Simon Hamilton’s ‘sticking plaster’ solution has met with no objections from O Muilleoir’s department in ten days

At the weekend Gerry Moriarty treated the increasingly shrill rhetoric from the Minister of Finance Mairtin O Muilleoir during the past week, with scepticism. Mot least the Minister’s loud references to “sticking plaster solutions” to the RHI debacle.

And if “post-truth” means repeating an allegation so often that, regardless of its veracity, the public will be emotionally primed to believe it, then Ó Muilleoir is a master of this phenomenon.

In every interview, he constantly referred to DUP “corruption, arrogance, bigotry and sectarianism” – with “corruption” his most frequently used word in relation to the renewable heat incentive (RHI) scheme that could cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds.

But the fact is nobody has proved corruption so far. Certainly there is evidence of civil service and political incompetence that cost controls were not imposed on the hugely overgenerous subsidy to encourage the use of biomass boilers.

However, it was not until later in the week that veteran interviewers reminded Ó Muilleoir that corruption was unproven.

And then this morning, the Minster for the Economy Simon Hamilton gently let it slip that O Muilleoir’s department had not raised any substantial objections (see clip from live blog below) to the scheme passing under their scrutiny in the last ten days of contact.

Trumpesque, is that a word?

  • Surveyor

    4 headline stories in the space of 4 hours about Sinn Fein. That’s excessive even by Slugger standards.

  • Jag

    Surely Simon Hamilton’s proposals to reduce the scandalous overspend on RHI come down to legal opinion, rather than finance. Critics of Si’s plan say you can’t unilaterally alter contracts – he’s “living in cloud cuckooland” according to a law lecturer. It has nothing to do with finance, does it?

    Eg, Si proposes reducing payments from £30m to £20m, so the impact on the Dept of Finance is, there’s £10m more money available. That’s the extent of Mairty’s role. It’s for the Executive overall to decide if it’s legally feasible to unilaterally alter the RHI contract, and the independent legal opinion appears to be, it’s not feasible.

  • Jag

    SF has had the initiative in the last week, and it was the DUP playing catchup trying to placate SF and butter up their natural constituents with grants. It’s natural therefore that there’s been a focus on SF, will they, won’t they collapse the Executive.

    SF has now pulled the plug, so the initiative now is passed to the boy Brokenshire, and with the announcement of an election date this evening, all parties should be scrutinised.

  • Katyusha

    In every interview, he constantly referred to DUP “corruption, arrogance, bigotry and sectarianism” – with “corruption” his most frequently used word in relation to the renewable heat incentive (RHI) scheme that could cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds.

    But the fact is nobody has proved corruption so far.

    Only because the DUP actually are incompetent enough to let something like this slip past unawares. If it was Fianna Fáil that were paying farmers and businessmen to heat empty barns, we’d be screaming about corruption, in light of their reputation. The DUP has a reputation of being both corrupt and incompetent, so in fairness it could be either or a mixture of the two.

    And then this morning, the Minster for the Economy Simon Hamilton gently let it slip that O Muilleoir’s department had not raised any substantial objections to the scheme passing under their scrutiny in the last ten days of contact.

    If it financially stacks up better than a 400mGBP overspend, why would he object? Do you expect Sinn Fein to fight to keep RHI payouts in place?

  • the keep

    If you wish go to Jude Collins blog you will only get the slavish pro SF line there.

  • J D

    I did not realise things were this bad for the DUP 🙂

    Thanks for the pick me up this morning slugger!

  • J D

    So you come here for the slavish pro DUP line then?

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    Isn’t it the case that ‘corruption’ can’t be proven until there’s an independent inquiry and the fact that there isn’t such an inquiry means it won’t be proven for some time yet. However the smell from the burning shed with eight boilers in Fermanagh indicates that there’s something wrong with the scheme and that it may be being abused. Given the amount of heated talk that’s going about about this and other issues and now that we’re in election mode, these type of allegations are par for the course. And also I would add that however shrill Gerry Moriarty claims Máirtín has been on the ‘corruption, arrogance’ theme can’t possibly match the unremitting screeching shrillness of DUP spokespeople (for the most part) over the past number of years on a wide variety of issues.

  • J D

    “But the fact is nobody has proved corruption so far.”

    Continue to cling to the denial that lives in the words “so far” because as soon as the election starts, it not sooner, that flimsy security blanket will evaporate like dew in a noon day sun.

    SF waited 10 years for the perfect opportunity and Trimble’s Trojan Revenge has delivered it to them. 2017 will be delicious 🙂

  • J D

    Odd that thread was comment free eh?

  • Madra Uisce

    Mick and Co must be fast running out of dead cats

  • ted hagan

    You simply reflect the way this election will go. A lot of the old, predictable sectarian cat-calling that will drown out the original cause for the meltdown, the RHI scandal, which will be allowed to slowly disappear in the long months of stalemate that will follow. RHI was being heralded weeks ago as a scandal ‘that at least wasn’t sectarian’. What a joke. It’s simply added fuel to the sectarian fire.

  • ted hagan

    You can hardly say there’s a pro-DUP line here. I mean, come on.
    Jude Collins is rabid.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    The sticking plaster solution if its the same document as was suggested last week will be unworkable anyway given the legal challenges its likely to invite. Again, this is a monster DUP mess and there is no reason why anyone in SF or on the opposition benches should try to make it easy for them to untangle themselves.

    It is already in the public domain that people connected to ‘officials’ in Stormont are benifitting from the heat scheme. The DUP are actively covering those names, why? Corruption maybe?

  • the keep

    If you think this blog id pro dup you are truly demented.

  • mickfealty

    All actual criticism received gratefully, but I think your definitions are a little broad in terms of what relates to SF. 😉

  • mickfealty

    Let’s see what happens this pm Anthony…

  • J D

    *rolls eyes* making a lot of assumptions there tool. I didn’t say this site was, I asked if that’s why the individual came. Get the difference you idiot? I doubt it.

  • J D

    A question is not a statement.

  • mickfealty

    Save it for the doorstep JD. Calm down and talk us through it!

  • J D

    Delight at the prospect of the UK dissolving, Scotland gaining it’s independence and Ireland finally being free? How can one not be excited 🙂 Never thought it would happen but boom, Brexit and there we are.

    Doesn’t anyone remember when Arlene and wee Jeffrey ditched the UUP for the DUP? Jeffrey was never heard from again and Arlene is now captain of the Titanic. And doing the best job a Republican could for too!

    2017 is going to be a great year, just so long as May triggers Article 50.

  • the keep

    Yawn.

  • J D

    Ahh, there ye are now.

  • mickfealty

    And in 2016 we finally got a United Ireland? Trouble is nationalism keeps eating its jam piece about 9.30 in the morning so that its desperately hungry lunchtime with nothing left to eat.

  • Granni Trixie

    If this is a pro DUP site …I’ll do a Gary Linaker (Well,maybe not).

  • J D

    Well by your reasoning Alliance isn’t Unionist so…… But that is not what I said, elementary reading comprehension fail. A question is NOT a statement. If you had read the above I would not need to repeat myself.

  • J D

    Who won the flegger debacle? The UJ still only flying on designated days over Belfast council. For now. Soon enough there will be a Nationalist majority and then it will be the Tricolour.

    If this is how Nationalism fails then I’ll take a double helping!

  • Ian Rate

    Triumphalism is a nasty trait.
    Have you learned nothing?

    If things work out the way you think they will, be better than what went before.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    It looks like nationalism has plenty to keep its belly full over the coming weeks. Apart from the fact that the DUP are in Kamikaze mode, the recent polls showing a surge in support for Irish Unity suggests Nationalists have begun to wake up. You can only poke a sleeping dog so often before he wakes up and snaps back. Woof woof !! We’re coming.

  • mickfealty

    The downsizing of the Assembly will create some interesting eddies in the system, but overall it favours both bigger parties (even though they may both take the bigger numerical hits).

    They have far deeper pockets and far bigger machines. Big mistake people make looking at the DUP is that they think they’re weaker because they keep getting into crises like this.

    But in fact, pound for pound it’s probably the most meritocratic of all the parties. Look at Hamilton’s performance today? He’s taken the cause of the election right out of the picture. That’s a powerful segue for the doorstep.

  • aquifer

    The DUP were shrill sectarian and triumphalist all the way through this assembly, colluded in marginalising other voices, and then demonstrated a large measure of basic incompetence. They were not entitled to do any of this under what passes for a constitution around here, and they will be made to pay.

    Though not in votes, destabilising the union has always paid off for the DUP.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    Simon Hamilton is what we call in Dublin; a Diamond in the rough. And he is not alone in the DUP, there are indeed one or two more who could be fairly described as potential transformers. But how do they break through, how can they ever hope to bring a party like the DUP out of that rancid sectarian cloud?
    It amazes me how so many commentators can look into the eyes of the DUP and see clearly that strain of uncompromising, fundamentalist and sectarian ‘Old Stormont’ supremacy, and then wonder how and why the North ever fell into conflict and what gave birth to the Provos. If this is Unionism in 2017, it is almost impossible to try to imagine how wicked it must have been in 1967 when it ruled alone and without supervision.

    Yes, we get it, we have to try to understand the peculiar notions of quaint Ulster Unionism and give them a little leeway as if they were Aliens who had just arrived and need time to adjust to humanity. No, enough of that already.

    The likes of Arlene foster and Paul Givan have sent a shiver up the Spine of Irish Nationalism, they have woken the ghosts of Stormont past and shown a picture of the future of NI that young Nationalists do not like, and older nationalists recognise from their nightmares. Unionism can not be allowed to pull the place into catastrophe again.

  • mickfealty

    Patience Anthony. That and to continue the slow (and conservative) work of spudding out the old guard. They actual prosper from drawing heavy criticism from the media, in the sense they have very few shortcuts open to them.

    They have to take the best route they can find through rough country and they are getting better at it with every successive one.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    They are getting better at being extreme Mick. We have run out of patience.

  • mickfealty

    But they’re not. That’s the damaging part of that narrative. No one in NI is getting more extreme. Not SF, and not the DUP. This is just pure animal frustration.

  • mickfealty

    The Maze taken off the table for a flag only on designated days. I think your using creative accounting methods there JD!! 🤔

  • Anthony O’Shea

    I am sorry, but you are scarily incorrect.

  • J D

    The Flegger/DD reference is a marker of demographics and an eventuality unthinkable 20 years ago. Not triumphalist as some trying to deflect the conversation are trying to assert.

    The Maze issue, well for now at least. If the Assembly is restored there will be a deal to deliver on all previousy unfulfilled conditions. I’ve lived long enough now to see many unthinkable things happen in Northern Ireland. I’ve certainly seen unthinkable amounts of ground lost by Unionism in every sphere of six counties they once ruled with an iron fist.

    Now we face a situation where SF have collapsed the assembly and the DUP are the ones working to avoid an election. Changed conditions.

  • aquifer

    What is feasible is to offer businessmen less, but up front, on the basis that this is worth more when they would otherwise have to borrow at a higher interest rate. This is a politically embarassing option, for the brave. Is that the DUP?

  • mickfealty

    You can see my thoughts on that at the top of Slugger this morning. You have to have something to bargain with.

  • J D

    Unyielding inevitability is a very powerful position from which to bargain with Unionism. Plus Brexit 🙂

  • mickfealty

    Or maybe it’s just a reflex? What have they got to bargain with? What can they put on the table that anyone else wants or needs?

    People keep saying Brexit to me, and I’ll be honest, I don’t understand the point (which is probably more on me than those who bring it up with me).

  • J D

    The essence of the argument:
    1. The census puts 95% of those filing no religion into “unionist” community.
    2. The NILT model grossly undercounts SF support. Always.
    3. These two over inflate the support for the union and existence of Catholic unicorns.
    4. Therefore demographic parity was hit this year in CNR/PUL numbers.
    5. Electoral parity is an inevitable function of that.
    6. Brexit flips 10% to 20% of Unionists (in various polls since the referendum) to EU/UI over UK which is enough to give a majority for UI today.

    I’m quite suspicious of all NI polls because I still think too many people are afraid to answer honestly to strangers on the phone. So let’s see how Unionism reacts once Article 50 is triggered but just looking at North Down the split is big and enough to tip the outcome.