Catholic family in Armagh prepared to give up a bed for Nesbitt…

I’ve not had a chance to hear the TalkBack programme from yesterday, but it seems Mr Nesbitt has got himself some relevance in today’s papers…

His conversation with a Catholic family, a Mr Phillip Ferris from Armagh has made the Irish News this morning as the man who invited the UUP party leader to come and stay with him…

But he will have to take them as he finds them…

  • sdelaneys

    Sounds as if Mr Ferris will have to sleep with the wife again if Nesbitt takes up his offer.

  • GoldenFleece

    For just £3 a month you too could adopt a politican.

  • Mark

    Mr Ferris won’t be the last catholic Mike Nesbitt has to get into bed with in order to turn around the fortunes of the UUP .

  • salgado


    £3 a month plus expenses.

  • At least Nesbitt has trumped McDonnels gaffe on taking the reins at SDLP. I’m sure alisdair will be eternally grateful to mike for this favour.

  • andnowwhat

    From what I heard yesterday, Mr Ferris is a paraplegic and is an out- patient under the SCIU, Musgrave Park Hospital.

    The man needs to be in a good bed with a pressure relieving mattress. His condition means that (depending on what level his spinal injury is) he will have no sensation below the point of lesion and his muscles will atrophy, hence why he needs a good bed to avoid pressure sores Mr Ferris should most certainly not be lying on a broken single bed, on the floor. Rather, his mattress height should be as close to the height of his wheelchair’s seat for easy transfer back and forth.

    It’s not unusual for people with spinal injuries not to sleep with their partner due to spams which are a ubiquitous problem with spinal patients.

  • Old Mortality

    If your information about Mr Ferris is correct then he looks like a bad choice for Nesbitt’s stunt. He is almost certainly a prime example of the deserving poor which means that Nesbitt will be unable to find any fault with him but he is by no means typical. Thus Nesbitt is likely to be forever trapped into adopting the familiar refrain of local politicians: if they’re getting it, sure it’s only because they need it and deserve it so they do (and they vote).

  • sdelaneys

    The article in today’s Irish News says that Mr Ferris, 47, has had both legs amputated below the knees after a lorry accident in Italy 10 years ago so life is certainly not easy for him. Apparently his wife is also disabled.
    They have 6 children aged from 24 down.

  • sdelaneys

    Re voting, he told the Irish News he has not voted ‘in about seven years because none of them do anything for me.’

  • damon

    This has to show Nesbitt’s inexperience.
    The whole thing makes him look like a middle class plonker. I can’t imagine any of the Sinn Fein MLAs agreeing to such a stunt – as they would say that they come from those communities already.

  • wild turkey

    “This has to show Nesbitt’s inexperience. The whole thing makes him look like a middle class plonker”

    Damon. You can take the boy out of the media but ya can’t take the media out of the boy. With this stunt i suspect Big Mike sees himself as Bears Grylls:-

    “Man v Wild in Deepest Armagh”

    From what i’ve read of Mr Ferris, i trust he has enough dignity and chutzpah to tell Big Mike to take his pith helmet off when in the house.

  • andnowwhat

    Old Morality;

    Yep, my facts are right. I worked in SCIU for almost 20 years as well as neuros and ABI. Due to the practice of 2 year rotations, I’ve also worked in rheumatology, oncology and elderly care.

    If one extracts Mr Ferris condition,SCI, that would not be so typical but when one adds neuros (MS etc), ABI (shockingly high figures in NI), rheumy (arthritis, LUPUS (especially SLE), osteoporosis etc) and so on, one is getting in to very high figures.

    Mr Ferris is a para but we also have a lot of quaralpegics (we prefer to use tetraplegic in Musgrave) who would hae not survived had they had their injuries 20 odd years ago. Think Christopher Reeve and the needs he had.

    Sadly, those with ongoing care are a fair proportion of our society and it must be remembered that the affects are greater due to their families.

    BTW, I am also a c2,c3, c4 tetraplegic (incomplete) myself. Specifically, I have cervical sternosis.

  • andnowwhat

    Wild Turkey.

    A couple of days ago, Mike Nesbitt (public limited company) was trying to do The Secret Millionaire but he seems to be doing 4 In A Bed now.

    (I watch too much TV)

  • Mick Fealty

    You clearly do. But still, many thanks for *all* your contributions on this thread.

    The problem for Mr Nesbitt is that he is now into real life in a way that is going to be very difficult for him as a politician to get anything out of this.

    I also hear that TalkBack tried to line up three more jobbing pols for the same trick, and they all said, erm, thanks, but no thanks.

  • Old Mortality

    ‘Yep, my facts are right.’
    I didn’t doubt you while I don’t pretend to understand the details you provided. The problem here is that nobody including Nesbitt could argue that Mr Ferris is not receiving enough support but, thankfully, relatively few recipients of incapacity benefits are as seriously afflicted as he. Unfortunately, I don’t think many of the legion of ‘bad back’ and ‘bad nerve’ sufferers will be inviting Nesbitt to witness their ‘poverty’. However, if their ranks were properly culled, we could afford to provide the kind of support Mr Ferris and others deserve.

  • Old Mortality

    should have said ‘is receiving enough support’

  • andnowwhat

    Thanks Mick.

    I heard the Talkback but wasn’t concentrating too much (possibly my BS filter kicking in). Possibly not too fashionable to say this but I don’t think there are too many of our politicians that have to do the “lie with the unwashed” thing. This isn’t GB and I find it hard to think that many of our politicians would be as detatched as, for example, the likes of the majority in the British cabinet. Actually, I think that is what makes Nesbitt’s remarks so incredible

    Mr Ferris should not have to sleep in the conditions he describes and I know that in my time (I haven’t worked in 6 years due to my crap). it would be unlikely that either his local or the SCIU multi-disciplinary team would have taken care of his issues.

    One major problem is the control of releasing budget over the year. It’s natural that a team wish to provide as best as they can for each patient but every single year, the budget was blown by December. This meant that come April, large sums were taken out to facilitate those that were caught out in Dec-April. This then ate in to the new budget and so the cycle went on.

    Anyway, Mike has offered Mr Ferris a return stay, hence my (low brow) reference to 4 In A Bed. Congrats to the UUP for appointing one of the few politicians in NI who would need to partake in such a misadventure as leader. Quite impressive really

  • Alias

    He won’t learn anything about poverty from the visit but he might learn something about disability.

    Society doesn’t attach any fault to the disabled in the way that it does with the poor so if he acts as an advocate for extra state benefits for the disabled then he won’t run into the political issues he’d run into with advocacy for extra state benefits for the poor.

    As a small state advocate, even I’d like to see the disabled being better treated by the state…

  • andnowwhat

    Alias, my partner (a CPN) has told me about a lot of one of their team’s time being taken up with having to contact the ESA about people who have been through them, accepted the finding that they can return to work but who are totally unable to work and lack the insight to know this.

    I think I heard that the government themselves estimate DLA fraud to be something like 0.2%. Does that really justify the misery, the the apprehension and the costs?

  • NeedNoAlibi

    Mike’s former colleague Lesley Macauley made a good tweet about his secret politician gimmick.

    “I am prepared to spend 24 hours in Mike Nesbitt’s office. Just to get a feel for it. I want to experience policy deprivation!!”

  • Drumlins Rock

    It would be great to spend 24 hrs in Lesley’s office, experience elected office depravation, thats if she even has an office.

  • NeedNoAlibi

    Now now Drumlins, your current leader was of exactly the same batch of blow-in (unsuccessful) candidates. Even Lord Ashcroft’s cash couldn’t buy them success.

  • andnowwhat

    Here’s something on the lighter side about the story.

    I’m one of those people who e-mail Gerry Anderson (it was I who got him doing conversations between Eamonn Mallie and Mc Cann) and yesterday I sent him one about Mc Cann spending 24 hours with a family in Cultra. Today, Wendy Austin referenced it as if it was a real story.

  • andnowwhat

    Just recalling a strange moment of faux modesty by Mike Nesbitt (Ltd) on yesterday’s Talback when he was talking about how strange it was to be leader after only 3 years in the party.

    Why the surprise?

    Here’s the audio of Mr Ferris for those who missed it

  • andnowwhat


    I think the UUP party throwing their lot in with a party we knew was going to hit the NI economy big style may have negated every penny Ashcroft could have threw at them.

    I’ll never be content until the tories reveal every draft policy document, every relevant e-mail, every scribbled on fag packet that shows what their intended policies were prior to going in to power. I want to know how much and to what degree what they are doing is driven by circumstances and how much by ideology.

    Given that Murdoch seems to have it in for Dave, we mind find out a thing or 2

  • NeedNoAlibi


    Does the Mike Nesbitt Appreciation Society aka UUP expect us to simply forget that they trailed N.I asking voters to endorse the Tories? If they do it’s incredible.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Alibi, you may have notice he got elected at the next assembly election, out polling the sitting MLA and winning a seat of the DUP, whereas Lesley bombed in a seat that was a gift for the taking.

  • GoldenFleece

    DR, was that not more down to UUP stupidity with McClarty rather than Lesley? McClarty was well respected in that area.

  • andnowwhat


    The Mike Nesbitt (Public limited company) matra on that is;

    It never happened

    It never happened

    It never happened.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Yup, 100% UUP stupidity GoldenFleece.

    As for Tory links, yes it went too far, but Labour made the mess, don’t blame those who are cleaning up after.

  • NeedNoAlibi

    even the DUP predicted that they would likely lose a seat in Strangford.
    A quick google search on Lesley Macauley will show that she is involved in helping people overcome social deprivation, hardly think she is qualified for such a role because she was adopted by a disadvantaged family for 24 hours.

  • NeedNoAlibi

    Bickering aside at least your honest re:UCUNF.