Sinn Fein blocks another Executive meeting…

It’s hard to see how this is going to end without someone losing face. The Executive meeting yesterday was cancelled under pressure from Sinn Fein, and according it led to the cancellation of the North South Ministerial Council. It’s a slow acting poison which is paralysing all meaningful government action in Northern Ireland. It remains to be seen whether it has the same fatal potency of thallium… that famous poison of historical fact and literary fiction. Thallium has a known antedote… as has, it seems, this internal civil disobedience campaign inside the Executive OFMDFM. I guess the question our politicians have to answer is whether the indigenous deal is actually worth saving?

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  • DC

    It’s getting so desperate that people must be beginning to wonder whether they shouldn’t start new parties using the votes of their children.

    This stand off, the inability to compromise, the lack of understanding on how to cooperate and take tough decisions is well beyond me.

    But sure keep on paying people with learning disabilities £2 per week for their work in day care centres. Our MLAs are pathetic, bitter little men with big problems.

    They have big talents all right, big talents in distorting ethno-cultural issues beyond that which is acceptable to the people on the ground who hold a less concentrated fixation on green and orange and have a wider spectrum of culture and socio-economic concerns.

    The biggest victims and survivors are those up at Stormont, they have serious issues and it’s time the public starting asking questions as to whether they are really OK – mentally.

  • Greenflag

    DC ,

    I hate to say this but people get the politicians they deserve .

    ‘and it’s time the public starting asking questions as to whether they are really OK – mentally.’

    I assume the ‘they ‘ refers to the politicians and not the ‘people’ otherwise you appear to be suggesting the ‘election ‘ of a new people is what’s required .

    Actually that is probably the only way out . But how can a new ‘people’ be elected ?

    Not possible unless the people elect a new State or States to replace the present ‘failed’ one .

    As for distorting the ethno cultural issues ? That was the ‘rock’ on which was built the present NI State .

    Back to the drawing board . Sorry I can’t be more positive . I just don’t see Unionism (DUP or UUP)ever being capable of adjusting to the emerging politics of NI this century.

  • Driftwood

    They are mentally ok to continue scam for as long as possible.

  • Driftwood
  • Serious question to those in the know;
    can they agree on ANYTHING?

    Direct Rule methinks

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    To see who is going to win this battle of wills – we need to ask who has the most to lose by Stormo doing a collapse. That would be the DUP. But the beauty of the current deal is that it actually suits both sides for this not to happen.

    The DUP can force a score draw by agreeing to a transfer date a sufficent time in the future to cause SF annoyance. They need to be careful though not to let this run close to the Euro election as Big Jimbo and the Tuvvers and Wee Reggie and the Neo Cons will be sharpening their Lundy metaphors.

  • Quagmire

    “Sinn Fein blocks another Executive meeting…”

    It is the DUP, not Sinn Fein, who are the obstacle to progress in this part of Ireland. They are nothing short of bigoted and intransigent. In the good oul days of majority rule the executive would have went ahead anyway regardless of how nationalists felt. But no longer will we play second fiddle to Unionism. Those days are gone. If the DUP don’t move on several outstanding issues then Stormont won’t see Christmas and Unionism’s goose will be cooked.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Phil Mac Giolla Bhain

    “Serious question to those in the know;
    can they agree on ANYTHING?”

    The positive way to look at this is – if they can agree on this ( Police on Justice) they can agree on anything.

  • I have the solution. Lets have a Facebook Executive. More on http://www.oconallstreet.com

  • ggn

    On the positive side, for Irish speakers anyway, if the north south bodies can no longer function, then that is the end of Foras na Gaeilge!

  • Aside from the politics of it all, does anyone actually know why an Executive meeting might be needed?

    What do they do? It seems that the departments and ministers are able to get on with their jobs without any recent Executive meetings, so what’s the bother?

    No-one is goint to go hungry if the Executive doesn’t meet. The place still functions. The lights still go on when I flick a switch. Is this all an artificial crisis?

  • DC

    To be frank Conall, I’d rather they just got out of people’s faces.

    State and street terrorists together was always going to be difficult, but it’s time they did the decent thing.

    Neither parties have much electoral currency in their respective, much sought after, sovereign states, can they just go away now. Like the RUC and IRA have done?

  • Reader

    Horseman: It seems that the departments and ministers are able to get on with their jobs without any recent Executive meetings, so what’s the bother?
    The executice has horsetrading to do followed by decisions to make: The introduction of comprehensive education; The white elephant at The Maze; an Irish Language Act; devolution of P and J.
    I predict an eventual 2 vs. 2 tradeoff, but it’s not clear how this is going to happen if SF won’t even attend an executive meeting with an open agenda, as Peter seemed to be offering.
    Subsidiary question – what tradeoff would the rest of you go for? I would accept an ILA and also P and J, but drop the others.

  • Greenflag

    Driftwood ,

    ‘They are mentally ok to continue scam for as long as possible. ‘

    You don’t have to be ‘mentally ok ‘ to instigate , continue and or exploit a scam .

    A criminal mind is all it takes 🙁

  • Unionists whether dup or uu are not capable of being part of a goverment in the six counties.Its either their way or the highway.Well times have changed but when are unionists going to face the reality that they live in.

  • Reader,

    The executice has horsetrading to do …

    Of course, in all the areas where it must act [see here: http://www.northernireland.gov.uk/index/ministerial-code/ministerial-code-2.3-functions-of-the-executive-committee%5D.

    But since none of the things on your list are exactly on the DUP’s christmas list, why do they want a meeting?

  • barnshee

    The sick are treated, the dead are buried, the schools remain open as do the supermarkets and the Pubs.
    The electricity remains on when needed.
    Do these armpits not realise that they a costly carbuncle on society?
    Close the circus and let the clowns try elsewhere.

  • eranu

    can someone explain how its possible for a party to actually stop the functioning of government?
    i admit to knowing nothing about the mechanisms used in westminster, but it seems to me that if a quarter of labour MPs didnt turn up for work one day then westminster wouldnt grind to a halt.

    is it the case that during negotiations our stupid parties have been so concerned with building in ways to veto/stop each other from doing anything the other didnt like, that they’ve gone too far and created a system that can itself be stopped. they didnt stop at safeguarding only assembly decisions. they actually made the system dependant on parties to agree to let its processes run. this to me is the dumbest thing ive ever heard !
    where is the fault tolerance in the stormont system???

  • Reader

    Horseman: But since none of the things on your list are exactly on the DUP’s christmas list, why do they want a meeting?
    The DUP wants to look ministerial and masterful. They gambled a lot for power and seem to like the feel of it. Nor do they have a Plan B, so the current situation is a vacuum for them – not a position. Plus, people are waiting to see what will finally happen, since who really thinks that one side will get everything they wanted?
    However, they aren’t under as much pressure as nationalists like to think they are, since, as you say, the DUP doesn’t have a shopping list.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    blinding

    “[i]Unionists whether dup or uu are not capable of being part of a goverment in the six counties.Its either their way or the highway.Well times have changed but when are unionists going to face the reality that they live in. “[/i]

    Quagmire

    “[i]It is the DUP, not Sinn Fein, who are the obstacle to progress in this part of Ireland. They are nothing short of bigoted and intransigent. In the good oul days of majority rule the executive would have went ahead anyway regardless of how nationalists felt. But no longer will we play second fiddle to Unionism. Those days are gone. If the DUP don’t move on several outstanding issues then Stormont won’t see Christmas and Unionism’s goose will be cooked.”[/i]

    LOL, are people still living this claptrap. ‘Let’s do the time-warp again’

    It would seem both of you would like to be minority citizens, so you can MOPE about not having a sizable mandate.

    Your time has come to leave the MOPEery behind. You can’t continue being the Most Oppressed People Ever, it won’t wash!

  • ulsterfan

    They are not able to agree.
    Robinson must refer the matter to the Courts to get a finding on Breach of Ministerial duties.
    If it finds in his favour this gives McGuinness a good reason to step back.
    If Robinson is found to be at fault he can then negotiate a date for devolution.

  • Steve

    UMH

    who exactly has a sizeable mandate? All parties in nIreland are minority parties

  • eranu,

    can someone explain how its possible for a party to actually stop the functioning of government?

    ‘Government’ is still functioning. The ministers still have lots of scope for decision-making within their own spheres (see all the press-releases they’ve been spewing out!)

    What isn’t functioning is new stuff, or cross-departmental stuff. We can live without that for a while, so much of the DUP’s bluster is just, … well, bluster.

    After a while the pent-up need for new or cross-cutting stuff may become more urgent, but by then the DUP will have either overcome their fear of the TUV, or been told to stop being prats by El Gordo, or something else will have happened. Who can foretell the next week, let alone month?

    Equally, Sinn Féin can wait. At present they’re losing nothing, and any compromise solution will be a step forward for them.

  • In any other part of western Europe policing would have been devolved long ago and an extension of a national [Irish] language would have been viewed as a beneficial thing.

    To suggest that control should remain in London is to me pretty sad, whilst Scottish democracy roars ahead and the Welsh cannot get enough of self government, it seems that ‘some’ Unionists prefer to let nanny take up the slack. The DUP should do the deed, then people could get on with arguing for free prescriptions and school dinners etc.

    I cannot think of a single case in the world when people have been given devolved government and a fair amount of cash to run it; and they refuses to run with it.

    What the Unionists seem to be demanding now is ‘no representation with taxation’, that must be a first.

  • Half Pint

    Scrap the whole thing now. Total joke.

  • DC

    Yes Horseman but the principle then is that they are playing distorted ethno-politcal games and even worse getting paid for it, while at the same time trying to divide civil society along retarded party-political lines to suit their own career and pocket. It is what you could call manipulation through party propaganda aka ‘owned’.

    In addition why, if your analysis is correct, carry on perpetuating tension, frustration and a potential for aggression whenever NI has already suffered enough on many various societal levels because of it?

    As I think Einstein said the characteristics of an insane person is that of one who keeps on repeating the same behaviour yet expecting a different result.

    The political response to that classic line probably would be:

    “We don’t suffer from insanity up at Stormont – we enjoy every minute of it”

    But then who really gets carved up in between and is without that nice pay packet, trappings of office that must fuel delusion of grandeur and give rise to that demented egocentrism.

  • eranu

    horse, isnt the problem here that SF, or any party, can block an executive meeting? they can actually say ‘theres not going to be an executive meeting, because i dont want there to be one’
    thats like me turning up to work one day and saying ‘there isnt going to be any work tomorrow because i dont want there to be’

    i suppose we’re lucky that other departments can function, but like you say eventually there will be a need for new business.

    perhaps this blocking calling a meeting problem could be resolved with regular monthly meetings that come up regardless on the 1st working day of the month. those who attend can do their business, those that dont… dont. no need for a system to require a meeting call to be agreed. it will take place anyway.
    thats pretty standard business meeting practice.

    but ofcourse it may be the case that some people want to have the ability to stop stormont as a bargaining chip so they can get their way. (crazy as that may sound!)

    what do you think? do you (i hope) want a smooth running system that doesnt allow anyone to block anything? or are you quietly happy that SF can block and stop stormont if they dont get their way?

  • DC,

    The main problem surely is that the DUP insisted on building in a mutual veto, so that they could stop Sinn Féin doing anything they (the DUP) didn’t like. That was dumb! A mutual veto is mutual – did they not realise that?

    If Ministers had relative freedom within their own areas (like before), then things would move along, though not always in the DUP’s preferred direction. But hey, that’s why it’s called ‘power-sharing’. The DUP’s unwillingness to share, by trying to retain, and use, a blocking veto over everything, is why we are where we are.

  • eranu,

    Our posts crossed, but I think I answered your questions – isn’t telepathy great!

  • Driftwood

    Is it worth saving?
    No.
    We are de facto ruled from Westminster in everything that really matters. It is obscene to have 108 spongers indulging themselves in an all expenses delusion of power and living the life of Reilly.

  • DC

    I think that, outside of policing and justice, some of the demands requested by Sinn Fein for change have been poorly put, lacking in concerns of the other partners, given that parents, unionist or otherwise have become accustomed to the system and accustomed to the very good and the very bad bits of the system.

    There is at least 60 years worth of change required in Caitriona Ruane’s educational reform that cannot be switched over via a few glib statements.

    Same with Irish language re wrapping it around the justice and courts process is like suing for revenge for a lack of unitary Ireland, while all the same Irish language papers collapse through lack of readership and take up. Also it is the era of accessible information and interaction much of it free too, where the state is working to encourage investment and to respond to boosting up skills on the ground.

    I am with SF on policing on the grounds that it is time to move forward and on the Maze too where I believe that positive political stances could outshine the negative concerns if given proper leadership and direction.

    However, both parties have resorted to embattled language which acts as a turn off to reconciliation, such as Ministers being blunt with Ruane.

    Then you have the likes of John O’Dowd running around talking about 26 counties, 6 counties or whatever and Conor Murphy ad libbing Limavady Council into every sentence when discussing gridlock – as means to show to the nationalists community who is at fault rather than addressing the substantive.

    You have, also:

    Mairead Farrell commeration

    Failure of Omagh council to adopt human values over the wording of a plaque re Omagh victims that were personal tragedies, which the Council failed to see and applied a political dumbing down of what was to be inscribed.

    You also have Durkan saying the SDLP have interfered with Jabba the Hut McQuillan’s appointment – when they had to back down.

    You have the DUP being insensitive to Irish language speakers by saying no and not addressing the reasons why, etc.

    Unionists on councils being slow on the uptake re reconciliation and SF offering dry monotones of a three worded apologies over IRA murders: “IRA is sorry, next question.” There is no real sincerity in any of it.

  • the future’s bright the future’s orange

    Summary of situation:
    SF don’t get what they want. Rattle thrown out of cram. Everyone suffers.

    Not that SF have no guns to threaten us all with they’re having to resort to ‘threatening’ to walk out when the don’t get what they want. On the one hand, I don’t have a big problem with P&J;being devolved to NI, but on the other hand I resent the way SF is blackmailing everyone to get what they want. The DUP will look very weak if they give in to SF threats.

    The obvious thing would be some kind of compromise. But is there anything SF can offer? Unlike SF, the DUP do not have a sectarian wish-list. Perhaps, some kind of movement on the army council?

    Hard to see how this one can be resolved without one side losing face.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]The main problem surely is that the DUP insisted on building in a mutual veto, so that they could stop Sinn Féin doing anything they (the DUP) didn’t like. That was dumb! A mutual veto is mutual – did they not realise that?”

    If Ministers had relative freedom within their own areas (like before), then things would move along, though not always in the DUP’s preferred direction. But hey, that’s why it’s called ‘power-sharing’. The DUP’s unwillingness to share, by trying to retain, and use, a blocking veto over everything, is why we are where we are.[/i]

    Having a mutual veto is not the problem, it’s very existence should encourage both sides to work towards an agreement. IRA/Sinn Fein are refusing to sit down and work through the delicate issue of P&J;. N.Ireland’s people deserve better. All the parties need to sit down and work through the difficulties instead of demanding things their own way. Haven’t IRA/Sinn Fein learned that you can’t force the Unionist people into submission? Haven’t they learned that you don’t get anything in life for nothing, it has to be earned? (That’s possibly a silly question, regarding it’s bank robbing, extortionist IRA/Sinn Fein we’re talking about!!)

  • finn

    An easy solution to P&J;, ILA and the Maze stadium is that instead of donating money to build NI’s infrastructure the Irish Govt offer to fund the ILA’s implementation, thus removing the arguement against it which centred on costs. The Irish govt. offer the rest of the investment fund to assist in developing the Maze stadium and only the Maze stadium, and finally the British Govt. states that Stormont is responsible for funding P&J;out of existing budgets until the parties involved decide there is enough confidence for it to be transferred to Stormont. There really is nothing like the offer of free money and/or the taking away of money to focus minds and get people to smell the coffee.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]instead of donating money to build NI’s infrastructure the Irish Govt offer to fund the ILA’s implementation”[/i]

    What infrastructure are they donating money to? roads not adjoining the republic?

    as for the Irish government funding an Irish language act, the logistics of it would be unworkable. The logistics of an Irish language act funded by the UK is damn frightening without even considering the complications of having a foreign government answerable for whatever cock-up may occur.

    as for the Maze, I’m afraid it the same problem, logistics.

    Maybe if the Republic joined the UK, things might work easier.

  • ??

    In any other part of western Europe policing would have been devolved long ago …. (Like wales for instance) and an extension of a national [Irish] language would have been viewed as a beneficial thing……The national language of N.Ireland is English.

    Irish, like polish and chinese is a minority language

  • turgon for pope

    UMH said Haven’t they learned that you don’t get anything in life for nothing, it has to be earned?
    Listen you little prick this all started because there was thousands of little fekkers like you in the shipyard for instance getting plenty for doing nothing.while your catholic neibhour got fek all.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “Sinn Fein blocks another Executive meeting…”

    Half Pint “Scrap the whole thing now”

    why should we scrap it when our own folk are laughing at us

  • turgon for pope

    UMH why should we scrap it when our own folk are laughing at us .You really are just a half wit.

  • finn

    “as for the Irish government funding an Irish language act, the logistics of it would be unworkable. The logistics of an Irish language act funded by the UK is damn frightening without even considering the complications of having a foreign government answerable for whatever cock-up may occur.

    as for the Maze, I’m afraid it the same problem, logistics. ”

    here we go UMH to date the arguements from unionism has been regarding finance regarding these issues, now its cockups and logistics, what are your concerns?

  • ??

    more people speak chinese or polish than irish, maybe we should focus on these citizens first, after all we`re all equal.

  • eranu

    horse, would seem telepathy is real 🙂

  • Republic of Connaught

    Foreign government? UMH, very little happens of note in the North of Ireland nowadays without the British and Irish governments being in regular consultation about it.

    NI has two parents leading it by the hand, not one. The adopted parent pays the bills from London. But the biological parent will have to pay for its wayward offspring eventually. So it remains involved in the upbringing until then.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I don’t think an Irish language act would be that expensive or unworkable in the scheme of things. There has been slow, but steady, progress on the acceptance of Irish cultural symbols here. There’s more of it in the media, on TV in particular. The sky has not fallen in as a result.

    I’m more concerned about the idea of spending money on a language that nobody speaks, and the shameful use of that language as a sectarian and political football. There’s serious work to do at Stormont, we’ve got very serious problems that need to be sorted, and having another language on the litter bins and signposts is far from top of the pile.

  • loyalist

    Foreign government? UMH, very little happens of note in the North of Ireland nowadays without the British and Irish governments being in regular consultation about it.

    NI has two parents leading it by the hand, not one. The adopted parent pays the bills from London. But the biological parent will have to pay for its wayward offspring eventually. So it remains involved in the upbringing until then.

    No. The Dublin govt. has no jurisdiction north of the border, and the “consultation” is a classic case of Westminster selling you a pup in exchange for a territorial claim. If anything the contact between the Irish govt. and the other British governmental bodies has led to a “hollowing out” of the “Republic”.

  • Driftwood

    Comrade Stalin
    I agree with you completely about the Irish Language. You say there are more important issues for Stormont to deal with. Yes, the most important arguably being education. Now then, do you really think that Catriona Ruane and Mervyn Storey are the people to deal with this? I do not. Even among the hopeless, shameless sloths in the assembly there must be better people that can carry this off. Michelle McIlveen seems better qualified for the DUP and anyone, bar Martina Anderson,to replace Ruane from SF.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Keep telling yourself that, Loyalist, when direct rule returns and London and Dublin civil servants jointly decide how best to keep the wild ones sedate in the wee 6.

  • Driftwood

    RoC
    If you actually believe the Republic will ever be able to afford the subvention to NI presently gifted from Whitehall, you have no grasp of Economics. The bloated public sector will defy all attempts to deflate it. Direct rule from London may come back with some advisory role for Dublin, but for the forseeable future a politically united Ireland is a pipe dream for nationalists. Those of us who live in Northern Ireland, for the most part do get along, with certain problem areas. That is why education is so important. Too important for bigots like Ruane and Storey.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Ruane is a Connaught girl by birth and is not a bigot. That’s not saying she’s a perfect minister, but who is?

    People might get on, Driftwood, in that they behave reasonably maturely in daily life when interacting with the “others” but if people really got on in the North the DUP and Sinn Fein would not have more voters than the UUP and SDLP. It isn’t just a few problem areas that vote the two extremist parties in.

    I have relatives in Enniskillen so the North is very familiar to me. And this so called pipe dream could become reality very quickly if nationalist majorities in Fermanagh, Derry and Armagh voted for repartition. Their fate is in nationalist hands, in those counties at least.

  • runciter

    If you actually believe the Republic will ever be able to afford the subvention to NI presently gifted from Whitehall, you have no grasp of Economics.

    According to Wikipedia, British subvention is £5bn.

    The Irish government expected to spend €53bn in 2008.

    Seems pretty affordable. Especially if you take into account the long term benefits of a larger economy.

  • loyalist

    I have relatives in Enniskillen so the North is very familiar to me. And this so called pipe dream could become reality very quickly if nationalist majorities in Fermanagh, Derry and Armagh voted for repartition. Their fate is in nationalist hands, in those counties at least.

    No, repartition is off the table, and if it was back on you might get Newry and Derry (west of the Foyle.)

    Direct rule is ok and Dublin civil servants up to stick their nose in will follow British law do what they are told, then go home

  • ??

    Ruane is a Connaught girl by birth and is not a bigot. That’s not saying she’s a perfect minister, but who is? …………

    anyone who supports the provos, certainly is

  • Ulsters my homeland

    [b]SLUG, I did not write post 13[/b]

    “Sinn Fein blocks another Executive meeting…”

    Half Pint “Scrap the whole thing now”

    why should we scrap it when our own folk are laughing at us

    Posted by Ulsters my homeland on Oct 03, 2008 @ 09:28 PM

    Is this not against forum rules, posting under other peoples nicknames?

  • steve

    If you don’t know who you are how do you know what you believe

    That’s not saying she’s a perfect minister, but who is? …………

    anyone who supports the provos, certainly is

    so you’re saying she is a perfect minister? How very non-partisan of you, and your reason is peculiar even to me

  • Comrade Stalin

    Driftwood:

    You say there are more important issues for Stormont to deal with. Yes, the most important arguably being education. Now then, do you really think that Catriona Ruane and Mervyn Storey are the people to deal with this? I do not.

    Based on the rules, I do not get to say who is qualified to do a certain job, that is up to the electorate. My personal opinion is that Ruane has made a real mess out of the job; she’s made enemies out of people who could well have been her allies, and she’s turning the teachers (who generally oppose selection) against her as well. They really need to get rid of her and replace her with someone who wants to take the time to make the change properly.

    By right, the electorate should declare their position on Ruane’s work at the next election.

    Even among the hopeless, shameless sloths in the assembly there must be better people that can carry this off. Michelle McIlveen seems better qualified for the DUP and anyone, bar Martina Anderson,to replace Ruane from SF.

    Agreed. I think the selection thing will be damaging to SF, especially now that there are Catholic schools who are implementing their own entrance exams.