Arlene Foster may be called to court to defend blocking the funding of legacy inquests – a key issue between the DUP and Sinn Fein

With exquisite timing for the renewed political talks, a case of judicial review  in the High Court has resumed which alleges that “former First Minister Arlene Foster unlawfully blocked Executive discussion of a funding plan aimed at clearing a backlog of legacy inquests for purely political reasons.” The charge has lain at her door for almost two years and she may yet be called to court to defend it.   In an earlier session the judge dismissed Mrs Foster’s bid to … Read more

A Year Without Government Series: Part II

This article makes up the second part of a series that takes a satirical look back on the last year and a bit of Northern Irish Politics. The following was written entirely tongue in cheek and none of it should be taken very seriously. Find Part I here. The Assembly Election Debate It is a time honoured tradition of the Assembly election cycle that the BBC and UTV bring representatives from the five largest parties into a room together to shout … Read more

A Year Without Government Series: Part I of III

This week will mark one year since the suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly and one year without government in Northern Ireland. Over the next few articles from myself on this site I hope to take a satirical and hopefully comical look back on the events of this year and how we managed to find ourselves in the situation. The following was written entirely tongue in cheek and none of it should be taken very seriously. How did we get … Read more

Arlene Foster spoke no empty words. The road to renewed cross community cooperation may run through Dublin and Brussels

Arlene Foster’s demarche surely marks a truce or even peace  between the Irish government and the DUP in the squabbles over Brexit. It will also  consolidate Dublin’s  improving  relations with Westminster. All this is welcome. Neither wants a hard land border on the island or trade barriers between the Republic and Great Britain. It was just that Dublin’s priority was elevating no hard border to a position of veto over the UK government’s whole strategy, while the DUP had a … Read more

” Change should not be allowed to weaken the relationships so painstakingly put together across these British Isles. “

DUP Leader Rt. Hon. Arlene Foster MLA speaking at the inaugural Killarney Economic Conference this morning. Whilst the referendum was a vote by the British people, the ripples that flow from the referendum result will be far reaching with long-term implications for people well beyond the shores of the United Kingdom.  And I appreciate and understand that nowhere will be more impacted by the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union than Ireland.  I grew up only a few miles from … Read more

Foster “A return to Direct Rule would be an inferior alternative but it would be a government.”

Here’s a key bit from Arlene Foster’s New Year message; Many of us will use the New Year to make resolutions. Just as we will personally set ourselves goals as to how we hope to improve our lives, so too we should seek to bring new energy and ambition to our politics. Northern Ireland has in effect been without a government for almost a year. That is unacceptable and simply unsustainable. Every day, we are seeing the impact of having … Read more

Can the DUP square all its circles before time runs out?

In the aftermath of the DUP’s slick, on message conference last month, Arlene Foster’s comments on the border and customs union were – unsurprisingly – headline news. This week, after a chaotic round of statements, leaks and interviews from the Irish and British governments, the DUP and the EU, they bear reexamining. On the border, Foster rejected the idea of a hard border between the North and the Republic. She, quite rightly, identified this as a step towards economic chaos. … Read more

Foster sets out the DUP view of a “Sensible Brexit”

The DUP Leader, Arlene Foster has set out her stall to members of the Lagan Valley DUP Association last night as to what she views as a “sensible Brexit.” I have highlighted some of the key passages; Some time ago I set out our Party’s desire to see not a hard Brexit or a soft Brexit but a sensible Brexit. A Brexit that works for Northern Ireland and for the whole of the United Kingdom. A sensible Brexit means that … Read more

DUP promise “a balanced deal” at conference that lacked its normal spark #dup17

The religious zeal and fervour normally on show at the November DUP conference was missing from much of today’s proceedings. The banter, jeering and spontaneous bursting into song was muted, actively discouraged (or forbidden). The flags, normally already laid out on seats when the delegates arrive, were only distributed after lunch. It seem that with supposed power in Westminster comes responsibility.

Foster makes a pitch to Sinn Fein to get Executive reformed

The DUP Leader, Arlene Foster has made a pitch to Sinn Fein in a bid to restore devolution with a proposal to deal with the Irish Language Act. Speaking tonight she said; How then do we resolve these issues and establish the Executive and have the Northern Ireland Assembly sitting to do the business the people elected us to do? Well we can enter into another round of talks. Parties can state and restate their positions.  All the while waiting … Read more

Review: Michelle & Arlene – two game politicians flip flop after staying in close contact over summer

What would it take for a Northern Ireland politician to change their mind on one of any number of intractable issues? A satirical play finds out what might happen if Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill spent time away together and faced up to some of the policy issues that divide their parties and stall political progress. Accidental Theatre produce Rosemary Jenkinson’s Rapid Response play.

Are we seeing spin to reduce the scale of the RHI scandal?

It seems moves are afoot to massage  down the estimate of the RHI overspend and thus presumably the damage to Arlene Foster and her official and party advisers. The “ new” information reported by Jonny Bell in the Bel Tel dates from January and  is therefore not new but newly exposed, we’re told. (Stand by for a chorus telling us they knew it all along).  The scaling down rests on the presented fact that the costs of  installing “combined heating … Read more

Michelle & Arlene – a fine foemance on a satirical trip away (24-26 August)

NEW DRAMA by Rosemary Jenkinson taking a satirical look at the state of local politics. Pantomime, pantyhose, and politics in this fictional imagining of two leaders who keep bumping into each other on Ibiza. “In spite of their initial hostility, it’s almost as if they are fated to be closer than they ever thought possible!” (Accidental Theatre, 24-26 August)

“Anyone for more opium?”

The empty rhetoric of the Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, in Downing Street last week… Speaking at Downing Street, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said that the party told Mrs May “very directly that she was in breach of the Good Friday Agreement” over the Conservative negotiations with the DUP. …is neatly summed up in Ed Moloney’s blog post title, “Sinn Fein Meet May, Complain And Then Go Away……Move On, No Story Here“. The party’s impotence, in relation to any arrangement … Read more

How can May encourage the other parties to the Stormont talks without disclosing the DUP deal? ( new version)

So after a confusing day against a background of tragedy in which it was first reported that the DUP deal would be postponed until next week, Theresa May  is meeting the other  Assembly parties without them. Make  of that what you will. All of Westminster will be agog . The elephant will be in the room in non-corporeal form. May can hardly  afford  to answer question one, can she? Mrs O’Neill has already made it clear she will raise the issue … Read more

“We don’t believe that any deal between the DUP here and the English Tories will be good for the people here.”

So stated the Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, as he paraded his “Magnificent Seven” MPs [and Carál Ní Chuilín – Ed] in front of the media at a press conference at Stormont yesterday.  But whilst most reports focused on that line, or a variation on it, only the Irish Times’ Gerry Moriarty appears to have still been listening when he went on to say… [Gerry Adams] said Sinn Féin would not reject any positive deal that might emerge from these … Read more

DUP needs to watch its advocacy of what’s becoming its own minority enthusiasms

It’s been a rough week for Arlene and the DUP. Newton Emerson is clearly losing patience with the DUP leader’s impetuosity… After his career almost imploded in 2010, Robinson displayed convincing signs of humility and reflection, at least for a while. Foster has met a few Gaelgoiri but she is still triangulating her position to imply she has not moved an inch. It is clear she feels herself to be the victim of a cunning republican plot – and that … Read more

Where is her cunning?

In the last few months Arlene Foster has developed a habit of surprising us when we least expect it. And now that ‘blonde-gate’, or whatever you want to call ‘that’ interview on the greens of Hillsborough, is fading from the corporate media memory its worth a little further analysis. In response the DUP deployed the usual suspects to shout down the reaction to the former First Minster’s interview with Niamh Horan. Sammy Wilson said that  “Michelle O’Neill is blonde, unless … Read more