“It is like a terminal illness…”

“The days of sitting at the back of the bus are over.” The defiant words of a senior republican who fears the DUP and its leader Peter Robinson are determined to wreck the architecture of the Good Friday Agreement and the principle of power sharing. The source added:

“They are wilfully corrupting power sharing. Slowing everything down to make it look as if the structures aren’t working. The DUP have disengaged with us from last December. The Euro election changed so much. They went into Euro election mode and haven’t changed since. The Euro election result has damaged Robinson.

We came here on the basis of the Agreement. If the Agreement isn’t working why would we stay here? Martin (McGuinness) said if we don’t have agreement on the transfer of policing and justice by Christmas we are in trouble. It (the administration) is losing credibility with the Republican base and with the broad nationalist community. No one had a good word to say about the place in Downpatrick.

(This is a reference to the recent Assembly Road Show in which the Executive was repeatedly slated for the endless mudslinging and failure to agree on big issues like equality, education and policing and justice.)

“The Review of Public Administration was the first big challenge. We gave way on Councils but equality must be at the heart of the councils. Legislative powersharing and protection of miniorities – all minorities have to be at the heart of local government. The DUP takes the view that the administration is unworkable because of vetos. A source said: “Everybody sits with a veto. Everybody exercises a veto. The perception is if one side wins the other side loses.”

Republicans are not buying this thesis arguing that the ethos of the DUP is such that each minister acts out of selfish party interest rather than for the common good. The Republican source continued:

Breaking point will not be spectacular. If we haven’t a date by Christmas or an indication of a date for the transfer of policing and justice powers I have no sense the place can survive. We are quickly reaching the stage where the drudgery in which we are involved with the repeated efforts to negotiate under, is coming to a natural end.

It is like a terminal illness. I don’t think it is going to be popular outside the Republican base. We have been patient.

We are dealing with a volatile situation on the outside. We have to be sure our actions will not make it worse. Storming off in a strop is not a constructive way. Perhaps what is needed – politics needs to be refreshed. If the administration collapses the government would have to call an election.”

A DUP insider told me recently an election would not be to another Assembly but to negotiations. The Republican attitude to this assessment is:

“Government has to call an election – It should be to a new Assembly and Executive but will probably be to negotiations. Will the DUP negotiate before a Westminster election ? “

The same source said:

“We are not going back to less than we have, in any negotiations.”

, ,

  • “The defiant words of a senior republican”

    I bunged a few words from the said person into Google and up pops – Gerry Adams!! Is it he?

  • Pete Baker

    “They are wilfully corrupting power sharing”

    Someone’s wilfully misunderstanding what “power-sharing” actually means under the current system

    Hint: It’s not sharing out the sweeties. One for you and one for you.

    It means agreeing to compromise in order to get agreement.

    “We are quickly reaching the stage where the drudgery in which we are involved with the repeated efforts to negotiate under, is coming to a natural end.”

    Oh, for the exciting good old days! When Jonathan Powell was writing our speeches.

    [off sarcasm]

    Politics is drudgery in a mandatory coalition.

    If the anonymous sources are going to do something, then let them do it.

    Rather than anonymously briefing about threats to do something.

    If, however, there is a genuine desire to seek a better system of governance administration…

  • Mark McGregor

    1 gets you 10 – that was Gibnish? Bullshit either way – the shinners are locked in and only a fool would deny the ride they’ve been taken on.

  • kensei


    You appear to be fast approaching hysteria. Are you capable of comment without snark these days at all?

  • Only Asking

    Grow a pair balls and bring it down, or stay and shut up and accept it.

  • Driftwood

    No-one is going to abandon the gravy train. All local parties-including SF-followed the money.
    Let it steam round in east belfast circles forever creating the illusion of power for the muppets.
    As long as all real power lies at Westminster, which it does, then no big deal.

    Direct Rule from Palace Barracks is as good as it gets, or going to get. Happy days.

  • DC

    The bi-governmental pick-me-ups in the form of uplifting direct-rule leadership has vanished and with it the optimistic and upright backbone, as today’s unionism and to a certain degree nationalism slumps depressingly into the doldrums together.

    Cheer up you guys, or else – yes – leave and cut the pay off and introduce a cheaper more effective, modern and proper bi-national leadership (rather than having Britishness and Irishness in ugly local drag as per DUP-SF Stormont style).


    Failure to agree to establish the Executive will lead to immediate dissolution of the Assembly, as will failure to agree at any stage, and the Governments will take forward new partnership arrangements on the basis
    previously announced.

    12. The Governments have made clear that in the event of failure to reach agreement by the 24 November we will proceed on the basis of the new
    British Irish partnership arrangements to implement the Belfast Agreement.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Looking at the triumphant body language of Allister as opposed to a slouching Sammy Wilson on Spotlight, perhaps the DUP are too worried to risk further electoral damage by agreeing to the transfer of police. Equally having seen Robbo on Hearts and Minds he seems to be developing a somewhat Trimblesque irritation to awkward questions as the pressure begins to tell.

    The DUP have beeen given the time and space by SF to magic up the politically expedient Unionist confidence and they seem to have come up short – possibly due to the pressure of the ever alert Allister in nailing their ridiculous strategy of simultaneously smashing SF and bedding down with them in government. On balance, I still think Robbo is simply trying to bolster his position before he cuts a deal but from a tactical point of view, if that is the case, he should not have run it so close to the election.


    where did you get that quote in the last para from?

  • Pete Baker

    “The DUP have beeen given the time and space by SF to magic up the politically expedient Unionist confidence and they seem to have come up short”

    Apart, that is, from the Sinn Féin self-declared “deadline” of May 2008…

    As you well know, Sammy mac.

  • JoMax

    This unnamed source doesn’t do irony, does he/she?

    Does s/he care to remember that the Provos connived with looyalist paramilitaries to bring down Sunningdale?
    Does s/he acknowldege that Sinn Fein didn’t actually accept the Good Friday Agreement and that it didn’t even lift a finger in suppirt of its ratification?
    Does s/he remember that it was Sinn Fein and DUP which corrupted the basis of powersharing in favour of power-division at St. Andrews?

    Hell slap it up them and their sheep-like support base.

    Is fada a ritheann an madadh rua…

  • Driftwood

    from next May- Cameron Direct rule looks increasingly promising.
    Owen Patterson, and his colleagues at Palace and Thiepval will be more than capable of governing here with a minimal staff. George Orton and Matt Bagott should handle security between them. What’s the problem?

    ALL of our laws and government come from the National parliament in London. they always have done.

    If Labour ever get re-elected (god forbid)we can negotiate some form of devolution again, but that’s unlikely in the next decade. As long as the Conservative and Unionist party is in power, we’re in clover.

  • igor

    Stomp, sulk, rant.

    “We came here on the basis of the Agreement. If the Agreement isn’t working why would we stay here?”

    Ok then. Go. So what? Where are you going to? Back to murder rather than just threatening people? What will that show except your true character? What will it deliver?

    “They are wilfully corrupting power sharing.”

    What, like your party did first time around? Hijacking cigarettes? Robbing banks? Stealing secrets and spying on your supposed political partners in the Assembly? The DUPs are there because your lies and obfuscation destroyed Trimble and the UUP. Now the DUPs learned from that and are turning your tactics on you. Painful ain’t it.

    “We gave way on Councils”

    No, what you mean is that you tried to gerrymander the Councils and had to compromise.

    “all minorities have to be at the heart of local government”

    Except where they are Prods and you are in control eg Derry,

    ” each minister acts out of selfish party interest rather than for the common good”

    What? Like in Education? And what was Connor Murphy doing defending the blessed Mr Hughes? Acting in the common good?

    ” We are not going back to less than we have, in any negotiations.”

    Nor is anyone else old son. Political reality is that you have to learn to negotiate. Teddy is being thrown out of the pram because you have failed to do so. The Assembly / Executive has exposed your weakness more than the DUPs skills. You simply don’t have the strength in depth to deliver negotiated policies. Commentators foresaw you running rings around the DUPs but they were so wrong.

    So from a Unionist perspective go and have a sulk. You want elections? what for? we already agreed a system. Make it work. If you cant, just go away.

    You seem to think you can force elections. No you cant. What would we Prods participate in them for? What would be voting for? A sectarian headcount? Vote for me I can wrap myself in a flag? Look at me?

    Sorry. That wont wash any more. We voted you all into a system. Negotiate. Do deals. If you cant then it is time to go. goodbye. Go and let the rest of us all get on with our lives until you are grown up enough to cope and a new generation who can do politics.

  • DC

    Off a google search under failure to agree st andrews – it is laid out there in the St Andrews docs.

  • borderline

    Brilliant thread this. PB (superb), JoMax (wow!), igor, DC , everyone.

    Sluuger is where it’s at IMO

  • Fabianus

    Oh dear, I’m growing a little tired of Irish nationalist tantrums.

    Haven’t they worked it out yet? They are joined at the hip to Unionism for better or worse. At present it’s better. If the Men from Dis get their way it’ll be worse. So go on: play into burns victim Jim Allister’s hands.

    Igor appears to be the only one around here who’s talking sense.

  • Paisley Lives

    Is this assembly the most boring and non productive council in the so called UK? Toothless but plenty of mouth.

  • Scaramoosh

    Terminal boredom more like. Why don’t they all just crawl back into their bunkers and let the rest of us get on with our lives, ruled by the European super state.

    The truth of the matter is that globalisation and Europeanisation has long diluted any notions of national Sovereignty; not least, the banal notion that Ulster is British. And even were to be a majority in favour of a United Ireland, the almost bankrupted South, would sink under the economic burden.

    These back room bully boys, with their predilection towards the politics of balkanisation need to be turfed out of office and into some proper jobs, that will benefit the entire community. Robinson can take control of refuge collection, with McGuinness in charge of sewage and waste disposal.

    The days of obfucation are over…

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Dear ould Slabbery: ‘nailing’ someone being ‘ridiculous’! How we laughed (before we got back down to the hard grind of watching the Repulican P&J minister at work, for, it was transferred, and before the end of 2008, otherwise SF would have brought the institutions down, and there was no unionist veto on a Payroll Republican getting the post, as Slabbery told us so – set that to music).

    Anyway . . . if the Punt can possibly, somehow survive the latest batch of, uh, utterly hollow threats from Sinn Five, we’re still left with that fascinating ‘back of the bus’ comment. Being a good Thatcherite, and over 30, it’s been a long time since I’ve had the pleasure of being on an Ulsterbus. I remember a variety of things: the wheels on the bus do, indeed, go round and round; and, when occupied by the Yoof of our fair wee pravince, it was generally the harder men [sic] who sat at the back. Are Republicans now whining that they’re not hard enough ever in their salad days to have got to sit at the back? Or is this a fantastic new, freeform Mopery that says Securocrats and Planter bigotry, allied to West Brit nodding doggery combined to deny them their natural share of the back of the bus? Or, just possibly, was this a cack-handed, obnoxious appropriation of the genuine sufferings of others – in this case, black Americans in the Old South – who actually *were* forced to sit at the back of the bus? Ah Republicans, is there is a lie you cannae tell?

  • Jimmy

    ‘The DUP and its leader Peter Robinson are determined to wreck the architecture of the Good Friday Agreement’

    That, may not actually be a bad thing.

  • labourNIman

    This is sf’s way of putting pressure on the dup? Laughable at best. The sooner the dupers and shinners actually sit down and talk strategy the sooner it will happen. SF have for a long time sold stormont as the means toa united ireland and progressing their one sided agenda. Fair dues to robbo for proving other wise.. But time to stop arsing about and get down to business.

  • “Sinn Fein didn’t actually accept the Good Friday Agreement”

    JoMax, I thought the argument was that the IRA didn’t sign up to the Agreement. IIRC Mo Mowlam claimed that senior IRA members were in the building (in addition to those who were also elected politicians).

  • Dave

    They said their Ard Comhairle would have to approve it first, so that’s all there was to that aspect. They are a pro-agreement party.

  • wild turkey

    ‘Robinson can take control of refuge collection, with McGuinness in charge of sewage and waste disposal.’


    NFW… in a month we would be up to our armpits in rubbish and shit!

  • Barnshee

    “The days of sitting at the back of the bus are over.”

    Brings to my mind the cameo (variously attributed to OConnell and Parnell)

    Roadman/Labourer “will Ireland be free?”

    Parnell/OConnell “what difference will it make to you -you will still be a roadman

  • skullion

    And Parnell/OConnell was right.Freedom is only a state of mind.

  • labourNIman

    Would love the secitary of state to make it law that should the assembly go down all current mlas are barred from fighting elections ever again. Let’s see the smug fools get jobs in call centres, pubs etc and let them face up to the fact that they are political failures

  • LabourNIman

    you’ll be on Harry Hill’s “Most idiotic comment of the weeeeeeeek” on saturday

  • Yokel

    In this new intermingled equal land I have yet to come across anyone of a nationlist persuasion who actually feels like some kind of persecuted group in reality.

    Whoever said freedom is a state of mind is right, but its worse, the stock phrases from this republican ‘source’ is just the talk of myth.

    They are just keeping the people they claim to represent down with such talk. This place is open for people to go out and make of their lives what they will.

    Sinn Fein needs to feed grieveance, just as the likes of the TUV feed on it. Without it, they are scrwed.

    You’d never get me voting for a party that spends it days pushing grievances imagined or real. Ultimately its a road to nowehere for everyone.

    Knock it off lads.