How accountable is our political leadership?

With Northern Ireland’s First and deputy First Ministers unwilling, or unavailable, to discuss their desire to reduce their alternating appearances in front of the legislative Assembly from fortnightly to only at a full moon, BBC NI’s Kevin Sharkey travelled to Edinburgh to ask the Scottish First Minister some questions on accountability. Meanwhile, back in the Politics Show studio, NI Executive junior Minister Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly’s defence of the desired reduction in appearances by our two lycanthropes is somewhat undermined by both the size of that “single department” and the recent “significant change in power balance between OFMDFM and Ministers.” The Politics Show’s Robin Sheeran adds a short report.

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  • Not only is it important for the North’s political leaders to be held regularly accountable in the Assembly, but the media should exercise their role vigourously too. Unfortunately, even on the odd occasion when the Deputy First Minister does give an interview opportunities can be missed. For more see the latest blog over on NBNW

  • SidneyG

    This confirms my view that this country is now run by a single party (DUP and Sinn Fein united) who have no interest in any kind of accountability. They will be completely unconcerned by this report because they have a free run to do whatever they want without any consequences. The fact that the BBC can get an interview with the Scottish First Minister but can’t get an interview with our own First Minister is typical and extremely worrying.

    Peter Robinson needs to realise that talking to the press and asnwering the publics concerns is not an optional extra; it is the nature of the role.

    I supported the Belfast Agreement. I agreed with St Andrews. But I did not vote for this.

    As a side point: is it just me or is that reporter’s voice and bizarre bizarrely stiff and awkward? I struggled to listen to the rest of the report for that reason. Maybe if we had journalists of national quality who could hold politicians feet to the fire we could get some more media accountability.

  • dunreavynomore

    A few difficult questions arise for Sinn Féin from Suzanne Breen’s article today in the Sunday Tribune about Gerry Evans who was killed by the IRA in 1979 but always denied up to now. We won’t go very far as a community if we don’t get honesty from those who claim to be our ‘leaders’.

  • I realise The Language Body is a small fish in the overall cesspool that is all Ireland politics at present but it’s worth pointing to as an illustration of how the non accountable regime works in NI.

    The Language Body, which comprises the Ulster Scots Agency and Foras na Gaeilge, has been getting approximately €20m per year since 2002. This is divided 80% to Foras na Gaeilge, 20% to the Ulster Scots Agency.

    The last accounts and annual report published for the Language Body is for the year 2003. These were published in May 2007. The accounts and annual reports for 2004-8 inclusive have yet to be published.

    The boards of Foras na Gaeilge and the USA feature SF and DUP representatives. Nobody has asked publicly why the delay in publishing these accounts apart from myself? Would any other agency get away with such non accountability? I thought the DUP said in its manifesto that it would make these cross border bodies accountable?

  • darth rumsfeld

    Two lycanthropes!!! Brilliantly spotted pete

    You wait ages for one and then two come along at once
    And what does that make Gerry Kelly?

    Oh well, altogether now..

    “I saw Lon Chaney walking with the first minister the other day.
    Awooh, werewolves of Stormont…”

  • Pete Baker

    Thanks darth,

    But, in fairness, I should point out that I borrowed that line from Mark Devenport.