Kudos to David at Politics.ie, for spotting a deliciously cruel (not to mention trivial) technicality for the abstentionist MP for West Belfast. Michael Crick (who likes his politicians served up on toast), tricks out the Republican dilemma:
The traditional route is a procedural device whereby the resigning MP applies either to be Steward of the Chiltern Hundreds of Buckinghamshire, or of the Manor of Northstead.
Both are deemed to be “offices of profit under the Crown” and holding either post then disqualifies somebody from being an MP.
The jobs are given out alternately, and Northstead is next in line. The appointment has to be conferred by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which is just a formality.
Alright. No bother. And it is unutterably silly. But, Crick asks:
How could a staunch Irish republican like Adams, who has steadfastly refused even to take his seat at Westminster, possibly apply for a job under the British Crown?