“It will be made up by 3 MLAs from the DUP and 3 from Sinn Fein.”

According to BBC NI political editor Mark Devenport’s blog

Tonight we are expecting the announcement of the 6 strong parades working group. It will be made up by 3 MLAs from the DUP and 3 from Sinn Fein. I haven’t yet got all the names but I wouldn’t be surprised if Gerry Kelly and Nelson McCausland are members.

Which would make that “co-chaired working group” more obviously a continuation in negotiations after the fact… They have until the end of February to report back on their “agreed outcomes”. [Or the bunny gets it? – Ed] The 9 March vote on devolving justice powers, probably. Adds The BBC confirms, “The office of the first and deputy first minister have confirmed who will be on a working group to examine the issue of parading. Junior Ministers Gerry Kelly and Jeffrey Donaldson will be joined by Stephen Moutray, Nelson McCausland, Michelle Gildernew and John O’Dowd.” No doubt they all have the required “experience of dealing with parading issues..”?

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  • Cynic2

    Inclusion!!! Aint it wonderful.

    What was it Gerry used to say about equality ….now all pigs are equal but ……..

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Brilliant…..especially for North Belfast with Kelly and McCausland both wanting opposite results from this.

  • joeCanuck

    A recipe for a mess.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Let’s play ‘Name those MLAs!’

    On SF side:
    Gerry Kelly (for Ardoyne)
    John O’Dowd (Drumcree)
    Daithi McKay (Rasharkin)

    On SDLP side:
    Simpson (Drumcree)
    McCausland (Ardoyne)
    Gregory (To keep him pissing from within…oh, and to reference the ‘successful’ Derry solution…)

  • Chris Donnelly

    Ooops!

    Clearly that should have read ‘DUP’ side…

  • John O’Connell

    Obsessed with the SDLP, are we, Chris?

  • Cynic2

    Another sectarian carve up.

  • Parades is probably the last thing that should have been devolved unless it was also given to Alliance party.

    I would guess that the vast majority of people would think that removing the parades commission is the height of irresponsbility.

  • JohnM

    Disappointed if that is true. Surely if it was going to be limited to the Stormont parties it should at least be made up along the lines of:

    SF: 2
    DUP: 2
    SDLP: 1
    UUP: 1

    I would have preferred some outside opinion too… Can’t see this dream team accomplishing much.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Pete

    Eamon Maillie is ‘tweeting’ that the members will be Gildernew, Kelly and O’Dowd (SF) McCausland, Moutray and Jeffrey Donaldson (ach, he’s been given a wee job at last…)

  • Drumlins Rock

    well wee Jeffrey was almost Grand Master at one stage I think, I would also like to point out the DUP has no one from “the West” or minority Unionist areas, communities where parading is seen as important to their survival.
    I think the make up of the group is disgusting and hints at a stichup with the outcome decided, the idea of an all inclusive Executive is dead and should be buried.

  • Pete Baker

    Chris

    Who the individuals involved are is the least important part of this move.

    Apart from considering whether they meet the announced criteria – “a co-chaired working group comprising six members, appointed by them, with experience of dealing with parading issues..”

  • alan56

    Bizarre… Inclusion…. what about SDLP, UUP,Alliance and others….They need not apply it seems.

  • scarecrow

    Gerry Kelly secured their passage down the Ardoyne road, maybe he will do the same on the Garvaghy road?

  • John O’Connell

    If it’s three SF and three DUP then it will be the irresistible force and the immovable object. Neither side are looking to negotiate. I make it Bosnia by the summer.

  • Los Lobos

    Ach come on now lads, this line up is more like the cast in the sitcome “The Office” as opposed to an office that will bring some humour to a sensitive issue. The only difference is that David Brent was funny in his office, these jokers are laughing all the way to the electorate as they have carved the province up like a mince pie thus ensuring that aparthite stays here for ever.

  • So that element of the ‘deal’ which dealth with parading actually only agreed to keep on talking about parading – amongst themselves.

    This is hilarious.

    How fast can a deal unravel exactly??

  • scarecrow

    It won’t unravel imv, they’ll walk and Gerry Kelly will make sure of it. Even if he has to escort them down Garvaghy himself, like he did at Ardoyne.

  • Driftwood

    They should have added Dick Dasterdley and Muttley to give the impression they were serious.

    [keep it civil – edited moderator]

  • iluvni

    UUP and sdlp should together tell Sinn Fein and DUP to stick their farcical agreement where the sun dont shine (and I dont mean Larne)…or are they just too comfy with their wages and expenses to rock the boat too much.

  • Wabbits

    This is a joke. What about all of the people who don’t vote for either of these parties. Do their opinions and feelings on this issue not count at all anymore.

    I am incensed. This is a diktat. How stupid do they think the electorate/people are ?

    it transpires, on the evidence of this, that there was no agreement at all and the whole thing is a carve up to suit SF and DUP.

    The SDLP, UNCUF, Alliance and all others with a proper interest in representing those who elected them should withdraw any notion that they will even countenance supporting this con game.

    .

  • sdelaneys

    Hillarious? yes.
    Sad? Yes.
    Stupid? yes.

  • The Raven
  • Dixie Elliott

    PSF pantomime at QUB…

    [IMG]http://photos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/hs178.snc3/20545_349810574464_779454464_4972376_1145598_n.jpg[/IMG]

    The much anticipated public talk will be held at 5.30pm in Club Room 3 in the QUB Student’s Union, and the panel will have a number of high profile speakers including Sinn Féin Vice President Mary Lou McDonald, and Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney, who will discuss the merits of a United Ireland, and a road map to get there…

    They use Sat Navs now-a-days Declan. Gerry and Marty don’t need road maps they have drivers…

    Join in the fun ask awkward questions just to see the look on their faces…

  • Lionel Hutz

    The SDLP have to go into opposition now. This is a fix. Both Sdlp and UUP have about 1/6 of the vote. They should be in there. I’m actually gobsmacked.

    Sinn Fein have stuck two fingers up to the very notion of consociationalism. They’re destroying the GFA

  • KateMcC

    Sadly it illustrates just are confident the chiefs are of managing their tribes. The exclusion of the other parties is disgraceful, it’s time the SDLP and the UUP stood up to the bully boys in the DUP/SF.
    This whole sage is beginning to look like something out of Austin Powers.

  • KateMcC,

    Dont agree, the ‘other’ parties namely the UUP and the SDLP and to a lesser extent the Alliance (until they were offered the Justice post) have behaved quite opportunistically and the suspicion must be that rather than trying to reach an agreement they would seek party political advantage. A vivid illustration of this has been the UUPs obfuscation of over the devolution of Police whilst they sought an edge and their current huffing over the current deal.

    Though, it would have been sensible to have a five man panel chaired by the Alliance who would have a casting vote.

    As this is the last chance for the DUP to scupper the deal does anybody know whether this stage will simply be a broad laying out of principles that should be contained in the bill or more detailed fare which would allow the electorate to judge whether contentious marches are indeed any more likely?

  • Neil

    No matter what happens no, some people can expect to be stitched up. SF can give ground on parading, but when push comes to shove they can’t prevent trouble from happening, in truth where contentious marches are concerned SF have little control. They can agree in principle to allow parades to happen at a given location, but if local opposition is strong then SF’s consent won’t mean a damn thing.

    On the other hand the DUP increasingly look like the fat cats of politics here, there’s a lot of back scratching happening, developers being lobbied for, interest free cash loans being dished out, expenses being filed and properties changing hands on a one pound trust arrangement. Even God’s own party’s most vociferous christians have been found out to be morally wanting when it comes to sexy time (working up an appetite to justify the food bills perhaps).

    Parades do affect primarily working class areas, and the DUP are hardly the working class party these days. It seems to me that they’ve used the working class Loyalist community to get where they are, but by their actions the DUP don’t really care about them. Not too many working class Loyalist’s will benefit from the Presbyterian Mutual payback. In fact it seems to me that working class Loyalist/Unionist folk have two choices, one party aligned with the Tories (hardly the working class choice), the other is an old boys club where everyone’s looking out for each other with cash and power being the primary target.

  • feardorcha

    Wee Jeffrey’s been included…

    ^Ain’t the law great^

    Did someone say superinjunction?

  • Cynic2

    Great.Now the Sourthern voters have caught on and ditched Mary Lou we are expected to put up with her up here.

    What’s the grip she has on some senior figures in the party? It cant be her all encompassing ability or electoral appeal

  • CongalClaen

    The UUP/SDLP had no problem “excluding” people when it was their turn. That the Alliance was allowed to change it’s designation to get more than 50% of the “unionist” votes needed was a disgrace. So, don’t go whingeing now. Although I see the SDLP have just selected the high priestess of whinge as their new leader. So, no change expected there.

    As for the parades issue – it should be extended to culture. At the present it only affects unionist/loyalist culture. Something the SDLP pushed for. If it’s widened to include the GAA and the ILA perhaps we’ll have progress. SF say they’re proud of the tricolour and that the orange is part of the nation. Well, act as if that is true. Don’t just tolerate parades. Welcome them. Likewise, unionists need to embrace Gaelicness as one of the most ancient forms of British culture. Certainly much older than the English language for example. Bring Gaelic to state schools…

    Just my 2p worth.

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    I just hope that as all the participents are from just two parties then it will be easier to indulge in a group hug before and after their doings.

  • ardmaj55

    This hillsboro agreement could last nearly as long as the talks that gave rise to it, or, then again, it might last twice as long. Not looking good, but as Liam Clarke said, if the DUP crash this one, the govts might just abandon elections and go back to direct rule, in frustration with our lot.

  • Catherine

    Observation and question:

    We are seeing an awful lot of Mary Lou Mc Donald in Belfast these days, with an awful lot to say.

    Is it likely that SF are inching her in as a possible future candidate in the North?

  • Catherine

    Cynic,

    I had not read your comments when I posted my observation.

    I share your bewilderment at her relationship with SF leaders.

    It is inexplicable considering her unpopularity or credibility.

  • ardmaj55

    CongalGlen. The idea that SF and by extension nats, should embrace Orange parades is original if nothing else. It would certainly put a few OO noses out of joint and make all the triumphalism redundant.
    I think the P&J transfer is safe now because although Robbo says he can collapse it if he wants, he knows that would try the patience of the Govts. They might just abandon Stormont and go back to indirect rule, and Robbo would get the blame. It’s not going to happen.

  • CongalClaen

    Hi ardmaj55,

    And conversely if Unionists/loyalist embraced Gaelic SF wouldn’t give a toss about it. Gerry’s pigeon Irish would seem so mainstream…

    The other thing is SF want a “united” Ireland. Why would you want to unite with something you detest? It’s like trying to win the affections of someone by calling them a slag, etc. Maybe, if they embraced the Orange they’d have more to show for their efforts. Murder and mayhem doesn’t seem to have worked.

    On the flipside Unionists’ snub of all things Gaelic is at least logical as they want nothing to do with the RoI. Although, personally for me, I’d like to see a United (British) Isles and would rather promote and embrace Gaelic. But it has to be mutual to truly work…

  • IanR

    “On the flipside Unionists’ snub of all things Gaelic is at least logical as they want nothing to do with the RoI.”

    The flaw in your logic there is that they speak Gaelic in Scotland as well.

  • ardmaj55

    CongalGlen 12 Morning to you also CG I don’t know why you’re telling me all this, i haven’t said I’m a Sinn Fein voter, or buy into their stated agendas. I would say they could sell the residents in Portadown out if it helped them get for instance the Irish Language act or some other concession.

  • CongalClaen

    Hi Ian,

    I thought we were talking about NI unionists here.

    Hi ardmaj55,

    Sorry, I never meant to imply you were. Not that that is something to be ashamed off. I just think there’s more hope of SF/DUP coming up with something than UUP/SDLP.

  • CongalClaen

    Hi Ian,

    I could also have added that Ian Adamson is a fluent Irish Gaelic speaker and there are Gaelic classes in some very loyalist areas. Some OO lodges have gaelic on their banners as do Irish regiments. But we’re talking generally here…

  • IanR

    “I thought we were talking about NI unionists here.”

    Indeed. Their raison d’etre is to maintain the Union with the neighbouring island, upon which a form of Gaelic is spoken. So their ‘snub of all things Gaelic’ is [i]illogical[/i]. That’s all I was saying.

  • IanR

    “I thought we were talking about NI unionists here.”

    Indeed. Their raison d’etre is to maintain the Union with the neighbouring island, upon which a form of Gaelic is spoken. So their ‘snub of all things Gaelic’ is [i]illogical[/i]. That’s all I was saying.

  • IanR

    Sorry about the double post.

  • ardmaj55

    CongalGlen.15 You’ve alkready been proved right about there being a better chance with SF/DUP than the SDLP/UUP match up. Trimble and mallon just couldn’t cut it. I’m sure Mr Thimble has been indulging in a bit of schadenfreude recently.

  • ardmaj55

    CongalGlen.15 You’ve already been proved right about there being a better chance with SF/DUP than the SDLP/UUP match up. Trimble and mallon just couldn’t cut it. I’m sure Mr Thimble has been indulging in a bit of schadenfreude recently.

  • ardmaj55

    Congalclaen [15] As for Nationalists embracing the Orange marches, I’ve read on forums here and elsewhere from unionists who said that before the troubles began, in some country areas, Catholics would join in and help with the bonfires and watch the parades with their Protestant neighbours, but surely after they went home, some of those attending would think less of them for it, since the Parades are celebrating the defeat of the Catholic side. It depends on who is doing the gloating at the expense of the catholics I suppose. It’s hard to see how that would work in towns especially.

  • Lionel Hutz

    To be fair, the problems with the SDLP/UUP era were caused by Sinn Fein holding out on decommisioning and the DUP doing their best to stall progress by for example changing their ministers every fortnight. If Sinn Fein/DUP have been successful, it’s only because the rest of the assembly is facilitating it, even if with gritted teeth

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Aside from the playground innuendo about Mary Lou McDonald its just SF showing at every opportunity that they are a 32 county party and “look we have another woman politician”.
    A service that Martin Ferris can only accomplish to 50% capacity.
    Its more about strengthening Mary Lous credibility for a Dublin Dáil seat than being a candidate in a winnable seat in North.
    Really she is NOT THAT brilliant.
    Standing in North Down would keep her off the streets and do wonders for her CV.
    Caitriona Ruane still lives in County Louth and often seen on a tennis court there.
    On the other hand an tUachtaran “lives” in County Down.

  • CongalClaen

    Hi ardmaj55,

    The OO were formed as a “defence” force against similar “defence” forces of a Catholic nature approximately 100 years AFTER the Battle of the Boyne. That battle was not a total Catholic/prod thing. For example, the Pope was on the side of William and William’s Blue Guards were Catholic. It was to do with the Glorious revloution (a bit over the top I Know) and was supposedly about Civil and religious liberty for all.

    So maybe Catholics should consider 1690 the victory of toleration (well, at least a start to it) rather than the defeat of catholicism. Afterall, there’s no Irish Catholic equivalent to the French Huegenots is there?

  • ardmaj55

    CC [25] I know about the ironies of the battle of the Boyne and that it wasn’t as cut and dried as some on the Orange side like to imagine, but I’d have to concede to your knowledge of the history of the period aside from the battle.
    I just wonder how the ‘orange culture’ managed to sustain itself for the hundred years between the battle and the setting up of the Order in 1795, in the light of claims now that the very survival of Protestant hertiage in NI is at risk if parades were to fade out.

  • CongalClaen

    Hi ardmaj55,

    Have to agree with your point. The same could also be said about Gaelic with respect to the ILA and does the GAA need to be taxpayer funded?

    Personally, I think it’s better to promote our cultures rather than become some mundane English speaking western region. But it has to be both cultures. Or, even better, could we think of them as one? Parity of Esteem and all that…

  • ardmaj55

    CC I don’t agree with SF plan to put Gaelic up as a condition at Stormont, they were using the using the Irish Language for political ends. Some of them can barely speak it. No, I don’t think it needs to be publicly funded and the demand to have it so, is partly to blame for the absurdity of getting funding from Eu for that sub Ballymena accent masquerading as a language called ulster scots. You couldn’t make a lot of this stuff up if you were a member of the Monty Python team.

  • ardmaj55

    CC I don’t agree with SF plan to put Gaelic up as a condition at Stormont, they were using the Irish Language for political ends. Some of them can barely speak it. No, I don’t think it needs to be publicly funded and the demand to have it so, is partly to blame for the absurdity of getting funding from Eu for that sub Ballymena accent masquerading as a language called ulster scots. You couldn’t make a lot of this stuff up if you were a member of the Monty Python team.

  • ardmaj55

    Sorry about these repeat posts. This PC doesn’t always appear to send, and i find out only after wards when it has sent.