“And long may he do so”

On the Politics Show today, no video, as well as all but declaring her intention to run in the SDLP leadership contest, the Northern Ireland Social Development Minister, Magaret Ritchie, admitted missing the “non-negotiable” targets for social housing new-builds – “nearly 1300” out of a 1500 target. Meanwhile the NI Regional Development Minister, Sinn Féin’s Conor Murphy, declined to rule out the introduction of further water charges even though, as Jim Fitzpatrick pointed out, his party could veto their introduction if they chose to. He also complained about the “unfortunate” leaking of documents before the NI Executive could discuss them. A dutiful Conor Murphy also dismissed speculation about the leadership of his party by the International Representative for west Belfast. Jim Fitzpatrick asked, “Is there never going to be a vacancy there?”.

“I don’t think Gerry Adams hangs on. Gerry Adams is our leader and I think we’re very very glad to have him as our leader. So, just because we don’t suffer the same disarray as some of the other parties it doesn’t mean there’s a particular problem in Sinn Féin. We’re very very content and glad that Gerry Adams continues to lead us and long may he do so.”