“That’s a decision for the Irish government”

The DUP took on the mantle of “defenders of Irish sovereignty” in the Northern Ireland Assembly today [Added link to the debate]. Being debated was a Sinn Féin private members’ motion calling for “an All Ireland economic summit to find alternatives to NAMA and an all-Ireland strategy towards mutual economic recovery” – the party’s statement is here. It’s as if they haven’t noticed what’s been happening in Ireland. RTÉ notes that the motion was defeated, and reports the NI Finance Minister’s comments.

DUP Finance minister Sammy Wilson spoke against the motion. He said that NAMA was a matter for the Dáil and added that he was confident the Irish government had no intention of starting a fire-sale He said: ‘I don’t want to get into a debate about the rights and wrongs of Nama. The Irish government has taken a decision that that is the way it is going to manage the banking difficulties which banks based in its jurisdiction have got into.

‘That’s a decision for the Irish government and as far as I’m concerned the only input that I wish to have is that if they set up that system then I want to make sure that the issues that effect Northern Ireland are protected through the co-operation which we have on a government to government basis or on a minister to minister.’

The motion, and amendment, under debate

Motion – National Asset Management Agency

That this Assembly expresses deep concern at the possible negative economic consequences for the island of Ireland if the National Asset Management Agency legislation currently under consideration by Dáil Éireann is passed; and calls on the First Minister and deputy First Minister to raise the issue at the North South Ministerial Council to agree a way forward regarding these assets which will ensure the economic stability of the island of Ireland and movement towards economic growth.

[Mr M McLaughlin]
[Ms J McCann]
[Mr P Butler]

The Speaker has selected the following amendment for debate:
Amendment 1:

Proposed: Leave out all after ‘consequences’ and insert:

‘ for Northern Ireland arising from the potential National Asset Management Agency legislation currently under consideration in the Oireachtas; and, while respecting the right of the Irish Government and Parliament to determine their own response to the banking crisis within their jurisdiction, calls on the First Minister and deputy First Minister, alongside the Ministers of Finance and Personnel and Enterprise, Trade and Investment, to use all opportunities, including the North South Ministerial Council, to ensure that the potential implications for the economy in Northern Ireland are fully taken into account within any legislation and subsequent action.’

[Mr S Neeson]
[Dr S Farry]

Adds From the NI Assembly debate

Mr Weir: I welcome the debate. As a politician, it is, in part, always good to talk about bankers, because in recent days, they are, perhaps, the one group of professionals that tend to be held in lower esteem than politicians. Consequently, the opportunity to distract from our bad press is always welcome.

Although I disagree with the wording of the amendment, Dr Farry hit the nail on the head. We need to focus on what the Assembly can do and determine our appropriate role. In that respect, I fundamentally disagree with the motion’s approach, because I do not believe that it is appropriate for the Assembly to interfere in what is essentially a turf war down South between Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin and in legislation in another jurisdiction.

Some people would criticise the Assembly for not giving sufficient scrutiny to its own legislation. Therefore, it is a somewhat expansionist approach to suggest that we should interfere in legislation in the Irish Republic. To that end, some colleagues and I find ourselves in the unusual position of being defenders of Irish sovereignty today. We are a different jurisdiction, and it is not our role to interfere in the internal affairs of another country.

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  • John O’Connell

    Since Sinn Fein are effectively economically illiterate North of the border, and pretty soft on it in the South, this must be one that Eoin O’Brion, the master conspirator, has crossed over for them to nod in.

    A scent of desperation about it.

  • europass

    If Sinn Fein are simply seeking to ratchet up the all-Ireland content of Stormont debate then this seems to have worked.

    Not sure of the purpose of Alliance’s partitionist motion. Could someone tell me what the negative consequences of the southern taxpayer procuring assets from southern banks might be for the citizens of Northern Ireland – even if some of those assets are situated in Northern Ireland?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    That the DUP shares the same view as FF (Ta ar la imithe) on Norn Iron will not suprise many and puts their funny ventures into Norn Iron into perspective – they simply dont do bigger picture stuff.

  • John O’Connell

    europass

    Could someone tell me what the negative consequences of the southern taxpayer procuring assets from southern banks might be for the citizens of Northern Ireland – even if some of those assets are situated in Northern Ireland?

    The argument is that selling Northern Assets might flood the property market and drive down prices, so devaluing properties in the North.

    But the Sinn Fein position is as you suggest typically cosmetic, trying to play the green card. The DUP got it right in the sense that these assets are being bought above Market value and are therefore unlikely to be offloaded any time soon. They are likely to be sold in the medium to long term.

  • Pete Baker

    europass

    “Not sure of the purpose of Alliance’s partitionist motion.”

    At least it’s grounded in the political reality, rather than political psychosis.

    Sammy Mac

    As above.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Pete,

    re. “At least it’s grounded in the political reality, rather than political psychosis.”

    great man playing arguement.

  • Pete Baker

    Actually, Sammy Mac, that is the ball in this case.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Pete,

    So are you suggesting my arguement is a result of a psychosis?

    I take it you are familiar with Strand 2 of the GFA? It is entirley within the remit( spirit and letter of the agreement for both Irish administrations to agree a joint way forward on NAMA. What the feck is psychotic about that?

  • europass

    Pete,

    I’ve nothing but goodwill for Stephen and Sean but I really can’t see the purpose of deleting concerns of the Island of Ireland and replacing with a limited concern for Northern Ireland (with the balance of a commitment to use the North South Ministerial Council) other than a pointless constitutional pedantry.

    Why shouldn’t Stormont have concern for the economy of the whole of the Island, and with regard to other matters, these Islands or this Continent?

  • Pete Baker

    europass

    The amendment addressed the concerns specifically relating to NI – which the Assembly has responsibility for – whilst acknowledging the political reality.

    As any legislative chamber should do.

  • europass

    If you say so Pete.

    But from what I can see

    “calls on the First Minister and deputy First Minister, alongside…to ensure that the potential implications for the economy in Northern Ireland are FULLY TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT within any legislation and subsequent action.”

    calls for active intervention in the legislative process of our neighbour and shows an expectation that they will take account of our interests. It’s hardly isolationist and if they’re supposed to take account of us shouldn’t we show some concern for them?

    It’s not like Alliance to be hypocritical. They’re the good guys.

    The Sinn Fein motion concerning the implications for the whole of the island automatically includes concerns for Northern Ireland. That’s a given.

    The Alliance motion is just silly buggers. It does nothing of import other than to remove the words “Island of Ireland” and include “Northern Ireland”. It doesn’t limit the interference (or interest) of the Stormont Assembly in the Southern economy and it calls on our executive to get involved in their law making.

  • Pete Baker

    The bit you redacted, europass,

    “calls on the First Minister and deputy First Minister, alongside the Ministers of Finance and Personnel and Enterprise, Trade and Investment, to use all opportunities, including the North South Ministerial Council”

    In other words, the bits the NI Assembly has responsibility for or an input into.

    The intent of the Sinn Féin motion is made clear in their statement, rather than the motion itself.

    “an All Ireland economic summit to find alternatives to NAMA and an all-Ireland strategy towards mutual economic recovery” [added emphasis]

    That’s the difference between political psychosis and political reality.

    No representation without taxation.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Pete,

    “No representation without taxation”

    That is simply wrong. The Irish government both represents the people of Ulster and pays money towards Ulster without receiving taxation from them and the GFA Strand 2 allows for the harmonising of both economies – SF were acting properly and within the agreement. Do you not understand that?

    There may well be another psychological construct at work here – denial.

  • Pete Baker

    Sammy Mac

    “The Irish government both represents the people of Ulster and pays money towards Ulster without receiving taxation from them and the GFA Strand 2 allows for the harmonising of both economies – SF were acting properly and within the agreement. Do you not understand that?”

    You don’t understand “Irish sovereignty”?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    I don’t think anyone told Sammy about the thing about Articles 2&3.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    BG,

    Articles 2 & 3 were quite useless – they were swapped for an actual say in Norn Iron Affairs
    as set out in Strand 2 of the GFA.

    SF were simply attempting to operate the agreement the 2 Irish governments and the Plain people of Ireland North and South have signed up to.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Keep slabberin’ Samso – you’re onto a good one here! You’ve thus far managed to assert that the Irish government (the real one, in Dublin) *is* already running NI, and, simultaneously, is merely *trying* to start doing so, hence Sinn Five’s motion. Thus we have the perfect Slabbery contribution: fantasy, dishonesty, repetition. More! more!

  • The Irish government both represents the people of Ulster and pays money towards Ulster without receiving taxation from them

    Remind me again who won in Belfast in the last Dáil election…?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Andrew,

    are you aware what strand 2 of GFA covers?

    Do you accept that what SF were proposing fell within its remit?

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Do you accept, Slabbery, that as well as making up your usual quota of spacerish gibberish, you’ve, with today’s jibber jabber, contradicted yourself every which way? Stick to spouting your usual stuff about P&J: I fear even you’re becoming confused by the guff you’ve rolled out today.

  • kensei

    Pete

    At least it’s grounded in the political reality, rather than political psychosis.

    Are you sure you aren’t simply projecting prejudicesthere Pete? Cos it really sounds like youa re just projecting your prejudices.

    The motion calls for the use of an All Ireland mechanism — the North-South Minsiterial council — in which case the call to look at an All Ireland perspective is appropriate. It implictly takes in the potential damage done North, and implictly recognises what the Alliance had to stick explictly “while respecting the right of the Irish Government and Parliament to determine their own response to the banking crisis within their jurisdiction”. Given the interdependence of the issue, and who actually holds the keys here, a little Ulster mentality seems somewhat counter productive.

    It was also a naked piece of politicing by SF which managed to posture both North and South. They’ve done worse.

  • are you aware what strand 2 of GFA covers?

    Yes. But in the NSMC the Irish government represents the Republic, not the North. That was my point.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Andrew,

    SF suggested, as per strand 2 of the GFA, that both Irish governments co-operate on this important economic matter. Some Irish Unionists on Slugger and in Stormo (including the Alliance party) seem to have a problem with this and some confusion appears to have arisen here on Slugger because the DUP mistakenly dragged in the issue of soverignity.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    “The DUP mistakenly dragged in the issue of soverignity”, says me ould mucker Slabbery. Actually, it was one of Slugger’s greatest loons, specifically the one who jibber-jabbered this: “The Irish government … represents the people of Ulster” who raised that canard. But don’t worry, he’ll be along with another fib to entertain us shortly. Or possibly the same one. Either way, we’ll laugh.