“Now it seems that Sinn Fein is realising how badly exposed its negotiators left it to accusations of a sell-out.”

In today’s Irish News John Manley does everyone a favour by identifying Sinn Fein’s problem with the agreement they signed up to in December.

The nub of the problem appears to lie in the figures contained in the Stormont Castle Agreement, an agreement within an agreement negotiated between the five parties days before the final accord was signed off on December 23.

In annex A of this sub-agreement, the figures for the planned welfare safety net are outlined.

It earmarks £413million over the next six years for dealing with the transition from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment.  A further £125m is allocated over six years for assisting those impacted by changes to other benefits, including the disability premium and the benefits cap – the so-called Supplementary Payment Fund.

However, whereas Sinn Féin appears to have previously accepted that £125m provided adequate protection, revised figures suggest it would actually cost nearly four times that amount if everybody – new and existing claimants included – were to be topped up to current benefit levels. [added emphasis]

That “agreement within an agreement” is available via the News Letter here.  It was published by the NI Executive in the middle of February, as the News Letter reported at the time.

On Monday, First Minister Peter Robinson published the Stormont Castle Agreement — a deal between the Executive party leaders just four days before the Stormont House Agreement.

Mr Robinson revealed the existence of the agreement a week ago in the Assembly chamber, quickly leading to the Green Party leader Steven Agnew and TUV leader Jim Allister pressing each Executive party to agree to its publication.

Sinn Fein was the final party to agree to allow the document to be published.

What’s significant about this is that the £125million allocated over six years, £25m in 2015/16 and £20m per year subsequently to 2020/21 – the so-called Supplementary Payment Fund – is part of the £564million taken from the Northern Ireland Block Grant that Sinn Féin have been proclaiming that they had negotiated to achieve “a welfare system better than the one in Britain, by an average of £94m per year.[13 Feb]”  [But not ‘better’ than the one in Scotland… – Ed]

Apparently, they’ve now realised that’s not enough to meet their subsequent promises…

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr McGuinness said that figures provided by the Department of Social Development showed that apart from the £125m that has been promised in the deal, a further £200m was needed “to protect the most vulnerable in our society”.

He insisted the deal struck at Stormont last December protected payments made to present and future recipients of welfare in several categories.

The DUP leader said there is an agreed budget line of over £125 million in a pot of over £500m, and Sinn Féin’s demand would require finding an additional £300m over the next six years.

One possible solution would be identifying such resources elsewhere in Stormont’s finances.

However, that would involve raiding some other departmental budget line, which may be difficult given the public element of the disagreement.

As Mick noted at the time, Sinn Fein’s apparent confusion between what they claimed to have signed up for, and what they had actually committed to, was highlighted during the NI Assembly debate on the Welfare Bill by NI Green Party leader, Steven Agnew.

I am sorry to say this to Sinn Féin, but if that is what they signed up for, it is not what they committed to. Mr Maskey alluded to the previous petition of concern that three parties were going to sign and that would have stopped the bedroom tax. What we are being presented with is a five-year deferral. It is not the ending of the bedroom tax in Northern Ireland, but a deferral so that we can build more houses.

Is it what was promised: to ensure that the bedroom tax did not apply in Northern Ireland? No, because, right now, the Department for Social Development is ensuring that more one-bedroom houses are being built. It would not be doing that were it not for the intention to introduce the bedroom tax at a later stage. [Emphasis added]

Sam McBride in the News Letter today

The Stormont House Agreement mentions the word “welfare” 11 times and nowhere does it state that no benefit claimants will lose money – an impossible task if Stormont is not to decimate the budgets of other departments.

The nearest it came to any detail on the welfare changes was the vague statement that there would be “further work to develop and implement flexibilities and top-ups from the block grant as part of a package of measures to address local need”. Yet Sinn Fein not only endorsed that wording, but took considerable political flak to sell the deal right up until Saturday.

In the end, December’s deal was agreed in haste when the Government threatened to wind up the moribund talks process. Now it seems that Sinn Fein is realising how badly exposed its negotiators left it to accusations of a sell-out. [added emphasis]

[Reverse ferret! – Ed] Indeed.

And while the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers fly off to the US, hoping that next week’s invite to the White House is still valid, trade unions here are taking industrial action over the cuts to departmental budgets that are already being imposed.

Adds As the BBC NI Economics & Business Editor, John Campbell, points out

…other publicly available figures do make £94m a year look on the low side for full mitigation.

For example, in 2015/16 the Treasury had planned to impose a £114m “fine” on Stormont for not implementing welfare changes.

This implies that the Treasury believes welfare reforms should save £114m.

Research carried out for the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action by Sheffield Hallam University forecasts that the impact of changes to DLA, Housing Benefit and the Benefit Cap would amount to £128m a year.

And yet, £94million a year for the mitigating schemes up to 2020/21 is what Sinn Féin had endorsed…

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Looking forward to SpotlightNI tonight. SF manufactured ‘crisis’ is so yesterday.

  • Glenn Clare

    On radio Ulster today several shinner/provos were getting hung up on a single comment made by Mervyn Story in Stormont. It seems their negotiating and the document that they signed is irreverent the whole thing hangs on a comment by Mervyn Story.

    What do they say, read the small print or in the shinners/provos case a short phrase.
    All this bodes well for the southern electorate, if the shinners/provos can’t manage a deal like this, imagine when they have to deal with larger issues that effect Europe and the rest of the world.

  • james

    It is a bit of an odd situation where they spent all that time thrashing out a deal, sign up to it, and now overturn it without really seeming to know why. Almost as if blocking things has become their sole policy.

  • Glenn Clare
  • Practically_Family

    The most (un) remarkable thing about the responses to that is their near 100% precdictability based upon my perception of community background based on screen name.

  • David Crookes

    Is it possible that the crisis was manufactured in order to take people’s attention away from tonight’s TV programme?
    Whatever the case, SF must support their latest charge with credible documentation.
    I may be stupid, but SF’s recent antics don’t bring the words COMPETENT or PRINCIPLED into my head.

  • Granni Trixie

    The mood music from SF reps seems to imdicate that they think they can resolve the ‘crisis’ however I fear that once it is resolved we will see the longer term impact of the new seeds of distrust that they have sown. I say this because it looks like SF MLAs are not bent on doing what is in the interest of stability and prosperity in Ni but rather on dong whatever helps growth in the South or their UI project.

    Politics is the art of the possible yet Not only do SF opt out of exercising influence in Westminster but Niw we see they are not acting in the interests of people in NI so wHats the point of voting for them?

  • Practically_Family

    I have to say that out of step with, well… Seemingly everyone here, I feel SF’s position since the start of the Welfare Bill debacle has been consistent – “No cuts to Social Security payments”.

    As soon as I saw the SHA I picked up upon the mention of the discretionary fund and the suggestion, if not the agreement, that nobody would actually be financially worse off following the implementation of Welfare Bill. At the time I called it out as a massive fudge and I’m still very tempted to believe that that is exactly what it was intended to be.

  • Dan

    It certainly took attention away from Ms Anan and the vile guilt of Sinn Fein’s murder gangs who murdered her aunt in Germany. Wonder how many of their MLAs could have helped with the details she was seeking.

  • Practically_Family

    I would assume that being on board with their UI Project or just plain wanting to annoy the huns would be point enough for many.

  • Glenn Clare
  • OneNI

    Well Shinners have got themselves in quite a pickle! Cameron wont give them a penny more so if this money is to be found it will have to come out of existing budgets. This will probably require compulsory redundancies – or alternatively they could take the axe (again) to the capital budget. Economics by pygmyies

  • Practically_Family

    The Brits have laid you off, the Brits have made you homeless, the Brits won’t treat your cancer…

  • Glenn Clare

    There has been a plenty of rhetoric from Sinn Fein/IRA about how they are going to ensure that the poor and vulnerable get their benefits topped up.
    However what they have never mentioned is a crack down on benefit thieves.

    I think we all know what their retort to that would be, its their stock answer now, and after tonight’s Spotlight program will be trotted out over and over in the days to come. “If anyone has information they should give that to the police”. It is always trotted out with out much conviction, but did I expect anything more from them, not really.

  • Practically_Family

    It’s the stock answer of all UK/Ireland parties. “Dial the benefit fraud hotline” it beats admitting that if someone makes it their full-time (pre)occupation to obtain benefits illegally then they probably will probably get them.

  • Adds As the BBC NI Economics & Business Editor, John Campbell, points out

    …other publicly available figures do make £94m a year look on the low side for full mitigation.

    For example, in 2015/16 the Treasury had planned to impose a £114m “fine” on Stormont for not implementing welfare changes.

    This implies that the Treasury believes welfare reforms should save £114m.

    Research carried out for the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action by Sheffield Hallam University forecasts that the impact of changes to DLA, Housing Benefit and the Benefit Cap would amount to £128m a year.

    And yet, £94million a year for the mitigating schemes up to 2020/21 is what Sinn Féin had endorsed…

  • Zeno

    A man with two houses loses his soul……… probably paraphrased a bit, but you get the idea.

  • Zeno

    I don’t know what the fuss is about. The signed up to the agreement and then someone explained to them what they had actually signed. The timing was unfortunate as they were boasting about what a great job they had done last weekend.

  • chrisjones2

    SO Gerry now says it was a secret bag of DUP documents with sneaky plans that caused this

    Just ;like those documents on all those rapesposted through his letterbox

    How gullible are Irish voters?

  • chrisjones2

    A change on ‘Brits done it’ theme

  • aber1991

    Will the UK Parliament ever put Stormont out of its misery – for ever and ever?

  • kalista63

    Brian Feeney’s article is worth adding. I don’t know how to do it on my IPad

  • Niall Noígíallach

    Good morning folks. Hope you are all keeping fine. Just a quick one from me here to recap on where we are at essentially on the back of this (and countless others like it) thread:

    – The sun has not fallen from the sky

    – Gerry Adams is still president of Sinn Fein

    – Sinn Fein will still probably have decent election results

    – Nothing said here will stop people voting for Sinn Fein

    – The comments below have been repeated on various other threads for several years now

    – The hunt goes on for the smoking gun that will “take the Sinners down”

    – Sinn Fein will more than likely be in government, north and south, within the next ten years

    – Gerry Adams ate my hamster

  • Practically_Family

    Can I as a unionist and someone who would have shed no tears had all those present at the SF party confernce perished in a flash fire state that I agree with your above post in its entirety?

    The bottom line is SF are not going to go away and the reasons that some, many even (but not all) give for feeling that they should “go away” are the very reasons that they won’t.

    Come to peace with it.

  • Practically_Family

    Probably more of a question of how much do these issues mean to Irish voters?

    We’ll have our answers come Polling Day(s).

  • Niall Noígíallach

    “I as a unionist and someone who would have shed no tears had all those present at the SF party confernce perished in a flash fire”

    Interesting

  • Practically_Family

    In what sense?

  • Glenn Clare

    Puts an Ireland of equals and cherishing the children into clear and concise shinner / provo perspective.

  • Spike

    Bottom line if the moneys not there its not there and no amount of blaming the parties in stormont for cutting budgets to suit the income will fix that. Every dept is going to have to take some pain and therefore passed on to us as the electorate. Not sure the Shinners can win on this forum-they are on one hand accused of not standing up for the vulnerable by agreeing in the first place to the WRB and then accused of silly economics on the other by refusing to agree the WRB. We cant have it both ways.

  • Turgon

    I suppose the sense that you clearly lack the courage of your convictions. You seem to show no attempt to make it a reality.
    If the shoe were on the other (republicans) foot on the other hand and if we were talking about those oppressors of the nationalist people, Collie Dog owners, it would be so different.

  • Practically_Family

    What convictions? Make what a reality?
    And what does the rest of the drivel about shoes and dogs mean?

  • BetsyGray

    It seems the DUP have been caught with their hand in the till…. it transpires that the DUP without doubt, where playing Sinn Fein a merry dance….whilst all along secretly briefing hacks that they got one over the Shinners…..then again its not the first time the DUP have reneged on agreements and treated Sinn Fein’s mandate disgracefully. All this media noise and comment, Dail elections, Spotlight programmes…conspiracy theories etc…are utter ‘subterfuge’ in getting to what is the simple truth.The sick and the poor were getting shafted by a DUP slight of hand.

  • Robin Keogh

    Unfortunately (or fortunately) depending on what way you look at it; Stormont as a legislature is only a very poor shadow of its Dublin Mother. The institutions are weak and the power wielded by its personnell is even weaker. It is extremely difficult for any type of governnment to operate effectively within such constraints, the SF position on Welfare Reform has always been consistent North and South, I say North and South because SF policy is an ‘all Island policy’, they dont operate within a partitionist dynamic. They are opposed to Austerity and opposed to cuts in spending that adversely affect the working poor, the disabled and those who rely on welfare. The fact that the rug has been pulled is a reflection of that all Island policy platform and has nothing to do with pandering to a Southern electorate or trying to mess with the DUP. The southern electorate for a start pay no heed to East Belfast Wendy house, and the DUP should have met MMG last Friday at Stormont as arranged and spelled out the situation rather than deliberately letting it fall into the fire. I, like many here am left wondering why SF and the SDLP did not know there would be a shortfall by the time the document was ready for stamping. But, unlike others here, I am far more interested in protecting the vulnerable and I am glad that both those parties pulled the plug at the last minute. The disengenuity of many commentators is evident when they criticise SF for not doing a deal on welfare and then take delight in harranging them when they do. As another poster on here has put it; we cant have it both ways.

  • Niall Noígíallach

    Interesting because people have been banned from this site for less

  • Practically_Family

    Don’t misuderstand me, I wasn’t in Derry at the weekend playing with matches nor would advocate so doing.

    Let’s rephrase it, “if the entire party had been spirited away by aliens, never to return, I wouldn’t turn a hair”.

  • Turgon

    I was suggesting that you might care little if republicans died in a fireball but clearly you would not try to make them die. I meant convictions in sense of wishes not crimes.

    The collie dog owners relates to people who offended republicans so much that they (the republicans) did indeed burn them to death (La Mon).

    I suppose it is interesting in that your suggestion is deemed offensive by some. Some of those taking offence at your suggestion take less offense at the reality just so long as it is done to Prods.

    I was trying to be supportive and clever. Failed at both: sorry.

  • Practically_Family

    Ah right, I take your point. I don’t even wish them dead in point of fact, I would just be supremely indifferent were it to happen.

    La Mon… Was nearly forty years ago.

  • barnshee

    “- Nothing said here will stop people voting for Sinn Fein”

    Yep you sure are right. They can murder innocent men women and children in droves

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remembrance_Day_bombing
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omagh_bombing
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teebane_bombing
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Troubles_in_Coleraine
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Mon_restaurant_bombing

    and the voting continues -but you still can`t polish a turd

  • barnshee

    “La Mon… Was nearly forty years ago”.

    What the dead did not die -they have been resurrected? They families have all gone away?

  • barnshee

    “Probably more of a question of how much do these issues mean to Irish voters?”

    Absolutely nothing they are beyond contempt

  • barnshee

    “Will the UK Parliament ever put Stormont out of its misery – for ever and ever?”

    Never -The crafty bastards have shafted SF/DUP into government they can`t live with each other and they cant live without each other.
    Sort it out yourselves old chap– you have been sent your pocket money-don`t overspend -toodle pip

  • Practically_Family

    They did die, they won’t be back and their families will know it until they die.

    I’ve known men who died in their nineties having solidly refused to ever sit in a BMW or watch a Sony television. They spent nearly seventy years waiting for another taxi or turning their chair to the wall.

    You can remember what happened in any fashion you chose, within the law. Including deluding yourself that every turning point on the Shinners course is something shocking that will bring down the whole house of cards.

    But the world, and NI, will drive the Beemers and watch the Sony’s without you.

    The legacy of La Mon (insert other incident as you see fit) will not stop SF. Having covered up rape/sexual abuse will not stop SF. Banging a drum and waving a flag will not stop SF. Rem-ming 1690, the Somme, the Titanic, the Alamo or anything else will not stop SF. Truth be told… It’s probably right up their alley.

  • barnshee

    “Including deluding yourself that every turning point on the Shinners course is something shocking that will bring down the whole house of cards.”

    For your benefit I will repeat my post “above)
    “- Nothing said here will stop people voting for Sinn Fein”

    Yep you sure are right. They can murder innocent men women and children in droves

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L

    and the voting continues -but you still can`t polish a turd

    And we are still entitled to our view of the people who support them –whether they drive Beamers and watch Sony

  • Niall Noígíallach

    Ah wikipedia. That must mean you’re much better person than I

  • Practically_Family

    “And we are still entitled to our view of the people who support them –whether they drive Beamers and watch Sony”

    Yup. It’s just a shame energies couldn’t be used a tad more effectively. SF might not have such an easy ride if they were.

  • BetsyGray

    “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”
    …your flopping about in whataboutery land…its the road to no where…

  • Guest

    “The disengenuity of many commentators….”

    Doesn’t shock any of us paying attention. During the entire troubles the headlines were always “Republican paramilitary shooting” when the IRA/INLA/etc shot someone vs “Paramilitary Shooting” whenever it was one of the unionist groups.

    And there was always a school or community center that needed evacuating when there was a bomb or bomb threat – no matter if the school/center was 5 to 10 miles away from the bomb.

    The same people who employed the above are still in positions of power and are still pursuing a getSF agenda. It’s amusing that they think we are too stupid to see right through it. Their ineffectuality and failure is clearly evident in the poll numbers for SF. It’s really got to burn them up 🙂

  • Guest

    Surely there’s a genocide thread that needs your apologetics?

  • barnshee

    Ah I see ignore the facts – which are not “whataboutery” a SF construct to excuse bombing and murdering civilians

  • barnshee

    “Surely there’s a genocide thread”

    Your words

    Repeats you can`t polish turds no matter how many vote for them

  • barnshee

    “The sick and the poor where getting shafted by a DUP slight of hand.”

    Who is picking up the bill for “The sick and the poor”

    Where will the additional money SF want come from?
    Its not the DUPERS fault SF can`t or won`t count.

  • BetsyGray

    A total of £850 billion has been used to bail out the banking sector and while the majority of this will be returned in due course there is a likelihood of a multibillion pound income shortfall when everything is tallied up at the end of the day.

    It is estimated that potentially £60 billion-£80 billion could be at risk or never retrieved…Virgin Money deal on Northern Rock lost £400 million plus and counting….and theres not much sign of the rest of the money owed at present…and that’s just for starters…billions will be lost to these banksters…whilst there millionaire lickspittle friends in the British cabinet drain the public purse to shore up the UK accounts.
    And you say £200/300 million is a big ask…?….an amount that will protect other human beings and do good for society…money well spent..!

  • Practically_Family

    Oh well. Having anything nice for tea?

  • Thomas Girvan

    Gerry denies ever having seen your hamster.

  • Thomas Girvan

    The argument isn’t about whether the Executive should implement austerity or not.
    Like it or not we are going to have to.
    What we should really be discussing is how much of our block grant do we give to defending benefit claimants at the expense of services such as hospitals ,education etc.
    Fortunately, I have never got a penny of benefits in my life, but as I am knocking on a bit I would hope that I am assured of a bit of support if and when I need it.
    If there are one in five households in West Belfast on benefits, it means that there are four in five who are not.
    Why should everyone else be penalised to guarantee that there will be not a single person less well off due to Welfare reform?
    Sinn Fein are living in LA LA land. They should concentrated on getting proper jobs and giving people an incentive to get off benefits.
    (Of course they are trying to implement an Irish Language Act that would cost us how many millions? Even they cannot tell us! )
    If the Stormont parties cannot do a deal that is fair to everyone then the UK Govt should step in to defend the people, and ensure that proper public services can be maintained.

  • Niall Noígíallach

    Really? Why’s that?

  • chrisjones2

    “poor shadow of its Dublin Mother” Trolling? Moi? I do agree though that the level of graft and corruption and cute hoordom here has generally lagged behind Dublin by some measure

    “the SF position on Welfare Reform has always been consistent North and South” _ I assume you mean lie to everyone and promise free beer and cake for all

    “opposed to Austerity and opposed to cuts in spending that adversely affect the working poor, the disabled and those who rely on welfare” …and sod the workers who have to pay for it

    “left wondering why SF and the SDLP did not know there would be a shortfall”

    …yet you dont consider that they did know. The reality is that there must be cuits. We cannot afford all the spend Sf is pulling its old tactic of pocketing the concessions then disowning the agreement and demanding more

    “unlike others here, I am far more interested in protecting the vulnerable” – like the workers robbed by SFs stance

    and yes – you cant have it both ways.

  • chrisjones2

    Just two?

  • chrisjones2

    That only ever happened to Protestant Dog Fanciers and I believe was approved by the Chief Of Staff of the IRA at the time

  • chrisjones2

    …they just roll them in green glitter

  • Practically_Family

    The argument, I presume, goes that you don’t take from those with the least.
    Fact is though, as most appear to recognise it isn’t either/or.

    But really it’s a win/win policy for SF, no matter who gets hurt its due to a “Brit diktat”, plays both sides of the border. As does giving them their own way on the issue.

    In this respect they’re a lot better served by the political situation than Unionists, who are equally inept but have less oppportunity to pass the buck and profit from it.

  • Old Mortality

    Betsy
    If I can discern any reason in your Spartist rant, you seem to believe that the Northern Rock ‘good bank’ was sold too cheaply to Virgin. I agree but you should realise that the sale was forced by EU rules. Happily for taxpayers, the remainder of the bank that got all the witless Sid and Dorises queuing round the street, is recovering splendidly and is likely to have a surplus after all the government loans are paid off.

  • barnshee

    Facts don`t you just hate them

  • barnshee

    See above the turds rolled in green glitter bit

  • BetsyGray

    A loss is a loss OM….whats left of the NRAM debt will take ten years before its paid back….still a bookkeeping racket with tax payers money on good terms.

  • barnshee

    “The Brits have laid you off, the Brits have made you homeless, the Brits won’t treat your cancer…”

    The Brits have run out of money (and patience) after spending on inter alia (separate) Schools, Hospitals MLA salaries and costs–repairs to (bombed) infrastructure ( largely by you ) etc etc.
    In short you are the author of your own misfortunes so suck it up. If you fancy another round of “the struggle” the Brits will be delighted to take the costs of that out of the block grant as well.

    After an inevitable period in sod huts and woad, huddled around turf fires a form of sanity might arise amongst those left behind after the inevitable emigration surge

  • barnshee

    It Brit taxpayers money and they ain`t paying

  • Niall Noígíallach

    Why would I hate facts? Did you not agree with one I stated? Just there, up above these words here. Just a few inches up there.

    “Yep you sure are right”

    Tell me barnshee. Old bean. Your hatred of all things Sinn Fein. How has it made your life better?

  • Niall Noígíallach

    Of course you are. But what are you achieving with it? What tangible results has it brought you?

  • Jay

    Its madness. It started of with anger that they didn’t implement it. It continued with anger, when they did implement it. Now its anger they aren’t implementing it again. SF know it doesn’t matter what they do, their opponents will always be angry. So, with that in mind, why should they ever pander to their opponents. Their reaction will always be the same!

  • Old Mortality

    Betsy
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe the NRAM debt is interest-free.
    If you care to inspect the accounts you will see that in the six months to Sept. last year, NRAM paid interest of £189m but still had net interest income of £469m. So it hardly matters whether it is paying interest on its loans from the government since the profits are entirely attributable to the single ultimate shareholder: HM Treasury.

  • Thomas Girvan

    I don’t know who will be better off.
    For those who are Nationalists the alternatives are not good.
    The SDLP are against Welfare reform as well although it is hard to get a coherent argument from them as to where the money to pay for this is coming from.
    According to Sammy Wilson they have suggested “selling trees!” to pay for it.
    I can’t see Sinn FeIn benefitting much from this unless the British Govt. does a u turn.
    It would hardly shore up any confidence anyone had regarding their economic competence..
    Regarding Unionists, I suppose the DUP would settle for the British Govt. taking the power away from Stormont, implementing it, and then handing Stormont back to the local chancers, who would continue to milk the system and argue about things that are really important such as flags, parades and Irish language signs.
    That is probably the best outcome, and it would suit Sinn Fein as well. they could then blame the Govt. for implementing it and Gerry could continue his southern project, which is their priority.
    On the other hand maybe they will abolish free buses and prescriptions and introduce water charges, (except, of course, for those on the DLA !)
    That would really go down a treat.

  • murdockp

    What does protecting the vulnerable actually mean? Who are they?

  • barnshee

    “Tell me barnshee. Old bean. Your hatred of all things Sinn Fein. How has it made your life better?”

    It has confirmed my opinions on those who support the perpatrators of inter alia – child murder

  • barnshee

    “What tangible results has it brought you?”

    Confirmation of my opinion on those who support murder of innocents as a political process allows me to confirm their identity and allows the ability to avoid them in the street (or other public place)

  • GUBU

    There are evidently some people who would believe Mr Adams if he told them he had not eaten their hamster, even if he was intermittently picking tiny tufts of fur from between his teeth with a very, very small bone whilst doing so.

  • barnshee

    Problem solved by inserting “loyalist” before “paramilitary shooting” ?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Niall
    In a very strange way, I feel similarly despondent (if indeed that is how you feel, apologies if I’ve misinterpreted your feelings) regarding the number of #gerryadamsatemyhamster posts.

    I agree that they do nothing to harm SF, which, ironically is why I don’t believe Mick Fealty is on an anti-SF jihad.

    In the same way that LAD pick the abundant low hanging fruit of ‘Loyalism’ similarly does SO’T snipe at the constant guffaws, gaffs and downright dodgy dealings of SF. I.e. every other week Willie Frazer will say something schmental likewise every other week something from SF’s past will stagger out of the crypt.

    They offer themselves on a plate with unnerving regularity, it would be a strange place to be if our political commentators did not pass comment.

    I personally can’t stand SF. I’ll rant about why some other day (though to be fair I can’t stand most of the unionist parties or positions either).

    But I feel that the constant half winded punches have only galvanised SF over the years.

    In the same way that one may have a stronger bone by chipping or slightly fracturing it similarly SF has developed a hefty carapace though the years due to the constant bombardment, a sort of PR callus if you will.

    IF there was to be an orchestrated ant-SF campaign then my personal strategy would be to deliberately supress all comments regarding SF misdeeds.

    I believe that firmly planted whispers are more effective than mainstream ‘positions’.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “why do you have ‘Jamie Oliver’s Guide to Cricetinae Cuisine’ in your pocket?!”