Despite being warned of the risks, the DUP has weakened constraints on Stormont ministers

If it were not for Sam McBride and the News Letter, decisions made in Stormont would come and go, and it seems that very few would even blink an eyelid.

By John Mulholland
Tuesday, 28th July 2020, 1:00 pm
Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill. John Mulholland has no confidence in them
Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill. John Mulholland has no confidence in them

If it were not for Sam McBride and the News Letter, decisions made in Stormont would come and go, and it seems that very few would even blink an eyelid.

Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill’s plans to give more power to ministers without having to bring it to the full executive (see news story links below), as has been pointed out by the former DUP special advisor Richard Bullick (June 24, see link below) and others, is contrary to the St Andrew’s Agreement that the DUP negotiated.

Mr Bullick believes that the DUP have misunderstood the implications of the new legislation, but the way things happen at Stormont you could be forgiven for thinking it is a power grab by the two main parties.

Letter to the editor

Whatever the motivation, not a single DUP MLA opposed this measure, despite the detailed coverage in the News Letter as to how it would weaken constraints on ministers going on a solo runs.

How could anyone have confidence in either of the first ministers?

As has been pointed out on these pages, Mrs Foster once opposed David Trimble and the very system she now operates: mandatory coalition (‘Why has Foster mellowed on SF? Maybe she could explain it to us,’ June 21).

The RHI scandal would give you very little confidence in the joint first minister when she said she did not even read the proposals.

If this negligence happened in the business world, it would be doubtful you would get time to clear your desk.

As for Ms O’Neill, how can anyone take her seriously when she wants people flying from the mainland to quarantine for 14 days yet does not show any concern in stopping people coming across the border from the Republic?

Surely this is more hypocrisy!

If this is not politicising the situation, what is?

Maybe we need to set up police patrols along the border to diminish the threat.

Do we still have to remind people of Ms O’Neill and some of her ministers breaking the pandemic rules for an IRA funeral?

I am surprised at some people in the assembly who are willing to go along with the endless scandals and power grabs and concessions.

One of the areas mentioned in Sam McBride’s report was more freedom in the area of planning.

Recent letters to the News Letter have shown that many people have concerns about how existing powers on planning are used, and think that it is an area that needs even more scrutiny, not less.

There is one thing you can be sure of: Sinn Fein/IRA will milk it for all it is worth.

John Mulholland, Doagh

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