David Ford: #ShinnersList letters are not now and never have been a devolved matter…

So in all the obfuscating fog of war, a little more clarity. It seems the Secretary of State was not correct to suggest this had something to do with the devolved institutions:

Stormont Justice Minister David Ford said government officials told him five cases were currently being considered under the scheme, and the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) had accepted responsibility for this.

“Now I don’t like the scheme at all – it’s not open, it’s not transparent, it’s not something that the people supported – but at least we now have established that the scheme, if it is in the process of winding up, is the responsibility of the NIO that set it up,” he said.

“It is not a devolved matter and as long as I am the minister of justice, there will be no such scheme within the department.” [Emphasis added]

So there. Some justification for Robinson’s ultimatum. And even more credit to Ford for playing a straight bat on all of this.

Despite all the spin to the opposite, this process was designed to be invisible (even from the Irish government), and now, increasingly, it is not. Expect corollaries to emerge from that. Expect also that various of those adversely affected to want them studiously ignored.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty