“In fact, it has no authority at all.”

The blog-sitting Martina Purdy spotted the solo statement from Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, congratulating Tyrone on their GAA Ulster senior football final win yesterday and asked – “So I was wondering what happened? Is there a protocol for these things?” The DUP response was less than illuminating – “Politicians are usually criticised for what they do say rather than what they don’t.” But I think I can help. To quote a Sinn Féin spokesman on a previous occasion – “It is a joint office. This is not worth the paper it’s written on.” As the spokesman explained

“No letter [or statement] from a First Minister without being co-signed by the Deputy First Minister can carry the imprimatur of the office [and vice versa]. In fact, it has no authority at all.”

The same is true of congratulations from the NI First Minister alone. Still, as long as political blushes are spared..

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  • Paul

    Another sad day for the xenophobic and insular unionists, they get to thumb their noses atsportsmen who do well.

    Same old same old

    security word: too

  • Skintown Lad

    this is the greatest load of petty insular bollix i have ever heard. who’s congratulating who, who’s not congratulating who. if this is all we have to concern ourselves with we are doing very well indeed.


  • CW

    Well said, SL. Of more relevance and greater interest would be a blog on the passing away of the great writer Frank McCourt, but oh no let’s just talk about the old prods v taigs bunfight at the Assembly again.

  • Carson’s Cat

    “Another sad day for the xenophobic and insular unionists, they get to thumb their noses atsportsmen who do well.”

    So because Peter Robinson was either watching the golf, the cricket or simpy washing his hair and didn’t feel moved to issue a statement congratulating a load of culchies who honed their gaelic skills on the streets of the Holylands at 4 in the morning, then he’s xenophobic and insular…

    And while we’re at it – how exactly is Robinson being xenophobic by ‘refusing’ to congratulate Tyrone? One thing we can all agree on is that Tyrone is in the same Country as where Peter Robinson lives – there might be some disagreement as to which country that is, but we can set that aside for a moment.

    So how then can he be accused of xenophobia – you might either want to buy a dictionary or shut up before you embarass yourself again.

    I thought it was customary to wait until August before the BBC ran stupid stories to fill airtime….. I’m off now to think up a list of things Martin McGuinness hasn’t done today….

  • Glencoppagagh

    Quite a significant part of McGuinness’s Mid-Ulster constituency is in Tyrone so it would be politic for him to trot out a statement.
    Tyrone is a long way from Belfast East.

  • fin

    it was a PR congratulating Tyrone on winning the final, hardly delicate stuff. However considering the big sponsors involved its a good idea considering the sports ministers recent comments.

    So what if Robbo doesn’t want to join in, reading other threads other unionists seem to have shown an interest which was good to see.

  • Pete Baker


    It’s not just “insular unionists” who aren’t joining in those congratulatory messages from OFMDFM. As the linked earlier ‘congratulations’ evidences.

    And I realise this is just a press statement.

    But the key point to note is how the First and deputy First Ministers appear to have agreed to treat the more politically delicate statements.

    Issuing them in only one of their names renders the messages meaningless in terms of the joint office.

    And since the two have no authority to act on their own…

  • Dewi

    “Issuing them in only one of their names renders the messages meaningless in terms of the joint office”

    Pete – they are “congratulations” not great decisions of state. It makes sense for Robinson to congratulate those honoured by the Queen and McGuiness a football team from his constituency. Surely no big wow?

  • Alan – Newtownards

    Maybe Peter is leaving it up to his Culture and Sports minister to comment on it. But at the end of the day is it really important that a unionist comments on or in this case doesn’t comment on a G.A.A match?

    I personally didn’t watch it as I have no real interest in it. No offence intended to G.A.A. supporters. I would have liked to have watched the golf but my wife insisted that we take the kids for a walk. Ward Park in Bangor is a really nice place on a Sunday, especially with a jazz quartet playing.

    Maybe someday unionists will feel comfortable enough to go to a G.A.A. match, myself included if the sporting side of the organisation becomes detatched from the political and nationlistic aspects of the G.A.A. I also long for the day when nationlists would feel comfortable attending N.I. games at Windsor or wherever the games are played.

    Anyway well done to both sides. I’m sure you did both your counties proud. Well done also to the G.A.A. in reaching out to the unionists of N.I. You have a long way to go but who knows where the hand of repect and friendship might lead you.

  • GGN

    “In fact, it has no authority at all.”

    What authority do you need to congradulate a football team?

    Who cares about the legality of it?

    Is Peter Robinson bothered? I doubt it.

  • Pete Baker


    I know it’s a pointy-headed point.

    But I’ve got a pointy-head. ;o)

  • Brankin

    I’m sure Peter will be very touched that some of the GAA fan base care so much about his opinion on a particular team’s performance.

    What I want to know is why did the DFM not issue his statement in Irish? Will the GAA be able to understand that he has congratulated the team?

    Why also is he being partial with his congratulations? Will poor Antrim feel unloved, will Gerry rush to its defence?

  • fin

    surely the PR would have had to say ‘the OFMDFM congratulates….’ for it to be false, lots of the PRs from OFMDFM have other peoples names on them and no names at all.

  • Dewi

    Brankin – DFM generous in praise of Antrim:

    “Antrim have showed tremendous spirit throughout the competition reaching their first provincial final in 39 years. However today was not the day of the underdog and they were beaten by an excellent Tyrone side. I would like to wish Antrim all the best in the qualifiers, as Tyrone showed last year defeat in the Ulster Championship does not mean the end of the road as far All Ireland glory is concerned”

  • skullion

    As an Antrim supporter i couldn’t give a toss if either McGuiness or Robinson congralulate anyone.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    meanwhile in other news…. a chip wrapper, bearing the logo ‘Evening Herald’ and believed to have originated in the Irish Republic is believed to has blown across the border and been found 10 yards inside Norn Iron…. and nearby a cat answering to the name of Carson and wearing a Union Jack waiscoat has been been found stuck up a tree in an excited and agitated state.

  • Brankin

    What! Martin called Antrim “dogs”? Will he throw his shoes next?

  • slug

    “It makes sense for Robinson to congratulate those honoured by the Queen and McGuiness a football team from his constituency. Surely no big wow? ”

    It only makes sense if one thinks sectarian division makes sense.

  • PD

    Please Mick, Pete Baker is an arse. Spare us this crap

  • “But I’ve got a pointy-head.”

    A too close encounter with a pencil sharpener? 😉