Government comes out of suspended animation…

To deal with a real world problem. After months of stalemate and inaction in the Executive, it seems two DUP ministers have consulted and agreed an ex officio plan to deal with the flooding from the weekend. The problem, as Michael has suggested, may be that executive approval is needed for anything that covers the remit of two or more executive departments? Which would actually require an executive meeting. Interesting… That could make for an interesting call for the DFM…

,

  • RepublicanStones

    Whilst i own a gaffe in North Belfast and regularly use the westlink on my way to Dublin, I have to say, Im willing to give the politicos and DOE honchos a buy on this one. No matter how well the homosapiens engineer something, nature will always win in the end. I think this westlink underpass thing is a blip, rather like the Newry-Dublin road, remember it was a carpark for the first few days. This is the first test the underpass has had, fair enough it failed, but Christ the amount of uisce them boys had to deal with was unreal. It reminded me of west africa rains. Before this the westlink underpass was a dream, straight off the M1 and didn’t have to slow down until the Clifton St turnoff.

  • Mick Fealty

    The point is that two ministers appear to have broken the rules in defiance of SF’s boycott of government business.

  • cynic

    And Margaret Ritchie was on banging on about what she and her Department did but there was a strong sense that she had worked in isolation from the others …so we end up with Sammy giving out money on one hand while Margaret did the same thing from a different pot on another.

    We need to understand:

    1 did they speak beforehand?

    2 did officials in the 3 Departments speak?

    3 was there any co-ordination at all? If not, why not?

    4 where were the First Minister and his Deputy in all this? Was there any management of a situation that was affecting hundreds of people?

    If Government can’t deal with this situation in a managed and co-ordinated way, what hope for anything else?

  • fair_deal

    Surely this scheme has been approved previously?

    Cynic

    “so we end up with Sammy giving out money on one hand while Margaret did the same thing from a different pot on another.”

    If I heard the Margaret Ritchie interview correctly, the Social Security Agency of DSD is giving out emergency grants for social security recipients effected. My hunch would be that most effected are not on benefits so can’t avail of it. The general grant from DoE is for everyone. More a case of full support than duplication – ordinary joe gets £1K and person on benefits gets £1k plus emergency grant.

  • slug

    Isn’t 1k going to be expensive. Suppose 50,000 people are affected. That’s £50m, which would build you a long stretch of motorway to Derry or a substantial upgrate on the Derry railway line. Or a new stadium for that matter.

  • fair_deal

    slug

    “Suppose 50,000 people are affected”

    It’s a per household payment not per person. The previous time the scheme ran £5m was allocated but only £1.1m was claimed.

  • steve

    Precidents a bitch and once out of the bottle the geney won’t go back in

  • “Precidents a bitch and once out of the bottle the geney won’t go back in “

    I’d imagine the genie would be fairly reluctant to return as well.

  • I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK

    #7

    You’re a fine advert for the Canadian education system, Steve.

  • Eddie

    The word is precedent, Steve

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    “The point is that two ministers appear to have broken the rules in defiance of SF’s boycott of government business.”

    The shinners will be in big trouble if they aren’t doing anything in this crisis (the useless fukks) but surely Conor Murphy was all over the news and down at the underpass in last 48hrs? So he’s breaking the boycott too? I don’t quite follow…

  • cynic

    They all seem to be doing what they should ….but in isolation from each other. Not so much a Government as a collection of ferrets in a bag.

    Perhaps the bearded one took the ball home and because of the floods no-one could get to him get it back.

  • Steve

    I see pedantry is not confined to willow unless you two are working as sock puppets

    7

    You’re a fine advert for the Canadian education system, Steve.

    The Canadian education system and I never really got along, like most educational systems it values conformity above all else and I don’t accept other peoples arbitrary rules too well.

    Nice to see you do though

  • Mick Fealty

    BJR: The answer is in the post above:

    “…executive approval is needed for anything that covers the remit of two or more executive department.”

  • Mick, this ‘executive approval’ rule was ignored at the time of the ‘minded’ decision on the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre and was probably also ignored for the new Rathlin ferry contract.

    Paul Priestly, Permanent Secretary at DRD, has set up three investigations into the ferry fiasco yet I’d have thought it would have been more appropriate for the NIAO to carry out an investigation independent of the two (or more) departments which are involved in the affair.

  • fair_deal

    Mick

    There is another part of the Ministerial code you may have overlooked:
    Urgent decisions
    2.14 Where a decision is required to be taken so urgently as not to be able to await consideration at the next Executive Committee meeting, the responsible Minister must set out in writing to the First Minister, the deputy First Minister and the Secretary to the Executive the decision to be taken and, so far as is practicable, the background to the issue, the views of any other Ministers with a relevant interest, the position of any other interested administrations and the consequences of deferring the decision in question pending the next Executive Committee meeting and of not taking it at all. The First Minister and deputy First Minister, acting jointly, will consider the decision in consultation with the responsible Minister, and notify him/her of the outcome of their consideration of the matter. A matter dealt with in this way will be deemed to have been dealt with in accordance with paragraph 2.4 of this Code. Where the urgent decision is the responsibility of the First Minister and deputy First Minister and, acting jointly, they agree that decision, the decision will be deemed to have been dealt with in accordance with paragraph 2.4 of this Code.

  • Briso

    ” in defiance of SF’s boycott of government business”

    Is it a SF boycott or a DUP boycott? If I say “I’m not allowing a meeting unless you put my stuff on the agenda!” and you say “I’m not allowing a meeting unless you take your stuff off the agenda!”, which one of us is boycotting?

  • joeCanuck

    ordinary joe gets £1K

    I’m pleasantly surprised and will make good use of the money down at the liquor store.

  • Michael Shilliday

    FD. That sets out what a single minister can do, not what two ministers acting jointly can do. That provides no basis for two minsters of the same party having a chat and taking a decision outside of the Executive.

  • fair_deal

    MS

    “That sets out what a single minister can do”

    Not by my reading of it. Simply one minister has to take on the role of “responsible minister” with the other(s) fitting into “the views of any other Ministers with a relevant interest”.

  • Michael Shilliday

    That’s terribly confused by what is said to have taken place.

    “The Finance Minister gave the go ahead to Executive Colleague Sammy Wilson to set up the emergency package ”

    So did Dodds or Wilson write to OFMDFM? Who took a decision and who was just submitting a view? Or did the both take a decision with the others view being consulted? Were Ritchie and Murphy consulted by the consulting Minister?

    Its very difficult to portray this as the Executive working efficiently when the scheme has a statutory basis from as far back as 1992, then the DUP press office claim this as their victory (in very partisan way, almost boasting about single party collusion) all to a background of no Executive meetings for months on end.

  • fair_deal

    MS

    I doubt if a statement of the practical implementation of rule 2.14 as a subsection of rule 2.4 etc would have made an exceedingly dull statement. A decison has been took and something is getting done always works much better.

  • joeCanuck

    In the heat of a crisis people can sometimes forget the “rules”. Remember Alexander Haig trying to take over the Whitehouse when Reagan got shot.

  • fair_deal

    Remove I doubt if

  • Michael Shilliday

    Ah, I see. The ends justify the means. That’s all OK then.

  • fair_deal

    MS

    “Ah, I see. The ends justify the means.”

    Eyes roll. No you don’t see. Generally people don’t care about how the paper was shuffled nor will read a statement explaining how it got shuffled, it is what the paper shuffling achieved is what they usually want to know.

  • Michael Shilliday

    So……….the ends justify the means? That is actually want you;re saying.

  • cynic

    “Generally people don’t care about how the paper was shuffled nor will read a statement explaining how it got shuffled, it is what the paper shuffling achieved is what they usually want to know. ”

    Agreed but the Auditors will have to ensure that the expenditiure was “regular” and “proper” ie complied with all revelant controls inclduing the Executive’s own rules.

  • The Raven

    Great. Send in the NIAO. A wiser man than I told me that auditors only counted the dead and bayoneted the wounded.

    NIAO cost NI around £27m over a two year period. When asked how much fraud they uncovered for £27m, they could only say “we don’t count it up – our job is to assist public bodies look after their money.”

    Place not your faith in auditors. Auditors, in Northern Ireland, are 30% of the reason why nothing gets achieved here. Just an observation. Carry on, there.

  • fair_deal

    MS

    “So……….the ends justify the means? That is actually want you;re saying.”

    Err no. A general disnterest in means is not the same as advocating/supporting the use of any means. The public seem to work on the assumption the means are within the accepted bounds, an assumption based on the fact it almost always is and they reserve the right to be seriously displeased if they discover otherwise.

    Cynic

    “Agreed but the Auditors will have to ensure that the expenditiure was “regular” and “proper” ie complied with all revelant controls inclduing the Executive’s own rules.”

    Yep. However my hunch is that if senior civil servants weren’t satisfied money wouldn’t be flowing, a minister’s powers are not limitless.

    The civil service do fuck up but not usually on something like this. An urgent civil servant usually gets the job done. It is when you give them time, committees and consultants etc that they manage to waste big sums that takes a lot of work 😉

    The Raven

    Read about McDonaldisation theory got put onto this last week interesting when applied to civil service processes.
    Ms says there is a statutory basis for such payments, it appears the necessary ministers have communicated and there is a mechanism to get around the 2.4 issues that Mick highlights.

  • The Raven

    Fair Deal – there are no underpaid auditors. Though admittedly, their mission is certainly to devalue the work of others more skilled. 😉

  • fair_deal

    The Raven

    A quote worth remembering

    PS The “Ms says…” line was for cynic