The DUP: its word is its bond. Or something.

A few factual matters, so we’re clear about what is being asked for up at Stormont and what was agreed prior to the present Stormont talks.


  1. “Both parties [the Tory Party and the DUP] will adhere fully to their respective commitments set out in the Belfast Agreement and its successors.”


That’s a statement from the recent Tory-DUP agreement which commits the DUP to doing their master/mistress’s bidding for the next two years. Everything in the GFA, the St Andrews Agreement and any other agreements will be honoured in full by the Tories and by the DUP.

So why, then, is the DUP refusing to demand that its partner in the British government do just that in terms of an Irish Language Act? Because here’s what the St Andrews Act says about Irish:

“The [British] Government will introduce an Irish Language Act reflecting on the experience of Wales and Ireland, and will work with the incoming Executive to enhance and protect the development of the Irish language.”

The DUP might argue (and does)  that the British government committed itself in the St Andrew’s Agreement to introduce an Irish Language Act, and even though they signed the St Andrew’s Agreement, it had nothing to do with them.

But their joint statement under 1. above commits them and the British government, working together to implement the GFA and all other Agreements, including obviously St Andrew’s. So what are the DUP now wasting time at Stormont for, when they said a matter of days ago that they (and the Brits) would deliver on all previous commitments? Or are we to take it that the reneging on the St Andrew’s Agreement is now to be joined by the Downing Street pact as, um, misspoken less-than-truths?

Fold or flicker or present it how you will, the DUP appear to work in a world of logic foreign to the rest of us. They say they are for the softest possible border between north and south, yet they urged Brexit, which inevitably will harden the border to a greater or lesser degree. They say that they never agreed to an Irish Languages Act, even though the St Andrews Agreement contains a specific commitment to same, and was signed by the DUP along with the other parties involved. And they say that they’ll adhere fully to previous Agreements, but even though  St Andrews commits to an Irish Language Act, the DUP up at Stormont today will be blocking the path to an Irish Language Act.

Why do I hear the phrase “Couldn’t believe a word out of their mouths” echoing and bouncing around in my brain?

, ,

35 Responses to The DUP: its word is its bond. Or something.

  1. pjdorrian June 28, 2017 at 8:15 am #

    “We signed with our fingers crossed behind us”

    • Colmán June 28, 2017 at 12:14 pm #

      Perhaps an Irish Language Act, Gay Marriage could be introduced if the petition of concern is dropped. Where do the Alliance stand on an Irish Language Act?

  2. Cal June 28, 2017 at 8:45 am #

    SF simply can not go back without a nailed down Irish language act, gay rights and legacy resolved. To do so would in my view be political suicide.

    Salaries should be cut with the money going to teachers and nurses. Stormont has run its course. Unionism is incapable of reform, just see the latest outburst from Peter Robinson.

    A man that recognised the need for unionism to widen its appeal to Catholics but is incapable of putting his own pragmatism into action. An emotional commitment to supremacy and hegemony trumps all.

    Ultimately, Nationalists can afford to be patient. It’s time to wait this out.

    • Jack Black June 28, 2017 at 9:31 am #

      Pretty much similar Cal which I was about to type, SF need to clear out their desks at Stormont and play the waiting game, if we can wait 800 years what’s the matter with 5/10 more?

    • Eolach June 28, 2017 at 11:20 am #

      In total agreement….if they ever return to Stormont it has to be to a changed place and a changed atmosphere.
      “The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.”
      ― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

  3. paddykool June 28, 2017 at 8:48 am #

    Let’s get a few things lined up in a neat straight line before we try to complicate our lives.Currently the Tories and the DUP are fantasists. They are beaming away as though all was well in the land when everyone else knows it is all a sham.I mean everyone knows they are playing a silly game where the Prime Minister is a strong leader and that some great bit of politicking produced a £Billion deal for Norneverland and these are heroic times.They are not .We are talking about a world of chaos brought about by the Tory Party.We have a fatally weakened theresa May who staked everything on being stronger .She is not. She ‘s telling herself porkies .she had a disasterous election and she will soon be gone.
    The madness of Brexit has punted the British against the the other 27.That will either produce a worse result than the one they already have with none of the benefits and less influence. or hopefully bring us right back to the same place that we are already in after much huffing, puffing and waste of time and money. Otherwise there really will be a hard border with all that it entails. Either way it will be wasted years to get to a worse place or the same place .It will have soured relationships across the country and the rest of Europe.Meanwhile back home the media are putting a positive spin on the great £Billion giveaway that the tories found on the Magical Money Tree that didn’t exist ..they are saying that it will mean £500 for every person living in Norneverland. …£500 !!!!!!! that’s what all this local fuss is about ? £500 bloody quid!!!That’s what they debated and cussed about and huffed about for a fortnight behind closed doors? Well….goody, goody ,good! That would buy me ten cases of average wine which might get me through the next month… or maybe buy me a couple of beehives.When am I getting it? it will be spent and forgotten in a day or so. … let’s get back from fantasyland. Nothing has changed since our local government collapsed in a tidal wave of reneging, bad faith and financial scandals. That was down to the DUP and that leopard has not changed its spots.We are still at January 2017.It had reached the absurd point that no one could work with the DUP.That has not changed and the Tories will also discover just how difficult that task is in the modern world of the 21st century. They might put on their best face for the UK media but their card has already been marked. We all know it already .

    • giordanobruno June 28, 2017 at 10:47 am #

      That is remarkable begrudgery.
      One billion whatever way you try to minimise it is still one billion.
      I am not too enamoured about direct rule from the tories with DUP input, which is what we are looking at so it seems, but if Sinn Fein came home with 1 billion it would be rightly appreciated.
      Yet I have not seen any acknowledgement of that good news for health and other services from Jude or indeed yourself.
      So less of the sour grapes and how about credit where it is due?

      • Wolfe tone June 28, 2017 at 11:27 am #

        Eh I thought the plan was to make ‘northern Ireland’ work I.e economically, in order to make a United ireland more acceptable to those free staters who may baulk at taking on such a ‘burden’? If so, praising more sponging of London isn’t cricket is it?

      • paddykool June 28, 2017 at 11:32 am #

        That £500 quid wasn’t my quote .It was bantered about in the recent media .I’m simply stating that if it’s only down to easy money for the plebs, it isn’t much of a payoff after all the brouhaha. I’m also stating that i don’t think it’s enough for me personally to get a case of amnesia about the real reasons the Executive collapsed. £500 quid isn’t a lot of brass to cover that mess.Arlene and company still have the same problems they had when the whole thing shattered and the reasons are still the same .i don’t want the money, just as the victims didn’t want the money.I want a fair society with equality and equal rights for every citizen…and not the bigoted and crass nonsense that the DUP thinks it can buy so cheaply.

        • giordanobruno June 28, 2017 at 9:03 pm #

          Applying your logic the RHI scandal is only a matter of £200 for every person living here, and as that is the cost over 20 years, why it’s only about a tenner a year,
          Hardly worth all the fuss eh?

      • Jude Collins June 28, 2017 at 11:48 am #

        Well let me put you out of your unhappy state, gio – I think a billion is terrific. Great. £500 for every man, woman and child here. I won’t even bother claiming for my kids, since they’re sort of big – just the wife and myself. When do I get the cheque for £1,000? …Oh right. It’s going to help pay off the RHI. And it means the DUP are in bondage to Theresa and her Brexit-cliff-oneers. And it means the Tory programme of austerity will continue. And the NHS privatised. I’m persuaded now – the billion was great and so are the terms and conditions under which it arrived: Theresa May will continue in office, showing her usual deep interest in the north. So maybe that should be half a Hooray…

        • giordanobruno June 28, 2017 at 12:04 pm #

          That seems like more begrudgery.
          You pull the same trick as paddy in trying to make it look insignificant, but the people who benefit in the health service will no doubt be more appreciative.
          It is possible to say well done for that while still having reservations about what is to come.
          Honi soit qui mal y pense !

          • Ryan June 28, 2017 at 5:00 pm #

            ” but the people who benefit in the health service will no doubt be more appreciative”

            Gio, a GP from North Belfast was on UTV yesterday saying the money the DUP got didn’t come near to fixing the issues in our health service. Yes any extra money is welcome, obviously but its important to remember that its not going to fix all our issues.

            You also have to see this deal from other’s perspectives: people in England, Scotland and Wales have similar problems to us, where is their extra money? they are rightfully very angry over this “grubby” (as they describe it) deal done by the DUP just to keep May in power for a little while longer. Is that good for Unionism overall? there is definitely a “them paddies already get enough from us” attitude in the House of Commons.

          • Scott Rutherford June 28, 2017 at 8:16 pm #


            As an example a hip operation costs around 10k. 50 million is earmarked for immediate pressures so as an example the money the DUP secured pays for 5000 operations.

            The extra 200 million goes to implementing the Bengoa report that provides a long term solution to the health issues hopefully.

            York street interchange is paid for and goes ahead 5 years earlier than expected plus the 200 million left over pays for dozens of other projects.

            I understand it sticks in people’s throats when their political opponents succeed and succeed well, but you’ve got to give credit where it’s due.

            The DUP delivered unlike SF on the transfer test, the maze, Casement etc etc.

          • Ryan June 28, 2017 at 11:46 pm #

            “I understand it sticks in people’s throats when their political opponents succeed and succeed well, but you’ve got to give credit where it’s due”

            It certainly doesn’t stick in my throat or Sinn Fein’s Scott. Why would it? Fair play to the DUP if this money really goes to help people, who could argue with that? I do give them credit where its due but me, just like many people in Britain, are suspicious of this deal. We don’t know what’s been agreed under the table. Again, I repeat, fair play to the DUP if they have delivered what they say and it helps those most in need. I honestly do fail to see your logic why SF would be angry or envious over this, given if they go back into Stormont they have a veto over how this money would be spent.

            But think of it this way as well Scott. Imagine if Jeremy Corbyn had got into Government with the help of 7 SF MP’s. How would Unionism react to that? there would be a great deal of suspicion and rightly so, even if SF came back with billions from such a deal. Because the truth is these deals often have hidden details that we don’t know about until much later and its those details in the DUP/Tory deal that nationalists (and normal British people) want to know about. It simply wasn’t the case that the DUP cant a billion extra quid for their support, they would’ve been demanding a lot more for party political purposes, they would’ve be foolish not to.

            “The DUP delivered unlike SF on the transfer test, the maze, Casement etc etc.”

            The DUP went back on their word on the Maze Scott. They also almost split over the simple matter of a SF speaker in the Assembly. They also went back on their word on an Irish Language Act, as the Good Friday Agreement shows. And when news came out about the On The Runs, they pretended that they didn’t give permission for that despite Jonathan Powell’s 2008 book clearly showing that they agreed to it.

      • fiosrach June 28, 2017 at 11:53 am #

        If Sinn Féin came home with a billion pounds,gio, it would certainly be appreciated by all. But would Sinn Féin? Do we have to go all calf eyed over the Protestant Unionist Party as they give carte blanche to future anti working class manoeuvring by the Conservative and Unionist party.

  4. moser June 28, 2017 at 9:48 am #

    Have no talks at all with the DUP until they make a public statement that they will honour all previous agreements.

  5. fiosrach June 28, 2017 at 9:54 am #

    If you were asked to sum up how the colonial population feel about the native language what terms would you use? In their book is it worse than homosexuality, worse than Catholicism, worse than Labour? How can you expect these people to look kindly on a gibberish useful for calming animals or describing the weather? It has no place in the modern technological world that Northern Ireland plc is at the forefront of. Is it not one of the first attributes of a conquered people that must be stamped out. Did their forefathers not expend unlimited time and money to erase it from the earth? And now you expect them to give it legal status? If they swore it was raining would you not go out and check?

    • paul June 28, 2017 at 11:15 am #

      Well stated. Robinson today is proclaiming that Blair scammed SF over the Irish Language Act. Only the brilliant DUP could see this. Peter and Iris have already shown the world what kind of bigots and hypocrites they really are. I suspect Peter’s Ulster Resistance beret was a bit too tight


  6. Eolach June 28, 2017 at 12:03 pm #

    Gio , begrudgery is a fine word …of Irish origin I believe , but hardly applicable. The “deal” for the blood-money is that it spans two years…now you’ll forgive my pessimism , but Theresa May will , in two years time , be confined to the memory of some and forgotten by most . The DUP will be regretting their dalliance with a party more loathsome and treacherous than themselves….very unwisely , they have exposed their flank to the British public and no matter how squeaky clean they try to be during the upcoming hatefest , they will be under relentless microscopic scrutiny …. in the near future , the “Cheshire cat ” grin will be replaced by the normal sullen and ignominious gurn and if they haven’t taken a degree in civility and equality they’ll be on that ever-lengthening dole queue……having outlived their usefulness and their “five minutes of fame “

    • giordanobruno June 28, 2017 at 12:10 pm #

      I may be wrong but I think the deal holds regardless of May staying or going.
      I just think a little acknowledgement is in order, We are all quick to mock the DUP but sometimes we should be able to say they did something useful.
      And then continue to criticise them!

  7. Freddiemallins June 28, 2017 at 12:59 pm #

    I think Sinn Fein should call Poots’s bluff and agree to a joint Irish/Ulster Scotts language act. Please just allow me to be there when the first Ulster Scotts dictionary or school is unveiled. That would make all their nonsense worthwhile.

  8. Eolach June 28, 2017 at 1:01 pm #

    Gio , and when they do …I’ll be the first to acknowledge it , but I think I’ll be a lot older then. Nowhere did I read of this deal being a copper fastened one , but being accustomed to their treachery and perfidy , I’ll be amazed if it can’t be reneged on !

    • giordanobruno June 28, 2017 at 3:45 pm #

      So you also don’t think 1 billion is useful?

  9. Vincent Doherty June 28, 2017 at 3:50 pm #

    Irish Language Act or not Sinn Fein will be in coalition with them by this time next week.

  10. michael c June 28, 2017 at 4:52 pm #

    Gio ,the health service is getting next to nothing out of this.

    • giordanobruno June 28, 2017 at 6:58 pm #

      Around 300 million according to the BBC, which they say will help ease waiting lists.
      I in my childlike innocence thought that might have been welcomed.

  11. Ryan June 28, 2017 at 5:22 pm #

    Well an Irish Language Act is certainly a red line issue. Sinn Fein wont budge on it. There is attempts to have any new protections/promotions for the Irish Language diluted by having a shared “Culture Act” which some Unionists have described as “an Irish Language Act in all but name” while some Republicans regard such a “Culture Act” as watered down and not what they asked for.

    The question here is: why do Unionists want to get Ulster Scots involved in any language act? Well, for a start, Ulster Scots isn’t a Language, its a dialect. One linguist from Queens University said that when he listened to Nelson McCausland speak Ulster Scots in 1998 that Nelson was “just speaking made up words”. I’m not saying this to attack Ulster Scots, I’m simply explaining its not a language, so its pointless to include the dialect in a language act, that’s obvious.

    Also, if Ulster Scots meant so much to political Unionism, why then didn’t Unionism promote it while they held sway of this state for over 50 years? They certainly made sure parades were promoted, and even deliberately went out of their way to route parades through areas where Catholics didn’t want them (I guess that was the point).

    The truth is political Unionism knows it has to give ground to Sinn Fein, despite the assurance of Arlene Foster that an Irish Language Act wouldn’t pass under her watch. So now they are trying to dilute any new legal protections for the Irish Language. Of course they are also looking over their shoulder at their voters, so they are looking for something to spin to them if the discussions succeed. A “Culture Act” will be used to explain that it only gives limited protection to the Irish Language but a lot of protection for Ulster Scots.

    Personally, what I find worrying (and Unionists are starting to realize this too) is that a growing amount of nationalists are pretty much sick of Stormont now. Sinn Fein’s last two elections are proof of that. It use to be Unionists were the ones mostly opposed to Stormont due to power sharing but that is changing. If one half (and soon to be majority) of the population don’t want Stormont and don’t want representation at Westminster (SF’s new 7 MP’s, the SDLP’s 0) then that only leaves constitutional change as the option….Joint Rule? United Ireland? a New System of Governance? Who knows….

  12. Eolach June 28, 2017 at 6:32 pm #

    Very much in agreement with you Ryan…when one examines the past 20 years , Unionism , and its contribution in attempting to heal the still festering wounds , some inflicted centuries ago , you get nothing …zero…rud ar bith You see their vainglorious ability to insult , their prowess at duplicity and deceit , their innate ability to persistently , without censure , break the law , their nest feathering Red Sky’s , Nama’s , and RHI’s , their homophobia , their racism and their sectarianism etc etc …….why would anyone , even remotely sane , want to share a government with that ?

    • giordanobruno June 28, 2017 at 6:53 pm #

      Are you calling Michelle O’Neil insane?

      • Ryan June 29, 2017 at 12:54 am #


        I would say anyone would have to be a little bit insane in order to cope with life in Stormont under DUP/SF rule.

    • Ryan June 29, 2017 at 12:21 am #


      If I was a Unionist I would consider it top priority to, lets just say, “accommodate” nationalists whilst we’re in the UK. How can the Union ever be secure when a massive percentage of the population are unhappy within it? Loyalist Sophie Long (who, in traditional fashion, has recently been disowned by her party for speaking some sense) made a similar point that the DUP/UUP are the biggest dangers to the Union. Mike Nesbitt could see this and tried to reach out to small n, moderate nationalists in the SDLP. The result? He resigned after a terrible election.

      The reason why Unionist political parties (with the obvious backing of many Unionist voters) do the insults against nationalists, reject reconciliation, refuse to acknowledge their wrongs in the past, etc is because they see compromise of any kind as a defeat. Now, of course not all Unionists are like this but within Unionism in general there is a view that if republicans/nationalists gain something then that must, MUST, mean a disadvantage or a loss to Unionism. That’s where the “we get nuthin’ and them’uns get everythin'” logic comes from. Which is of course ridiculous. An example being when Orange men were blocked going down the Gravaghy Road. Apparently ALL orange parades are under attack because of this despite the number of orange/loyalist parades increasing from 2,000 a year in 1998 to 4000 in 2016. Sinn Fein’s “culture war” is going well, isn’t it?…..

      Truth be told Unionism isn’t going to change anytime soon. Its going to be History repeating itself again and again with this group. They refuse to give an inch and end up in the long run giving much more. Its important to remember SF/SDLP also compromise, its not easy for Catholics to reach out to people in the likes of the Orange Order, the DUP and UUP, given their pasts but its the only way forward. Its not easy implementing power sharing and endorsing Unionist mayors in nationalist run councils when not a single Unionist run council has yet elected a SF lord mayor. Indeed it took Unionism losing its majority in Belfast for there to be a Catholic Mayor of Belfast for the first time in 1997. None of this goes unnoticed by the nationalist electorate.

      I believe that moderate Unionism, the kind which can be found maybe today with some members of the Alliance Party who are Unionist, will only arise when it becomes absolutely clear to the Unionist electorate that there’s no other choice but be moderate. And I deliberately say the Unionist Electorate because its them who remove any Unionist who goes moderate and instead votes in whose who take a hard line. It happened to Unionist Prime Ministers, it happened to David Trimble, it almost even happened to Paisley. In fact, Paisley Snr was removed by his own party, apparently led by the “Mighty Dodds” as Mrs Paisley described him.

  13. michael c June 28, 2017 at 8:32 pm #

    300 million over 2 years is a drop in the ocean.A billion was mentioned initially.

  14. Eolach June 29, 2017 at 6:01 am #

    Maybe I’m not the greatest mathematician but £1 billion – £500 million ( DUP”s cash for ash RHI ) =£ 500 million . Now if cash is to be allocated as proposed…..
    £ 350 million Health Service + £ 400 million Infrastructure + £150 million Broadband + £ 100 million

    This seems like a deficit of £500 million…..I know there’s another £500 million floating around but that was already in a pipeline somewhere and doesn’t count…….I don’t think I like deals like this because when you feature the now normal consultancy fees etc etc we’ll bankrupt everyone.

  15. Eolach June 29, 2017 at 6:46 pm #

    Gio, was it a typing error or has your mask slipped….. only someone , not of a nationalist persuasion would spell O’ Neill as O’ Neil….oops….