Direct Rule as we’ve known it peters out

While the dissident threat was first up, strange to say it was the travails of the Presbyterian Mutual Society subscribers that dominated the last Northern Ireland questions of this Labour government, although no figures were mentioned here. Try as they might, neither the SDLP ‘s Alasdair McDonnell nor the (still) Ulster Unionist Sylvia Hermon managed to force junior minister Paul Goggins into promising more than “a hard headed solution that will work in practice.” Little hope then, of Labour delivering? Conservative shadow S of S Owen Paterson deplored the idea of the PMS being dumped on his lap and tried to turn it into an election issue. But where are his voters? There was a slighty desperate air, as local MPs tried to hold Labour to its pledges when they still can and tie up the loose ends of direct rule, instead of risking starting all over again with the Tories, who just mightn’t be so amenable, what with all those earlier cuts promised. The absent Sinn Fein were given their time honoured Downing St treatment – for the last time?Eddie McGrady, as fierce an opponent of the IRA and Sinn Fein as any brand of unionist got nowhere with a polite request to revisit those security protocols for the intelligence services. But he duly won compliments for 23 year’s service from this most oleaginous of Secretaries of State, who has learned a thing or two about defusing Northern Irish verbal explosive devices. Shaun Woodward looked for ward to a “final” report of the decommissioning body later in the year producing an inventory of paramilitary arsenals. Just think what impact that would have had a decade ago : now it glides by. Nigel Dodds wanted more, more money for security if it was ever necessary and was told “it was the Chief Constable that we will listen to.”
Peter Robinson was given a soothing reply when he feared the MoD was still trying to resist a free transfer of their NI assets to the Executive. Trust Gregory to wind up the last important remnants of direct rule as we’ve known it for 38 years on an aggressive note. Woodward had just said that “without Saville there would have been no stable peace process.! Was he overselling the marathon experience?

Mr. Gregory Campbell (East Londonderry) (DUP): Given that almost £200 million has been spent, with no definitive outcome yet in sight, does the Secretary of State agree that now is the time to call an end to further wasteful inquiries and deal with genuine innocent victims for the future rather than trying to remember the past?

Mr. Woodward: The hon. Gentleman need take no lessons, certainly from me, in being reminded that several thousand people lost their lives in the course of the troubles. We cannot forget the past; I am sure that he shares that view. The Saville inquiry will help us to produce the truth about the events of that day. We will learn from this inquiry. However, we do need a process to enable Northern Ireland to reconcile itself with its past.

From Shaun Woodward then, a fitting wrap-up, to leave dealing with the past where it belongs.

  • iluvni

    “Peter Robinson was given a soothing reply when he feared the MoD was still trying to resist a free transfer of their NI assets to the Executive”

    You reckon?
    I dont.

  • [quote][i]“Peter Robinson was given a soothing reply when he feared the MoD was still trying to resist a free transfer of their NI assets to the Executive”[/i][/quote]

    Has Mr Robinson got a pet developer lined up to feather his nests? Or if you prefer, has a developer got a lap dog in Mr Robinson?

    And when are the supposed leaders of N.Ireland [don’t laugh please, this is a serious matter] going to start initiating/introducing policies/schemes which Generate Funding Streams rather than spending Funding. Or have they abdicated that role to the private sector and the public whom they will screw for as much tax as they can, just short of the natives revolting?

    Are they always going to be going cap in hand begging for Money rather than making it to provide for what everyone needs, so that the people here can learn how the Money System works?

    Or is that the real fear? …..”It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.” …. Henry Ford.

    Oh, and don’t be relying on any help from one eyed Scottish idiots for the Mr Bean clone of that cuckoo apology in a self-serving office of madness and fiscal irresponsibility have mounting problems of their own …….

  • dodrade

    If the NIO is abolished, will the Great Seal transfer to the First Minister as in Scotland and Wales?

  • Driftwood


    Peter will have significantly more land shortly. As a result of ‘sidedeals’ at the Hillsborough ‘staging post’ SF secured the winding up of the Army garrison here.
    Despite assurances to Jeffrey Donaldson last summer on keeping bases open:

    THE future redevelopment of Ballykinlar will be outlined by a specialist task force set up by Down Council as the Ministry of Defence plans its withdrawal from the area.
    The Ballykinlar army base, which has dominated the village for over 100 years, will be vacated within a few years, opening a swathe of coastal countryside to the public.

    Not with a bang but with a whimper…

    Well done Peter

  • Drumlins Rock

    What about that other wee bit of real estate in the centre of Hillsborough? wonder has Peter got his eye on it too, might have to share it with marty though!