Coveney “Continued membership of this Customs Union and Single Market,or something very like it, is the answer”

The Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney addressed the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce this morning about Brexit and some of the British government proposals.  

In his remarks he urged the UK to remain in the Single Market;

Simply put, EU Member States will not countenance a partnership which allows the UK to benefit from full EU access while cutting separate deals with countries that don’t share our standards or systems.

And that has obvious implications on this island. For example, how can the UK expect to maintain an open border, an objective we all share, while asking Ireland and other EU Member States to accept that beef that doesn’t meet European standards can be easily brought into Ireland from Northern Ireland without the necessary controls?

This simply doesn’t tally with the UK’s other stated objective of not wishing to undermine the integrity of the Single Market and Customs Union and doing nothing that damages Ireland and our political, social and economic interests.

Continued membership of this Customs Union and Single Market – or something very like it – is the answer. And you have to tell your elected representatives that that is the case.

We were distraught at the UK vote to leave the EU, we don’t deny that. But we have accepted it. What we won’t accept is that people voted explicitly to leave a Customs Union or Single Market. They didn’t, and history shouldn’t be re-written to pretend that they did.

Do not underestimate your influence here. You have real influence over the politicians that serve this community. And with the current arithmetic in Westminster, and the stance now taken by the leading opposition party in the Commons, your politicians have a remarkable opportunity to influence the final approach the UK government takes.

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  • Nevin

    “your politicians have a remarkable opportunity to influence the final approach the UK government takes.”

    The UUP’s MEP Jim Nicholson has drawn attention to the absence of The Executive Office (TEO):

    “In the absence of an Executive I have therefore called on Secretary of State James Brokenshire to establish an advisory council on Brexit, with the main party leaders and the three MEPs from Northern Ireland. I have also urged Mr Brokenshire to come to Brussels to speak with European counterparts about the paper recently published by the UK Government on the Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland border.

  • runnymede

    No it isn’t going to happen. Coveney is deluded.

    As for the suggestion that remaining in a customs union and internal market can be squared with leaving the EU, that is also entirely fanciful.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Why not?

  • Karl

    Because the EU will insist on their 4 pillars or a massive fee to allow either. The British govt couldnt swallow either politically and are setting the optics up to be Johnny Foreigner didnt play fair.
    A transition period will be grudgingly (by both sides) agreed and then the fun begins.
    Ripping the plaster off might actually be the correct solution and the British will focus on maximising the wealth generating sectors of their economy.

  • Karl

    Its only the DUP to support the British govt position.
    Its only the DUP who have a direct line to Theresa.
    Its only the DUP donors he was directing this at.

  • runnymede

    A fake Brexit is a total non-starter, politically. There is absolutely no way this can happen without totally destroying the political party that tried to implement it.

  • Brian Kann

    Hi. Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, even Turkey, show that it obviously can be squared.

  • Barbazenzero

    You may be correct, but May will be very worried about her own remain MPs when it comes to a vote.

  • Barbazenzero

    But equally it’s only the DUP which will reap the whirlwind if a hard border results. English brexiteers are barely aware that NI exists, let alone what problems a hard border will cause.

  • Karl

    I think it would be extremely divisive for Parliament to be seen to be obfuscating the will of the people. Danger of referendums. Im sure whatever the deal, there will be enough Labour votes to help her out regardless of the party position. Theres an attitude that Brexit must happen and try to make the best of it after.

  • Karl

    The DUP will be exposed for espousing their pie in the sky nonsense that a hard Brexit and an open border arent mutually exclusive. The sooner the better.

  • Barbazenzero

    Look at the latest GB polls. There’s already a majority for remain in the latest YouGov poll [albeit within MoE] and 54% think the negotiations are going badly vs 25% well.

  • Karl

    It doesnt look like Theresas lot have any control over the stories coming back from Brussels and the europeans arent shy about giving their opinions to one and all.
    There doesnt seem to be a sense of ‘nothing is agreed until its all agreed’ and this is all being played out in the public eye.
    Unless Theresa can tell Angela that shes left one of the UKs prototype 60s era nuclear bombs under the Reichstag or similar card up her sleeve, I cant see how the UK can pull victory from the brink of defeat. However, history tells us that theyre the jammiest feckers going so you never know. However, theyve got a McGregors chance of pulling it off but I suspect the result will be a EU win by technical KO.

  • john millar

    I rerlly wonder where you ave been living for the last 20/30/40 years
    The DUP vote is rock spoid -and will grow if anything as we move to a two party DUP/SF system

  • Karl

    I agree in that the DUP core vote will be unmoved but I think there will be two major changes.
    I think Brexit will motivate the young on both sides to come out and vote and the DUP will be their last choice
    I think a significant number of people will be will reluctant to transfer their lower preferences to them.
    I can see their numbers dipping and their % dropping.
    If the UUP had any sense they would use this to differentiate themselves and set up a few contests in safe unionists seats. They wont but they should.

  • ted hagan

    In all likelihood she won’t be about.

  • Dan2

    Coveney better have his border post contingency plans at the ready, as his EU masters are going to expect him to deliver a secure frontier.

  • Korhomme

    The hard-line Tories destroyed John Major’s government; they made life difficult for Cameron. Perhaps their party deserves to be obliterated.

  • Barbazenzero

    That’s certainly a strong possibility but the problem for the Cons then becomes: who would want to take over the poisoned chalice?

  • Barbazenzero

    Only perhaps?

  • Barbazenzero

    Only perhaps?

  • Trasna

    The border is irrelevant to Ireland as trade is minuscule with NI. It’s NI that will be devastated by a hard border. Build the border and be done with it.

  • Conchúr

    The people themselves have done a stellar job of obfuscating the will of the people.

  • Angry Mob

    Partly right, talk of customs union just show how far this debate has progressed; you cannot be in the EU customs union whilst not being in the EU, basic stuff.

    You could however be in the (EEA) single market via the EFTA like Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein and use one of the annexes which has provisions for negotiating tariff free access which negates the need for customs unions.

  • hgreen

    Not at all. People voted for a wide variety of things. At the £ continues to fall and economic performance falls behind the EU people will come round to accepting a soft Brexit.

  • Korhomme

    Damn autocorrect. I meant certainly 😉

  • Skibo

    Theresa could hardly state anything about her old WMDs as they are liable not to respond. Anyway, do they not need permission from the USA to use them?

  • Skibo

    The Tories are already looking for cover and labour has moved towards keeping membership of the customs union. The Lib/ Dems want another referendum. What other party are you referring to? I believe UKIP have already committed hari-kari!

  • Skibo

    Such a council would not be a true example of the current assemblies attitude to Brexit. The strength of SF, SDLP and Alliance who are all remain parties are greater than the combined strength of the Brexit parties.

  • Skibo

    Karl I believe you are underestimating the ability of the UUP to have foresight.

  • Skibo

    I was watching a report from the Dail about the requirement of the EU to insist on Ireland having passport checks on the border. The belief is it will not be required by the EU as they will have passport checks for people entering the Shengen countries from Ireland and as such further checks on the North South border will not be required.
    Britain, however may require checks to control access to the UK by non Irish citizens who can legally be in Ireland.

  • Oriel27

    What ? Build the border again ? Complete troll you are. What about the people living beside and crossing it everyday? A border in my natural hinterland. You want the war back ?

  • dodrade99

    Surely Coveney has gone too far this time? Imagine if a British Foreign secretary attempted to interfere with Irish Government policy in a similar way.

  • Reader

    Angry Mob: you cannot be in the EU customs union whilst not being in the EU, basic stuff.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union%E2%80%93Turkey_Customs_Union
    Not *the* customs union, *a* customs union. Basic stuff.

  • Reader

    Skibo: Such a council would not be a true example of the current assemblies attitude to Brexit.
    Well, the Assembly could always re-form and play its part. Anyway, the job of the council would be to give advice on how to deliver Brexit, However it is composed, though, it seems likely to become a forum for pointless grandstanding, and supply no practical advice at all.

  • Reader

    Skibo: Britain, however may require checks to control access to the UK by non Irish citizens who can legally be in Ireland.
    There are visa spot checks *right now*. On both sides of the border. They are for monitoring non-EU citizens who require separate visas for access to UK and RoI.
    I don’t suppose those arrangements would change.

  • Reader

    Coveney’s proposal for a pseudo-Brexit may seem to exemplify the ‘it’s all about us’ stance of the Irish establishment, but it is the nearest any nationalist has yet been to accepting that a sort of Brexit will actually happen, so it should be welcomed.
    ‘Bargaining’ is the 3rd stage of grief, isn’t it?

  • Dan2

    who are they going to kill?

  • Michael Dowds

    Well, at least you’re looking at it with an open mind…

  • aquifer

    People voted to restrict immigration and get £350m a week for the NHS. Economic suicide was not on the ballot paper. Tories want to continue to lord it over us by reversing the EU economic tide towards equality and a life, reducing us to grovelling for crusts, nowadays as date expiring biscuits at a food bank. The currency markets smell the stale sweat on the Brexiteers’ collars. Ex public school boys might like the scent, but we don’t have to.

  • ted hagan

    Looks like the EU, smells like the EU, but, with no influence on decision-making, it isn’t the EU. So what was the point in leaving?
    That’s how the UK will look at it, so Coveney’s proposal, just won’t fly

  • Jim Jetson

    What do you not understand….the people who will suffer from UK leaving the customs union and single market will be the British. The Irish will be just fine and will likely thrive as an EU member state.

  • Nevin

    “Do not underestimate your influence here.”

    Business interests already have a mechanism to lobby/educate MLAs at Stormont; it’s called the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust – or as I dubbed it back in 2009, the Thursday Club. There is a token trades union input.

    The Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust (NIABT) works to forge links with and promote the exchange of knowledge between local businesses and parliamentarians in Northern Ireland and in Europe. Open to businesses from all sectors and of all sizes, the NIABT organises activities including briefings, educational visits, fellowships and seminars and annual programmes in the Houses of the Oireachtas, Westminster and Europe.

    and

    On Monday 16th November 2015, the NIABT, in partnership with QUB, held the second of a two part event focusing on the upcoming EU Referendum and how this is likely to impact on Northern Ireland.

    There was no post-mortem, it’s most recent post is dated February 19, 2016; and there are no upcoming events. NIABT has also slipped under the Slugger radar.

  • Angry Mob

    Indeed, but read my second paragraph.

  • Nevin

    It could provide a sample of the broad range of prejudices that influence our politics during the SF Assembly boycott.

  • Neiltoo

    The answer for whom exactly?
    In the effort to blame the British for all the woes of the world, the reason behind this ‘process’ seems to get forgotten.
    The British electorate voted to leave the EU. It was a vote, albeit very narrowly, to be entirely independent again, to reverse a process which the electorate had never been asked to accept or reject over the many years of intergration into an EU project which was an anathema to a large proportion of that electorate.
    I read every day about the huge mistake that the UK has made about how ‘it will be sorry’ and how ‘it will get it’s comeuppance’
    Maybe, maybe not. The UK is the 5th largest economy in the world. Given its population that is quite a feat. Will the UK economy suffer? Maybe in the short term, maybe even in the long term. So what? If that’s your bottom line I would suggest you re-evaluate what is actually important in life.
    The 5th largest economy! Do you really think that the UK can’t go it alone?
    The irony I see is that while many in this part of world want to see a united Ireland free from British rule they want to be part of a supra national organisation which long term plans to rule them from Brussels.

  • Reader

    Except Coveney actually said “Continued membership of this Customs Union and Single Market – or something very like it – is the answer.”
    Note – “Or something very like it”

  • sparrow

    What is good for the UK isn’t necessarily good for the north of Ireland.The effects of Brexit here will be markedly different from the effects of Brexit in, say, Milton Keynes. Simply waving your British passport and claiming that you’re part of the 5th largest economy in the world isn’t going to change that. We’re part of the 5th largest economy in the world now and we’re still an economic basket case, so what’s going to change? Partition and the union haven’t worked for us. Time to try something different.

  • Barbazenzero

    Your last para nails your trousers to the mast, as Sir Humphrey would have put it.

    The Cons and the DUP have done likewise by forgetting the Belfast Agreement and the necessity of a hard border in the event of the UK going it alone.

    It’s more or less bound to end in tears, but it remains to be seen from whom.

  • Michael Dowds

    How many general elections were held between the UK joining the EC and last year?

    How many times did the electorate endorse parliaments with parties that expressly supported (in their manifestos) membership of the EC/EU?

    This whole ‘the electorate had never been asked to accept or reject’ thing doesn’t stack up. The fact that it doesn’t stack up also changes nothing. If the UK had held an referendum every 5 years on EU membership, supporting it up until 2016, that’s fine, they can change their minds.

    Enough of the ‘we was tricked’ nonsense.

  • Neiltoo

    I wasn’t tricked, I just wasn’t asked. At how many of those elections was there a mainstream party advocating leaving?

  • Neiltoo

    And what is good for Belfast may not be good for Lisburn. Just how local would you have democracy go?

  • Neiltoo

    My trousers may not be the colour you expect! As I’ve said elsewhere here I’m not against a United Ireland. Had it not been for the IRA I believe I would happily be living in it. And if I were I would be advocating thatIreland leave the EU.
    I do not see a happy ending for the EU, the only debating point is the timescale.

  • Michael Dowds

    UKIP was founded in 1993.

  • sparrow

    We have local democracy in the form of councils to sweat the small stuff. I’d like to see a sovereign Irish parliament, elected exclusively by citizens of this island, taking decisions for the good of the people of this island. Currently we have the Westminster parliament which takes decisions with the interests of 56 million English people uppermost in their minds, supplemented by a local assembly which doesn’t work most of the time. When it is actually sitting, it is led by the DUP, a party which now seems to be making decisions on Brexit based on what’s best for the UK (i.e 56 million English citizens) rather than what’s the best for the north of Ireland.

  • Neiltoo

    And that is my point. The only UKIP policy I would support is that of leaving the EU. You would have me vote into govt. a party of incoherent numpties who I wouldn’t trust to take out the dustbins and you would then call that a choice and that’s how I should have registered my disagreement with E U membership?

  • Michael Dowds

    Yes, if EU membership was such an affront to your concept of sovereignty, you should have. IMHO.

    Clearly you prioritized other things thus giving your tacit agreement to the settled policy (of continued EU membership) of whichever party you voted for.

    You don’t have to agree with every policy of the party you vote for … obviously… but you understand that when you vote for one of their candidates, you’re endorsing their manifesto.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The suggestion that two independent customs jurisdictions can have frictionless free trade between one another without legal framework is delusional.

    That Brexit delusion is effectively what the Irish are concerned with and the British establishment ignorant of.

    But hey, the UK thinks it can be the rule maker for both Ireland and the rest of Europe without a single bit of paperwork, so it’s just a waiting game to realize how long the UK government manages to grasp its own sanity again.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Customs Arrangement = Nearly Free Movement of Goods/Capital
    No Customs Arrangement = Stiffed Movement of Goods/Capital

    If the UK don’t want that pillar then continue to non-relate to the Europeans and the rest of the world back when the UK was the Sickman of Europe.

    Ripping the plaster off is a good way to get sick again, with the way the UK press has worn down the UK’s immunity to change.

  • Kevin Breslin

    UK don’t want to return to these arrangements.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Like Turkey?

    That kind of makes sense, why aren’t the British really addressing what they are willing to do to get one then?

    Who’s the arbitrator for UK-EU disputes?

    What EU regulations are they going to conform to to ease trade disputes?

    Really that is why Brexit has become such a hard sell to the Irish and the Continentals, Britannia is acting like it wishes to “wave the rules” in any agreed partnership and has no grounds to make one as a third nation.

  • Neiltoo

    That is one of the most bizarre statements that I’ve read on here!

  • Michael Dowds

    What’s bizarre about it?

  • LiamÓhÉ

    Trying to protect the UK from self-harm, or at least innoculate the Irish part of it.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Brexit can mean many things, from coming out of the institutions while retaining all other links, to more severe cutting of ties. None of these is fake. All we voted for was leaving the EU. If we end up like Norway, for example, which is not in the EU but is in the Customs Union and EFTA, that is not fake, that is one of the possible lives we could have outside the EU and a perfectly respectable one. I think we’d be better off back in than go the Norway route, but there you go. People did not evaluate or have the chance to vote on where next, only that we are to not be EU members any more.

    Where you have a point is about immigration. People did not vote on immigration, they voted on the EU; but it’s true to say, outside of the vote, that people are concerned about immigration levels and want immigration controlled more. That is probably a much bigger issue for most people than being in or out of the EU, if we’re honest. And the Brexit vote is regarded by many people as a vote to control immigration. It wasn’t in fact, but I accept the political reality that immigration has to be addressed and the public satisfied that we’re going in the right direction on it with the ability to control numbers if needed.

    If I were the government, I would be focussing attention in talks very strongly on that, on free movement, and what we can negotiate with the EU – for example, could we perhaps institute a theoretical ceiling on annual immigration numbers from the EU (say of 250,000), while otherwise allowing complete free movement under that. They may not go for it, but it’s something that actually a lot of EU countries might find attractive as a caveat on complete free movement in this new era of mass population movements. Worth a try?

    With such a cap in place, the public would be reassured we had ultimate control still on immigration and an ability to plan ahead for school places, housing etc, which has been the problem. Governments have under-invested in public services, not expanding in proportion with population growth – and this has been experienced as an “immigration problem” (though I know there is more to it than just that). Putting in this cap and then pledging proper investment in public services and infrastructure would, I think, reassure the public enough to make a close relationship with the EU (or even membership, if we’re allowed) politically possible. And it’s undeniable from a business and economic point of view, we need as close a relationship with the EU as possible.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I think we need to be as close to EU membership as possible. I would like to see (preferably with the Tories booted out) an approach to the EU on the basis of a notional cap on immigration, which could be quite high and allow de facto free movement except in exceptional circumstances – but would give us nominal ‘control’, satisfy public, then go for a nice big left of centre programme of long term investment in expanding public services and infrastructure.

  • Neiltoo

    And where would the EU fit into this ‘sovereign Irish Parliament’?

  • Barbazenzero

    So what will a hard border improve?

  • Neiltoo

    My concept of sovereignty is fairly mainstream :
    “sovereignty
    noun
    supreme power or authority.”
    Not a concept so much as a definition.

    You are suggesting that I gave my tacit approval to continued EU membership because I didn’t vote for UKIP. If that is not bizarre I don’t know what is!

    “You don’t have to agree with every policy of the party you vote for … obviously… but you understand that when you vote for one of their candidates, you’re endorsing their manifesto.”

    So, I should have voted for a party whose manifesto I disagreed with almost entirely except for one policy rather than a party whose manifesto I almost entirely agreed with except for 1 policy.

    General elections are not referendums, they are the business of electing governments.

  • sparrow

    Wherever the sovereign Irish parliament decided it should fit. If the people of Ireland want to be in the EU, so be it. If they decide they want out of it, they can come out of it. Personally I’d vote to stay in. What about you?

  • Neiltoo

    It will not improve anything and I don’t believe it has to happen. Where there is a will there is a way but it’s beginning to look less like there is a will. The EU (the bureaucrats, that is) have their agenda and wherever it doesn’t coincide with whats best for member states or even the bulk of the people in the EU the bureaucrats will will prevail.

    There is a plaque at the entrance to the EU Visitors Centre at the European Parliament, it reads:

    “National sovereignty is the root cause of the most crying evils of our times….The only final remedy for this evil is the federal union of the peoples.”

    The final destination of the EU train is not a secret. It has been mentioned often by many of its leaders and yet many of the passengers sit enjoying the comforts of their carriage seemingly oblivious as to where it’s going.

  • Michael Dowds

    Great, you gave a single sentence definition of ‘sovereignty’. That’s the end of that then. If only you’d got in there before all those political philosophers spent their careers considering that very subject. Pft! A simple Google search would have done them!

    I’m not suggesting that you gave tacit approval because you didn’t vote for UKIP, I’m suggesting that you gave it if you DID vote for a party that included continued EU membership in their election manifesto.

    That’s how governments justify their policies. It’s a well established principle in British politics. Customarily the House of Lords will not vote against a policy that has been included in the Government’s manifesto. See, my thinking is mainstream too. Isn’t it wonderful how we can all take different perspectives on things.

    If you thought leaving the EU was important enough to you, then yes you could have voted UKIP, it’s not physically impossible nor is it illegal.

    I don’t agree with Labour’s policy on Trident but I’ve voted for them at the last two elections with the understanding that my vote enables that policy to be realized (if they win). If it was important enough to me, I would have voted Green. See, that’s choice! Sovereignty over my vote! *sigh*

    ‘General elections are not referendums, they are the business of electing governments’

    Oh right. There was me thinking that elections (and politics in general) was actually quite a complex and multi-faceted thing that would be difficult to wrap up into a single sentence, but you’ve done it again! I really have been wasting me time!

    BTW, I asked how what I said was ‘bizarre’. Instead of responding with an explanation of how you can vote for a manifesto (including a policy on continued EU membership) and simultaneously NOT have voted for a manifesto (including a policy on continued EU membership), you simply quoted what I said then repeated your (presumably rhetorical) question as to whether you should have voted UKIP (which I had already responded to BTW).

    You either vote for the manifesto or you don’t. If you’ve voted for it, you give approval for it IMHO.

  • Angry Mob

    “This” being the keyword, like I said you cannot be part of the EUCU outside of the EU. Remaining in the single market and staying in the EU customs union means remaining in the EU, you could however remain in the single market and have a customs agreement. The Turkey customs union is nothing like what Coveney is asking as it would not entail access to the single market.

    tl;dr ; The EFTA is the only practical solution.

  • Angry Mob

    Not yet, but one lives in hope that they will before its too late. Preferably yesterday.

  • John Devane

    The same argument can as easily be directed against Nicola Sturgeon SNP. It’s one thing to be a truly Independent nationalist and another to pine for provincial status within an EU committed to ever closer political union

  • John Devane

    Exactly

  • Timothyhound

    Typing from under a bridge?

  • John Devane

    Michael that’s a black and white response. No shades of grey. I too voted Labour but I never agreed with the transformation of the EEC into the political EU. Tony Blair promised a referendum on the EU constitution. It was rejected by France and the Netherlands. The EU simply rebranded it as the Lisbon Treaty then Tony Blair’s govt rubber stamped it without the aforementioned Referendum. No surprise! ‘We woz robbed’
    The manifesto and the Referendum promise was reneged upon IMHO. Unfortunately we had to wait until 2016 to set the record straight by rejecting the EU altogether. It could’ve been a different story

  • Hugh Davison

    Well, that was what was on offer, or not? Where was your anti-EU party?

  • Hugh Davison

    Explain the ‘political EU’ to me please.

  • Hugh Davison

    ‘National sovereignty is the root cause of the most crying evils of our times’.
    Tell me what is wrong with this statement. Give examples if you can. Thanks.

  • John Devane

    A commitment toward a federal political union…….a proviso rejected when the EU tried unsuccessfully to include it in its proposed constitution. Only for it to reappear in the Lisbon Treaty

  • Georgie Best

    Coveney’s business is protecting the GFA and peace on this island, not pandering to little Englanders. He is right to call out the disgraceful conduct of the British to date.

  • Neiltoo

    Am I sitting an exam?
    Why do you not quote the whole statement? My problem is with the federal union of the peoples bit.

  • Neiltoo

    As mentioned by John Devane below everything you have posted in reply to me is very black and white but the world doesn’t work that way. This isn’t an exam where there are right and wrong answers.
    But more than that, from your first reply to my post when you wrote:
    ‘Enough of the ‘we was tricked ‘ nonsense’
    to your sarcasm
    ‘That’s the end of that then. If only you’d got in there before all those political philosophers spent their careers considering that very subject. Pft! ‘
    your tone is belligerent and condescending.

  • Neiltoo

    I would want to vote to leave. The benefits of EU membership, and there are many, do not outweigh the drawbacks in my opinion. That said, I do not know how Ireland would leave the Euro without huge hardship so it may not be practical. But then I also cannot see how Ireland could be united, I mean the detail of it actually happening.

  • Skibo

    Would those spot checks not become more regular as they would not just be for non-EU but for the majority of EU residents as well which makes up a considerable amount of the residents of Ireland alone, not even mentioning those who could use Ireland as a convenient way of accessing GB via NI?

  • Skibo

    I think you are right about the grand standing as the DUP would try and direct the advice to a hard version of a soft brexit while the majority would prefer no brexit at all.
    In the end the Assembly could be up in the morning if DUP accept a stand alone Irish language act and the promise not to use the POC to stop same sex marriage.

  • Skibo

    Sinn Fein is not boycotting the Assembly any more than any other party. DUP refuse to countenance a stand alone ILA or it seems equal marriage. 50 out of 90 MLAs demand both. Does that mean that DUP are boycotting an assembly that is not reformed in their 1960s vision?

  • Nevin

    The BBC incendiary Spotlight programme created panic and SF subsequently pulled the plug on The Executive Office; its refusal to return amounts to boycotting.

  • Skibo

    Nevin, rather than the report resulting in Martin stepping down, the reaction of the DUP to the proposals of SF on how to deal with the scandal was the litmus paper.
    Even after Martin had stood down, SF could have re-nominated a DFM and the Executive could have been saved but Arlene was not going to have any upety Republican telling her what to do and there lays the problem.
    The DUP did not look at their partners in Government as partners but merely a necessary evil on their way to power.

  • Nevin

    The RHI scheme was jointly promoted by DUP and SF ministries – and SF did a runner. No one else appears to have noted the change to the Department for the Economy departmental board minutes the day before the broadcast – or to the creation of earlier minutes after the date they were supposedly past.

    I also pointed out five years ago that ministers from all parties weren’t following best Treasury guidance by chairing their departmental boards; they weren’t even at the table. This meant they weren’t in a position to be advised or challenged by the supposed professionals, the independent board members.

  • Skibo

    Again you push this waffle.
    The RHI scheme was devised by one ministry. The Agricultural ministry did not set the parameters of the scheme, it merely published them.
    Had the AG not promoted them, it would have been a serious problem for any farmer who missed out on the scheme. They did not do it in private. Meetings were open. It is not as if people were contacted in private for a scheme guaranteeing returns by the FM with letters to the bank!