On hearing of Jim Wells’ narcolepsy…

For the sake of keeping record (and via the Irish News), this from Northern Ireland’s deputy First Minister* after news at the weekend that Jim Wells suffers from narcolepsy..

Our top tip: leave the trolling to the keyboard warriors lads, it’s really not a good look..

*Picture features SF’s parliamentary candidate for North Belfast.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    This is pretty low I must say and pretty sick from those with blood on their hands who present a veneer of a holier than thou attitude.

  • mickfealty

    Please remember the site rule. No need to respond in kind.

  • david crookes

    What we have here looks like kicking a man when he is down. Does the subtextual victim of such a comment have no precious ‘rights’? Or will the media killer-packs hound MMcG from office?

  • mickfealty

    Doubt it David.

  • Paul Devlin

    Nice trolling, Mick, if kind of predictable. You’ve joined the Firemen under the bridge. Isn’t it odd how politicians that have dug career destroying holes for themselves always claim to have been on the painkillers/cough syrup/antibiotics and a couple of glasses of red? Narcolepsy’s a new one on me though

  • Joe_Hoggs


  • chrisjones2

    I assumed it was a training course for new SF Policing Board members

  • Paul Devlin


  • Dan

    Oh, he’s only resting?

  • Surveyor

    Curry my yoghurt and all that, I thought Unionists were up for a bit of craic but it seems not.

  • Barneyt

    The general reaction seems to be that Jim Wells has seized upon his own wife’s illness in his time of need, only to go on and “re-offend”. If this is true, then I could see how it might prove difficult to register sympathy towards someone like Jim Wells, sleeping disorder or not.

    My own view is that neither Jim nor SF should latch on to any illness to seek shelter, sympathy or to offer ridicule.

    My own impression is that Mr Wells has painted quite a hideous picture of himself, both in terms of his views and reported antics. Whilst I don’t condone the SF actions here, Jim is hardly due this level of protection either.

    Its a sad time for Northern Ireland and the issue of equality. That is what we should be focusing on. If 49 unionist MLAs from 53 can continue to reject gay marriage, in 2015!!!! then our future is hopeless. I dearly hope that this reflects a complete and utter disenfranchisement from their respective communities and the their fingers are distant from the electoral pulse. I can’t accept that the UUP MLAs in particular are truly representing the majority of the community that voted them in. Am I wrong? Should we expect some sort of voting dividend for the Alliance and perhaps others as a consequence?

  • Barneyt

    Dividend for the Alliance? I take that back.

  • mickfealty

    Call it troll on troll action. But here at least, we aim to inform: http://goo.gl/pHn2oF

  • Jag

    Not funny Marty! Now, if you’d happened to have a photo of Gerry asleep on the bonnet of a PSNI landrover, – Snoopy-like on top of the dog kennel…..

  • Paul Devlin

    No Mick, you started the trolling as you took the OP and replied in such a way as to be malicious, vexatious, off topic and denigrating. Now the shinners may have been having a joke (the value of which is up to the beholder) but it’s not trolling as it isn’t disrupting a pre-existing online twitter thread, fb page, comments page etc. By your definition of trolling, my friends and I laughing over lunch yesterday about the ‘leaked revelations of Wells claimed narcolepsy to save his dying career was trolling. It clearly wasn’t but your determination to do down the shinners on even the slightest scintilla of tenuous tosh is tremendous. A column in the Indo can’t be far off!

  • MainlandUlsterman

    The headline of this thread is surely a Half Man Half Biscuit song title?

  • Mirrorballman

    Jim’s narcolepsy couldn’t be that serious if he was looking to take on ANOTHER full time job while running the most important and largest government department in Northern Ireland while caring for a very sick wife…..

  • SeaanUiNeill

    The politics of the Junior school playground! I was reminded of the struggling mess in the mud scenes at the end of the Battle of Shrewsbury section in Orson Wells’s “Chimes at Midnight.” I hold no candle whatever for Jim Wells’s comments, as anyone regularly reading Slugger will know, but these are serious issues that need to be honestly faced. Especially the very low standard of debate amongst all our politicians, something that seems to be perfectly acceptable to the electorate.

  • mickfealty

    It’s certainly been a reaction, but it’s not that general, and based, in some cases, on suspiciously faulty reasoning:

    Is Narcolepsy a laughing matter? Here's Sinn Fein's new health policy, from the dFM… http://t.co/rVGjL3kO6V pic.twitter.com/GrQ2TjEL75— Mick Fealty (@mickfealty) April 27, 2015

    Check the conversation downwards…

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thank you for the link Mick, I’m watching this slow metamorphosis myself amongst the few DUP members and supporters who will speak to a “Lundy” like myself (they kind of have to, being family). The party in general will certainly have to change, if only to avoid sounding like freaks at Westminster and to convince financial interests to take them seriously, but my real gripe is that they are changing at such a snails pace. I know, not loosing core vote and all of that, but they have a very long way to go before they can seriously compete with SF in the States, especially with SF’s credibility amongst political and financial interests, mostly hype I know, but very effective hype. While I’m no fan of SF (never have been), from friends and family on the ground across the Atlantic I can see that their PR over there is both effective and incessant.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Are LAD under the bridge?

  • Jag

    No, it would be low if the #hashtag was #stroke. Many, I would say the majority of people, have great difficulty in understanding why a (serious, debilitating, not-to-be-laughed-at) condition like narcolepsy is relevant to Jim Wells’s statement last week (which he did indeed retract, though he appears to have initially denied it also) that children are more likely to suffer abuse in a same-sex household. Even Jim Wells isn’t suggesting that his statement was influenced by his narcolepsy, surely.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Gerry Kelly receives the Royal Pardon for murder and not much is done about it. Jim Wells says something inaccurate and offensive and at least retracts it only to have this nonsense posted by fellow politicians.

  • mickfealty

    Can you save the rest of us from getting uppity by finding out what the condition actually is before commenting? Apologies for posting this twice in one thread: http://www.narcolepsy.org.uk/

  • mickfealty

    I like this from my friend and colleague John Kellden:

    “Trolls are not actually trolls, they are human beings praying to a lesser God, their own inner five-year-old.”

  • Jag

    Very true that some of the incidents which snowball to become headline issues these days pale into insignificance when contrasted with the savagery of the Civil War,

    Thank God we now live in times that “curry my yoghurt” and “bigoted bastards” (does Gerry suffer from that serious, debilitating, not-to-be-laughed-at Tourettes syndrome?) and offensive remarks towards Muslims, gays, and immigrants hog the headlines.

    As for the Civil War, there is a peace agreement, and a legal means for dealing with past incidents. As you say, Gerry Kelly is at one with the law of the land, and if he chooses to make light of what many, I would say most, would see as an attempt at an irrelevant distraction to save face after a gaffe (to put it kindly), then good luck to him, he has as much right to do it as anyone else, I just think a photo of Gerry asleep Snoopy-like on the bonnet of a PSNI vehicle would have been better comedy.

  • 3000Versts

    I’m gutted to own the same TV stand as Gerry Kelly.

  • mickfealty

    I’m sure that in time, Gerry will get over that too. But thank you for sharing! 😉

  • Barneyt

    That’s fair enough Mick, but more sinister ailments have been referenced in passing, for humour (bad taste or not). The next time I hear someone say, “oh, I’ll swear I’m showing signs of Dementia…I’d forget my head if it wasn’t bolted on”, I’ll jump on their bones and remind them how many of my relatives have been affected by it and how serious it actually is….or maybe I won’t.

    Are we not in danger if running away with ourselves here, particularly when Mr Wells brought it to the fore? Shoot me down if this is a long term condition that Jim has suffered from, but if this has surfaced in response to the fix he has placed himself in, then I can see why others may lessen his suffering…cruel and in the longer term, misjudged as it may prove.

  • Mirrorballman

    That’s fair enough Mick but forgive my scepticism. Every time now we’ve had someone from the DUP who has been forced to resign its been accompanied by statements of how ill they are (see Mrs Robinson)….These illness only seem to manifest in the public sphere once they’ve been caught doing something wrong.

  • patrick23

    This is faux outrage. They’re having a dig at the ridiculous narcolepsy excuse, not any genuine sufferer.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    I also thought this joke was below the belt. I’m sure Jim’s illness is genuine.

    That said, using that illness, as Jim did, to try to deflect from political illness is pretty cynical. You cannot be a minister of a major government department and a Parliamentary candidate while claiming that you are ill to the extent that you may be prone to angry outbursts.

  • Paul Devlin

    What a joke this thread is. ‘It has been revealed’ that Wells suffers from narcolepsy right after he wrecks his career. Really? Who revealed it & why? I doubt it was his doctor. Maybe it was the Sun’s 3am team. This transparent ruse to save a dying career is risible. ‘it was revealed’ is up there with ‘an insider stated’ for longhand for ‘spinballs’

  • Kevin Breslin

    People are skeptical about his narcolepsy , that’s partially because there’s a lot of ignorance about what narcolepsy actually is (indeed the Wells incident made me actually do research to challenge my own prejudices) and secondly they can’t trust the DUP and Wells aren’t just saving face anyway.

    I’m empathetic to the suggestion he might be narcoleptic, I have Asperger’s Syndrome which is equally misunderstood and stigmatized though it has no somatic effects on me as narcoleptic or say epileptic conditions, I will get misinterpreted and I will feel defensive and vulnerable on a level that people may not fully understand. And to perhaps fear losing the life partner, to lose the wive who made you feel part of the human race would spark the worst fears.

    But Wells is a lot older man than me, he knows the spotlight, he knows how harsh politicians are and he knows he can’t always act on impulse even though as a minister he would be doing a lot more than those who merely debate and do committee work.

    What he said was inexcusable, he should blame himself not his condition. He should know better as a health minister that if he believed every homosexual was as much a threat to children as he would have to demand to David Ford that every homosexual man should be on the sex-offender’s list not merely kept off a list on donating blood.

    Susan (forget the middle name) White down in West Tyrone would not even come out with that.

  • mickfealty

    You are missing the serious point here Paul. This is the deputy First Minister we’re talking about. Whether Jim has or doesn’t have Narcolepsy is very far from the point.

    It betokens a recklessness and ill discipline I’ve not quite seen before in SF. In fact whilst we are on the subject it’s of a piece with Martin’s oddly shouty performance last night on UTV.

    I don’t know what’s going on, but something’s not quite right here.

  • Paul Devlin

    Narcolepsy? Crack? Early onset dementia? Maybe he’s just fed up of the horror show that is Irish politics. I only get involved nowadays when it all kicks off. Normally I prefer just drinking on my own in a dark room

  • mickfealty

    Very wise.