“his colleague Gerry Kelly engaged in a British-Irish Council meeting through such a mechanism…”

As Mark Devenport noted at the time, in March this year Sinn Féin’s Daithí McKay had been keen to dismiss the suggestion, by Northern Ireland Culture Environment Minister, the DUP’s Edwin Poots, that video-conferencing would be more appropriate for some North-South Ministerial meetings than travelling to any specific venue. In the NI Assembly today, the under-prepared Sinn Féin MLA clearly didn’t enjoy being, metaphorically, gently slapped around the chamber by the DUP minister when he pursued a question on the same topic – full exchange here [scroll down]. [He shouldn’t lead with his chin – Ed] Video via BBC NI’s Stormont Live.

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  • “gently slapped around the chamber by the DUP”

    A little bit of ideological hyperbole there perhaps?

  • Pete Baker

    Sammy Mac

    If you really think Daithí wasn’t being gently slapped around the chamber there, then you’re not paying attention.

    Again.

  • joeCanuck

    No, Pete. He did not gently slap him around. It was full kick in the goolies.

  • Pete Baker

    Joe

    It was devastating, but it was also restrained.

    The real question is why didn’t Gerry Kelly, or anyone else in Sinn Féin, warn Daithí of the danger of pursuing such a line of argument in the circumstances?

    They’ve had a number of week to tell him.

  • Mack

    Jeebus – I wasted 2 minutes watching that.

    ‘devastating’
    ‘slapped-about’

    Come on Pete, you made it sound far better than it was! If ever there was an argument for reading about debates over watching them live that was it!


    P.S. Most of the arguments for and against video-conferencing in that ‘debate’ were also pretty woeful. Thinly vieled sectarian point scoring. Both sides. If they were managers in a private sector company, I’d imagine they’d both be on the secret list for any forthcoming redundo’s after that discussion..

  • “It was devastating, but it was also restrained.”

    Pete,

    I appreciate it has been a difficult period for the DUP (and yourself) but “devastating”? That might be somewhat more appropriate term to describe the DUP cave-in over Police and Justice rather than an exchange over video conferencing.

    Protocol warning: Please adjust your mindset
    For those of a particulalry tribal and/or sensitive disposition and those unable to judge an arguement on it’s merits please be aware that the term Unionist in my name is not an entrirely accurate reflection of my political views though it should also be noted that my paternal grandfather was a keen supporter of the Union and I am invoking the FIFA grandparent rule and am opting to call myself so. (I’m sure he would have approved.)

  • Pete Baker

    Mack

    “If ever there was an argument for reading about debates over watching them live that was it!”

    A link to the transcript was included in the original post.

    But the point remains.

    Daithí was left stranded by a lack of information from his party colleagues.

  • Mrazik

    As someone once said: “Much ado about…”

  • al

    Daithi trying to become the bigman but quickly put down. He’s done a lot of good work recently but Pete is right, someone has not done their homework.

  • wje

    A case of the seemingly left hand not knowing what the right was doing

  • old school

    Any wonder they’re paid the Average Industrial Wage.

  • USA

    Peter Baker at his best here.
    Trying desperately to find anything that looks like a Unionist win over Sinn Fein. It all moved way beyond sad a pathetic a long time ago for pompous Peter.
    Then out comes his legendary arrogance in post number 2 above.
    Talk about a guy with an inflated sense of his own self worth.

    Any validity to his petty post is lost in his constant bias, writing style and hyperlinks.

    And yes I would have to give that exchange to Edwin Poots. But it’s not news worthy.

  • british citizen

    Perhaps Daithi should stick to raising tensions between the two communities in nationalist dominated towns and villages in Antrim – instead of trying to get invloved in real politics.

    He’s only good at one of those two things anyway.

  • Henry94

    It was a case of Potts calling the Kelly back.

    But it did sound a bit parochial to hear him talk about travelling “great distances” How far away does he think Dublin is?

    Maybe Gerry would give him a ride in the helicopter.

  • Many companies have ‘video conferences’, I always assume it is because of clashes on the schedules. But it appears we cannot even have a few questions about video conferencing without it turning into veiled, sectarian sniping.

    Or is that what some of us see what we want to see.

  • Mack

    Pippakin

    But it appears we cannot even have a few questions about video conferencing without it turning into veiled, sectarian sniping.

    Or is that what some of us see what we want to see.

    No you were right the first time. We use video conferencing all the time. Every day in fact. There was no mention of the impact of reduced personal contact, the argument about saving the environment only applies in the aggregate and savings for taxpayers? NI executive can’t reduce taxes, only spend, so what you’d get are a miniscule increase in services per citizen (a larger number). The only real advantage mentioned was the time saving for the minister (and how about flexibility? or the ability to video record them and make them available to the public or at least the executive for scrutiny?)

    Daithi Mackay’s objection seemed to be that he thought the DUP were using technology to reduce the importance of the instituitions, in fact this is what I thought the whole debate was really about. But it was all in the sub-text, never made explicit, with the explicit debate a fairly lame one about video-conferencing..

  • Mack

    Pete

    Daithí was left stranded by a lack of information from his party colleagues.

    Daithí and Edwin were arguing by proxy about something else, like a bickering couple about to get a divorce! What happened to that world-renowned Northern Irish directness?

  • Cynic2

    More important why the hell aren’t they using video conferencing all the time to save us money? It’s not as though those shopping trips to Dublin were as valuable as they once were – though when someone else is paying for the hotel and your expenses. After all, its a terribly long way to Dublin and the low carbon footprint Enterprise is so unreliable with all these bombs on the line

  • Brian MacAodh

    Jeezus this warrants its own post???

  • Stewart

    Jeezus this warrants its own post???

    Indeed Brian

  • Mack

    Cynic2 –

    More important why the hell aren’t they using video conferencing all the time to save us money?

    It may or may not save money.

    If people were travelling everyday, with hotels and expenses – video conferencing could save a good bit (and improve quality of life for MLAs, TDs and civil servants). 3 or 4 times a year – it’s not going to make a noticable difference.

    Video Conferencing could allow greater flexibility. E.g. A southern minister could attend a NMSC meeting via Video Conferencing while on trade mission overseas. And some of the time saved travelling could be used for longer discussions (in cases where it was warranted).

    If it was used all the time – it might cost money, as it is a less personal experience – conversations that might otherwise happen in a face to face meeting might not occur. That could well mean that possible joint ventures & synergies never happen. Resulting in a net cost..

  • Ulick

    Jeezus this warrants its own post???

    Multiple links and everything. Must all be very anti-climatic for Pete Baker after his Policing and Justice humiliation.

  • Bungditin

    Video conferences for “very important high profile meetins and other important meetins with important groups”…maybe even involving important people…well said Daithi!