FMdFM: “It was important that we were there and right that we were there…”

The First and deputy First Ministers continue their evasive response to criticism of their failure to accept their invitation to attend Pope Benedict XVI’s official welcome on the first-ever papal state visit to the UK.

One’s clinging to his political psychosis/comfort blanket, the other’s claiming they were double-booked.  That’s why you have junior ministers, guys.

As for the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister’s claim that he “also [has] some grounds for believing [a Papal visit to Ireland] could happen as soon as 2012”.  What grounds would those be?  Maybe 2016 would have been a safer bet?  Or maybe not…

As I said at the time

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

And in the Belfast Telegraph, Ed Curran calls them on it

Both the First and deputy First Minister had an opportunity to demonstrate their support for Stormont’s shared future document, only recently endorsed for publication.

However, neither of them proved politically man enough to recognise the historic enormity of the Edinburgh gathering and they should not be allowed to escape censure.