Take a look at this post… ‘Causeway Coast and Glens Council: Audit finds failings in land sale deals’.


Jimbo Allister showing his support for the GAA

Vote for Sectarianism, Vote for Hate, Vote to reverse the Good Friday Agreement, Vote for ‘NO’ Sinn Féin First Minister, Vote for No Change, Vote to have no Catholics about the place, Vote to return to the way it was, A Vote for the TUV only shows you never want to move forward! #DontVoteForSectarianism #LetsAllMoveOn

Don’t Vote TUV

JIM Allister Throws his weight behind Ulster GAA



The bigotsunionist politicians and loyal order spokesmen say – are the critics, not the bandsmen and never the marchers. It wouldn’t convince a child, particularly not a child whose earliest days at school have to be guarded by police.

AFTER the distress and ugliness of Holy Cross 12 years ago, this was surely a sight few could imagine anyone wanted to recreate. North Belfast had enough woe this summer, before police arrived on Monday morning to guard children on their way to school.

Red Hand Defenders – Formed 1979

Better not build tension, though, by lending credence to a mangy old fiction. Whoever made those phone threats – let’s remember that the ‘Red Hand Defenders’ emerged in the first place as the flimsiest of fake titles – few if any credited this a new grouping, separate from the UDA. The flag of see-through convenience brandished cynically over Rosemary Nelson‘s blown-up car gave the big-name paramilitaries cover, if only for the benefit of Northern Ireland office record-keepers and in their own minds, when they issued the limp denials while talking up their commitment to peace. Today’s unionists and loyalists have worked up cynicism into a strategy of sorts, limited but stubborn. Some came out and disowned the school threats. But why would anyone take them seriously after a summer’s tap-dancing around and away from rresponsibility? From leadership level down to party activist, unionist politicians who used to routinely and reflexively object, furiously to being accused of sectarianism, now use the word as a weapon. HOLY CROSS - not this fucking time !!!They throw in ‘intolerance’ and the ccomparatively recent discovery of a ‘culture war‘ to attempt to dismiss and belittle Republican and nationalist objections to marches, to swat away criticism of bands blattering their way past St Patrick‘s. What is truely sectarian, unionists insisists, is the critisism, not Orange or Black or Apprentice Boy or band behaviour. The bigots – unionist politicians and loyal order spokesmen say – are the critics, not the bandsmen and never the marchers. It  wouldn’t convince a child, particularly not a child whose eariliest days at school have to be guarded by police. It cannont possibly convince many unionists at a greatful distence from North Belfast, and by all accounts it doesn’t even fly with Orangemen elsewhere. But too few have come right out this summer and said this is shocking stuff. Nice new NI21 and senior clergy got round to it eventually but there was no immediate chorus of disgust.

Suspected car-bomb on Tuesday morning which prevented Catholic children from attending Holy Cross Girls School but turned out to be a deliberate hoxe

A car-bomb hoxe which prevented Catholic children from attending primary school this morning amid death threats by the Red Hand Defenders (RHD)

t is just too hard for Protestants to critcise elements in their own community – hard in terms of threats and ostracism, harder on their families. Watch what hapens to the Alliance vote next time out, particularly in East Belfast. Note the swithering of unionist commentators, trying to disown the entire marching season, unable to follow through. 1236041_198155473698125_382386466_nStand the words sectarianism and bigotry on ther heads, turn the evidence of eys and ears inside-out, and if you are a unionist leder in want of ideas there’s a serviceable plan heading into the a run of the elections. Accuse nationalists of dancing to republician tunes, blame republicians for fomenting the trouble where bandsmen and marchers are merely celebrating their ‘culture’, and you have the makings of platforms and statements to ward off cracks from Jim Allister about sharing power with the IRA’s decendents. Not that they can silence Allister, nor set their own people up with any reason to be positive about the furture. Billy Hutchinson, once a heartening voice for the most disheartened loyalist districts, thinks to claim the threats against north Belfast Catholic schools in reality came from republicians. If he simply beleives it himself that’s bad enough. If he simply says it, without the least evidence or care for the implications, there is a small chance of decent politics emerging from the shell of Progressive Unionism. What’s left of the UVF or groupings round local hardmen, various UDAs likewise, plus a range of indivdulas at variious stages of ‘transition’ to peaceful politics. It is grim, unpleasant and dishonest approach from people who think no further than their own next vote and voice nothing counter to the instincts of their own least privileged potential voters. The Flags Protest morphed swiftly into a disorderly mess that many wanted nothing to do with but it didn’t pay to say so. The DUP sniffed the soot on the air and trooped into court to support Ruth Patterson. Peter Robinson tinkered with his text, reversed its messagd, and presumably decided to hid out in the Everglades for as long as possible – eat burgers, ride his bike, maybe play a little guitar of an evening. It will be harder than ever to take him seriously when he re-enters our sphere. Not a goid note to quit on, but surely time to consider those offers from the business world.

With many thanks to : Fionnula O Connor, The Irish News.


Public fund Stormont office jobs

MORE than half the DUP‘s Storming team use taxpayers’ money to employ family members in their offices. According to the assembly’s register of interests 22 of the party’s 38 MLA‘s have relatives working for them.

Democratic Unionist Party
Democratic Unionist Party (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The figure is twice as many as all other parties combined. The total wage bill for MLAs‘ relatives working at Storming has been estimated at £500,000. In the wake of the expended scandal at West minister rules were introduced allowing MPs to employ one family member. No such rules exist at Storming. DUP finance minister Sammy Wilson, who has never employed a family member, defended the practice. “Provided people can do the job then there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be employed,” he said last night.”It happens in every walk of life and it’s not regarded as nepotism there so why should it be regarded any different in political life?” However, N121 assembly member John McCallister said the high number of relatives working for MLAs could give the public the wrong impression. “I’m sure many of these family members who work for MLAs do a very good job but unfortunately it does little to enhance the image of us politicians,” he said. “The perception that nepotism is rife can only further damage politicians in the ppublic’s minds.”

The register shows four Ulster Unionists, three SDLP, two Alliance and one Sinn Fein member have given jobs to their family members or relatives of other MLAs, while TUV leader Jim Allister employs his daughter as a part-time secretary and researcher. Among those employed at Stormont or working on behalf of MLAs include DUP leader Peter Robinson’s daughter and daughter in-law, foformer UUP MLA Billy Armstrong is employed by his daughter Sandra Overend, while employment and learning minister Stephen Carry employs his wife. The recruitment process for party workers is not governed by Fair Employment law, so in effect assembly members can employ anybody they wish. Mr McCallister said he was glad rules had been introduced at Stormont which forced MLAs to reveal which members of their family they were employing. “It’s difficult area to regulate but it’s much better now that assembly members must declare where they are employing family members or relatives of other party representives,” he said.

With many thanks to : John Manley, Political Reporter, The Irish News.

Email: J.manley@iiris news.com

Whose wages do taxpayers pay?

Latest New Member in East Belfast Welcomed


  • Jonathan Bell employs his wife as a part-time secretary and researcher; employs Peter Robinson’s son as constituency manger and the DUP leader’s daughter-in-law as a part-time secretary.
  • Paula Bradley employs her cousin as part-time office support.
  • Gregory Campbell – jointly employs fellow MLA George Robinson’s son as a researcher.
  • Trevor Clarke employs his wife as a part-time clerical assistant.
  • Jonathan Craig paid his brother-in-law consultancy fees for design, update and maintenance of website.
  • Sammy Douglas employs his son as a researcher.
  • Gordon Dune employs his son as a researcher.
  • Alex Easton employs his wife as a part-time clerical officer with typing duties.
  • Paul Frew employs his wife as a full-time personal assistant and researcher.
  • Paul Girvan employs his son as a part-time researcher.
  • Brenda Hale employed her brother-in-law to refurbish her constituency office.
  • William Hay employs his brother-in-law as an office manager in his Derry constituency office.
  • William Irwin employs his daughter as a full-time office assistant.
  • Nelson McCausland employs his nephew as a constituency worker.
  • Ian McCrea employs his wife as a secretary and his brother-in-law as a researcher and personal assistant.
  • David McIlveen employs employs his father as a part-tme researcher.
  • Michelle Mcllveen employs her brother as a researcher and office manager.
  • Adrian McQuillan employs sister-in-law as a full-time researcher, aunt as a part-time assistant secretary and jointly with two other members, employs a nephew of George Robonson as a researcher.
  • Robin Newton employs his son as a resarcher/constituency worker and wife as a secretary/office manager.
  • George Robinson employs his son as an office manger and personal assistant and jointly with two other members, employs a nephew as a researcher.
  • Peter Robinson employs his daughter as office manager.
  • Alastair Ross employs his sister-in-law as a constituency case worker.
  • Jimmy Spratt employs his wife as a part-time manager.


  • Alex Attwood employs his brother as a constituency assistant
  • John Dallat employs his wife as an office administrater
  • Pat Ramsey employs his wife as a driver and his wife’s nephew as a parliamentary assistant.


  • Roy Beggs employs his wife as a part-time secretary.
  • Leslie Cree employs his wife as a part-time researcher.
  • Joanna Dobson employs her sister one day per week as a clerical officer
  • Sandra Overend employs her father Billy Armstrong, a former MLA, on an ad-hoc basis to undertake advisory and constituency work.


  • Stephen FCarry employs his wife as a senior researcher.
  • Korean McCarthy employs his son on a part time basis for general office duties.

Sinn Fein

  • Fra McCann employs a nice of Paul and Alex Maskey as a personal assistant.


  • Jim Allister employs his daughter part-time as a secretary and office manager.


Pro Fide Patria

Time to end jobs for boys culture


AT A time when the ccredibility of our devolved structures has been increasingly called into qquestion, it may not come as a complete surprise to find that so many DUP MLAs insist on using public funds to employ family members in their offices.

Our investigation today has established that more than half of the members of the DUP’s assembly group have given posts to relatives of eleceted representives, with the total figure twice that of all other parties combined. Although no-one is suggesting that any rules have been broken, the thinking which leads to the selection of partners, children, ccousins and even in one case a parent is still striking. Jobs of all kinds are very hard to come by these days and ordinary voters may well think that attractive opportunities in the managerial, secretarial and research sectors both at Storming and constituency level should go to the best available candidate. Indeed, progress over fair employment has taken decades to achieve and it is reasonable to expect that MLAs should set a positive example to the wider community in this respect. However, cynics will have noted how clear it is that sharing a name or a blood line with a DUP politician provides a huge advantage when it comes to filling in an application form. After all the uproar over the special advisers, when it emerged that some parties could be handing out key portions offering enormous salaries provided by the tax payer in almost complete secrecy, this is another damaging episode. The main problem with appointing special advisers and other party posts is the almost total lack of transparency and accountability which surrounds the entire process. If journalists from The Irish News and other outlets did not persistently ask questions of the authorities and frequently receive hostile treatment as a result, important information would never enter the public domain. Politicians who are operating in previliged circumstances should remember at all times that they are spending our money and the least we can exexpect is that they should tell us exactly what they are doing with it.



MANY observers were yesterday highlighting the irony of a party which includes the word ‘democratic’ in its name effectively blocking the overwhelming will of the assembly.


But we knew this was always going to be the outcome once the DUP announced its intention to lodge a petition of concern to veto an inquiry into the allegations of political interferance against Nelson McCausland. A measure designed to stop majoritiaranism – or blatant sectarianism – at Stormont, petitions of concern weren’t something that much occupied the thoughts of Joe and Joe Public until the assembly was recalled to address the Red Sky controversy. They may now be more familiar with its workings and how it can be deployed, but it’s unlikely the whole episode will enamour them to politics on the hill. A clear majority of assembly members – 54 to 32 – supported the motion calling for a probe into the actions of Mr McCausland and his special adviser Stephen Brimstone.

MLAs had returned from recess, albeit after a few short days, and the chamber wwitnessed some passionate and at times bruising debate. But it was all for the optics because no matter how heated and pointed the exchanges became, the predetermined outcome meant they carried no greater weight than a Sunday school debating contest. In political terms we were back where we started. Unfortunately that is the nature of the Storming beast. Power sharing may the concept of devolved institutions are built on but it seems power ultimately resides with the party that can consistently muster 30 signatures and lodge a petition of concern whenever it is unhappy with a particular assembly motion.

The upshot is therefore not democracy but an inverted form of majoritarianism. It’s a system that leaves the majority party in a position where it can overrule the rest of the assembly even when outnumbered two-to-one. As proved on Monday, the DUP as it presently stands in the assembly is unimpeachable and is only likely to see one of its ministers or MLAs censured when they have breached boundaries set by the party itself. Stormount’s recent dearth of legislation has been well documented and it’s believed this lack of determination and decisiveness has turned off many amount the electorate. The collective failure to demonstrate the effectiveness of the political system by making Nelson McCausland answerable to serious allegations can only lead to further disillusionment.

With many thanks to : John ManleyThe Irish News.



‘If the first minister has something to put to me, bring it on – Jim Allister.

THE assembly heard dramatic claims of further links between the DUP and contractor Red Sky from the party’s former MEP Jim Allister. Social devolopment minister Nelson McCausland has faced questions over a meeting he and DUP leader Peter Robinson had with Red Sky management after the company had been placed in administration.

 The party has strongly denied any involvement in the awarding of Housing Executive contracts. During yesterday’s debate there was clear evidence of acrimony between TUV leader Jim Allister and his former party colleagues. Mr Allister made a series of claims after DUP MLA Robin Newton produced a photograph in the chamber which he said showed former social development minister Alex Attwood with another Housing Executive contractor, PK Murphy. Co Tyrone-based PK Murphy was one of four firms named by Mr McCausland last month in connection with estimated £18 million in overpayments by the executive. All four firms have vowed to challenge the minister’s allegations. Mr Allister said Mr Newton “thinks that there is some great importance in photographes”. “Well he did not quite produce the DUP family album but I wonder whether there would be any photographes of dinner parties in the home of [Red Sky managing director] Mr Norman Hayes?” he said.

“I wonder whether there would be any photographes of work done at the homes of members of the DUP. “I wonder whether there would be any photographes of the alleged £27,000-worth of work to partition a [DUP] office at 141 Holywood Road, which Red Sky charged to the assembly. Are there any photographs of that?” Mr Allister accused the DUP of attempting “to cover its tracks in relation to its unhealthy arrangements with commercial interests”. Earlier DUP leader Peter Robinson had challenged the TUV leader over his own ties with any companies mentioned in last week’s Spolight programme. “I have no such interest to declare except when I was a practising barrister I gave advices to Mr Turkington in respect of matters,” Mr Allister said. “Those were absolutely nothing to do with this case or anything else. “However, I thought that when the first minister rose to his feet to talk about transparency he might have been going to tell us about the details of his relationship with Mr Norman Hayes and Mr Turning ton.” The first minister told his former party colleague “to think again about whether he has any further interests to declare”. “If tthe first minister has something to put to me, bring it on,” the TUV leader said. Finance minister Sammy Wilson also told the TUV leader to be “very careful” about withholding interests. “I think an Exocet has been launched today that will eventually find its target,” Mr Wilson said. “The cant, hypocrisy and pseudo outrage that he is so good at will be blown away once that Exocet reaches its target.”

With many thanks to : John Manley (Political Reporter), The Irish News.


 With no opposition to highlight failure (and 160 press officers to deny it) our public sector is governed by a culture of non-accountability, which filters down to failed organisations such as the Housing Executive.


 OH DEAR, things are not good at Stormont (The big House on the Hill). the DUP and Sinn Fein are making nasty remarks about each other, both claiming that their major coalition partner is unfit for government. (In the interests of equality, this column agrees with both sides.) So what went wrong ? Why has the romance of a few years ago disappeared in a welter of accusation and recrimination ? Were they just in love with themselves and not each other and how will this lovers ‘ tiff end – in divorce or at  a romantic dinner ? (Either way, like their libel losses, taxpayers will foot the bill.)

There are many explanations for the failure of Storming as there are MLAs. We have time for only three. The first is the catch-22 analysis, based on the novel by Joseph Heller. In it, US pilots in the Second World War were deemed crazy to fly any further missions. But if they refused to fly, they were regarded as sane – and therefore fit to fly. The two main parties at Storming might be viewed in a similar light. They would be electorally crazy to abandon their long-held (largely flag-waving) principles. So they retain their core values, which renders them electorally sane and therefore fit for power. But the only form of power available is power-sharing, which if operated fully, would render them electorally crazy by requiring them to abandon their flag-obsessed values. By institutionalising sectarianism, Storming has created an inherent contradiction for the DUP and Sinn Fein. They are required to have one message for their supporters but the opposite message for their coalition partner. Supporters have now copped on, so both parties have taken a step back from their loving relationship.

The second theory is the spoiled child syndrome. When Stormont was re-established, the media regarded it as surpassing the Second Coming. No praise was too great. No superlatives were to super. Ian Paisley (later Peter Robinson ) and Martin McGuinness together – good God, they said, it is a miracle. But the role of government is not to look politically pretty. It is to govern – and Storming has significantly failed to do so. Both major parties were built largely on protest. Their style and substance of government shows that they have failed to adopt the responsibility and transparency which goes with power. So when this newspaper (Irish News), for example, asked questions about governance and ethics, Peter Robinson said we should not read The Irish NewsSurprisingly, Martin McGuinness did little to distance himself from the comments. When a first minister says that citizens should not read the state’s largest-selling newspaper, his government has lost the plot – and public confidence. Each party blames the other for their government’s low standing and therein lies the present dispute.

The third theory, which this column has trailed for some time, is that without an opposition, Stormont has no incentive to succeed. The parties in power can never be replaced, so failure is always an option. With no opposition to highlight failure (and 160 press officers to deny it ) our public sector is governed by a culture of non-accountability, which filters down to failed organisations such as the Housing Executive. The public are now experiencing failure in several areas (health, housing, employment) so both main parties at Stormont feel obliged to blame the other. So there you have it – Stormont’s breakdown could be a failure of systems and structures. But in any organisation, most problems stem from managerial inability. Good managers can make the most complex structures work. Poor managers rarely deliver, even within appropriate frameworks. Perhaps not enough MLAs have the necessary skills and knowledge to make Stormont work. (Have you seen what passes for debate there ?) For example, since all parties operate at various intensities of sectarianism, none has the ideological basis necessary for developing economic policy. As a result our economy is based on the show business model – golf, fancy buildings, sports stadiums and tarting up derelict buildings to hide our decaying reailty from visitors. It has little underlying economic rationale, which begs the question : If an expert panel were to interveiw MLAs for appointment to their jobs, how many would succeed ? Yes, Jim Allister would make it – how many others ? Defeat in Gaelicf football these days tends to be explained by a confusion of systems and structures on the pitch. Defeat in hurling is useually easier to explain – the other team had better hurlers. It appears that there are simply not enough good hurlers in Stormont – and there are no plans to appoint better ones any time soon.

With many thanks to : Patrick Murphy.

SF minister approves IRA statue funds

�Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 19th November 2011 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  Traditional Unionist Voice party conference at The Royal Hotel in Cookstown, Co. Tyrone.  Party leader Jim Allister gives his speech.

�Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland – 19th November 2011 Mandatory Credit – Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. Traditional Unionist Voice party conference at The Royal Hotel in Cookstown, Co. Tyrone. Party leader Jim Allister gives his speech.

PUBLIC funds could go to renovate an IRA memorial, Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has confirmed.

The Sinn Fein minister last night said that she has approved funding the controversial Crossmaglen statue which sits in an area where the IRA carried out some of its most barbaric and sectarian murders.

It is believed that the monument, which was erected in the 1970s, may be in line for up to £30,000 of taxpayers’ money.

Last night Ms O’Neill was accused of a “monstrous” decision by TUV leader Jim Allister, whose questioning elicited the information.

The funding application is to come from the agriculture department’s ‘Rural Development funds’.

When asked about the situation yesterday, Ms O’Neill said in a statement issued through her department that she had approved the monument as “eligible” for funding but said the final decision would be taken by a group which distributes money on behalf of her department.

“My officials have advised that the project appears to be eligible within the terms of Measure 3.6 subject to rigorous assessment,” she said.

She said that the project was being assessed by the Southern Organisation for Action in Rural Areas (SOAR), a group which involves Craigavon, Armagh and Newry and Mourne councils, and that it would take a final decision on the funding.

The Sinn Fein minister said that the application had come from the “Crossmaglen Memorial and Heritage Committee” as a request for funding from monies set aside for “the conservation and upgrading of the rural heritage”.

“The proposed project from the Crossmaglen Memorial and Heritage Committee is for the preservation, updating and completion of a monument located in the square in Crossmaglen.

“This involves the addition of several plaques to the existing monument. The wording of the plaques relates to the background and siting of the monument, and information about the sculpture.”

Ms O’Neill said that there had been no previous applications to the Department of Agriculture to fund the monument.

Mr Allister said that if the funding is approved it “would not only be an outrageous misuse of public money, an abuse of the Rural Development funding, but utterly divisive and incompatible with the department’s equality obligations”.

He added: “This monument celebrates sectarian murder by glorifying IRA members who made the savage killing of security forces and local citizens, such as those at Kingsmills, Darkley, Whitecross and Tullyvallen, their evil stock and trade.

“Michelle O’Neill must come clean on whether she and her department are presently considering such an application and, if so, let her urgently declare that it will not be approved. Any other decision would be monstrous.

“Measure 3.6 of the RDP exists for the “conservation and upgrading of the rural heritage”, not for the glorification of terrorism.”


IRA memorial funding dispute

A row has erupted at Stormont after it was revealed an IRA monument in Co Armagh could be eligible to receive a facelift using European funding.

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The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) recently agreed to assess an application from the Crossmaglen Memorial Heritage Committee, which means the monument could be eligible to receive funding of up to £30,000.

TUV leader Jim Allister said if the application goes ahead, it will be “an appalling abuse of rural development and funding”.

“This application should’ve been put in the bin the very day it arrived,” he told UTV.

“We’ve a minister who’s supposed, under her code of conduct, to be all-embracing and moving on, and here she is considering an application to refurbish a monument to glorify terrorism.”

Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill said the proposal from the Heritage committee is “for the preservation, updating and completion of a monument located in the square in Crossmaglen.

“This involves the addition of several plaques to the existing monument. The wording of the plaques relates to the background and siting of the monument, and information about the sculpture,” the Sinn Féin minister said.

The proposal is being reviewed by a cluster group made up of councils in the southern area and Minister O’Neill said any decision to fund the project will be made by the Joint Council Committee.

A spokesperson for Sinn Féin did not confirm whether or not the party was supporting the application, but said: “We understand that an application has been made but all applications are subject to a consideration process and set criteria”.

It is not yet known when a decision on the application will be made, but the TUV says if it gets the green light, the party is determined to fight it.


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