Beginning of the end? DUP won’t attend Executive meetings & Sinn Fein won’t be distracted

Peter Robinson set out his plan today that seems to indicate the beginning of the end for the Executive. Flanked by his parliamentary party, he told reporters;

For our part we will take steps to ensure that pending a satisfactory resolution of the outstanding issues business will not be as usual.

As a first step there will be no further meetings of the Northern Ireland Executive unless we deem there are exceptional circumstances.  In addition there will be no North South Ministerial meetings in any format.  Our Ministers shall be focused on the talks process and attempting to get the best outcome for our community.

We have already welcomed the talks process which should be serious and sustained in nature.  If we are not satisfied that parties are applying themselves to achieving an outcome in a reasonable timeframe we will initiate a further step.

If it becomes apparent to us that a satisfactory resolution in the talks is not possible then, as we indicated in our earlier statement, as a last resort Ministerial resignations will follow.  However, we must make it clear that any election that follows such an eventuality will not be an election to return to the present Assembly arrangements, as we will not nominate a First Minister until a fundamental and more wide-ranging negotiation produces a system that can fully function.   The present Assembly has been blocked from delivering for over two years because Sinn Fein and the SDLP would not take difficult financial decisions.

 A much lower key Sinn Fein delegation led by Conor Murphy followed saying that the entire thing was really about internal unionist politics;

Sinn Féin will not let threats or electoral battles within unionism distract us from the important work at hand.

We were elected to deliver for the people of this society and mandated to oppose the Tory austerity cuts to public services and social protections.

We want to see the full implementation of the Stormont House Agreement on parading, identity and the legacy of the past as well as the welfare protections agreed last December and a workable budget for the Assembly to deliver public services.

We now have a four party Executive that isn’t meeting (unless extraordinary circumstances force it) and two parties leading that fundamentally disagreeing on the way forward.

Is there even the slightest hope of this government surviving beyond Halloween?

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  • mickfealty

    Looks like they jumped without the speech from Theresa (who got upstaged today by Cameron)… She’s due to say something tomorrow. My guess is she’s not playing ball.

  • Robin Keogh

    We might as well all just sit back and watch Unionism do what it does best; Fight with each other over who can be more anti themmuns. In the meantime London and Dublin will cook up something over their heads and we will have to put up with more POOP (permanently offended outraged people) till kingdom come. The repetitiveness of Unionist internal combustion is almost boring at this stage. Better watch our step over the coming months, there will be POOP everywhere.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    “No further meetings of the Northern Ireland executive…” In all seriousness how will we notice. Will it change our day to day life in any way? I think not.
    Unionist exclusion / Republican unreality – blah, blah, blah…..

  • T.E.Lawrence

    “However we must make it clear that any election that follows such an eventuality will not be an election to return to the present Assembly arrangements” Interesting statement – then there is no sense in calling such elections until negotiations take place by all concerned to see if they can agree on the functions of government to operate ! Looks like a renegotiation of the GFA ?

  • Granni Trixie

    Focused meetings on welfare and paramilitarism is all very well in the immediate term but surely this is a sticking plaster approach instead of an agenda which reflects other concerns – turn a crisis into an opportunity for reforms based on learning since GFA – petitions of concern,that sort of thing. Also what if in the middle of the talks more emerges about allegations of corruption etc …more crisis I presume . Better have all the problems on the table from the outset,I say.

    BTW, are committee meetings to go ahead? Just asking as I’m wondering when Jamie Brysons evidence will be heard. If not, how convenient.

  • chrisjones2

    Is POOP the Unionist equivalent to the “Justified Outrage of the Nationalist People” (JONP)

    Are they like matter and ant-matter?

    If we put them together do we get direct rule with

    welfare reform
    Irish language act
    New IMC

    flying off in all directions?

    That sounds really terrible doesnt it

  • Jag

    I was shocked and appalled to hear Marge Simpson use the term “BFD” when rebuking Lisa in yesterday’s episode of the Simpsons on RTE broadcast early in the evening well before the 9pm watershed. Such bad language, even if acronymised shouldn’t be broadcast when kids are listening.

    However, it is an appropriate term to characterise what the DUP did yesterday.

  • NotNowJohnny

    The functions of the Executive Committee are not extensive and executive power continues to be invested in individual ministers so the impact at this stage is minimal. This is in line with the DUPs previously announced graduated response. I would suggest that the SDLP, Alliance and SF Ministers continue to meet in Executive format to discuss issues of common interest to ensure that the impact of the DUPs decision is minimised further.

  • Steve Larson

    How ever long this internal battle goes on in Unionism it will end in 6 months or a few years with a returned assembly in the North, one that has more power and control than now and the real possibility that SF will be the largest party.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Again, will it impact us in any way?

  • At last it’s public that the Executive doesn’t meet & doesn’t do anything. This has been the case since the DUP took over.
    It’s time for new structures. The GFA has lasted long enough. Nothing is for ever. It got us through the transition from ‘the troubles’, but its deeply flawed & does not serve the needs of any community, except the MLAs & senior civil servants who have become a new community in their own right. It’s time they became accountable to the people.

  • Zeno

    Only 11 comments before this one. It shows the level of concern at this latest crisis. WOLF WOLF !

  • kalista63

    Could someone, CC or SoS, please say something unambiguous? Its like living in Andy Burnham world.

  • Mister_Joe

    Nesbitt is trying to put Robinson on the backfoot with his stick of dynamite in the river last week and a second one today. Will he be successful come election time? Somehow I doubt it. Meanwhile, SF will just keep saying that the IRA have gone away and that they no longer have a connection with them. Absent any PSNI charges against a senior SF leader, and any trial would be at least a year away and problematic, given many failed trials in the past, they can continue to represent the current events as a unionist mud fight. Given Westminster’s hands off approach, they will probably survive anything, including Direct rule, and will come out smelling of roses. Too bad in the long run, and we are in the “long war”.

  • James7e

    Sinn Fein might have their own hands full, if the big names in the party keep getting arrested and questioned for murder. Though in fairness one notes Martin was barred from questioning. Whatever happened there….