  • Turgon

    One question which has to be asked here is why was Paisley junior doing all this? He clearly has no concept at all of political negotiations. However, why is he so keen to get all these concessions? The future of St. Pats barracks, upgrading the road and spending money on the North West are all reasonable constituency issues although put forward in a most biazzre forum (maybe he should have tried the UN in New York?). The Causeway land, resort Spa and judicial review, however, sound like they could be issues for a constituent (singular) rather than constituents.

    I have suggested before that Paisley junior may fancy himself in Westminster following his father and I offer my free counsel to the DUP. Indeed Paisley junior is THE man for you for next time in North Antrim.

  • “Glad to see Noel Thompson make him squirm.”

    Perhaps Noel should have questioned Ian jr on his earlier (questionable) assertions about Ballee. I was more impressed by Spotlight’s approach based on detailed research.

  • BonarLaw

    I agree that this all stinks but perhaps it is the process and not IPJ who should be taking all the flak. After all I remember being at UUP meetings in 1998 when David Trimble urged the branch to foward their local shopping list to Glengall Street to feed into the negotiations.

    All the UUP got was a K for Reg, IPJ seemed to come away with a bit more.

  • steve

    Marty
    Why would the oposition apply pressure to have IPJ removed?

    He is the best election poster any oposition could possibly ask for!

    Right now he is working as a party political ad for every one but the DUP

  • marty

    Steve – point taken, but I doubt that issues like this are going to be reflected at the ballot box. The bbc report and interview wasn’t overly impressive and to that end the man in the street will have forgotten about this tomorrow.

    Juniors constituents will probably look on this as him working for them. Once Papa Doc shuffles off I’d wager Junior’s enemies within the DUP will move against him.

  • steve48

    according to the Belfast Tele the landowners were to get 10% of the purchase price to pass the land on to Sweeny et al. If junior got the price reduced from £75 mill to £50 million then he cost the same landowners £2.5mill. Hardly working in their best interest.

    Junior ascerts that these were side issues (anyone tell Blair that)

  • wild turkey

    ‘Has it been put to Junior that maybe he ought to resign from his ministerial position or do arrangements at Stormont preclude that sort of responsibility-bearing?’ Pith

    There is a certain synchronicity at work here. Stop and think about it.

    Tony Blair leaves office. Bags a cool $1 million a year advising world famous investment bank J P Morgan

    IPJ leaves office. Could bag a cool £??? advising world famous Ballymena Costcutter supermarket to make a serious run against Tesco. After all Junior clearly knows ‘Every little bit helps’

  • marty

    Steve48,
    Hardly working in their best interest.
    I haven’t read the tele article, just seen the beeb report which didn’t go into much detail IMO e.g. Thompson reads out the above list and then asks repeatedly about negotiating for the union. More probing questions on the nature of the lobbying would have been in order but, typically for NI, the focus was on the tribal politics.

  • GavBelfast

    In the interests of balance, I do hope that Mrs Ian Paisley Jr will be allowed onto Newsline tomorrow evening to defend her man and say how beastly to him and the family his awful critics are?

  • steve48

    Nevin’s site links to the court papers which outline the deal and the 10%.

    Anyone any idea if the resort spa and 200 homes was the proposed Swan Centre outside Ballymena.

    DUP’s demands before entering talks £1 billion

    Sweeny’s take after talks £???????

    Executive take after talks £0.00

  • steve48

    Opinion piece written yesterday before this was highlighted again

    “The announcement that an enquiry will be held into the Ballee land issue goes to very heart of public confidence in the integrity of politics. The vesting of private land for public good has always been a difficult policy area and one where the sometimes devastating impact on individuals must be balanced against the greater needs of the wider community. In those instances where vesting does take place it is incumbent on the vesting agency to ensure that the need for the land can not be met in any other way and that the process has been open and transparent. Value is of course a priority issue and for the land owner the use of what was previously the Valuation and Land Agency and is now Land and Property Services has ensured that the price is set at the fair market value. Where land has been vested and is no longer needed the principle should always be that first refusal on the land is given to the previous owners, again based on the current fair market value. If Ian Paisley Jnr interceded on his constituents behalf to ensure this was the case then his intervention was justified and correct and should be supported by legislation to ensure that in future land owners have first refusal on the resale of previously vested land. Such legislation should also detail a time frame for the use of vested land, for example if vested land is not used for the purposes for which it was vested within say 5 years it should be declared surplus to requirement.
    The significant area of concern is whether or not Mr Paisley interfered further in the process on the question of price. If as reported the price set by the relevant agency was £75 million then that is the price that should have been paid. It has been reported in the Belfast Telegraph that the original land owners had negotiated a deal which would have seen the land transfer to developers for an additional 10% of the purchase price thereby earning them £7.5 million pounds on the market value of the land. If at this point Mr Paisley used his influence to have the price reduced to £50 million then there are two areas of concern. The first is that the NI Executive struggling with an inadequate budget have lost out on a further £25 million pounds which could have gone some way to addressing some of the infrastructure deficits or social housing need in Northern Ireland. Indeed given that any profit from the sale of the site has resulted from a lack of Government investment in Ballymena there is a case that all of it should be directed to projects in the Ballymena area. In that case Ian Paisley Jnr has argued for a reduction in Government investment in Ballymena. The second issue concerns the relevant land owners who having negotiated a fair deal with developers have seen the value of that deal drop from £7.5 million to £5 million apparently on the intervention of Ian Paisley Jnr.
    The question any enquiry must look at is who has lost and who has gained from this episode. Certainly the developers have gained in that 96 acres of land which could have cost them £82.5 million will now only cost them £55 million a saving of £27.5 million pounds. On the other hand the people of Northern Ireland and especially the people of Ballymena have lost in that a vital £25 million is not available for investment in roads, hospitals, social housing or schools. Under the terms of the agreement outlined in the Belfast Telegraph the land owners have also lost a not insignificant £2.5 million. Potentially however the greatest loss will be in public confidence in the democratic process. If people cannot have faith in propriety of those they elect then democracy, for which such a high price has been paid, is the loser. Those engaged in this enquiry have the responsibility to protect the structures of Government from those who would use such structures to the detriment of the people of Northern Ireland.”

  • Comrade Stalin

    It’s hard to know where to start one. You’ve got :

    – lobbying the government over issues which are all within the remit of the devolved administration

    – using the plank of all-party talks in an effort to secure these

    – most specifically, asking for a judicial review to be dropped. That one is incredible. It smacks of “I’ve got this little legal problem which I’d like to disappear”.

    Unionism is well-known for this kind of low-level corruption but this escalates it onto a whole new level.

  • ozy

    Items 1, 3 and 5 seem to be legitimate, if parochial, constituency concerns.

    Items 2, 4 and 6 are far more serious – this really is the stuff of 1980s Haughey-era Fianna Fail.

  • heh hehheh@gmail.com

    Steve, who wrote that op piece?

  • jone

    marty you can read Martina Purdy’s comprehensive piece on Ballee here:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7130782.stm

  • The Prime Minister has considered your requests and has agreed that we should try to respond positively…

    This letter should be regarded as a statement of intent.

    There are two obvious caveats there. As joeCanuck @ 07:16 PM pointedly asked, where’s the punch-line, where’s the beef? We need the follow-up: is there evidence that either Downing Street or the NIO complied with any or all these requests? I asked Santa for a 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Display; but I’m still waiting.

    And if the goodies did arrive, who else should be in the tumbril? And if they didn’t, does that mean the prat sprat is still hooked on the line?

    But kudos to Jim Allister for keeping this one in the topper. If that hat holds more rabbits to produce before 13th February …

  • aquifer

    Ian Paisley Jnr is a man of principle. At no point did he ask for a Subaru Imprezia turbo.

  • James Sutton North Antrim

    If Jr wasn’t any relation to Senior he would be sacked. This revelation is sickening.

  • loki

    Daft question this- wasn’t one James Allister Esq MEP a DUP negotiator at St Andrew’s so shouldn’t he have known what was going on there without needing FoI Act to get info? Sounds more like get the Paisleys. Anyway would he be releasing this now if he wasn’t seriously worried about Banbridge bye-election result? This is the kind of juicy stuff that he should be holding onto until IPJ runs for Westminster

  • Turgon

    loki,
    At this rate Paisley junior will have produced many, many more such things for the TUV before the next Westminster election. Indeed I am beginning to wonder if Paisley junior is actually in the TUV. I will ask Sammy Morrison next time I am in contact with him.

  • Sorry, chaps, I know I’m slow on the up-take; and thanks for not sending me up.

    But, surely, the biggy here is the top line: The Prime Minister has considered …

    Surely, all the items on the wish-list are within the gift of the NIO. Why Blair and not Hain? Did Hain not have the clout? Or, was the intention to impress Jnr with the little touch of Tony on the night?

    And, we all now wonder, was this a specific FOI request, based on inside knowledge? Or a more general trawl? In the latter case, there’s more to come: this is just a taster.

  • Loki, this Allister quote in the press release should answer your query:

    While I was part of the wider DUP delegation at St Andrews I was carefully excluded from all negotiating meetings. Now, I better understand why!

  • Malcolm, here’s a rabbit – or a pig – that’s gone largely unnoted by the media!!

  • That reference to the judicial review “to be dropped” caught my breath, because politicos cannot do that, can’t even suggest that kind of thing. Can they?

    So I went looking. And I guess that, while I did, somebody else had pointed out the following:

    BALLYMENA based North Antrim SDLP MLA Declan O’Loan has called for an Assembly-level probe into the alleged role of his DUP counterpart, Ian Paisley jnr, in a £50m land deal – believed to be one of the biggest of its kind in Northern Ireland…

    The dispute went all the way to the High Court, but the judicial review case was halted in June this year, after a £50m price was agreed…

    The papers released by DSD show Mr Paisley Jnr directly lobbied Direct Rule Minister David Hanson on the case.

    So that’s the source of Allister’s FOI request?

  • Corrupt Garda

    It would appear corrupt politics is becoming more widespread throughout the Island. It is a small list really in comparison to FF’s heroics of the last two decades plus however.

  • McGrath

    I wonder what everyone else’s laundry list was? Could make for some bracing stuff!

  • McGrath

    I wonder what the shopping lists were like at Sunningdale and if they played a role in its eventual outcome?

  • Comrade Stalin

    It would appear corrupt politics is becoming more widespread throughout the Island. It is a small list really in comparison to FF’s heroics of the last two decades plus however.

    “becoming” ? You talk as if politicians around here have spent their lives as holy joes. This sort of corruption has always existed, it’s only now that it’s becoming visible due to the devolved administration getting to work.

  • pith

    Does anybody know what the Resort Spa planning approval negotiating point is all about?

  • joeCanuck

    Nothing holy about me!

  • Pith, you’ll find a reference to the likely spa in the NALIL blog.

  • Nolabel

    We should not allow ourselves to be blinded by petty party poltical concerns (some hope). We are ALL citizens of Northern Ireland and this type of behaviour is an insult to all of the people of Northern Ireland who suffered for over 30 years hoping that some day we might have some form of accountable government and some kind of democracy. What have we got instead? Consensus politics and a deafening silence from those who pack the churches/chaples/whatever on a Sunday. It would appear that “anything goes” and that the love of money is the only consideration. The rich will get richer and the poor poorer (what about the children of NI living in poverty Mr Paisley? Or the people of the village living in disgraceful housing conditions? I dont think that they are too worried about spas and golf courses – they need bathrooms and heating). What a jolly game they are playing up at Stormont. Honourable exceptions like John Dallat are too few and far between. What are they all doing? They have no shame and they appear to have learnt the lesson that integrity, or even a pretence of same, is no longer needed in public life.

  • steve48

    Runkerry Hotel and Golf Club, Bushmills, Northern Ireland
    Talon is a partner in the development of a hotel, spa and golf resort in Northern Ireland. This facility will offer 5 star accommodations and a world-class golf course to be operated by Gleneagles. The project is in the development phase.

    Is this the resort spa mentioned and if so was it promoted as an investment opportunity to Donald Trump by Ian Paisley Snr?

  • pith

    Thanks Nevin. What an interesting jigsaw this is turning out to be. Wonder how many more pieces there are.

  • Steve48 @ 11.27AM has got there before me, however …

    In 1951 Sir Malcolm Macnaghten donated Runkerry House to NI “for public use”. It was flogged off in 1996, without consultation, to Seaport Investments Ltd. The Talon Group Inc then announced the development of a

    meeting, spa and golf resort in Northern Ireland. This facility will offer 5 star accommodations and a world class golf course.

    That was supposed to open in 1998. Since then, with the connivance of the National Trust, a right-of-way has been re-routed, without consent, and

    in March 1999 … David Hamilton-Brown bought a 2,500 sq ft apartment in Runkerry House, County Antrim for £400,000.

    David Hamilton-Brown, touted there as a New York banker, appears in a 2004 press release:

    International Financial Data Services (IFDS), a State Street Corporation and DST Systems joint venture, announced today the appointment of David Hamilton-Brown as Chief Information Officer.
    Hamilton-Brown previously worked as Managing Director and Chief Information Officer for CIBC World Markets in New York and, prior to that he served as Chief European Technology Officer and Co-Head of Global Technologies for Credit Suisse First Boston.

    Talon Group Inc:

    is a real estate development group formed in 1989, whose geography encompasses the United States, the Caribbean, Latin America and Europe. Talon and/or its affiliates are involved specifically in the hospitality business and currently own and operate hotels in the Caribbean, Mexico and the U.S. …

    The principals of Talon have arranged mortgage, joint venture and/or equity financing for hospitality assets in excess of 1 billion dollars.

    In 2002, Seaport Investments was (quelle surprise!):

    Mr S Sweeney, Mr J Edmond, Mr P Kendrick and Ms O Hanly.

  • Danny O’Connor

    There is a rumour going round that when IP jnr was a young boy his father asked him to spell GOD and junior replied “that’s easy GOLD”.