“London has enough problems of its own..”

According to the BBC report, “after five hours of talks at Downing Street”, Northern Ireland’s new First and deputy First Ministers emerged blinking into the light. Adds Mark Devenport has some more details.

However, Mr Robinson said that the talks should have taken place in Northern Ireland. “I believe an awful lot of what we have done today we should have done back in Belfast and we need to do back in Belfast. The problems are in Northern Ireland, they’re not in London – I think London has enough problems of its own,” he said.

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  • percy

    Indeed, these talks ought to have taken place in Ulster, but it would appear one side wasn’t listening?
    Which side was that I wonder?

    There was a hint when MMG indicated the following in his acceptance speech:
    There’s too much “talking at each other”, and not enough “talking to each other”.

  • graduate

    Interesting to note that the boyos who’ve been shouting “Brits out” for all these years are the first ones to go crying to the British government when they can’t get their own way by threatening a few bombs anymore.
    Time to wake up and smell the coffee chaps- you haven’t got a united Ireland, you aren’t going to get one and the DUP have you where they want you-under the thumb:-)

  • noel adams

    Perhaps the person Peter should be talking to in belfast is his wife after todays case of foot in mouth.Negative vibes on C4 not the start he would want.

  • graduate

    He could probably do with a word in mr Poots’ ear also! Is it just me or do we think DCAL will be seeing a change of minister next week??

  • McGrath

    Interesting to note that the boyos who’ve been shouting “Brits out” for all these years are the first ones to go crying to the British government when they can’t get their own way by threatening a few bombs anymore.
    Time to wake up and smell the coffee chaps- you haven’t got a united Ireland, you aren’t going to get one and the DUP have you where they want you-under the thumb:-)

    Posted by graduate on Jun 06, 2008 @ 08:14 PM

    Any reasonable person would view the occurrences of this week as working examples of progress, compared to the old alternatives. Yet your instinct is to gloat about it. Since you don’t appear to be happy with the current mechanism, I would like to hear your proposals.

    Regarding your United Ireland quip, the single biggest obstacle, beyond even a democratic majority vote on reunification, would be the obnoxious demeanor of Unionism as espoused by your above comments.

    Who would want you?

  • Graduate, we’ve already been told that all DUP posts will get a change of personnel and that the process will be repeated in 18 months time.

  • McGrath,

    You talk of progress, but for who I would ask, yes the politicos in SF have agreed to cooperate with their fellows in the DUP. but that is not why they were voted into office, they claimed they could provide their constituency with a comprehensive education system that would bring selection to an end. policing was to be devolved by last May.

    All we have seen is freebies to the USA for some of the top shinners, plus stupid photo opportunities with their DUP opposite numbers, whilst the SF manifesto lays gaining dust in the cupboard of Connolly House. In other words no political progress at all.

    Any fool over the last four decades could have agreed to share power on the unionists terms, that is no big deal. What the shinners promised was a new start which would produce, on the ground, real benefits for the nationalist working classes, beyond that is looking at staged photos of aging shinners in the ATN and AP/RN. We have seen the broken egg shells when do we get to taste the omelet.

    By the way Gerry flying about the place in a bloody helicopter, just about rode a coach and horse through SF environmental credentials. for christ sake, farce is turning into tragedy here.

  • McGrath

    Mick Hall,

    While I largely agree with you, would you agree progress is relative? For instance, compare today with exactly 20 years ago.

    Government in NI as we now now know it is in its infancy with the key players effectively novices. The recent non decisions and mutual veto mentality is something akin to stage fright with both players being more afraid of making the first mistake than making an actual decision.

    While the current situation is somewhat pathetic, its better than regression. My guess is that in time, when the old enemies slip away, real progress will come when relationships build between the parties.

  • “The problems are in Northern Ireland”

    It looks as if Robinson (ex-DFP), Murphy (DRD) and their officials will soon be questioned about the transfer of the contract for the Rathlin ferry and the funding for the new catamaran.

    Those who have had a sight of the tenders indicate that some of the detail doesn’t make sense. I’m told that the same boats have been ranked(?) differently in two competing tenders.

    My conversations with some of the people who have an interest in this story indicate that CalMac is less than happy with the tendering process and that the new operator, Ciaran O’Driscoll, may lack the expertise necessary to run such an enterprise.

    Is the apparent silence of Ian Paisley snr, ex-FM, and Alex Salmond, Scotland’s FM, on this controversy significant? Did either play a part in the process?

    Eamon O Cuiv, Dáil minister, has also been questioned about the operation of O’Driscoll ferries in West Cork.

  • Cape Clear News: Former skipper suffers black day as Cape Clear ?hurt and split? by ferry privati

    (Irish Examiner 2nd March 2007)

    An emotional Tadhg (Ted) ׃ Drisceoill, 59, told Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Eamon ׃ Cuiv that his department had deleted a clause protecting his crew from the new contract governing the now-privatised route.

    As the new operator began plying the route for the first time yesterday, Mr ׃ Drisceoill led a delegation of nearly 20 islanders to meet Mr ׃ Cuiv who was visiting West Cork.

    They told the minister that two of the four crew were offered lesser positions on the ferry by the new operator, but they had declined. One was not offered a position at all.

    Mr ׃ Drisceoill said he has 35 years’ experience on the ferry — 30 years as skipper — and had followed in the footsteps of his father and uncle, who brought the first State ferry to the island in 1931.

    “Monday was the blackest day of my life. I have a clear record and vast experience but that counts for nothing.”

    He said his heart was broken to see Cape Clear “hurt and split” by the decision to privatise the ferry route. The crew has been let down by the department and the minister.

    SIPTU also condemned the department for deleting the employee protection clause from the new operating contract.

    Union official Tom O’Driscoll called on the minister to intervene to protect the affected workers and explain why the clause was deleted. The four-man crew, who are native islanders, operated the vessel as employees of Naomh Ciar?n II Teoranta — a subsidiary of Comharchummann Oile?n Chleire, the Island Co-Op.

    Seagoing vessels are not covered by the Transfer of Undertakings legislation, which is there to protect employees’ rights and conditions when their employment is taken over by a new owner.

    “Recognising this, the department incorporated a clause into the operator’s contract which would effectively give employees the same level of protection as provided for in the Transfer of Undertakings legislation. But this clause has now been deleted,” said Mr ׃ Drisceoill.

    “According to the terms of agreement between the new contractor and the department, the contractor can now operate the vessel with a crew of their own choosing and pay them what they like. The department has therefore made it easy for them to avoid their obligations, by arguing that as a sea-going vessel, the Naomh Ciar?n II is exempt from the legislation.”

    He said it was a very serious development which could have serious repercussions for other maritime workers on Ireland’s coastal waters.

    “The department is claiming no legal liability in this issue because it does not directly employ the workers concerned,” he said.

    “This may be legally correct, but it is a disgraceful cop-out since the department drew up the contract and, therefore, has a moral and ethical duty to ensure the protection of existing employees.”

    The minister said his department would seek to discuss the issue with SIPTU in the coming weeks.