The deal......about a deal


Well, we now have an agreement in Northern Ireland on policing and justice. Or do we?

What seems to have happened is that negotiators spent 100+ hours to create a 21 page document that is really only a deal about a deal.

You can find the document on the Chambré Public Affairs website and have a wee read of it yourself.

What you will find is an agreement that the DUP and Sinn Fein don't want the Assembly to fall over, while the UUP and the SDLP are a bit miffed at being excluded from the full negotiations.  And the Alliance Party are, well, pottering about somewhere really hoping for the ministry, but trying not to look like they really, really want it.

The deal? Well its a deal about a deal.  An agreement is where to two big parties are both the winners.  But are they?  While the big bit relates to the devolution of policing and justice, there are also to be three committees 

  1. A committee on Improving Executive Function and Delivery
  2. A committee to look at Outstanding Executive Business
  3. A committee to look at Outstanding Issues from St Andrew's Agreement.
There is also a new Parades Commission, that isn't a Parades Commission.  If you get my meaning.

So far the 'not the Parades Commission' has been filled by nominees by the First Minister and deputy First Minster.  The members are Michelle Gildernew, John O'Dowd, Gerry Kelly,Nelson McCausland, Stephen Moutray & Jeffrey Donaldson.

Apparently, Sir Reg only found out he was on the 'Improving Executive Function and Delivery' when he read it in the published document. Hmmmmmm.

The whole thing seems to be 'lets agree to disagree for a while and hope no one notices'.  Nothing overly terrible in itself if we are to keep the hope of a better future alive for a while longer.  

I wonder if they have been looking at all how inefficient this all is.  Whilst, as Ministers, they are demanding targeted efficiencies within their own Departments (which means civil servants being made redundant - sorry - I meant expeditious usage of vacancy control methods.  Not that this is putting any more pressure on the poor civil servant), they seem to be happy to potter about creating loads of committees to sit on.  

I wonder if they will have enough civil servants to take the notes??

Anyway.  The deal seems to already have a few problems.  The SDLP and UUP are not happy with the idea of the Alliance Party lifting the DOJ title as it does not fit into the D'Hondt system (It would be the SDLP's turn).  The Alliance Party are stating that they are not announcing a candidate as the conditions are not right yet (when will it ever?)  The SDLP have nominated Alban Maginnnis and the UUP will probably leave it at that.

The parades bit is complicated but involves the real Parades Commission probably being decommissioned, while the 'I can't believe its not....' Parades Commission probably wrangle away.  The real issue is how grassroots Orangemen feel about the whole thing.  Has the leadership of the Loyal Orders actually asked the rank and file?  I feel a difficult few years ahead. 

There is so much more but i feel a bit of my rant over.  What does any one else think about this? Or does anyone really care?


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