OFMdFM wakes up to take key GM decision away from Mark H Durkan…

Here’s a nice little demonstration of how Northern Irish politics actually works. SDLP Minister for the Environment decides to make NI a GM Free Zone. Why, because the EU say he must decide one way or the other. He cannot equivocate otherwise the fines start flowing.

He’s in good company. Wales and Scotland have already got there, and decided against.

But, as the BBC reports, it doesn’t end there. The semi dormant Office of First Minister and deputy First Minister [that would be the house of many Spads? – Ed] has been sufficiently roused out of its slumbers to act decisively, to review Durkan’s decision:

It is understood OFMDFM called for a review because it believed the decision was one of strategic importance, which merited Executive approval. A deadline imposed by Europe on when the decision should be taken has now expired.

Okay, great. What next? Well, nothing in the very short term. This however may indicate things are being readied for a return of a functional Executive. If/when they do how Sinn Fein have strong policy positions in favour of the Minister’s decision.

The DUP may have other ideas. Or they may not. If they fail to act, then the fines will start flowing. If they however they decide to agree and retrospectively approve the Minister’s decision, how controversial was it anyway?

Maybe I’m wrong, and SF will side with a move to open NI to GM foods. More likely this is a case of starving a political opponent of a large scale policy decision in the hopes of owning it themselves.


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