Sammy and Simon and Claire and Arlene


I heard Sammy Wilson on RTÉ radio about an hour ago and he sounded very reasonable. The DUP, he told the listeners, were in agreement with Sinn Féin about their proposal for a public inquiry. It really did seem to match what the DUP themselves wanted. So it would be a pity if Sinn Féin were so politically motivated that they precipitated an election on the minor point of the First Minister stepping aside during the first four weeks of such an inquiry. Was this the same Sammy Wilson who used to talk about the Irish language as leprechaun linguistics? Hard to believe, Virginia, but yes, it was.

The DUP are finding a number of things hard to get their heads around. One is that Sinn Féin’s four-week step-aside proposal is a compromise. The UUP wants Arlene Foster to resign, quit her post, stop leading the DUP, full stop. The SDLP want a public inquiry, and while that inquiry is being conducted, Arlene Foster will go on gardening leave “without prejudice”. But she will have to step aside until the full inquiry concludes.

Sinn Féin’s position is, in contrast, is excessively accommodating. No, let me take that back. It’s accommodating because it’s not nuclear: it’s allowing the DUP and its leader some degree of compromise. In  ways it reminds me of the stance of Sinn Féin in Belfast City Hall over the flags dispute (remember that? And how it worked out in the end?). The Shinners wanted either the flying of the Union flag and the Irish tricolour, or the flying of no flags at all. They accepted eventually the flying of the Union flag on the designated days – clearly a compromise. The DUP fought the compromise every inch of the way, encouraged mass demonstrations which soon degenerated into violence. And in the end the designated-days decision had to be accepted.

Likewise in the matter of Arlene and the Cash-for Ash scheme. If it had been my decision, I would have pushed for the SDLP solution: Arlene to stand aside until the investigation was completed. That’s normal procedure. Sinn Féin have opted for the bare minimum, leaving Arlene a face-saving option and leaving the way clear for Sinn Féin to go on working alongside the DUP in the future.

The DUP have tossed these terms aside with contempt. They won’t be told what to do by Sinn Féin – no, seriously. The mild-mannered Simon Hamilton repeated that self-same sound-bite this morning again: the DUP won’t be taking instruction from Sinn Féin.

It reminds me, as I say, of the flag dispute. It also reminds me of a bully who’s used to having his/her way, who has been successful in cowing any opposition to his/her wishes, has brazened out any situation in which they find themselves. Then one day, they run up against a situation where, instead of their victim crumpling or fleeing, they stand their ground. A totally new experience for the bully. Never encountered this before. Blustering hasn’t worked. Pretending to be sweetly reasonable hasn’t worked. Dia ár sabháil! (That’s leprechaun for ‘God save us!’) What do we do now? …Oh look. Justice Minister Claire Sugden has come up with the answer. Arlene should stay in post, but if in four weeks’ time the preliminary report finds her guilty of misconduct or incompetence, she should step aside.

Brilliant, Claire. It’s like postponing the arrest of a suspect until their case has been decided in court and a verdict delivered. Deeply original thinking.

Ever thought of joining a bigger party, Claire?

61 Responses to Sammy and Simon and Claire and Arlene

  1. Patrick Fahy January 9, 2017 at 9:31 am #

    The Australian Health Minister, Sussann Ley, has stood aside temporarilyin the face of an enquiry into her use of government expenses for a partly personal trip. The purpose of this standing aside is, in her own words, to determine ‘if she has broken any rules’. This is child play stuff when compared to the ramifications of the RHI scandal, in which Arlene Foster played a significant and undeniable personal role.

  2. giordanobruno January 9, 2017 at 10:25 am #

    There is clearly a lot of politicking still going on here behind the scenes.
    Will we have another election now which no-one wants, least of all Sinn Fein, or will some last minute deal be pulled out of the hat?
    I still don’t know why Sinn Fein are not pushing for a public inquiry, rather than one behind closed doors which is unlikely to satisfy the public.
    It is hard to see Arlene standing down now as it would be a massive loss of face, and equally hard to see how SF can avoid bringing things down if she does not.
    As usual depressing stuff.

    • fiosrach January 9, 2017 at 11:00 am #

      GB, what makes you think that PSF are afraid of an election? Do you think they will suffer? And where did they say they wanted an inquiry behind closed doors? Or is this just your imagination in hyper drive?

      • giordanobruno January 9, 2017 at 11:54 am #

        I can’t see SF increasing their vote in another election and there is a possibility they will lose ground to PBP and SDLP.
        Although that may also be true for the DUP I think they will calculate that they will do less badly than SF.
        it is a risk they could do without especially with McGuinness looking to be on his way out and the inevitable questions over the next leader.

        As for the inquiry I am sure the terms they suggested do not mention a public inquiry and if it was to be so I think they would have made that clear and the DUP would not have been so happy to agree to it.
        But maybe I have that wrong. What is your information?

        • fiosrach January 9, 2017 at 1:13 pm #

          Generally accept your analysis – especially on drop in voting.

    • billy January 9, 2017 at 11:44 am #

      what a public enquiry will bring out is all parties new about this for at least a year and it was getting buried only for the spotlight program being shown.they cant have the 50% who still bother to vote being educated now can they.

  3. Michael January 9, 2017 at 10:33 am #

    Political unionism doesn’t do compromise until it’s backed into a corner with no other option.
    They compromise when they have to not because they want to.

  4. Cal January 9, 2017 at 10:50 am #

    The Belfast City Hall flag resolution was we are told, a compromise – except it wasn’t. No recognition whatsoever was forthcoming for the identification rights of Irish nationalism or Irish Culture in the designated days resolution.

    Belfast City Council acting like every other council in Britain in opting for designated days was not a compromise. It was defeat, a defeat for Nationalism.

    It was a compromise, it was a SF compromise. In itself it goes someway to explaining the current situation in Stormont where the DUP treat nationalism with contempt – they’ve been allowed to do so while SF went about ‘outreach’ and ‘compromise’.

    Compromise like the social investment fund not being designated to those in most need but instead to the UDA. Compromise like Claire Sugden getting Justice. Compromise like Irish Language funding getting cut while Orange bands are allowed to go over budget.

    The DUP are simply use to getting their own way. SF have no one to blame for that except themselves and their outreach compromises.

    • fiosrach January 9, 2017 at 11:03 am #

      Yep! And possibly the voters will show their agreement, either by abstention or support for other parties. Or not.

    • Áine January 9, 2017 at 11:45 am #


      If Sinn Féin had not agreed the flag decision in the City Hall then we would still have the flag flying every day of the year. In my books that was progress.

      The SIF money would not have been used – and most people agree that the work done from that money has been good for the communities affected – had both the DUP and SF agreed to do so. That the DUP and I take it others involved were happy to have a certain person employed in East Belfast is hardly SF’s fault.

      Sinn Féin invested more in the Irish Language through their education and culture ministers than has ever been invested in the language before. Just ask any Irish language enthusiast and whether they like SF or not, they will accept this. SF can hardly be blamed for what a DUP minister does. There would have been no Gaeltacht bursaries if a SF minister had not brought them into being in the first place.

      Sectarianism is anti republican and to combat it is the duty of all republicans if they want to live in a united independent Ireland free from sectarianism that has been used by Britain to block our progress: “cherishing all the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien government, which have divided a minority in the past.” As such Sinn Féin’s outreach to unionism has been and is the right thing to do.

      I believe we have reached a crossroads at the minute and that this is an opportunity for republicans to progress further our ultimate objective, a reunified and independent Ireland.

      People’s own prejudice against a certain party does not mean they can deny the facts.

  5. paddykool January 9, 2017 at 11:14 am #

    For whatever reason the DUP and Arlene Foster see compromise as some kind of failure even though that is the reality of real politics. It is actually a massive flaw at the heart of politics here that one of the major parties does not understand this fact. The DUP has not even understood its role as apartner in the Executive. This Executive cannot work in any way without agreement with Sinn Fein so it is perfectly feasible that if Sinn Fein offers advice to its partner that the advice might be listened to .The DUP haven’t listened when they were given an easy way out by their partners.It was avery simple solution which anyone working within any job would have to take on board in similar circumstances.Indeed Arlene foster’s predecessor, Peter Robinson quite possibly constructed this “escape hatch” previously and actually used it , allowing Arlene to work as his proxy when he had to step aside .It was a perfectly adequate tool in that respect.You’d think that having bee part and parcel of its outworkings that she would realise this. She didn’t and could not be advised.
    Of course , now that it appears that there will be no possible way for her to understand that she has also damaged the very bones of her office as well it seems that no -one will be able to work with her again anyway.She may retain goodwill among the DUP but no one else will ever be able to work with her again because she is seen as damaged goods by every other party.The same thing happened to Paisley and Robinson but it happened very quickly with Foster.If you don’t bend with the river’s flow you will break and she’s now a broken reed.
    All of this is only a final nail in the coffin .There has been no real partnership within the Executive . the DUP have railed against such a notion from the start and have consistently made that clear over many previous scandals and debacles. There has been no outreach from them nor that dreaded idea of “compromise”. ….compromise…that very stuff of politicking. They have never really managed to do politics for the entire community but have been involved in so many scandals. In all of that they have proved incapable of healing a divided society. What can their and our future be if we are to be tied to such a cabal which unable to improve our lot but continues to mismanage everything put onto their desk, creating annual mayhem as they go and turning the possibility of political progress into a shabby pantomime which airs another soiled mess in time for each succeeding Christmas.
    It’s really time for it all to stop.I do not believe they have the skillset to work in tandem with anyone and I hope that the whole thing is suspended indefinitely .and without the waste of time that another election will bring.There are too many things in the current Executive that would need changing before the public votes anyone into a renewed version.
    As for Claire Sugden.She is so obviously out of her depth in her current position as Justice Minister.she appears to be unable to function as a lone voice amid such ungracious politicians .she comes across much as the dithering Speaker did…unable to function credibly in an unworkable governance.

  6. Cal January 9, 2017 at 12:34 pm #

    Áine, while taking on board your points, I do strongly object to the inference that to object to outreach is to be sectarian.

    Reciprocity must be forthcoming in outreach or we have a continual state of appeasement – as we do now.

    An appeasement that has bolstered and encouraged the DUP in their dealings at Stormont.

    Your approach seems to be a bit of equality today and we’ll get more tomorrow. I’m afraid we’ll have to disagree on that as well.

    I want equality today and will not accept promises of jam tomorrow.

    • Áine January 9, 2017 at 1:11 pm #

      Cal, no such inference intended, merely pointed out the reason the outreach. Granted there hasn’t been – any that I have seen – reciprocity, that still doesn’t make it wrong in my opinion.

      Can you state what SF have appeased the DUP on?

      I’m for equality today, tomorrow and yesterday. Your approach is all or nothing, right this second. I would love that too. If that was the case then GFA would not have been signed and conflict would still be raging in the North, because we want a united, independent Ireland right now and should not settle for anything short of it.

      Settle is the crucial word here. No one is settling for anything less than what all are entitled to. But I do accept that unfortunately I may not get this over the line today, so I don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

      I’ll take any progress that we can get each and every day rather than accepting nothing because I don’t get everything I demand today. Wishlists are for Christmas are the man said.

      • Cal January 9, 2017 at 3:03 pm #

        Áine, SF have in my view appeased the DUP by folding on welfare reform, folding on the appointment of Justice Minister & folding on the social investment fund. In each of these cases the DUP got exactly what they wanted.

        I do not wish to conflate the issue of equality with the issue of reunification. I will not settle for anything less than full legal recognition and protection of my Irish nationality & culture. There can be no compromise on equality. It either exists or it doesn’t.

        The GFA enshrines inequality because it gives those who oppose equality a veto. A mutual veto as enshrined in the GFA works if both sides start from a position of equilibrium. That wasn’t the case and for almost twenty years now unionism has blocked the path to equality of citizenship through their veto.

        For that reason project Stormont has effectively hit the rocks and SF in my opinion need to think again.

        • jessica January 9, 2017 at 6:35 pm #

          There can be no equality while Ireland remains divided Cal.

          Stormont may be gone, but Irish citizens still have no say in the affairs of their own nation. That is not acceptable to me.

  7. Perkin Warbeck January 9, 2017 at 12:36 pm #

    On the button as usual, Esteemed Blogmeister : as usual. Brill. Indeed, given the topic de jour that’s in it, on the , erm, hot button.

    The phrase about Sammy W. which really hopped, s. and jumped out at this reader was in the very first line:

    -and he sounded very reasonable.

    That he did, that he did, surely. Still, Reasonable and Sammy W. somehow just don’t seem to belong in the same breath, much the way, say, the Grand Canyon and Golf Hole do not. Even, indeed, less so, perhaps.

    So, who was the broadcaster who managed to pull off this nigh-unimaginable feat of necromancy, this magical sleight of handsome broadcasting ? Step forward, none other than:

    -The Woodman.


    Not least considering the issue up for discush.

    One thing is sure: The Woodman is no All G. It will be recalled how that shiny-tracksuited synonym for disrespect was the bogus broadcaster who made Sammy W. out to be a T for Tourist. Of the whiny kind. The sort of W for Whiny Tourist whose greatest delight is in finding fault with the shortcomings of the natives, especially those who don’t, out of choice, speak (gasp) The German Queen’s English.


    Which, of course, is not to say that Sam the Soul of Reason did not his get to put the Shinners through that de rigeur routine which is part and p. of the Public and Private Broadcasting Businesses on both sides of the Black Sow’s Dyke:

    -The Perp Walk.

    Perp, of course, is short for ‘Perpetrators’ and it has a long and non-extinguishable backstory – ranging from Adam and Ever perpwalking out of the Garden of Eden in the painting by Michaelangelo down to the Brief Encounter between Mr. Saturday Night Special, Jack Ruby and L. H. Oswald.

    Whereas A and E were nocht (see below) Jack R was wearing a regulation Fedora while Lee Harvey Ohh ! was clad in the casual garb favoured by Clerical Student of the 60s.

    This Downtown Dallas perp walk was captured on live telly.

    ( It is curious to note that the alive or deadheads of live telly in the Free Southern Stateen have more or less managed to wipe out the perp walking Clerical Student class in the interim. Saturday Night Special Inquisitions being the weapon of choice in the latter instance).

    The Perp Walk perpetrated by Reasonable Samuel was facilitated by an unusually Slurp-Talking Woodman who was in an uncharacteristic mood of cap-doffing diffidence.

    It was not the only PW to feature on Yawning Ireland, the flagship of RTE, today.

    An hour later – to the minute ! – the Shinners in the shape of M.L. McDonald was compelled to do The Perp Walk, presumably (a) for the benefit of those sleepy heads who had missed the Wormwood of Early Rising Reasonable Samuel ; and (b) because the Shinners are The Perpetrators of all that is Bad, Mad and the Brad Pitts about West Britannia. The latter is an article of faith in the allegedly post-religious FSS.

    So, how come the first guest was treated to a Mock-exam while the second victim, oops, guest got the real, deal Romper Room of RTE roughing up by its Resident Toughie?

    Well, for starters, Cathal Mac Coille (mar is é atá ann !) obviously had sixty minutes to hone the edge of his Axe-accented Asking Technique. Not for nothing in his tricksy bag are contained sharpening implements from (gasp) coarse whetstones to leather strops to fine files themselves. Even fine, Gael files. Not so much an Interview as an Interruption. It’s all in the tone, you know, the wolfish tone.

    Cathal Mac Coille the Choke Tackler hasn’t gone away, you know.


    In Leprechaun he’s known as An Nocht
    Not jez coz his cliches are all precooked
    Nocht means nude
    Sammy is the dude
    Arl the Snarl is his Sean Bhean B for Bocht.

  8. fiosrach January 9, 2017 at 1:25 pm #

    Some people seem to be coming round to the TUV leader’s opinion that mandatory coalition is neither right nor fair. You could go further and say it has proved unworkable. The MLAs are in a symbiotic relationship. Any poison administered to one crowd will also kill the other.

    • Morpheus January 9, 2017 at 2:02 pm #

      What does Jim suggest? A return to political unionism calling the shots? Because that worked so well last time…

      Would a proper democracy be best? Absolutely. But recent behavior has shown that we are simply not ready for it yet. Mummy and Daddy, the guarantors of the GFA, took the stabilizers off too soon and didn’t make sure we knew how to ride before allowing us to fly solo. Now we are heading for the ditch. They need to re-engage to get us back on the right path.

      Plus we need is the parties to fully implement and embrace what the people voted for in GFA then use the PoC as it was intended as, not as a method for parties and MLAs to escape sanction.

    • paddykool January 9, 2017 at 2:54 pm #

      Yes fiosrach , I can only think that the current situation is perilous when I begin to think that Jim Allisrer of TUV has a valid point about mandatory coalitions. I think what has really happened with this scheme is that it has encouraged political laziness.We might need to try a proper and real system without a built-n safety net.It might make our assorted politicians focus more and work a bit harder for our dosh .

  9. Morpheus January 9, 2017 at 1:54 pm #

    Arlene Foster staying in position is 100% NOT a red line issue and should not be treated as such.

    I think we can all agree that the #1 priority is the independent investigation. Collapsing BEFORE the investigation would be an act of utterlunacy so why risk that over the non-issue of AF being in place or not?

    Should she stand aside? Absolutely! Will she? C’mon…

    AF can have no impact on the investigation when it gets going so SF should give her the dummy-tit of being in place – and let he know it’s a dummy-tit – then get on with the real task of getting the right people in place to get to the bottom of the RHI scandal ASAP.

    Once the independent panel comes back with rock solid, independent conclusions of gross incompetence – or at worst, corruption – then and only then should SF collapse Stormont allowing all parties to go on the election campaign armed with the report.

    This is not difficult as I explained before Christmas. Why SF made it difficult is beyond me.

    • jessica January 9, 2017 at 6:41 pm #

      It is for me.
      Stormont has fallen and will not be coming back again Morpheus.
      There must be and will be an investigation however.

      Sinn Fein have done the right thing all the way through.
      So long as Sinn Fein remain the largest nationalist party, the DUP will not take part in a Stormont executive again.


      • Morpheus January 10, 2017 at 9:02 am #

        Stormont will be back in about 10 weeks after an election and a series of talks to give the impression that things have moved on. You think the UK Government will want to take on the burden of responsibility for managing NI as well as Brexit?

        The best SF can hope for now is that the electorate are sufficiently pissed off to take the DUP MLA count to below 30 so they can’t use a PoC on their own – something which would’ve been a lot easier armed with a detailed report showing gross incompetence and potential corruption.

        SF squandered the upper hand by allowing themselves to be painted into a corner on an insignificant issue (AF standing aside) and now they have been forced to play their cards too early.

        • jessica January 10, 2017 at 9:12 am #

          Stormont will not be returning this year and most probably not ever.
          The current Dail will not survive 2017 either.

          • Morpheus January 10, 2017 at 12:43 pm #

            No Stormont = direct rule from Westminster

            (unless some sort of announcement is made about Joint Authority)

            It will be back before the end of April.

          • Jack Black January 10, 2017 at 11:12 pm #

            Agree Jessica, any return to Stormont only means more crises, trouble on the streets, more scams, freebies etc etc, Nationalists in particular need to steer clear of it, they got their fingers badly burned these past two decades.

          • jessica January 10, 2017 at 11:21 pm #

            Its not only Stormont Jack, it is the DUP and their supporters.

            I don’t think the party would be that welcome in Westminster or the Dail either at the moment, and the british people probably wouldn’t want them over in GB either whereas the Irish are popular in GB,

            It is enough that brexit risks bringing back a hard border without their antics.

            Screw Stormont, bring on the border poll and lets sort things out once and for all.

        • giordanobruno January 10, 2017 at 9:32 am #

          I broadly agree.
          But on the POC issue I am not so sure.
          I believe there was a review in the past couple of years which recommended amongst other things that the numbers required for a POC be reduced,
          That was never implemented but if it suits the DUP in the future they could probably push it through so that they would still be able to find the numbers to continue to misuse the POC option.

          • Morpheus January 10, 2017 at 12:41 pm #

            As it stands, 30 MLAs are needed to have a PoC. If the DUP only get 29 MLAs then they will need to work with others parties to get things to happen. Crucially their ability to block things like same-sex marriage etc will be severely hampered.

          • TheHist January 10, 2017 at 1:28 pm #

            Any future Assembly (if there is to be one) must increase the number of MLAs needed to use a POC to prevent the continual abuse of it. MLA’s used the veto powers on 31 separate proposed bills and motions during the 2011 to 2016 electoral term equating to 115 times. The DUP used the POC the most, signing 86 petitions, while the second highest use was by the SDLP and Sinn Fein whose members each signed 29 petitions of concern. The Fresh Start Agreement promised that new guidelines on petitions of concern would be referred to the Assembly speaker by December of 2015. As far as I know there’s been no movement on this – yet again, another failure of Fresh Start. With the number of MLA’s decreasing, there should have been inbuilt provision to prevent any one party being able to utilise the POC for selfish / strategic interests.

          • TheHist January 10, 2017 at 1:31 pm #

            “Crucially their ability to block things like same-sex marriage etc will be severely hampered.” Morpheus, I feel a return to direct rule could also damage the DUP – I am assuming the Tories would be keen to bring NI into line with the rest of the UK in relation to legislation on same sex marriage, abortion etc.

          • giordanobruno January 10, 2017 at 1:45 pm #

            Or given there will be less MLAs overall they may just say it is time to implement those new recommendations. Hey Presto the threshold is now 28!

  10. fiosrach January 9, 2017 at 2:09 pm #

    Let the non unionists stay in the ha’penny place in a non mandatory opposition until they can produce the numbers to do otherwise. To pretend that they are just a step from demographic majority is a pipedream. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see how unionists behave if they had sole control again.

  11. Mark January 9, 2017 at 2:29 pm #

    Loath as I am to repeat what I have said already but, if Foster stood aside, with the usual spin of, ‘to ensure my name is cleared’, who actually run’s the occupied portion of my country?
    For decades it was, on the face of it, helicopter ministers from the neighboring island, in reality it was, and still, it appears, is, the civil servants.
    If the joint minister were to take gardening leave, who would be running her office, or her half of her office?
    It would be, still, the civil servants, underworked, overpaid and irresponsible. If this were a matter in industry, butt’s would be booted off site and new, competent, persons brought in, sadly, whether we are in Cork or Cushendall, the incompetent rule while the hard pressed tax payer pay’s.
    The wife and Daughter are mad keen for an election, more paid time off, civil servant’s.

  12. Jaggededge January 9, 2017 at 2:46 pm #

    No! Never, never, never. Ty.

  13. Michael Campbell January 9, 2017 at 3:04 pm #

    New experience for the DUP this pesky power sharing malarkey. For forty plus years they have been use to the megaphone diplomacy of sectarian politics.How embarrassing for a party to claim abiding loyalty to the UK to be involved in such an economic kamikaze debacle. For shame sake you would think they would show a bit more humility but then again forty years of saying it was themuns there fault means they don’t have the political skills to be real politicians .

  14. paddykool January 9, 2017 at 3:36 pm #

    Surely Sinn Fein knew long ago that the DUP would be incapable of a power -sharing system.I mean way back and right from the start, they knew that it was not in the DUP’s DNA to get up to speed on a concept like that which meant an equality agenda? I’d say that must have because the DUP in one way or another told them often enough in so many ways that they couldn’t do it.Never mind the scandals that were tripping everyone up year by year….day after day.These were mostly emanating from the DUP.
    Scandal me once ….scandal me twice….scandal me three…four or five times over and you’ll know what you are dealing with.If a child kept repeating that kind of behaviour , it might be time for the naughty -step. We all knew what the DUP were.We know exactly that they’ve corrupted the political process at every turn. They’ve been caught out on so many times.
    Man !…a lot of it was crazy ,ludicrous fun and pantomime, though It could be amusing in a blunt, unsophisticated, colloquial sort of way.No-one expects them to be intellectual giants after all.They’ve been good for comedy and larceny. That’s about it .I can’t put my finger on any good things they’ve actually done for our society in this past decade , but i can put my finger on plenty of social improvements that they’ve held back and the many people they have insulted.Now we can also mention the bags of money they’ve squandered too.
    So they might be funny in a stupid Three Stooges sort of way rather than in a genius Stanley Laurel kind of way .You know…all that Hokey Cokey in/out ministers business, just before Christmas the time before last….That kind of thing …stupid foolish geggery ….But let’s face it , it not really “real” politics is it ? It’s the kind of stupid stuff that Ian Paisley thought was great craic back in the day .We knew that somewhere along the way when the moment was just right , it would have to be finally explained to them that they really couldn’t do this job at all .They weren’t fit for purpose. it was one thing unionism spending fifty years pretending to run the place on their own and finally crashing that car completely…remember that one?….and Westminster had to take their toys away and bring on Direct Rule?That was mummy telling them they couldn’t really do the job on their own.
    Well …we all remember that and what happened next. even when they have been given a damned good chance to have another go at it and do it right this time, they couldn’t do it all over again.
    It was bound to happen that somewhere along the line we’d have to turn off the lights for another generation.This is probably that time one way or the other.I think it’s just popped up on the news that Martin mcGuinness has resigned. The man had to . it was the only way to stop the DUP crashing the car again…. with him in it.

    • billy January 9, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

      its taken you a long time to cop on.wernt you one among many on here encouraging passing laws forcing people to vote.

      • paddykool January 9, 2017 at 5:21 pm #

        That would depend on what system we are being aske to vote for , billy.This obviously isn’t it , eh?

  15. Ryan January 9, 2017 at 4:45 pm #

    Well Marty has finally brought the big house down. He officially stands aside as Joint First Minister at 5pm and so does poor Arlene, given that the Office of First and Deputy First Minister is a joint office. Both the DUP and SF need each other for Government, if one leaves then so does the other. This destroys the illusion that the DUP like to portray to their voters: that they rule the roost.

    So what next? That’s the question Stephen Nolan tweeted just a few minutes ago, as he cut short his holiday to return home. Well Stephen we don’t know what happens next but Martin McGuinness has said that the “Status Quo”, aka the DUP being disrespectful to the Irish Language, rejecting parity of esteem, rejecting power sharing, etc will not be reoccurring in the future. Those days are over, according to Martin McGuinness. Danny Morrison tweeted that he was on the Falls Road and that people were “deeply proud of SF and Martin McGuinness”. I have to say, after reading Martin McGuinness’s statement, I feel proud of him as well. SF have reached out to all Unionists, not just those in the DUP, and its been largely rejected by most of them, though not all. SF has tried but the days of rolling over to the DUP are finished.

    So what happens next? Jim Allister believes Direct Rule is a certain. Poor Jim, he’s another one of those Unionists who believes that majority rule will eventually return in the long term and that the 1960’s will be flourishing again. He cant accept the changes that have occurred and the changes that have yet to occur. In 10 years time when SF and the SDLP form a majority of seats in the Assembly (if its not already a Museum by then), will the “Champion of Democracy” Jim Allister be demanding majority rule then? lol somehow I doubt it.

    The Truth is Stormont has failed. Its failed due to the DUP, due to their bigoted opposition to equality, to parity of esteem and to change. Their Arrogance in regard to the RHI was the last straw. I think if it was a Government with SF and the UUP it might have worked. But its finished now. What next? I think other, new options should be looked at. Its time to stop trying to make failure a success. Its time to give Joint Rule a go.

    PS: MikeTV has said that the Justice Minister, Claire Sugden, should immediately start a public inquiry into Arlene Fosters role in the RHI by 5pm today. Will she? Now we’ll definitely know if Miss Sugden is an independent MLA or not…..

    • Cal January 9, 2017 at 4:57 pm #

      I can just see the poor civil servant explaining to Arlene she’s now out of a job thanks to Martin McGuinness resigning…

  16. Sherdy January 9, 2017 at 6:21 pm #

    You say Sammy Wilson was on RTE today sounding reasonable.
    Well, why do you think Sammy might be taking on a statesmanlike attitude?
    No one has been more prominent in the struggle to support the unsupportable.
    Sammy is staking his claim to take over leadership of the DUP, and of course as FM when Arlene takes her inevitable tumble, jumping into her chair with alacrity while pushing her swiftly aside!

  17. Dominic Hendron January 9, 2017 at 9:06 pm #

    Arlene and Martin represent the troubles generation that can’t forget and move on. It doesn’t matter where the fault lies because it is what it is. Joint rule is the only solution until another generation grows up and is able to form another government. This part of Ireland will always be different because our experience is different. It doesn’t make us any less Irish to the degree that makes us comfortable. Lets hope the dialogue widens to exclude the anoraks.

    • jessica January 9, 2017 at 9:23 pm #

      No, Martin represents common decency, respect and responsibility.
      Arlene represents arrogance, intransigence and superiority.

      I still don’t get the term anoraks but it sounds like the sort of language and dialog that we need to move on from.

      Dublin rule is the only solution and the one our young people should demand.

      • paddykool January 9, 2017 at 9:59 pm #

        “Anoraks”…Jessica assuming it’s a reference to the garb usually favoured by trainspotters in the 1960s.It was the basic requirement of clothing ( padded and lined long garbardine type jacket with a nice fur-trimmed hood…also favoured by young mods riding Lambretta scooters!)…perfect for hanging around draughty train-platforms and jotting down the numbers from passing trains.It was seemingly a great inexpensive hobby for lads who enjoyed collecteing numbers in books……i know….nought as strange as folks and all that….the perfect pastime for the numbers pedant, then…..or maybe there’s another explanation out there?

        • jessica January 9, 2017 at 10:12 pm #

          Good definition and similar to what I had in mind, a nerdish person.

          I just don’t get why the dialogue should widens to exclude the anoraks.

          Is it a strange prejudice, an attempt at an insult or are nerds causing mischief that I am not aware off? Or are users of this site considered the nerds or anoraks or just the ones that disagree with Dominic?

          The context just doesn’t make sense to me.

        • Dominic Hendron January 9, 2017 at 10:48 pm #

          Anoraks, politicos who try to narrow discussion and throw around labels to define others in context of their own political views. No real vision beyond their own blinkered views. People who quote Ghandi to justify armed struggle.

      • Dominic Hendron January 9, 2017 at 10:15 pm #

        I respect Martin McGuinness for his leadership role in his office but he represents different things to different people. Political unionism has a long way to travel. Dublin rule is not my understanding of SF position, thought they were more flexible: Federal solution. A lot needs to happen to make NI work before we consider moving on. Our experience is different from the rest of the Island. The dialogue is too narrow.

        • jessica January 9, 2017 at 10:27 pm #

          No, our experience is the exact same as the rest of the Island.
          Ending british rule ended their troubles, it will do the same in the north.

          Dublin and the people in the rest of the island have a responsibility to get involved and no longer wash their hands of their fellow citizens.
          I will accept nothing less than Dublin rule and I expect them to make sure it happens sooner rather than later.

          I get the SDLP just want their turn in Stormont but it is too late for that.
          The people do not want it back. Things have come to a head and there is no going back.
          It is time to fight or flight

          • Dominic Hendron January 9, 2017 at 11:04 pm #

            “ending British rule ended their troubles” no it didn’t it caused civil war and partition and maimed political life in the south for generations leading to mass emigration. We’re still living with the legacy here.

          • jessica January 10, 2017 at 7:02 am #

            No it didn’t Dominic, partition caused civil war and the divisions in Ireland.
            Mass emigration was down to lack of prospects which were not helped by Britains offense at Ireland declaring itself a republic resulting in trade obstruction for generations.

            Nice to know the true SDLP supporters position is that we still need british rule.
            We don’t, we would be better off without it.

          • Dominic Hendron January 10, 2017 at 7:12 am #

            You’re living in a bubble and you don’t know the real Ireland.

          • jessica January 10, 2017 at 7:30 am #

            I think you are the one living in a bubble, you and your memories of Ken Fletchers shop.
            Some of us have our own memories far worse than broken buildings.
            But we will see soon enough Dominic.
            I would wear my anorak with pride if only I had one to wear.

          • Dominic Hendron January 10, 2017 at 10:21 am #

            It was Mrs Fletcher’s distress that stayed with me. What will we see soon enough Jessica, more arrogance?

  18. Dr Michael Hfuhruhurr January 10, 2017 at 4:20 pm #

    @ Dominic Hendron

    As a nationalist, people like you make me sick. I respect the DUP more than the SDLP. At least the DUP have the common courtesy not to hide their uber british nationalism and bigotry. The SDLP are no better than the Ulster Unionists, your a 6 county status quo party that has no real desire to unite this country because it would end your partys very existance. The SDLP is only concerned with getting back into stormont to get some relevance and peerages from the british, absolutely nothing else, most nationalists have twigged onto that now!

    If they had any kind of backbone or morals they would have supported SF, any disagreements with SF policy could have been worked out privately for the better of nationalism.

    “A lot needs to happen to make NI work before we consider moving on. Our experience is different from the rest of the Island. …….” – Patheitic in the extreme, NI was always failed, your inability not to look facts square on in the face will be the SDLPs undoing.

    Can you perhaps explain to all us nationalists why time and time again the SDLP work with the Ulster Unionsts to thwart any nationalist asperations? SDLP true to form, attack SF first then DUP then UUP last as always, even in the face of blatent corruption.

    Why dont you just merge with the UUP and be done with it? It would actually speed things up a bit to a resolution!

    • jessica January 10, 2017 at 4:27 pm #

      Well said, I agree totally

    • Dominic Hendron January 10, 2017 at 7:19 pm #

      I am not s member of the SDLP. I do not know what an uber British nationalist is. I did not choose the place I was born in but I will deal with it as I see fit. I do not know what the SDLP concerns are: I’m not a member.I don’t take lessons in morality from provos. I do not know what the SDLPs undoing will be: I’m not a member. Why don’t you learn to spell if you are going to write? Jessica, in colloquial terms you would best be characterised as a mouth.

      • jessica January 10, 2017 at 7:25 pm #

        And you a gobshite

        • Jack Black January 10, 2017 at 11:15 pm #

          Concur with that Jessica.

  19. Dominic Hendron January 11, 2017 at 4:22 am #

    Arlene Foster is the one who is totally responsible for the mess we find ourselves in today. She has brought out the worst in people here. Her ministers are a total disgrace to public office and wouldn’t be tolerated in any other region or country. Unfortunately she has brought out the worst in others as well. The type of petty minded nationalists who hate anyone who is not of their clique. These people know nothing of the country in which they live and as result they spread nothing but fear and division among the people. Their weakness is their own political certainties and passions which blinds them to real human needs and hopes that are beyond flags and peripheral identities. You will see these people coming out in their droves in the coming weeks and there will be a strong temptation to fall in behind them. I beg the people in this country, in the strongest terms, not to do that. There are opportunities for change here that we never had before. I beg the people of this part of Ireland/Northern Ireland to grasp change now or forever fall into the abyss of eternal conflict and division.

    • jessica January 11, 2017 at 7:42 am #

      Arlene Foster is not totally responsible, she is not even the ring leader in my opinion.
      She named Peter Robinson as being the person behind the scheme and who’s orders she was following at the time.
      Only a thorough investigation will reveal the whole truth but I expect it will go beyond Arlene and will involve loyalist paramilitaries.

      It is possibly the fact she was following orders that along with her pride which made her so adamant to refuse to step aside which would have been the right thing to do.

      It is the DUPs incapability to do the right thing or to respect non unionists that make them unfit for government and why Stormont has fallen.
      There is zero chance of its return while the DUP lead unionism and the vast majority of nationalists support that.
      We would prefer Westminster rule to allowing the DUP back in power and that is the situation we are in.

      To say nationalism has an issue with hate is pathetic. Thanks to Sinn Fein, we have proven we are willing to reach out and do the right thing to ensure peace and stability. It was unionism who stood with paramilitaries over flags and marches, it was unionism who rejected the Irish language act, not only the DUP.

      It was Mike Nesbitt who put out the leaflets over flags which led to death threats to Naomi Campbell.

      Even the most moderate unionists on this site supported the unionist stance that talking about unity was failure.

      It is not only the DUP who need to change here, Stormont is over until equality can be guaranteed.
      It will NOT be coming back before hand and as unionism is incapable of showing equality to nationalism, it is equality and not Sinn Fein that will break them.

      Sinn Fein have proven they can do the right thing, the ball is now in the unionist court.

      And who do you think you are to say we do not know the real Ireland.
      Such arrogance, you have a lot in common with unionism and a cheek to be criticising Arlene Foster.

      Sinn Fein will continue to build relationships with london and beyond, they will continue to pursue the best interests of all Irish people without prejudice.

      Perhaps it is time people like yourself woke up and support the drive to end division on this island and realised it is Sinn Fein we all need to get behind to achieve it.

      Change is under way all over this island and support for unification is growing throughout Ireland.

      That is a reality. Why you think you know better I don’t know but you are no nationalist.

      • jessica January 11, 2017 at 7:45 am #

        oops I meant Naomi Long