“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..