Owen Paterson: “in facing the challenges and exploiting every opportunity offered we function best when we are a team”

While the Irish Government struggles to cope with the game of geo-political hardball they are engaged in, the BBC reports that our own special little pleaders – the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers – have issued a statement following a meeting of the UK Joint Ministerial Committee.

In case you didn’t know

  • The Joint Ministerial Committee is established by the Memorandum of Understanding between the UK Government and the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Its purpose is to provide central coordination of the overall relationship between the administrations.
  • Its terms of reference cover issues straddling the devolved/non-devolved boundaries; by agreement, the treatment of devolved matters in different parts of the UK; reviewing liaison arrangements between the Government and the devolved administrations; and considering disputes between administrations.
  • The MoU makes clear JMC is a consultative, rather than an executive body. [added emphasis]
  • ANYhoo… according to the BBC report

    The first and deputy first ministers have raised concerns over the government’s spending review with the deputy PM.

    Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness spoke to Nick Clegg at a Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) meeting in London on Monday.

    Did they discuss that with the NI Secretary of State?  Probably not…

    And, apparently speaking on behalf of the UK deputy Prime Minister,

    A joint statement released by Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness said:”We are particularly concerned about the capital figures that have been applied and the potentially devastating effect the reduction would have on our local economy. [added link]

    “The deputy prime minister has acknowledged that the figures are in dispute and has given an undertaking that they will be re-examined by the Northern Ireland Office and the Treasury.”

    And delay the NI draft budget even further…

    “We therefore hope that this matter can be resolved and obviate the need for us to consider invoking the JMC dispute resolution mechanism.”

    That would show them, eh?

    Adds  OFMDFM statement.

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    • bob wilson

      The petty nationalists – Irish and Ulster varieties- choose today the day the UK offered to help to bail out the Republic (which of course will be of huge importance/benefit to NI) to re-open their campaigns to prove the Treasury wrong and to side line Owen Paterson
      Given the fact that the Treasury holds the cheque book and Paterson has the ear of Cameron I dont rate their chances.
      Wouldnt they be better to accept the settlement granted by the sovereign Parliament at Westminster and get on with their job – administering that settlement.
      As some economist put it on UTVlast night most parts of the UK or indeed Western Europe would be delighted with support akin to the level NI gets and should be able to support top class public services.
      But of course there is an election coming and the only ploy our local parties know is to attack and hold out the begging bowl

    • Just as Gordon Brown made the transition from Stalin to Mr. Bean, it seems that the FM and the DFM have made the transition from the politics of the flag to the politics of the begging bowl.

    • Driftwood

      Watching the reaction to the proposed loan HM Treasury has offered Ireland (Rep), I wonder just how many mainland UK citizens know that Northern Ireland costs them £10 BILLION a year.
      For 1.8 million of Her Majesty’s subjects. Per head, apart from the Falklanders, I imagine that’s quite a sum.
      We pay less than half the ‘rates/council tax’ that GB does with free prescriptions and free ‘public/grammar’ schools thrown in. Add on the DLA and housing scams- we’re living the life of (O’) Reilly.
      Better to keep schtum and below the radar than keep biting the hand that feeds lads?

    • I dont do this all the time. It can look like “attention-grabbing” self-promotion. However, your comment probably merits a reference to some of the points contained in my post published yesterday


    • aquifer

      £10 Bn a year and they cannot build an economy on the back of it.


      The old Stormont was a very tight ship financially. Maybe they should dig out the archives and see how it was done then.

    • Cynic

      Martin – “I have been assimilated”

    • HeinzGuderian

      Hmmmmm…………….remnd me again how much the begging bowl gets filled by Europe to fund that economic basket case that is Eire ??

      I fear the Driftwood is floating ever further from the shore of reality ..;-)

    • Pete Baker
    • Frustrated Democrat

      Are the FM and dFM engaging in a bit of spin to cover their embarassment at being rebuffed by the PM?

      Being told they should talk to the SoS they then try to go to the Deputy PM, does anyone believe he would interfere between the SoS and PM.

      Maybe it will finally sink in that they will have to follow the protocol set up by the PM and deal with the SoS.