“Maverick” McGimpsey unites DUP and Sinn Féin

The results of the delayed June budget monitoring round were announced today in a special sitting of the Northern Ireland Assembly. The new NI Finance Minister, the DUP’s Sammy Wilson, has a statement here and more details here. Apparently there was over £210million to redistribute, or is that £235million? Not that you’ll find the £210million figure, from the departmental statement, in the NI Finance Minister’s actual statement to the Assembly [pdf file] which notes that “some departments have breached the public expenditure limits set by the Executive.” The still deferred water charges apparently takes up £170million of the available funds, no word yet on what happens after that, and £20million goes towards a reported social housing shortfall of £100million. And nothing towards an estimated bill for swine flu vaccines, and other associated costs, of £55million. The vaccines, already ordered, will cost £18million alone. NI Health Minister, the UUP’s Michael McGimpsey, is not happy. Adds Mark Devenport’s Newsline report.It’s an occasion that can unite the DUP and Sinn Féin.

SF’s John O’Dowd has issued a statement in which he criticises both UUP ministers

“In recent weeks we have endured from Reg Empey an almost constant criticism of the Executive of which he seems to forget he is a member. People will find it hard to believe that this is anything other than politicking when the fact is neither he nor his fellow UUP Minister are in fact fulfilling their Ministerial duties properly.”

And the DUP’s Peter Weir does the same

“Perhaps if Michael McGimpsey ran his department better, he would be able to find more money. A department that is spending millions on consultants, art-work and travel expenses is not one that cannot find extra resources. As for Reg Empey: he is in no position to complain over budgetary allocations given that he is exhorting the people of Northern Ireland to put their faith in the Tory Party that is committed to cutting the Northern Ireland budget by at least 10% ”, said the DUP MLA.”

There’s also a clip somewhere of Sammy Wilson calling Michael McGimpsey a “maverick minister”. [Adds I’ll let Mark say it – “which is quite something coming from Sammy”]

Still, the NI NI Executive will “be shown” draft legislation on policing and justice powers on Thursday.

Just as well that they’re not at all dysfunctional, then.. [Or a fragile flower – Ed]

From the BBC report

Mr Robinson said: “With regard to policing and justice powers, I defined for the prime minister how I would seek to measure whether sufficient community confidence existed for the transfer of functions.

“I will, at an appropriate point, be seeking meetings with the other party leaders in the assembly in order to establish whether their parties view sufficient community confidence does exist to allow devolution of these additional powers to occur.

“Only when we have established that it is the case will such a transfer take place.

“I would not expect any of the party leaders to express a final view on such a matter until they were aware of the outcome of funding for the new department.”

Let’s see what happens.

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  • steve48

    and a new word is entered in the economic lexicon “wilsonomics” defined as inability to relate finance available to priorities for action

  • Silverline

    Did McGimpsey not say he had enough money in his budget a couple of weeks ago to cope with Swine Flu,and has he not spent £55 million so far, were did he get the money from? when he complains he never has any for anything else. Did he not also state that it is expected a quarter of the population will get swine flu, yet he has bought tami flu for 80% of the population seems like he does not need that amount of tablets and is waisting alot of money trying to impress the public, and was it not the case he has downgraded the threat of swine flu to that of a common flu, and told us all to stay in and take common flu remedies, it all sounds like crying over spilt milk by the Health Minister.

  • Mirko

    Let’s see what happens indeed – let us all hope that these powers can finally be taken from those who would cross any moral boundary in pursuit of the chosen status quo of the British establishment. An establishment that wallows in the ethical cesspool. Start by civilising yourselves. Indeed.

  • Cynic

    Memo to Minister – Managing Department = Managing Budget too which means that you have to make choices. And why is a little bout of Flu going to cost us all £35 each on the NHS?

  • Cynic

    PS Why does the Minister always remind me of Marvin the Robot in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy?

  • iluvni

    How much is free prescriptions for all going to cost?

  • loki

    post#2 Alex, please could you not at least use a spell check before you post??
    Back on topic-H1N1 (to give it its proper name) has been classed as pandemic by the WHO. Regardless of whether or not it’s deadly it is widespread and government (in this case your toy town assembly) should be ensuring the spread is minimised where possible. Could you please also ask Minister “A”level Wilson how he intends to get the Treasury to cough up (pardon the pun)the loot for vaccine/ palliative measures?

  • Seceder

    Folks, take a l ook atthe WHO site and you can judge for yourself whether Swine flu is a real issue or not. Politicing with peoples lives may be what some on this site view as good sport but there’s a lot of people – elderly those with long term conditions etc who know that without the vaccine they are vulnerable.

    We can always tell how good we re by the way we treatthose who are vulnerable – and all joking aside for those of us who have been watching the cases and the death steadily increase – the maverick approach of Sammy Wilson and others is quite breath taking.

    I’m sure when the vaccines become available the lokes of Peter Weir and John O’Dowd will be at the front of the queues protraying themselves as essential services.

    maybe we should put vaccines on a pay per use basis and watch the MLA claim it on expenses

  • Driftwood

    When does the Trumpton assembly go on holiday? (not that it makes any difference, since they do fuck all). I assume it’s for a long time, not that it matters. If they never came back, Northern Ireland would be no different. We all know we are ruled from Westminster. Why all the faux debates and petty outrage? Oh, the huge salaries and expenses, I almost forgot.

  • frustrated democrat

    Seems Reg has hit a raw nerve with his ‘huxters shop’ remark. Both the DUP and SF don’t like his ability to expose their cosy relationship in the Executve.

    The DUP in particular are piqued about the deal with the Conservatives which has left them supporting Brown in the commons. Is that of advantage to the people of NI or is it Robbinson trying to buy concessions by allowing a bribe to overcome principle.

    Can the DUP sink any lower or are they joining their friends in Labour on the fast track to oblivion?

  • Silverline


    The names Lauren and i am a member of the Alliance Party, just for your info.

  • danielmoran

    frustrated democrat….msg 10
    i think what happened was the duppers got caught asleep at the wheel while reg empty cooked up the deal with the tories, and just after robbo helped brown over the 42 days,[not that this was any use to them in the end]. now the duppers are stuck with it knowing cameron is likely to get in.
    there’s little real enthusiasm for the tories in britain so a hung parliament could be a real likelihood and for nationalists a real worry here.

  • frustrated democrat


    Hung parliament…not very likely is it.