“this sort of thing is not helpful…”

In his political review of the year, focusing on the new interventionist Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Owen Paterson, the News Letter‘s Sam McBride includes this intriging cameo from the corridors of power Stormont.

Three weeks ago, when this newspaper reported Owen Paterson’s strongly pro-Union Steinberg Lecture, Martin McGuinness caught up with the secretary of state in a corridor, held up a copy of the News Letter front page, and chided him that “this sort of thing is not helpful”.

Given Mr Paterson’s call for local politicians to get on with agreeing a budget and his clear distinction between terrorists and their victims in the lecture, it is easy to see why the former IRA commander was unhappy.

But one wonders how much his ire was a result of the fact that Mr Paterson is making decisions, largely on his own, and is not hamstrung by four other parties, as is Mr McGuinness and each of the other Stormont ministers.

Not helpful, Northern Ireland deputy First Minister?  To whom?

As ever, do read the whole thing.

Adds  Or, did he mean not helpful

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