NI Executive Office acting unlawfully in delaying introduction of victims compensation scheme

Not unexpectedly, given Mr Justice McAlinden’s comments during the two-day hearing, Belfast High Court has ruled that the NI Executive Office is, indeed, acting unlawfully in failing to implement the victims payment scheme.  Or, rather, the NI deputy First Minister is acting unlawfully… From the summary of judgement [pdf file] It is incumbent upon the Executive Office to forthwith designate a Department under paragraph 2(1) of Schedule 1 to the Victims’ Payments Regulations 2020 to exercise the administrative functions of …

Read more…NI Executive Office acting unlawfully in delaying introduction of victims compensation scheme

NI deputy First Minister “choosing to ignore the requirement to comply with the rule of law to express a political advantage”

Worth noting the comments of Mr Justice McAlinden in Belfast High Court today, having read the arguments put forward in an application for a judicial review of the NI Executive Office’s failure to introduce the victims payments scheme.  Or, rather, Sinn Féin’s refusal to implement the scheme…  From the BBC report “I see it as one element within the Executive Office deliberately choosing to ignore the requirement to comply with the rule of law to express a political advantage,” Mr …

Read more…NI deputy First Minister “choosing to ignore the requirement to comply with the rule of law to express a political advantage”

“This decision is directly, but not solely, related to the issues which arose around the Bobby Storey cremation.”

As BBC NI political editor Mark Devenport said a few days ago, there is “No prospect of Stormont falling.”  That doesn’t mean there might not be casualties elsewhere… Having apologised in public for “operational decisions” around the Bobby Storey cremation at Roselawn Cemetery, the Belfast Telegraph reports that Belfast City Council Chief Executive, Suzanne Wylie, and director of city and neighbourhood services, Nigel Grimshaw, have lodged a formal grievance with the city solicitor, and have threatened to resign “if [their] …

Read more…“This decision is directly, but not solely, related to the issues which arose around the Bobby Storey cremation.”

“À la Bastille!”

One more time, then… with continued apologies to Pierre Ranger… [It’s a tradition, we know… – Ed]  Indeed!  And with Alaphilippe in yellow again!  Play La Marseillaise!   Pete Baker

“we need to remove legacy policing from contemporary policing…”

A timely reminder, should one be needed, from Newton Emerson in the Irish Times this week, that when Sinn Féin talk about ‘agreement’ on the “need to remove legacy policing from contemporary policing” what they mean is “No prosecutions, please.”  From Newton Emerson in the Irish Times It is all or nothing on dealing with the legacy of the Troubles. Either all sides must face the same prospect of prosecutions and convictions, or all sides must be given an amnesty …

Read more…“we need to remove legacy policing from contemporary policing…”

“Fair employment and equal opportunities legislation are built upon open and transparent practices, free from political interference…”

The, at best, ill-considered comments by Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald yesterday, on potential candidates from within the PSNI to succeed George Hamilton as Chief Constable, have prompted a sharp reminder from the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland to the NI Policing Board of its responsibilities under equality legislation to recruit in a non-discriminatory way. The Equality Commission has expressed its concern about the recent comments made by the Sinn Féin President about the appointment of a new Chief …

Read more…“Fair employment and equal opportunities legislation are built upon open and transparent practices, free from political interference…”

“Media that care more about spectacle than clarity only encourage the culture of bullshit.”

I have mentioned this before, but it’s a point worth repeating every now and again.  [Any particular reason this time? – Ed]  Oh, one or two…  From Kenan Malik in the Guardian Media that care more about spectacle than clarity only encourage the culture of bullshit. We live in an age obsessed by fake news and politicians’ lies. These are issues important to tackle. We should not ignore, however, the more insidious culture of bullshit. A liar, observed Frankfurt, knows …

Read more…“Media that care more about spectacle than clarity only encourage the culture of bullshit.”

“Such pressure as is on Ireland (and it will be significant) will come from the reality of the situation…”

Worth quoting at length from Pat Leahy in the Irish Times on the Irish Government’s role in the ongoing Brexit negotiations.  It’s a welcome, un-hysterical look at a key player in what will unfold.  [And all too rare here! – Ed]  Indeed.  From the Irish Times By and large, Leo Varadkar, Simon Coveney and the Government apparatus as a whole have handled the Brexit crisis well – just as the Opposition, in the main, has been pretty responsible. Contrast our …

Read more…“Such pressure as is on Ireland (and it will be significant) will come from the reality of the situation…”

“the big message from Saturday was that the Northern nationalist mood of resentment, annoyance and frustration needs to be heeded.”

[Having thrown their toys out of the pram two years ago… – Ed]  ANYhoo… In the Irish Times, Gerry Moriarty reports from the nationalist “gurn-fest” in Belfast at the weekend.  From the Irish Times report Essentially this was nationalism speaking to nationalism although there were few people in the hall from a unionist or Protestant background. Unionist politicians weren’t invited but they will have heard the message nonetheless, and will have been alarmed by it. Southern politicians including Minister for Education …

Read more…“the big message from Saturday was that the Northern nationalist mood of resentment, annoyance and frustration needs to be heeded.”

“Sinn Fein’s Arder Carson said that it was his democratic right to choose not to be painted…”

Or, indeed, not to wear clothes…  ANYhoo…  On Thursday The Belfast Telegraph reported Sinn Féin’s ‘farcical’ attempt to prevent Belfast City Council granting permission for local artist and political cartoonist Brian John Spencer to “sketch the Council Chamber and the Council meeting in January”.  At a Council Strategic Policy and Resources Committee meeting in December 2018 a Sinn Féin motion rejecting the request – which “would involve Mr Spencer being allowed access to the Chamber for a couple of hours …

Read more…“Sinn Fein’s Arder Carson said that it was his democratic right to choose not to be painted…”

“This is the “Canada-plus” option the EU at one point said it would never agree to…”

The Irish Times today carries the view of, the always worth reading, FT columnist Wolfgang Münchau on the withdrawal agreement between the UK and EU. First he makes a quick point on the opposition on both sides of the House of Commons… When British cabinet ministers resigned hours after the publication of the withdrawal agreement between the UK and EU, they could not conceivably have read it, let alone digested its finer points. Many of the MPs who denounced the …

Read more…“This is the “Canada-plus” option the EU at one point said it would never agree to…”

“No Minister should be using any private unsecured email accounts for any official business whatsoever…”

Some, presumably, unintentionally revealing details from the former Northern Ireland Finance Minister, Sinn Féin’s Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, who appeared in front of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Inquiry yesterday.  This from his written statement [pdf file]  16.  The bundle of documents referred to above appears to indicate that you used the email account [email protected] to discuss, share, transact, or otherwise communicate Executive business and Executive policy; and that you discussed, shared, transacted, or otherwise communicated Executive business and Executive policy with …

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“The ministerial code says all kinds of things about what should happen…”

A couple of quick points to note from the Renewal Heat Inquiry today, where senior civil servant Andrew McCormick has been giving evidence about the lack of minute taking within Northern Ireland Executive departments.  From the BBC report On Thursday, the inquiry was told that a key meeting in August 2015, where a decision was taken to delay cost controls to the RHI scheme, had not been formally minuted. Mr McCormick said that was not unusual, as part of the …

Read more…“The ministerial code says all kinds of things about what should happen…”

“À la Bastille!” Again!

Once again, with apologies to Pierre Ranger… [It’s a tradition, we know… – Ed]  Indeed!  Play La Marseillaise!  [Any chance of a French winner on Stage 8? – Ed]  Probably not… Pete Baker

“…on which Mr Hazzard in purporting to be offended by a long-standing informational map would do well to reflect.”

Or, catch yourself on!  From the Belfast Telegraph, the operator of the national railway network in Ireland, Iarnród Éireann, with a demonstration of how to respond to contrived mischief-making by a member of the UK parliament, in this case Sinn Fein’s Chris Hazzard, MP.  From the Belfast Telegraph report  A spokesman for Irish Rail said the company had worked “through good and bad times” to provide services between Northern Ireland and the Republic, including “the extraordinarily challenging era when sectarian …

Read more…“…on which Mr Hazzard in purporting to be offended by a long-standing informational map would do well to reflect.”

“Not allowing people to speak or vote according to their conscience goes totally against republicanism, because without freedom of conscience there isn’t any freedom”

Sinn Féin’s continued adherence to the practice of democratic centralism, even on an issue that most political parties regard as a matter of individual conscience, has seen the party’s vice-president on the attack [best form of defence – Ed], and the resignation of Sinn Féin TD Carol Nolan [“disappointing but not surprising” – Ed].  Now the former Sinn Féin MLA Francie Brolly, who resigned from the party in February this year over its increasingly pro-choice position, and his wife, Anne …

Read more…“Not allowing people to speak or vote according to their conscience goes totally against republicanism, because without freedom of conscience there isn’t any freedom”

In true Bloomsday style, “Samuel Beckett got outrageously drunk…”

If you don’t know by now, it’s tradition!  [We know… – Ed]. Those of a sensitive disposition are duly warned, once again, that James Joyce enjoys the language in all its fecund nuttiness. And another reminder of a brief history of the day, from the Guardian, which includes this great 1924 quote from Joyce on Ulysses – “I have to convince myself that I wrote that book. I used to be able to talk intelligently about it.” Joyce’s last Bloomsday would take place on 16 June 1940, when the author was …

Read more…In true Bloomsday style, “Samuel Beckett got outrageously drunk…”

“The third lesson of this episode stretches far beyond Israel-Palestine…”

The Palestinian leader, President Mahmoud Abbas, has been widely condemned for his anti-Semitic remarks in a televised speech addressing a meeting of the Palestinian National Council on Monday 30th April.  Among his critics, as the Belfast Telegraph notes, former US Secretary of State John Kerry Former US Secretary of State John Kerry wrote on Twitter: “These comments are wrong, ugly, and unacceptable – anywhere from anyone – but particularly from anyone who says he wants to be a peacemaker. No …

Read more…“The third lesson of this episode stretches far beyond Israel-Palestine…”

“I think we must also recognise that there are real economic reasons why people have played up the issue of the Irish border…”

Played up is right.  Labour Party front bencher, the shadow trade secretary, Barry Gardiner, a former NIO minister, has apologised for “informal remarks in a meeting last month“, in particular, that his “use of the word ‘shibboleth’ in its sense of ‘password’ or ‘test of membership’ gave the impression that I thought the Good Friday Agreement was in any way outdated or unimportant. I absolutely do not.”  Which is fine.  But his recorded comments, last month, during a Q&A session after a speech …

Read more…“I think we must also recognise that there are real economic reasons why people have played up the issue of the Irish border…”

“A feature of the devolved administration here has been that the two main parties have been sensitive to criticism…”

The BBC reported a telling admission from the head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, David Sterling, during the RHI Inquiry yesterday. Mr Sterling said the practice of taking minutes had “lapsed” after devolution when engagement between civil servants and local ministers became much more regular. But he said it was also an attempt to frustrate Freedom of Information requests. Mr Sterling said ministers liked to have a “safe space where they could think the unthinkable and not necessarily have …

Read more…“A feature of the devolved administration here has been that the two main parties have been sensitive to criticism…”