Not-an-Executive meets

It wasn’t an Executive meeting. But after the UUP and SDLP ministers met this morning they joined the DUP ministers this afternoon for an informal talk as the stalemate continues. As the iol report notes.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Peter Robinson had threatened serious consequences if the meeting planned for today – the first cabinet meeting to be held in three months – did not go ahead.

But Sinn Féin defied the DUP and blocked today’s planned meeting, leaving the ministers from the DUP, Ulster Unionist Party and SDLP to hold their own separate round-table talks. Mr Robinson held discussions with the unionist and nationalist ministers in his Stormont office, while Sinn Féin’s deputy first minister Martin McGuiness continued his own work in his office upstairs.

Adds And this from Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward, MP.

Mr Woodward said: “I am rather optimistic actually about how the politics is working here. “There is very clear evidence that on a number of issues, a number of policies, the political leaders, the First and Deputy First Ministers (Peter Robinson and Martin McGuiness) are finding their way through very practical issues with practical solutions. “Of course it is important that the Assembly meets, it is important that the Executive meets, but the … timing I believe is less important than the content and the engagement.” … “Because the Executive has not met this morning doesn’t mean to say that government isn’t going on in Northern Ireland. “Substantial progress is being made on issues that even six months ago were thought to be intractable”

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  • Quagmire

    Fair play to SF. Its about time they grew a back bone. No movement on P&J;then no meeting and no meeting hopefully no Stormont. The six counties were established on a sectarian head count and with a larger nationalist electorate here in the north they have become ungovernable. It was easier back in the good oul days when there wasn’t so many pesky fenians running about! The northern statelet was built upon a lie and that lie my friends is beginning to become undone.

  • It’s ironic. If the DUP try to do things outside the executive then they would be doing exactly what they promised to stop – so-called ‘solo runs’ by ministers!

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Robbo’s ‘serious conequences’ are eagerly awaited although he did appear to be backtracking last week.

    If he has been barking without a follow up bite he will look a tad silly.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    IRA/Sinn Fein are not fit for government. They’ll be forever holding the country to hostage, with or without weapons. Sack them!

  • Dec

    The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Peter Robinson had threatened serious consequences if the meeting planned for today – the first cabinet meeting to be held in three months – did not go ahead.

    Remind me: who’s calling whose bluff now?

  • USA

    The DUP are not fit for government. They’ll be forever holding the country to hostage, with or without weapons. Sack them!

    Hmmm, useful?
    NOT.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    2[i]The six counties were established on a sectarian head count”[/i]

    The creation of N.Ireland was a fine day for the Ulster men and women who signed their names to the Ulster Covenant.

    “[i]with a larger nationalist electorate here in the north they have become ungovernable. It was easier back in the good oul days when there wasn’t so many pesky fenians running about!”[/i]

    Making a country ungovernable is not something to be proud of.

    “[i]The northern statelet was built upon a lie and that lie my friends is beginning to become undone.”[/i]

    Please fill us in on the lie.

    Posted by Quagmire

  • ggn

    “Sack them!”

    Eh? They are elected, they can’t be sacked. Thats the way it works.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    So I wonder what these ‘serious consequences’ will be?… Maybe just more talk of even more serious consequences?

  • Rory

    I suspect that dear Peter has been taking lessons in the art of political threat from Sir Geoffrey Wheatcroft whose art of attack Dennis Healy once described, felt like “being savaged by a dead sheep”.

  • Comrade Stalin

    USA,

    The DUP are not fit for government. They’ll be forever holding the country to hostage, with or without weapons. Sack them!

    Is this an attempt at irony or are you actually being serious ? The only people who are holding a loaded gun to the head of the powersharing government are Sinn Fein. They’re the ones holding things up and threatening to collapse it if they don’t get their way.

  • IJP

    Comrade

    Spot on.

    It’s not so much that SF is not fit to govern, but that it’s not able. It simply has no idea how to persuade and seek consensus – which is what “power sharing” is all about.

    Out of interest, the Alliance Party has sought a meeting with the SF leadership to try to find a way forward. Thus far, there has been no response.

    Is SF really serious about children’s futures, rising fuel costs, or planning blight? Then it should get on with it.

  • I hate to say it but perhaps Peter Robinson will be proved correct here, but not in whatever undisclosed (God I hate being prophetic)way he is threatening about ‘serious consequences’ following the failure of the Executive to meet today.
    The truth is no one here has ‘wriggle room’ any more and SF have not yet realised this any more than the DUP really cares.
    The torrent of well briefed words flowing from SF spokesman like McLaughlin et al on the news/Nolan show this morning was to show the party faithful that the New/SF plot was on track and still working.
    Sadly the opposite is more likely to be true and their attempts to interest governments on either side of the border in Northern Irish affairs as saviours of a ‘Peace Process’ which both Governments scream is working and a total success are verging on the UFB (American Army slang for un-fucking believable)!!!!
    This was a process that supposedly had grown legs and run away already to the success nest and is now a notion totally misplaced in a world where global recession and capitalism’s melt down are reality and not now just debating arguments.
    In the days of the lovely and yet unloved Margaret Thatcher, the notion was that TINA ruled (there is no alternative)was the norm but SF seem to think that the years have mellowed them and there must be a plan B.
    God how that man Blair spoiled them!!!!
    God can some people be soooooooooo wrong!!!!!
    TINA still really rules. There is no plan B anywhere on these islands, except in the warped notions of the dissident Republicans and the waiting-in-the-wings loony Loyalists.
    Stormont works or Stormont shuts will happen.
    No-one is going to devote time and energy to the short term/long term problems of Northern Ireland and be willing to spend time on cajoling the parties here into some sort of ‘new’ compromise of newly established principles (that have been held since the dawn of time) when the financial world as we know it is in total melt down.
    The Executive and Stormont working is the plan and there is nothing else.
    Brian Cowan will make noises through one or other of his Ministers about the need for progress but faced with the economic realities of RoI managing to stay afloat in the current economic climate, he WILL NOT strenuously, or even casually, or even not at all, seek to add to his problems a fiscal solution that makes serious claim to ‘re-discover’ the six northern counties.
    ‘How to discover national bankruptcy in a bankrupt world’, could yet well be the title of his autobiography.
    As for Gordon Brown, does anyone believe that he is rally interested in a problem that was solved (allegedly) by his hated predecessor?
    The serious consequences are for the people of the province who need a voice to be heard speaking for them, and for Executive ministers really speaking for them, and not just gushing a well prepared and learned brief that evades rather than answers questions about what happens next now the Executive has gone past the deadline set to actually have a meeting that did not happen.
    Words like Hell and Handcart and Go and In and A, seem to drift inexorably together.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Comrade Stalin – me old mucker.

    You seem to have a problem with the statement below.

    “The DUP are not fit for government. They’ll be forever holding the country to hostage”

    I take it you were you not listening to El Gordo’s lecture to the DUP in the assembly?

  • Reader

    It was Sammy: I take it you were you not listening to El Gordo’s lecture to the DUP in the assembly?
    A lecture from El Gordo The Infallible? Well, that’s conclusive then.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Well although he not great on domestics he appears good on foreign policy – which to all intents and purposes Norn Iron comes under.

    As a matter of interest dont know if Posh boy Davy and the Neo Cons have spoken out on Police and Justice issue?

  • ggn

    I have to say that from talking to many nationalists this week of numerous hues, I don’t think Sinn Féin would have anything to lose electorally from withdrawing from the ‘power-sharing’ executive.

    I think their leadership have read their electorate well frankly, devolution must be completed.

    In my opinion, most SDLP supporters would also see the devolution of Peace and Justice powers as necessary despite the position of their leadership.

    I think Nationalists and in particular Republicans have tired of Stormont and would like to see about this Plan B, if it exists at all, I as a voter would like a look at it.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Sammy etc:

    You seem to have a problem with the statement below.

    “The DUP are not fit for government. They’ll be forever holding the country to hostage”

    Yes, I have a problem with it. The situation where policing and justice powers are not being devolved is far from satisfactory and the DUP are dragging their feet. However, in the present circumstances, it is Sinn Fein who are making the ultimatums and threatening to bring down the executive. They are the only party doing so, all of the other executive parties want to keep things moving.

    Preconditions and ultimatums aren’t the way to get things done in this place.

    Secondly, I don’t think any of the executive parties are fit for government, and that is a belief which is borne out by their miserable record given the year and half they’ve had in government. Compare the Scottish government, for example, and it’s programme of reform and progressive change that it has managed to put through despite having resources allocated to it on the same basis that we have, and compare that to the boring and unadventurous programme for government that we were given. And then recall that we can’t even work on getting that implemented. However, “fitness for government” is a decision which has to be made by the electorate and nobody else.

    I take it you were you not listening to El Gordo’s lecture to the DUP in the assembly?

    You’re damn right I wasn’t listening to it, and I doubt anyone else was either. Do you take lectures from British prime ministers ?

    Either way, to try to suggest that Gordon’s speech was in any way endorsing Sinn Fein’s approach to resolving this matter would be very wide of the mark indeed. The DUP’s foot dragging has to stop, but the Sinn Fein brinkmanship and blocking tactics are by far the greater problem at the moment.