Evaluation panel handpicked and all ready to look at the records…

So the panel for checking official records has been convened:

  • Lord Carlile from the right of the Lib Dems is the most well known and fits the profile of ‘safest possible pair of hands’;
  • Rosalie Flanagan for ‘the Catholic side’ is, as a former Perm Sec of DCAL, an insider par excellence (and a director of executive services with OFMDFM for eight years until 2010. source);
  • and for ‘the Protestant side’ Stephen Shaw QC has preached (as a member of Scrabo Hall Fellowship in Ards) that “while politicans are accountable to their party and to the Assembly, ultimately they are accountable to God”. (More from Ed Moloney, though I don’t think Brethern are generally as political as he seems to suggest).

Hmmmm… I’ll stay my own judgement till we see their report, but if this is to work as a confidence building exercise it had better be good…

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Robinson named! Come on Mick, run the story and let’s get to posting.

    A lack of evidence hasn’t stopped you over the last few weeks.

  • Ulick

    Who’d have thought – Slugger shying away from a real crisis.

  • Robin Keogh

    Define ‘Good’ Mick. We all know that for some if the review does not show SF up to their eyes in murder (as you recently claimed urself) there will be accusations of fudge or cover ups. No doubt u are busy now with a piece on Robinson allegedly involved in this nama dodgy deal. I look forward to it, I am sure we all do….or are u going to wait for evidence first?

  • Redstar

    What a sham corrupt pointless cabal exists on the hill.

    Yet ALL involved need it and will put up with anything to cling on to power.

    Shameless career politicians at their worst

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Certain sections of the local media (our dear editor included) will be desperate to keep the focus on the unionist contrived Stormont collapse that just “happens” to coincide with the NAMA enquiry getting to the juicy bits (read Robinson NAMED). If the DUP and their UUP lapdogs devoted as much thought to the running of the devolved government that they do playing political dark arts, we’d be in a much better place. As Redstar calls it, a corrupt “cabal”.

  • mickfealty

    Can I also have not writing about #PigGate taken into account? Now boys, go back and read the piece above?

  • Sliothar

    Apart from ‘Rosalie Flanagan for ‘the Catholic side’’, it may have escaped Slugger’s notice that she is also a, God forbid, WOMAN.

    However, given that Carlile has ‘previous’ in matters of this nature, it is hard to comprehend what the other two have to offer. One was a professional civil servant – the ultimate ‘insider’, as Mick has it, and a Catholic woman, the other a God-fearing, male, Protestant lawyer. Sure, they tick off all the boxes, ‘liberal’ Brit, Catholic woman, Protestant man. It just seems all so cosy and choreographed to suit the optics of being ‘all-inclusive’.

    As to the substance of their report, are we not led to believe that they won’t be doing any ‘digging’ but just taking verbatim the reports of the security services? As per SOS Villiers, ‘I am announcing today that the Government has commissioned a factual assessment from the UK security agencies and the PSNI on the structure,
    role and purpose of paramilitary organisations in Northern Ireland. This
    assessment will be independently reviewed and checked by three
    individuals who I will appoint‘. (My emphasis)

    Well, it all depends on the meaning of the word ‘independent’, doesn’t it? With a member of the House of Lords, a Queen’s Counsel and a former permanent secretary on board, to repeat Mick again, ‘it had better be good…’ as, imho, you couldn’t dream up a more pro-establishment bunch of ‘independents’ if you tried.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Nope, we want to talk about your glorious leader and the alleged bung that Slugger seems to be avoiding at all cost even though it’s top of Sky and BBC news. Maybe “we” should wait for the evidence……

    No wait…..

    #luvinit

  • mickfealty

    BBC NI News (http://goo.gl/6VZq83):

    Jamie Bryson did not provide the inquiry with documentary evidence to back that claim.

    He said there were documents that will support his allegations but they are held by the National Crime Agency.

    Mr Bryson has provided the committee with a dossier that contains material such as company accounts – but it doesn’t appear to contain a smoking gun.

  • IRF

    Talking of PigGate, maybe there isn’t much political progress this week because the parties are too busy engaging in Talks About Porks?

  • mickfealty

    Good means robust and independent, with some capacity to explain the gap between the official reports of paramilitary related crime (eg, 70% of the Housing Executive figures for homelessness resulting from intimidation are recorded as paramilitary related) and the poor conviction rates of said paramilitaries.

    Now, given what we know about how the Civil Service views the term independent, I think some of us are entitled to view the proceedings with some considerable apprehension. Others will take the view that if that’s what the DUP and SF need to get back to their office desks in the Castle by Christmas, so be it. Personally, I think it is a mistake not to prime expectations upwards.

  • chrisjones2

    One Prod, One Catholic and a Jewish Chair.

    All the bases covered. What a sad little country this is

    Can they cover NAMA while they are here?

  • chrisjones2

    Who said it was SF that did it? It was the IRA who havent gone away

  • chrisjones2

    …but all of this is to be driven by FACTUAL information only. We have to assume that this does not include all that nasty intelligence that (we hope) fills up that building in Holywood

  • mickfealty

    I would only add that the expression on Daithi’s face when Jamie drops the ‘bombshell’ that all the evidence is in Tughan’s, ie that everything Jamie alleges is on the basis of what he’s heard.

    You’d better be careful Sergio, they’ll be calling you up next to tell them what you think next? 😉

  • SeaanUiNeill

    A serious mistake…….

  • Alan N/Ards

    I’m not sure Stephen Shaw would consider himself a protestant. He attends a Brethren fellowship and I would have no doubt that he would just call himself a Christian. I know him (i’m not a friend) and he is an honest, decent christian man. He’s also a pretty good bible teacher.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Who needs proof Mick? You’ve admirably demonstrated that over the last number of weeks with your one sided take on the “collapse” of Stormont.

  • Zig70

    Can someone tell me why Bryson was giving evidence? Who invited him or did he invite himself?

  • Granni Trixie

    What’s to write about…no puns left in PigGate surely?

  • Zig70

    Unbelievable that he can continue unblemished as PM. So few actually care and It’s the only story with any hint of evidence.

  • James7e

    Wot? No Muslims?!

  • James7e

    I’m also confused. Perhaps Robin doesn’t see the distinction between SF and IRA today?

  • Sliothar

    All due respect, etc, Alan, but methinks you’re being a tad pedantic. Mr Shaw, in the parlance of this little sectarian cesspit, is perceived to be Protestant. In the NI civil service, I’m told, if an employee does not make a personal declaration of his/her religion, he/she would be deemed a Protestant or Catholic, based on schools attended, etc. This happened to a Jewish friend who didn’t declare but, as he went to Campbell, was deemed a Protestant. I kid you not!
    Perhaps I should have used the term, ‘non-catholic’? No, I don’t think so as some of our contributors would be baying at the moon by this stage – with, possibly, myself amongst them. 🙂

  • mickfealty

    Evidence? That’s generous.

  • 70% as self referred. In Belfast there is a great deal of gaming, so unless this is proven by accompanying police reports then that number has to be treated with some caution. As for the rest, something ‘robust and independent’ unlikely with a basic staff, no research, and the facts as presented by the ‘experts’, on which there will be an ‘assessment’ – and all in a month? Upwards? A long way up.

  • Zig70

    Especially as he hadn’t any. Why was he there?

  • Zig70

    So structures are a non story. Just welfare reform. Unless someone is daft enough to try to tack on parading by another ex-terrorist, structurally intact organisation.

  • David Crookes

    Who is really stirring the pot? JB looked to me like someone who had been carefully coached.

    It should be easy to ask the NCA to release the pertinent documents. I wonder if the gentleman who was offended by JB’s allegations thought of suggesting such an obvious thing.

    (Quare goins on when you factor in the health issue? No. The timing most likely represents a mere coincidence.)

    Anyway, until JB’s allegations are backed up by meaningful and accredited documents, they remain allegations, and wishful thinkers should be sensible enough not to make wild news stories out of them. I’m not even sure if it’s wise to ask who in Stormont would be most pleased if Stormont collapsed.

  • eireanne

    Don’t know Granni – have you seen these ones?https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/pigsgate-lock-up-your-trotters/

  • mickfealty

    Well, it probably isn’t round these parts. Thing is, I’d like to see this committee bite (like another one once did http://goo.gl/bW83yw), but if you don’t have the dope all we have is a wild news story. I would love to see that paper trail (and much else besides), but you can imagine just how that conversation is going to go with the FOI officer at OFMdFM?

    Who would even look for a job with a pair of nightmare bosses like that? Come back Tim McGarry!!

  • mickfealty

    Feck nose. It all feels like a bit of a PR scam. The proper time to have a committee look into this is after the cops have done their work and we have some idea of what the problem is.

    But we’ve seen these attempts at summary justice come unstuck before on the hill: http://goo.gl/bW83yw.

  • Acrobat_747

    Wot? No refugees?!

  • mac tire

    ‘A PR scam’? Ooooo Mick, that could be seen as deviously naughty. 🙂

  • Catcher in the Rye

    I think SF had the idea of calling him in order to make the DUP uncomfortable, and they certainly have plenty of motivation at this time to facilitate the allegation that individuals close to, or within, the DUP could have been involved in criminal activity.

    It’s interesting particular that Bryson as a hard line unionist is effectively working with SF and other elements, such as the Irish News, to destabilise Robinson and with it the DUP. You have to ask what his priorities are and wonder exactly what it is he has against the DUP that he’s prepared to work with SF to harm them.

  • David Crookes

    A committee which bites would do wonders for the public perception of Stormont, but it would need to have a chairman who was willing to sink his teeth in the necks of thuggish partisan members.

  • Gingray

    Have you evidence to back that up 🙂

  • Alan N/Ards

    I get what you’re saying, and I agree that it is a sad state affairs.

    The Brethren Fellowships in Northern Ireland (as far as I know) usually stay clear of politic’s. I would doubt if there is a single member of the Orange Order involved in a Brethren Fellowship. I’m not a member myself, but have known many brethren people over the years, and the only thing that they are interested is worshiping God.

  • Barneyt

    aye but, Catholics never call themselves Christian in normal spake. Christians in our part of the world are invariably from the reformist tradition? So in terms of tribe, you can see which side he is designed to appeal to. No Taig is going to talk about his brethren now is he. Kind of tongue in cheek here, but its a bit like saying I attend the the sacred heart transubstantiation collective of lough derg, but I am not a catholic.

  • Sliothar

    Yeah, but is it an eye-for-an-eye God or a love-your-neighbour God?
    Brethren, as far as I’m aware, are fundamentalist Christians and are literal followers of the Bible, believing it to be the true word of God. So, when God comes into the equation, the ‘Whoever is not with me is against me’ argument is bound to be raised at some stage. In my personal experience, I have discovered that it does colour perceptions.
    As it is, therefore, I’m more comfortable with the sinners of this world. I find them more tolerant of the human condition.

  • Alan N/Ards

    I suppose like any church tradition there are people for the eye for an eye approach to Christianity and those who are not.

    Many years ago I was invited (by a friend) to attend the evening service in his brethren fellowship. It was Remembrance Sunday and I had my poppy pinned to my jacket. I was shocked to find that I was the only person there wearing a poppy. I asked my friend why that was and he answered that the poppy has nothing to do with God. He then added that they don’t do politics (many of them don’t vote) and that most politicians are corrupted by the desire for power. Yes, they are an interesting bunch, but they most certainly are not likely fall for the nonsense that a number of our politicians spew out day and daily.

  • Sliothar

    Yes, they are an interesting bunch, but they most certainly are not likely fall for the nonsense that a number of our politicians spew out day and daily.

    Aye, them and a sizeable portion of the electorate!
    By the same token, perhaps the Rapture may be a little more inclusive than we’ve been led to believe! 😉