SHA is on a political support machine

The Stormont House Agreement. What has it achieved?
The Stormont House Agreement. What has it achieved?

Belfast Agreement, Good Friday Agreement, Peace Agreement, St Andrews Agreement and the latest, the Stormont House Agreement (SHA).

What have all these agreements achieved for the ordinary, hard-working people of Northern Ireland? Don’t know because we are never told.

Letters

Letters

It was years after the Belfast peace agreement that we heard about the 200 “on the runs” letters that Tony Blair had agreed to, to keep Sinn Fein/IRA content with his peace plans.

We only found out because someone, somewhere made a mistake and delivered a letter to the wrong place. When the news broke all the pro-unionists were amazed that such letters had the backing of a British prime minister. First Minister Peter Robinson was so angry, upset and surprised, and he said he wouldn’t stop until all was revealed to him; who got these letters, names and addresses. Resignation was mentioned again! Latest information in the News Letter (February 7), more questions, but it is not Peter Robinson who is asking the questions, it is Lord Empey, UUP.

According to Gerry Kelly, Sinn Fein, the letters he was given to deliver did not have the names of the people he was delivering them to. I know Sinn Fein are trying to acquire more money to train MLAs how to read, write and deliver speeches, but surely Gerry Kelly could have read a name on an envelope. He may have known the recipient anyway.

As the government has now confirmed that the names of recipients were on all letters, can we now assume that our first minister and all Stormont MLAs will make sure they get all the information required to try and establish the facts about the OTRs?

Maybe who was responsible for the murders of innocent people. There are many people still grieving and asking what is being done to ease their pain and hurt. Sometimes the families of these innocent victims seem to be forgotten about.

After the SHA, we had the finance minister, Simon Hamilton, smiling from ear to ear, telling us about the great deal they had done. When he stopped smiling, he told us that he is considering selling Belfast Harbour. Makes one wonder what actually was agreed.

The present Stormont Government just cannot manage money. In the old Stormont days nothing was perfect but I cannot remember this continual begging for money to pay off debts. In those days we had people who cared deeply about Northern Ireland and had the experience and ability to deal with monetary matters.

The sale of Belfast Harbour would be a disaster.

Quite often it is left to the smaller unionist parties to tell us what is actually happening at Stormont. TUV leader Jim Allister gave us some important information about who gets these benefits and how other areas, like hospitals, schools and care of the elderly, would be increasingly hit as Stormont looks set to maintain high benefit payouts.

Another behind-doors deal, like the on the runs, was the Irish Language Act which was apparently agreed at St Andrews in 2006.

If people want to learn the Irish language, then it should be included in a choice of languages taught in our schools, just like French, German and Spanish.

The SHA is on a political support machine, the electorate may decide to switch it off on May 7.

Pauline Armitage

Portstewart