“they are prepared to go to any lengths to avoid making difficult decisions..

The BBC’s Jim Fitzpatrick asked a key question in the Politics Show discussion about the FOUR Victims’ Commissioners – at what point did the First and deputy First Ministers decide to change the structure of the post from one commissioner to four? They clearly hadn’t decided before re-advertising the one post in October.. after a summer of failing to agree on who to appoint. Adds As Kenneth Bloomfield says, “Four does seem rather a large number. But I think the reality of the thing is that there isn’t yet sufficient trust on either side of the community to identify an individual with sufficient integrity to represent everybody. That’s a very great pity and I believe there are such people. But the confidence doesn’t seem to exist to go for such a person.” Although, more specifically, there isn’t sufficient trust or confidence between the two parties with the task of identifying such an individual – Temporary link to the Sunday Sequence interview [RealPlayer file] And In the clip below the DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson prefers to answer that question, from a “trainspotting” Jim Fitzpatrick, in “[his] own way, not the BBC’s way..”

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  • harry

    ach well,

    they have money to burn, up there at stormont. and its only the taxpayers that have foot the bill for martin and ian’s facade of a marriage.

  • Greenflag

    Decisions , decisions a necessary requirement.
    And by the time they make one.
    They’ll be ready for retirement.

    Making decisions is the most important quality in a good leader. Many politicians have what is called the ready -aim-aim-aim -aim syndrome but are unwilling to fire .

    But then who said you have to be a good leader to be a successful politician ? In the Republic we’ve gotten by with an excellent politician who has all the leadership skills of a latter day Chamberlain . Paisley is a priest politician of the ancient school and a leader and just look at how long it has taken him to lead Northern Ireland nowhere 🙁

  • I know Ken is a former senior civil servant, but even Sir Humphrey would have blushed at this piece of self-contradictory waffle:

    Four does seem rather a large number. But I think the reality of the thing is that there isn’t yet sufficient trust on either side of the community to identify an individual with sufficient integrity to represent everybody. That’s a very great pity and I believe there are such people. But the confidence doesn’t seem to exist to go for such a person.

    So what Ken is saying is that there are people who could do the job impartially but people aren’t impartial enough to accept that there are people could do the job impartially? Balls. This has nothing to do with insufficient trust on ‘either side’ of the community and everything to do with insufficient trust, intelligence or leadership capacity in the two main parties of government.

  • The Dubliner

    Kenneth Bloomfield’s smoothing-over exercise sounds reasonable on cursory reading (and Mr Bloomfield always sounds eminently sensible, hence his usefulness on this occasion), but in reality will have the effect of undermining the credibility of the office(s), as – apart from the cynical farce that has been deliberately engineered thus far – new comical dances will emerge as the inevitable claims follow that cases are distributed to the respective commissioner according to their perceived partiality (the basis for appointing them), thereby engineering the outcome. The outcome will then lack credibility, just as the process of getting there lacks credibility.

  • Donaldson made an interesting comment regarding the La Mon situation. “Dr Paisley has never gone where he’s not wanted”. So was that his twin that appeared at the Drumcree parade several years ago walking arm in arm with Trimble?

  • Mick Fealty

    ‘will only go where he has been invited’ is what I heard Pounder…

  • Semantics, the poitn being he damn sure wasn’t invited to Portadown by the Garvaghy Road residents nor would the GOLI have invited an Independant Orange Order member, IIRC I was still losely involved with the OO at the time and many Portadown Orangemen resented Paisley and Trimble turning up and stealing all the glory.

  • Dewi

    This from The Economist on Jan 24………..2002
    Its been ten years since this inquiry, into a single incident, was announced. If the commission is to do serious work it must be well resourced – risk is that it might produce different truths for different folks.

    AFTER the Nuremberg trials were over, the West German government held its own tribunals on the conduct of 85,000 Nazis. The South African government set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate the wrongs done under apartheid. For nations, as for people, facing up to the past is part of getting over it.

    Britain’s record on the use and abuse of state power has been fairly good. Bloody Sunday was an exception. On January 30th 1972, 13 people were killed and 13 wounded, one fatally, in a civil-rights march in Londonderry in Northern Ireland. All, it is alleged, were shot by British soldiers. A tribunal, chaired by Lord Saville, has been sitting for four years to establish what happened. Now, with the 30th anniversary of Bloody Sunday approaching and the showing of two television films about it, Britain is facing up to this dreadful event.

    The inquiry is coming in for criticism from both sides of the Irish Sea. The loudest complaints have been the length of time it has taken and the cost: about £50m and rising. Most of the money is going to that breed the public loves to hate: lawyers. But many unionists in Northern Ireland and Conservatives in Britain feel that the inquiry should never have been set up. They regard it as a sop to the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and its political wing, Sinn Fein, to get them to participate in the peace process, and see it as little more than a publicly funded vendetta against the Parachute Regiment.

    Why, they ask, has Bloody Sunday been singled out for investigation? Where is the Enniskillen Inquiry, establishing who was responsible for the bomb that went off on Remembrance Day in 1987, killing 11 and wounding 63? What about Bloody Friday, when the IRA set off 21 bombs in Belfast’s city centre on July 21st, 1972, killing 9 and injuring 130? In this case, as in many others, the bombers were not punished and their terrorist commanders never identified. To add to the growing sense of grievance, on January 21st two former IRA leaders, Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, waltzed into the Houses of Parliament after a chat with Tony Blair at Downing Street to settle into their new offices as Sinn Fein MPs.

    The hostility to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry is understandable, but misguided. Not only has it already helped the peace process by meeting the single most persistent nationalist grievance arising out of the 30 years of the troubles, but it may also, surprisingly, lend some support to the unionists’ account of events. Lord Saville’s tribunal has already unearthed much that the republicans would have preferred to keep buried, and there will be more to come.

    Although the inquiry focuses on the events of Bloody Sunday, lawyers for both the civil-rights marchers and the paratroopers have already cast the net wider to set that day in its context. Both sides have therefore had to listen to the full explanation of grievances suffered by the other side in the relative peace of the Derry Guildhall rather than on opposite sides of a barricade. Just as South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission encouraged mutual understanding between two communities that had previously lived in separate worlds, so Lord Saville’s tribunal might achieve the same.

    Where were you, Martin McGuinness?
    At the same time, the tribunal is forcing nationalists to face up to their own responsibilities for Bloody Sunday. Lawyers for the victims’ families have insisted that the truth means the truth “however unpalatable”, and have asked to interview everyone, including people who were in the IRA at the time. Nationalist witnesses have been taken aback to find themselves cross-examined about the IRA, and the neat lines that were supposed to exist between civil-rights demonstrators and the IRA have been dissolving.

    The tribunal has forced Mr McGuinness into admitting that he was indeed an IRA commander in Londonderry at the time. According to a much-disputed intelligence report submitted to the inquiry, he told an informer that he had “personally fired the shot from Rossville flats in the Bogside that precipitated the Bloody Sunday episodes”. All those lawyers will really start to earn their money when the likes of Mr McGuinness take the stand. In the first inquiry, conducted by Lord Widgery in the weeks after the event, only paratroopers were questioned. This will be the first time that those in the IRA at the time have faced questioning.

  • Dewi

    Bloody Sunday happened so long ago, so many key witnesses have died, so many memories have faded and so much material evidence has been lost that the full truth of what happened in Londonderry 30 years ago will never be known. But if the tribunal helps both sides in Northern Ireland’s conflict to face up to their responsibilities for Bloody Sunday, then it will have been worth what it costs in lawyers’ fees.

  • Richard James


    Neither Paisley or Trimble actually went down the Garvaghy Road, the famous jig was over a mile away. And I doubt Paisley is persona non grata in Portadown.

    Nor is Paisley a member of the independent Orange Order, although he does address them on the Twelfth of July. The only loyal institution he is a member of as far as I’m aware is the Apprentice Boys.

  • Danny O’Connor

    While I fully accept the need for someone to champion the cause of victims I am surprised that 4 have been appointed,will all 4 have to agree?.Why, if they were going to appoint more than 1, didn’t they advertise for a victim’s commission rather than a commissioner ?.I would have applied myself.
    Is Patricia Lewsley going to get 3 more commissioners to uphold the rights of children?,after all we have more children than victims.

  • Was I imagining things or did I just see Jeffrey Donaldson ask a planted, sympathetic question of Martin McGuinness?