SpAdS: SF shared cells. Conservatives shared beds

As the rows rages on, lets all remember SpAd controversies are nothing new.

We could also look at one SpAd later co-opted to council that was rejected by the electorate when they finally presented themself?

Or do we accept the job of the SpAd is to do the politics for a Minister civil servants can’t and as a result free up time for that Minister and public employees?

Surely a SpAd has to be trusted not interviewed? The reason we don’t know who the rest of them are is because they aren’t public figures and shouldn’t be if doing their jobs. Undermining the backroom staff of one party suddenly makes it acceptable to do the same across the board. Is that how the Executive will deal with SpAds? Whomever creates the most media can now effectively select their opponents’ strategists?

Don’t think so!

  • Local hack

    Some important points, but let’s not forget – SpAds get a very generous salary and a pension in line with some of the more better-off civil servants and all without public scrutiny or oversight other than that of their mate?

  • “the job of the SpAd is to do the politics work for a Minsiter civil servants can’t”

    Mark, you wouldn’t expect a senior civil servant to be associated with cronyism when it comes to the Ministerial appointment of, say, non-executive directors in allegedly arms length bodies. It seems we might have some difficulty ascertaining the impact of SpAds and minders. For example, can Committees call SpAds to give evidence during the course of an investigation into the actions of a Minister?

  • Cynic2

    They can be as strategic as they like. What concerns me is that I am paying for unelected former murderers to perform these jobs. Why should I pay them – and sometimes pay them twice what I pay the MLA they work for? Its utter madness.

    And from my standpoint it was exactly the same as with employing family members and other cronies as ‘staff’

  • Turgon

    There is much talk of special advisers. Is there an alternative category of ordinary adviser as a sort of apprenticeship before ascending to special status? Maybe there should be a career structure: worse than ordinary, ordinary, special, extra special?

  • HeinzGuderian

    You may not have a problem with unrepentant,unelected,convicted murderers holding such posts. The rest of us do.
    Of course you wouldn’t have batted an eyelid if the murderer had hailed from the ranks of the uvf/uda ?

    Don’t think so.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Just a wee point first Mark, there is no evidence of “shared beds” just a “shared room” in the Tory case. But you may note in that case as soon as the SpAd became the story he resigned, as is generally the convention, which should have been followed here too.

  • lamhdearg


  • Cynic2

    “as a result free up time for that Minister and public employees”

    for god sake Mark ….this is the Department of nuts, bolts and and washers. There’s next to nothing in the portfolio and its a made up Department to keep the numbers of Ministers up so they can work D’Hondt. If the Minister cant cope with that on her own she’s not ft to be a Minsiter.

  • vanhelsing

    DR got it about right. There was a shared room – maybe you should alter the title of the thread for sake of accuracy? Although as you raise it the SPAD in question resigned because he became the story. Clearly this doesn’t happen in every case!

    I agree [I think] for once with you that the media shouldn’t determine appointments. In this case however they [the media] are reflecting the vast majority of public opinion.

    Let’s not forget why we [and the media] are talking about his story. The majority of people in NI are disgusted by the appointment of Mary McArdle as a SPAD and that is across both communities. If SF claim to represent the majority rep/nat opinion they should come into my work and get a sense from my RC mates who are insensed by it.

    SF created this SPAD firestorm and they are welcome to it.

  • granni trixie

    Was the ‘man from lisburn’ who said something about having access to Ministers for sex not a DUP SPAD? (who, lets remember, was instantly sacked).

    Also, surely an Advisor ought to be expected to bring to the table some specialism relevant to the particular MInistry?