RHI book exposes structural flaws in the Stormont settlement

It is extremely unusual for a recently published book to achieve ‘seminal status’; but this is the case with Sam McBride’s triumph, Burned.

Wednesday, 13th November 2019, 1:00 pm
The book 'Burned' shows that devolution cannot be restored without a fundamental reform of the structures that ultimately led to the collapse of the Stormont Executive. Photo Laura Davison/Pacemaker Press

It is important to ask why that should be? The reason has little to do with the politicians and civil servants who play a part in this sordid tale of hubristic incompetence; no, Burned is important because the book exposes the structural flaws inherent in the current devolution settlement.

Devolution cannot be restored without a fundamental reform of the existing structures.

The self- interest of the DUP and Sinn Fein (assuming the IRA Army Council sanctions a return to Stormont) indicate that neither party has the credibility or intellectual stamina to promote the necessary package of reforms.

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Letter to the editor

Devolution, institutionalises sectarian, tangentially illustrated by the campaign in Northern Ireland for the general election, and fails to induce politicians to work together for the common good.

In fact, as Burned indicates, it all comes down to the two tribal groups sharing out a very limited, and mismanaged share of the cake; the main ingredient of which is instability.

Dr Clifford Smyth, Belfast BT6