Does Francie Molloy have the temperament for the Speaker’s job?

So Francie Molloy is the new ‘principal’ deputy Speaker for the Northern Ireland Assembly. New as in the post is new. Francie has a reputation for being his man, running into trouble with his own party over the initial RPA settlement which suggested 11 new councils rather than the party’s preference for 7.

He also has another reputation for being a little headstrong, and dogged. Only a few days ago, he ran into trouble for mentioning an incident during the meeting of the OFMDFM committee, in which he alleged, the manager of Linfield, Bill Jeffries (it seems he meant David Jeffrey) walked out of a restaurant when he saw himself and Barry McElduff.

The meeting was abruptly closed by the committee’s chair, Tom Elliott.

Largely urbane and pleasant company, Mr Molloy can also be ferocious on the attack. Such qualities may serve him well in dealing with a hostile chamber. But the manner not to mention the disconnected nature of his intervention raise important questions about his judgement.

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  • iluvni

    Does this ‘principle’ deputy Speaker job come with extra wages?

  • Drumlins Rock

    Francie is very much independently minded, is that a good thing for a speaker? sorry a “principle, almost but not quite yet, but will be speaker, in a few years, as part of a secret deal nod nod wink wink”.

    His petty personal attack on someone who he couldn’t even get his name right showed a poor standard of judgment and small mindedness not befitting any elected representative never mind a speaker, but since when has any act ever resulted in SF finding anyone unfit for office.

    As for the stupid title thing, how pathetic can you get, its more like a Mutley’s Medal than a badge of honour.

  • If francie is to be the main man, shouldn’t it be principal deputy speaker ?

  • Drumlins Rock

    Mick you better change my spelling too! I only changed it to match yours! lol

  • The examples mentioned about his temperament dont seem to be very serious or even relevant.

    He prefers 11 councils to 7….a deal breaker? and something that is an indicator of “temperament”?
    The David Jeffrey incident?
    Was he right or wrong to bring it up?
    Has anyone denied it took place?
    If it did actually take place was he right or wrong to mention it?
    If it actually DID take place, I think he was right to bring it to our attention.
    We cant go around with blindfolds and not bring up this kinda thing.

    Lets face it…the Chair Tom Elliott revealed a few weeks ago that he doesnt think much of people like Francie Molloy either. The “crime” Elliott really committed is that he said it out loud while polite people are supposed to only THINK it.
    Likewise Molloy deserves credit for shining a light on the seamier side of life here.
    Its hardly the “Ian McCrea” moment.

    If a GAA manager had walked into a room and found a few DUP men in it, he would have been heavily criticised for blanking them.
    More faux lets getalongerism?

    So how exactly does this translate into Molloy having a poor temperament? Are we qualified to judge?
    Who has the ideal temperament to be a referee?
    An internet moderator?

    Frankly I did not expect much of Speaker Hay.
    The man has been a revelation.
    Fair play to him.
    And good luck to Mr Molloy…who I believe wears a pioneer pin…….a symbol of a moderate temperament.

  • As the great man himself said “If you don’t like my principles, well then, i have others.”

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru

    For all those who present themselves as jackals; casting a spotlight on every shady deal struck in Stormont, the debate leading up to the creation of the post of deputy speaker has been non-existent.

    I haven’t heard one person articulate why, in a time of cutbacks, the creation of this position has risen above everything else in terms of its importance. What direct benefit to the good governance of NI will this bring about?

    Indeed when this was ‘debated’ in Stormont, the explanation offered up by the DUP and SF was essentially “We got more votes so we can do what we like: nyah, nyah, nyah nyah!!”

    Doesn’t anyone who sees this not feel their brains turning to mush as SF-DUP consistently insult your intelligence by proceeding with this intellectual gang-rape.

    Indeed, recently I’ve seen an upsurge in “We got more votes so blow me” offered up as an acceptable riposte in political discourse.

    If any of you saw a recent spotlight debate with Eamon McCann, he put a very really point to Nigel Dodds and all Doddsy culd say in response was “Well Eamon your party got completely rejected at the ballot box and we got loadsa votes.” Almost oblivious to the fact that PBP go against the grain somewhat in not appealing for sectarian votes.

  • Yes……..Eamonn McCann….ideal temperament for Speaker.

  • Neil

    His petty personal attack on someone who he couldn’t even get his name right showed a poor standard of judgment and small mindedness not befitting any elected representative

    Well at least he didn’t freak out and call his opponents ‘scum’ like your dear party leader eh DR? Small minded? Oh the irony.

  • sonofstrongbow

    I’ve just completed my Long Walk To Freedom from the Slugger Censorship Desert after being exiled there for ‘man-playing’. Two things of interest for me; firstly, the thread I was red-carded from was about a Sinn Fein personality. Difficult not to man-play when the thread is man-centered.

    Of course man-playing is perfectly acceptable so long as one toots the tune on the sycophantic trumpet.

    The second interesting thing is the thread I return on is about a Sinn Fein personality. In my opinion Francie Molloy is a ……………

    No I’ll not go there, for now.

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru


    Who advocated Eamon McCann for speaker?

  • Charlie Sheens PR Guru.

    I advocated him for Speaker.
    “Yes……..Eamonn McCann….ideal temperament for Speaker”.
    I cant be any more obvious than that.
    Alas the good folks in Foyle didnt even see fit to think of him as a MLA.

  • Drumlins Rock

    if its open season for nominations, might I suggest Willie Fraser.

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru

    Alright FJH, calm down,

    I thought it was implying THAT I advocated it.

    Chill out folks..

  • Me? Calm down?
    Im almost in a coma.

  • lamhdearg

    I have only been in the company of David Jeffery (socially) on two occasions, on both he was with Oran Kearney, i believe they are close friends, Oran is a catholic/gaa playing(and teaching)/irish nationalist, IF Francie is correct, one wonders what david must think Francie or Barry guilty of, if he could not even bear to be in the same room as them.

  • between the bridges David Jeffery’s I met him once ( I have to be honest I was impressed by the man and i say that as a glen’s fan!!) at a small football club dinner, traveled down and gave his time for free, mixed team and crowd. DJ presented prizes posed for photos and stayed for a sess, he had an easy manner and time for all there.

  • RyanAdams

    Francie demonstrated he has not got the temperament for the speakers job.

    He launched a direct personal attack on a member of the public. If a unionist mla did same in the restraunt, fair enough, but really what has the incident got to do with the OFDFM comittee?

    And to be fair, if he felt he didn’t want to be in the same restaraunt as the SF MLAs, surely getting up and leaving was the best thing to do? There’s plenty of Unionists who would try to make a scene.

    Also, one would think one had the right to walk out of a restaraunt if one pleased? I thought stormont commitees scrutinized the work of OFDFM, not the actions of Linfield Managers?

  • Mark McGregor


    He didn’t launch an attack he ‘gave an example’ during a presentation from the CRC.

    The unfortunate thing is that Mr Jeffreys by his behaviour made himself available as a perfect example.

    Jeffreys has not disputed the account with any media outlet or the Assembly, it therefore stands as a valid example made by Molloy in the context of a discussion.

    For Elliot and others to try and prevent the honest recounting of fact to protect fellow members of the Loyal Orders is where the unfitness for office comes in. If Elliot will try to stifle truth to protect his Brethern he has no place chairing a Committee.

  • iluvni

    Maybe Jeffrey (not Jeffreys) has too much class to engage in a public slanging match with the buffoon from Sinn Fein.

  • Will


    “If a GAA manager had walked into a room and found a few DUP men in it, he would have been heavily criticised for blanking them.”

    To turn this whataboutery on its head, “If a Unionist MLA had, in an Assembly committee, accused a GAA manager of walking into a restaurant he was eating in and blanking him, in the process getting his name wrong, what would be the reaction?”

    I imagine, and I would hope, the reaction would be to dismiss the Unionist MLA’s slanderous comments due to their one sided nature.

    The fact he couldn’t even be bothered to get Jeffery’s name right shows a real arrogance here. The underlying pretext for Molloy seems to be “Manager of Loyalist football club ignores Republican/Nationalist MLAs”. That in itself shows a lack of awareness of the cross community make up of the Linfield squad under DJ and his own comments regarding Catholic players turning out for a traditionally Protestant club.

    On the subject of his role as Speaker, I just hope this in-built Sinn Fein victim mentality doesn’t come to the fore at any point.

  • eddie poole

    Mr Jeffrey has too much class than to lower himself into a food fight with cornerboy Molloy.
    In any case, the Linfield legend may only have called into the establishment in question for a quick drink and most likely didn’t even order a meal at all.

  • lamhdearg

    To cite David Jeffery, as someone who shows us the problems we have in community relations, is proof if any is needed that certain M.L.A.s live on mars. please check out his community relations record.

  • RyanAdams


    It was still poor form by Molloy who should know better. The phrase ‘turn the other cheek’ springs to mind, but Molloy has just lowered himself to the level of Ian McCrea IMO.

    There was no need whatsoever to name Jeffery’s, all he needed to say was well known irish league manager and then let people draw their own conclusions. The fact he had to vilify an individual is what annoyed me.

  • Yes that jarred with me. I don’t know Mr Jeffreys but everything I’ve seen, heard or read about him has been a walking talking advert for impeccable cross community relations all without an ounce of cynicism or apparent insincerity.

    I don’t wish to do down Mr Molloy but I wouldn’t necessarily recognise him out of context, if he was on H&M or next to a more prominent public figure i would recognise him, but not say in a restaurant. Is Mr Molloy sure he was the reason. Still I have no reason to doubt Mr Molloy.

    Having said that if I went into a restaurant and saw Gerry Adams I’d probably turn on my heel and walk out in the knowledge that i probably couldn’t afford the place on my non industrial wage.

  • son of sam

    Surely the question posed is largely academic as the deal is done between S F/ D U P.Only time will tell whether his temperament is up to the job of Speaker.Even if he wasnt who would remove him from the post?Now what was that equality agenda that Sinn Fein is so found of spouting!

  • Rory Carr

    The new role [Principle Deputy Speaker] has been opposed by the Ulster Unionists and SDLP…

    Which little snippet tells us all we really need to know about Tom Elliot’s attempt to stifle Francie Molloy from giving a perfectly good example of how, even in public life, there remain those who would maintain the old divisive ways.

    It remains that had Sinn Féin proposed Candide himself for this position then someone from the UUP was bound to find fault with that candidate. The pity is that Slugger saw fit to so uncritically echo Elliot’s biased partisanship and this in spite of the recognition that Molloy is, ” Largely urbane and pleasant company [who] can also be ferocious on the attack. Such qualities may serve him well in dealing with a hostile chamber.”

    The ” manner not to mention the disconnected nature of his intervention ” are biased judgement calls by a steadfast political opponent fiercly opposed to his attaining the role of Principal Deputy Speaker and raises no questions whatsoever about his judgement but does raise some question of why Slugger so uncritically barks Elliot’s not unloaded concerns.

  • lamhdearg

    “from giving a perfectly good example of how, even in public life, there remain those who would maintain the old divisive ways”
    Thats the point Rory, Francie aimed his shot at the wrong target, David Jeffery is not a perfectly good example.

  • Will,
    To turn this on its head.
    Mr Molloy made the statement about a Soccer manager.
    It has as far as I know gone uncontested.

    If a unionist MLA recounted a similar story, Id expect the GAA manager to say “yes thats true” or “no its not”.
    The incident was used in the original post as a commentary on Mr Molloys “temperament”.
    But really I think it says more about Mr Elliotts temperament and (perhaps) Mr Jeffreys.

  • For the record there are several politicians I would happily “blank”.

  • Will

    Nonsense. For all we know, Jeffrey could be on the Costa del Sol as we speak!

    Seriously though, I think I’ll judge DJ on his own words and actions in recent years – – rather then the rantings of a man who can’t even be bothered to get his name right

    I look forward to a discussion of Mr Jeffrey’s and Mr Elliot’s temperament when either are put forward as a potential speaker!

  • lamhdearg

    i see it as an insight into Mr Molloys judgement. piss poor, lets hope it improves if he is called on to be speaker.

  • lamhdearg

    “For the record there are several politicians I would happily “blank”.”
    So can i, and if i was david and wee barry (wee chatty barry) entered i would leave asap before he came over and started to chat about real football v GAA.

  • babyface finlayson

    A perfectly good example of what exactly? What I know of David Jeffrey he seems like a decent enough guy. Could be wrong. But this incident, if it did happen may simply mean he doesn’t particularly like Sinn Fein. As far as I know that is allowed.
    Only those who look for sectarianism in every action would automatically jump to that explanation.

  • PaulT

    In defence of having a ‘personality’ while being Speaker I was going to cite the politics, method of election, and often very funny behaviour of the current Speaker in the Commons.

    However, I also recalled he Speakers attractive and flirtatious wife, and that photograph in the hotel with the sheet

    So, I’m now minded to recommend Sammy for the role on condition he provides a photograph of a similar taste

  • granni trixie

    If I were Bill Jeffry I might be considering being in there with a claim.

  • between the bridges

    Some years back (during an election) i watched a ‘local activist’ advise a certain bearded party leader not to call at my mum’s house. i realize now that i should have passed this vital information on to Tom Elliott to use in the governance of the country.

  • Granni Trixie
    Bill Jeffries?
    David Jeffrey?
    Jeffries was the name that Mr Molloy came up with but I think its obvious he meant David Jeffrey.
    Perhaps A Bill Jeffries could make a claim.
    Or even your friend Bill Jeffry (sic).
    But Im surprised you didnt mention your Alliance Party colleague and FSB man in South Belfast…Bill Jeffrey (sic), formerly a candidate in Newry-Armagh and a short lived Forum member.
    So maybe “my” man and “your” man could get together and make a joint claim.
    Unless of course you or I get a claim from “Bill Jeffrey” or “Bill Jeffry” saying that one of us has got it wrong…..:)

  • pmac

    “I haven’t heard one person articulate why, in a time of cutbacks, the creation of this position has risen above everything else in terms of its importance.”

    @ CS’s PR Guru – I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that the principal deputy Speaker post pays the same as the other deputy Speakers. Although I can’t see any need for the position other than a compromise the DUP made for SF to keep their man in the Speaker’s chair. The Speaker doing all the ‘important’ debates and PR stuff and the deputies covering debates as necessary – seemed to have worked ok.

    As far as Mr Jeffrey walking out goes, Molloy has no idea why he did unless something was said. Low blow and uncalled for.

  • pmac

    PS. Bill Jeffrey is an ex-NIO very senior civil servant. Perhaps that’s where the confusion over the Linfield manager’s name came from.