OFMDFM’s dilemma

Nevermind the Presbyterian moderator, at least he’s going to be there. 

Our own little Process™ might have got a special mention as Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Edinburgh today on his first ever state visit to the UK, but no-one from the Northern Ireland Executive was there to hear it – despite an invitation being sent to the Office of the First and deputy First Ministers.

Apparently that’s what happens when you can’t meet the Pope/Queen without meeting the Queen/Pope…

Adds  An otherwise somewhat unbalanced BBC report notes

In a statement the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister (OFDFM) said: “Our department received an invitation. Ministers were unable to attend”

Update The BBC report has now been balanced corrected…

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  • drumlins rock

    umm, do you think they played “chicken” with the invite?
    “I’ll go if you do Marty”,
    “was thinknig the same thing Pete”
    “you practise your curtsey marty?”
    “see got it good pete, want me to teach you how to cross yourself right?”
    “are you gonna sing the Queen in Irish?”
    “you say a Hail Mary in Ulster-Scots gibberish?”
    etc. etc. till they fall out and huff.

  • fin

    According to the BBC, MMcG was not on the list of invited guests.

    Did Margaret Ritchie not show up either or is she no longer on the Storment Executive?

  • Pete Baker

    According to the BBC the OFMDFM was invited.

  • fin

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-11330764

    Can’t see it myself, but at least the previous DUP leader, First Minister and founding member of Ulster Resistance (et al) showed up to throw snow balls.

    Great advert for NI (and the House of Lords)

  • Pete Baker

    I should have said, according to the BBC’s Mark Devenport speaking on Talkback.

  • slug

    Shows how pathetic the DUP are.

  • slug

    Ritchie is attending.

  • Pete Baker

    Today at Holyrood, slug?

  • Driftwood

    McGuinness said he had no interest in a state visit by the pope to ‘a foreign country’. Hope he remembers that when he’s handing out the begging bowl to George Osborne next month.
    Robinson insisted he had more important ‘economic’ matters. Yoho.

    As for the Queen’s reference to the Vatican being an important facilitator of ‘The Process’ here, is there anyone in the world who hasn’t claimed this title?

    Wonder who’ll steal the TV highlights tonight, Paisley and Stephen Fry, or Pete’n’Marty?

  • Pete Baker

    Look again, fin.

    The BBC report has been corrected.

    In a statement the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister (OFDFM) said: “Our department received an invitation. Ministers were unable to attend”

    What that says about the earlier version, that you noted, is anyone’s guess.

  • Pete Baker

    I should have added…

    Not that they’ve bothered changing the headline.

  • slug

    At the London gig, I think.

  • Pete Baker

    Adds An otherwise somewhat unbalanced BBC report notes

    In a statement the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister (OFDFM) said: “Our department received an invitation. Ministers were unable to attend”

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    To the Deputy First Minister, the Pope visiting Britain is about as relevant as him visiting France.
    Theres no way the DFM could have shown up.
    I suspect the DFM will be there when the Pope visits Ireland (including the North) as part of a visit in 2012.
    The Irish Catholic Church being somewhat 32 county in nature.

    More interesting is the fact that Cardinal Brady will be in Britain during the visit …as indeed will many Church figures from neighbouring countries. He is it is stressed not part of the official welcome etc.
    (Then) Cardinal Nichols from Westminster will likely be in Dublin and Belfast or armagh for the Popes visit….but of course will have no official standing.
    Two overlapping protocols.
    No big deal.

  • Rory Carr

    There goes old Fitzjameshorse again – putting everything into context and spoiling the opportunity for a good whinge for all of those who have nothing better to do than seek to find fault where none exists.

    Same on you, Fitzy!

  • joeCanuck

    My impression is that very few care one way or the other who attends or declines to attend (or shake hands).
    I’ve just watched the coverage on BBC World News and non-attenders weren’t mentioned at all.

  • Pete Baker

    Update The BBC report has now been balanced corrected…

    Now don’t do it again. ;op

  • Pete Baker

    It’s a state visit to the UK, Fitzy.

    That’s why OFMDFM were invited.

  • Rory Carr

    And taht is why the DFM has not taken up the invitation, Pete, for the very reasons that Fitzy spelt out.

  • Gerard

    Robinson not attending is depressing if not surprising. Indeed contrasting the coverage of protests in the UK media v the local media serves as succinct lesson on the differences between local britons with their more enlightened ‘mainland’ cousins.

  • PJ Maybe

    One can’t help but be struck by the principled stance Martin McGuinness has made in using the opportunity this invitation presented, to make his entirely justified and noble opposition to the Catholic Church’s ambivalence towards homosexuality and child abuse. I’m sure all correctly minded people will agree, this contrasts starkly to unstated, yet obvious to those who wish to see, nakedly sectarian motivation behind Peter Robinson’s refusal to meet the leader of Catholic Church.

    Or something.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    And thats why the DFM DIDNT go Bakery.

    And because it was the Pope is the reason the FM didnt go Bakery.

    Try and keep up.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Thanks Mr Carr.
    But in this particular post..it wasnt er…..rocket science.
    One of the easier slam dunks.

  • Oracle

    I completely support the non attendance of both…. best thing they have ever done in office.
    If they went they would be upsetting a sizeable section of the protestant community and insulting 100% of the vastly more itelligent atheist community.

    Just the mere idea of spending thousands of pound to send any representative to “Paedo Central” whilst thousands of ordinary people here face the dole would be stomach churning

  • fin

    Paedo Central indeed Oracle, I see “Dr Kincora” was protesting and the person who knighted Sir Cyril Smith MBE was meeting him, and he had been invited by the Govt. responsible for shipping tens of thousands of kids abroad to a life as sex toys for farmers in Canada and Oz, not to mention him being protected by a police force who were a bit lazy in investigating Kincora, Sir Cyril Smith (ok it was the DPP who lost the file *ahem*) and not to bothered about the ‘D notice’ on Dunblane.

    The Pope looks saintly among that crowd

  • fin

    “Just the mere idea of spending thousands of pound to send any representative….”

    Calm down Oracle, any expense would be met by the generous tax-payers in south east England (many of whom are Catholic) same as the rest of NI’s bills

  • Dr Concitor

    He is DFM of a UK Assembly, or am I missing something? Do please enlighten me.

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    PJ Maybe,
    You’ll be surprised to know then that wee marty’s reason for not attending was more to do with not wanting to be introduced to the pope by queeny than anything else.

    However, I would agree that it would have been refreshing to see Peter to at least be present for the pope’s visit. Poor form but no surprise.

  • The pair of em stayed home and sulked for completely different yet curiously similar reasons. How very ‘northern’ of them.

  • sammymehaffey

    what exactly did the Vatican do to facilitate the peace process. Queenie I think we should be told.

  • sammymehaffey

    indeed!

  • sammymehaffey

    and I take it you are not northern Pippa?

  • sammymehaffey

    I can never remember the protocol, but I’m definitely south.

  • Pete Baker

    Sshh, Dr C.

    Don’t tell anyone. Not least Fitzy, who seems to think that Martin’s the equivalent of a Cardinal in the Catholic Church.

    Maybe that’s why Fr Chesney wanted to talk to him on his deathbed…

  • Driftwood

    Yep

    http://bengoldacre.posterous.com/nazi-youth-pope-aligns-atheists-with-nazis-bi

    Far better for the media to have ignored this loony pope coming to our shores.

    Saddam would have made a better guest.

  • cynic

    I welcome Martin’s stance on child abuse

    So why does he then honour and eulogise child killers like Francis Hughes or why did he attend the deathbed of the Claudy Child Murderer because ‘he was a good republican’?

    So Kiddie fiddling is bad but murdering them is OK? Interesting philosophy.

  • Pete Baker

    Try to keep it civil, guys.

    And somewhat focused on the actual topic.

  • cynic

    ….. and all controlled from the mothership hiding behind the moon

    ….. pass the aluminium foil helmet Alice

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Bakery,
    Have you considered the possibility that Mr McGuinness may not see the “UK” in quite the terms that you do.
    Its been in our newspapers for 40 odd years.

  • Michael

    Anyone see Robbo and Marty on BBC Newsline? Two things struck me, firstly Peter Robinson has lost a huge amount of weight – so much so it distracted me! – and Marty just did not want to be talking!

  • Pete Baker

    Fitzy

    We know why he didn’t go – despite being a [politically] psychotic DFM in a devolved Assembly within the UK.

    Hence in the original post

    Apparently that’s what happens when you can’t meet the Pope/Queen without meeting the Queen/Pope…

    Or, as Mark Devenport puts it

    By not turning up, Mr Robinson was spared being on the inside, whilst Ian Paisley demonstrated on the outside. Mr McGuinness was spared appearing to defer to the Queen.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Tad hypocritical Fitzy…………administering British Rule,yet refusing to meet our Head of State ??

    Not to worry….I’m sure it all makes sense in Shinner World ?? 🙂

  • HeinzGuderian

    Close…………….but no cigar !!! 🙂

  • Big Maggie

    Gerard,

    “Robinson not attending is depressing if not surprising.”

    Why? Don’t forget who’d be paying for his attendance, and that would not be Robinson.

    Yes, it would be you, the taxpayer. At times like this I’m glad I’m retired and don’t pay tax to fund those jollies.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Oh I think you still pay taxes Maggie……………retired or no !! 🙂

  • Pete Baker

    Maggie

    No more depressing, nor un-surprising, than McGuinness not attending.

    But the point is that the invites were not personal, nor even party political.

    They were invited as the office holders within OFMDFM.

    They refused to attend for personal and/or party political reasons.

  • joeCanuck

    In other words, they are both weasels.

  • redhugh78

    Thought it was Pope JP that came to Ireland?correct me if I’m wrong.

  • Alias

    It’s interesting that the First Minister and deputy First Minister both arrived at the same conclusion for what were likely very different but equally self-serving reasons. In the First Minister’s case, it wouldn’t have gone down well with his traditional supporters to have met the Pope even if meeting the queen would have been a bonus, whereas in the deputy First Minister’s case, it wouldn’t have gone down well with his traditional supporters to have met the queen even if meeting the Pope would have been a bonus. Both of the prisoners… err, politicians likely calculated that forfeiting the bonus and serving the greater ‘common’ good (i.e. their own political careers) made cooperation the best option.

  • redhugh78

    The difference being Robinson wouldn’t meet the Pope because of purely sectarian bigotry and Mc Guinness wouldn’t want to meet the Queen because of Political reasons, completely different ireasons indeed.

  • Pete Baker

    “Both of the prisoners… err, politicians likely calculated that forfeiting the bonus and serving the greater ‘common’ good (i.e. their own political careers) made cooperation the best option.”

    Indeed.

  • Driftwood

    redhugh
    To the shores of the UK, the state he is visiting.
    pope JP did indeed come to our shores in 1982.

    You stand corrected sir.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Oh more than a tad hypocritical.
    Thats the nature of Creative Ambiguity…..the big lie.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Well said Bakery.
    MMG wont attend as the “UK ” is irrelevant to him.
    PR wont attend cos the Pope is the antichrist…which people perceive as more principled.
    Im guessing both will be invited to the next years inaugeration of the new President in Dublin Castle.
    One will attend.
    One wont.
    And youll be worked up into another lather next year.

  • joeCanuck

    Yep; you can’t avoid taxes even when they are disguised as car registration fee, user fee, or the many hundreds of other similar things.

  • Dixie

    Marty could’ve just said he couldn’t recall getting an invite and that would have made sense….For Him!

  • Dixie

    Mmm, I wonder what Marty will do when it comes to appointing a new Police Ombudsman? As the appointment is made formally by HM The Queen on the recommendation of Peter and Marty, or as they are commonly known,The First Minister and deputy First Minister.

    It’s in the part of the P&J Bill Marty didn’t tell Shinners about.

    Will he forget to turn up that morning or phone in sick?

  • USA

    The Pope is visiting Britain so Marty didn’t go. He stated as much when he said he would be happy to welcome the Pope should he ever visit Ireland. Unless you are deliberately trying to be stupid then that is a pretty clear cut position.
    No matter how much you may will it, you cannot make Irish nationalists / republicans think like British people, you cannot make them act like British people and you cannot make them be British people. Not that there is anything wrong with being British.
    Peter Robinson built his political career upon his Britishness. So why wasn’t he there when the Pope visited ‘his’ country.
    At least the Presbyterian Moderator took a principled position and acted accordingly. Robinson acted according to his usual sectarian beliefs. No political leadership there Peter!

  • Reader

    USA: The Pope is visiting Britain so Marty didn’t go. He stated as much when he said he would be happy to welcome the Pope should he ever visit Ireland.
    Would any Shinner travel to England to meet Nelson Mandela? Tony Blair? The Pope? The travel costs alone could easily top 80 pounds.
    Mind you – Gerry Adams travelled all the way to Rome for a meeting with the Pope.

  • PJ Maybe

    It’s reassuring to see so many of the correctly minded demonstrating my not very subtle point.

  • Rocketeer

    I do not think that Peter Robinson’s stance upon the Papal visit yesterday was sectarian. Akin to Martin McGuinness, Robinson’s non-attendance was more likely fuelled by political considerations, for example, given his relatively shaky position within the fundamentalist heartland of the DUP – particularly following the Iris affair – to be pictured shaking the hand of the Pope, aka the so-called ‘anti-Christ’ whilst his former leader Ian Paisley was protesting outside could have easily destroyed his position, of which he is currently trying to repair.

    If McGuinness did not attend the Papal reception because he feared the reprecussions of being photographed bowing to the Queen then Robinson had just as much to fear from being photographed with the Pope. Whilst this is a shame, it is hardly a crime and I think that most people will recognise the political reality of the situation. How people can say that McGuinness was principled in not meeting the Pope and that Robinson’s non-attendance was simply motivated by sectarianism is beyond my comprehension!

  • iluvni

    Two cowards.

  • Pete Baker

    “Well said”, Fitzy?

    I “said” it in the original post.

    The same post you’ve claimed to have ‘slam dunked’.

    As I’ve said below,

    the invites were not personal, nor even party political.

    They were invited as the office holders within OFMDFM.

    They refused to attend for personal and/or party political reasons.

  • diarmaid

    ofmdfm didnt go because both churches in this country are 32 county organisations and peter visiting the pope in scotland would expose yet another schizophrenic side of unionism who are british and uk but below to the church of ireland, support irish rugby, the irish football association etc etc .

    hence both realise that there is no reason for them to attend the popes visit more than there is a reason for the leaders of the scotish and english churches to be here for the popes visit to here!

  • Munsterview

    Big Maggie….

    In relation to the latter and previous posts, had you any luck acquiring those leather trousers with the missing central section that you were attempting to locate for hubby?

    Do indeed keep us posted on that one, you could change the Southern perception of Unionism over night !

    I know you will have a hard act to follow after Iris but I have every confidence on you not to leave out side down!

  • HeinzGuderian

    Yes diary………hence the 40 year conflict…..hence the British Rule at Stormont…..hence the £ in your pocket…….hence our Glorious Flag at our City Hall….Hence…………GET A LIFE !!! 🙂

  • USA

    Yes I readily agree that Robinson didn’t attend due to “political considerations” but these are untimately driven by sectarianism, as sure as Popey boy is Catholic.
    MMcG however did not attend because Popey was visiting Britain. MMcG was motivated by constitutional matters, which is a political decision.

  • Alias

    And one of those “constitutional matters” would be that the Pope is visiting the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. GB is a territory whereas the UK is the sovereign state.

  • Dixie

    HeinzGuderian…Is that German for baked beans?

    You seem to have been getting over-excited as you typed the above. Watch yourself, Ulster has the highest rate of heart attacks due to the Ulster Fry or is that the full Irish Breakfast?
    Come to think of it do they have that argument in the Stormont canteen, I wonder?

    Peter: I’ll have the Ulster Fry.

    Marty: And can I have the Irish Breakfast?

    Peter: Oh and a glass of pure orange

    Marty: I’ll have diluted orange with my full Irish

    Michelin Star chef: What way do you want your eggs?

    Marty: I want mine on top of the potato bread

    Michelin Star chef: No, I meant scrambled or fried

    Peter: Marty for feck sake hurry up the country won’t run itself

    Marty: Don’t tell me how to try and run the country, Pete, the Brits will do that!
    Can I have beans as well with brown sauce?