“We are going to proceed with the Altnagelvin extension [] and that’s the end of the matter.”

The Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers’ separately declared commitment to reverse the NI Health Minister’s decision to postpone the funding of a new radiotherapy unit at Altnagelvin hospital is yet another populist move without regard to budgetary considerations – this time just ahead of an election. It also undermines the position of the smaller parties at the NI Executive table and the authority of the Executive itself. From the BBC report Mr Robinson said it could be overturned on the …

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McGimpsey’s Health Service

When Michael McGimpsey announced that the new radiotherapy centre in Altnagelvin would not be built for the meantime there was the predictable outcry from patients’ groups, the Western Trust etc. Martina Anderson denounced the decision as political: that much is to be expected; Anderson’s role has often seemed to be to play the republican representative for the the hardline Derry segment of Foyle’s republicans. To have the Deputy First minister, Martin McGuinness denounce the decision as sectarian was possibly somewhat …

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UUP Deputy Chair opposes his own Health Minister…

Not on everything. But it is perhaps an indication of how far Michael McGimpsey has isolated himself on the left of the party that the party’s Deputy Chair seems willing to attack his own minister in the press (even if it relates to an actual budgetary ‘cut’): Update: According to UTV, Terry Wright appears to have resigned over the issue. The Deputy chair of the Ulster Unionist Party has said the Health Minister’s decision to postpone a new radiotherapy unit …

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A ‘budget’ for Ministers who want to both have cake and eat it?

In the News Letter, NR Greer is distinctly underwhelmed by what the Northern Ireland Executive (or at least the majority shareholders within it) are now calling the Northern Irish budget: The UUP and SDLP have already set their faces against the budget, which is a cobbled together dog’s breakfast of random and vague proposals, noticeable for its lack of clarity, substance or direction. You would not pass A-level economics (not even new Labour’s dumbed down version) with a document this …

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