Robinson and Adams continue blame game

It seems DUP leader Peter Robinson is now fully aware of the chill economic winds blowing through Northern Ireland and like any decent politician worth his salt, has embarked on a policy of blaming someone else for the upcoming woes. While others blame, for example, the banks, Robinson preferred instead to focus on Sinn Féin when addressing a business dinner in East Belfast.

According to Robinson:

These are critical months for Northern Ireland not just in relation to building for our long term economic wellbeing but also in dealing with the present economic difficulties. The refusal of Sinn Fein to agree to an Executive meeting since last June has not only damaged the credibility of devolution in the eyes of the public but it is also damaging to the credibility of Northern Ireland in the wider world.

At a time when Governments around the world are acting to deal with the financial crisis our Executive is not even meeting. The role of the Executive in dealing with global problems is limited but the very least that people expect is that their politicians seek to deal with their problems. Again let me make it plain. I want the Executive to meet. I want it to meet immediately and I am placing no conditions on it meeting. Sinn Fein alone is blocking the process.

He continues:

International investors will not wait around forever and in an ever increasingly competitive market we can simply not afford the present Sinn Fein obstruction of the Executive. Nor can we delay getting to grips with the necessary reforms that Northern Ireland needs in order to move ahead.

In contrast, last March Secretary for State for Northern Ireland Shaun Woodward also expressed his concerns about international investors being scared off by the continuing logjam in Northern Ireland but he seemed to be blaming the lack of a completion of devolution, namely policing and justice powers, as the main cause:

But no-one should be under any illusion that the completion of devolution is crucial for the long term stability and prosperity of Northern Ireland. When it happens, it will send out a clear signal around the world that Northern Ireland is a sound investment for the future.

But rather than do the simple thing and hold a line similar to Woodward in the ongoing impasse with the DUP, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has returned to familiar ground, preferring instead to accuse unionists of simply not wanting to share power with Catholics:

It is obvious that there are elements with the DUP who do not agree with power sharing and partnership as a political model or a practical politics. In addition, there are clearly elements of the DUP who really don’t want to have a Catholic about the place. They are opposed to power sharing in any form. And some of them clearly believe that by stalling and delaying they can hollow out the Good Friday and St Andrews Agreements. As a result of this opposition the DUP has been retreating from its obligations under the St Andrews Agreement.

Meanwhile, the Dow Jones dropped 700 points in the first few minutes of trade before recovering as the rollercoaster ride continues on the stock markets, while the ISEQ is probably languishing at a level lower than it was when the Good Friday Agreement was signed over a decade ago.

  • Rory

    This is just the kind of confidence-building speech that a party of business leaders always need to hear from the leading elected politician in their parish in order that confidence might be maintained.

    “I’m useless! I’m impotent! I can’t get my opponents to play ball!”

  • DC

    Yes George, 10 years ago. Think back. No, really.

    SF were in government then with the DUP but it was the DUP who couldn’t contain themselves. Bitterly contorted.

    As I’ve said before, who really didn’t fix the reconciliation roof while the political and economic sun was shining a decade ago? I am not convinced now Mr Robinson by what you say at all.

    It’s time to realise that coming down heavily on your own side of the argument is pointless. Even harder to prove a point whenever Robinson has problems mobilising opinion outside his own party linked to his characteristics that have only proven to consolidate the most disgruntled of unionist voters.

    We need to break out of all that now and remember who progress is being delivered for and accept that there many other failings with other parties but that shouldn’t mean business / people in Northern Ireland must fail with them.

    Time for better leadership and I don’t think it is there neither is the electoral elasticity needed to move into favourable positions. A generation of fixed positions and fixed arguments have caused the onset of sclerosis within unionism.

    The chance of progress not helped by the ‘moderate’ other parties pulling away into the gullies keenly allowing these two parties to dictate the pace of this futile deadlock.

  • ggn

    BEIDH AN GHRIAN AG SOILSIÚ AMÁRACH!
    The sun is going to shine tomorrow!

    BÍGÍ LINN AGUS BÍGÍ LINN GO LUATH!
    Be with and be with us early!

    MÓRSHIÚL AR SON ACHT NA GAEILGE
    March round Belfast City Centre for the Irish Language Act!

    Ó Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich ar 11.45 rn / am

    Ó Theach Mhic Reachtain, Bóthar Aontroma ar 12.00

    Ón Droichead, Sráid Cooke ar 12.00

  • Greenflag

    DC ,

    ‘A generation of fixed positions and fixed arguments have caused the onset of sclerosis within unionism.’

    Sclerosis ? More like rigor mortis without the rigour 🙁

    Robinson is talking to the wind .

    George ,

    ‘Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has returned to familiar ground’

    Indeed -the same familiar ground that the UUP occupied from 1974 to 1998 and the DUP from 1965 to 2007 .

    Why on earth would you expect Adams to do otherwise ?

    As for the economic crisis . You can rest assured that if politicians in NI cannot agree on the colour of kerbstones or can’t even agree in a so called power sharing semi devolved government they’ll not have anything constructive to propose re the ‘economy’ other than the usual ‘gimme more ‘ public sector dosh 🙁

  • Greenflag

    George,

    NI folk are on their own in this one as per Newt Emerson in this excerpt from his Eye of Newt column in the Irish News .

    ‘According to another cliche, all politics is local. This is especially true in the handkerchief-sized community cargo cult of Northern Ireland, with its fixed budgets and four tiers of elected government, all somehow simultaneously in opposition. This intimacy is not just local but personal, as candidates work their way up the electoral pole one constituent at a time. The people we elect, those door-knocking, form-filling, rubbish-removing local heroes, simply do not operate at a level where the greater good outweighs any lesser evil.

    Taking difficult decisions requires a certain distance between politicians and their constituents. Northern Ireland is too small and too over-represented for that distance to arise.

    So the difficult decisions of the next few years will be forced upon unaccountable administrators by crises of circumstance. Our politicians will engineer their absence from the scene of every crime. It is the worst sort of libertarian experiment, with plenty of expensive government when we don’t need it and no effective government at all when we do.

    The best we can hope for as this absurd apparatus becomes ever more detached from our lives is that we retain enough personal freedom to take difficult decisions for ourselves.

  • New Yorker

    International investors will surely note that no one has been charged and convicted for the Northern Bank robbery. If it can happen to the Northern Bank, it can happen to your company. You could not explain to your shareholders how you could be so stupid as to invest in a place where a major bank robbery takes place at a major indigineous institution, no one is successfully prosecuted and a party in the government seems to have a hand in it.

  • ciaran

    New yorker are you suggesting the dup had a hand in the northern bank robbery? Now I really didn’t see that one coming.

  • bona fide

    To everyone who would conveniently like to agree with the Punt that it is SF et al, who might lead serious investors to reconsider coming here – how damaging do you think it might have appeared when our own wee Jeffrey wouldn’t even sit along side his fellow Junior Minister, Jerry, at important investment meetings in the States recently. I mean, what a plonker? Total embarrassment.