Curtain Falls on Stormont Farce – By Brian Rowan 



You read in some of the statements and words of this political play an attempt by some to wash failure from the face of these talks.

But those who have been watching closest and closely will not have their eyes wiped.

They can see through the spin and the meaningless and muddled sentences.

See the DUP and Sinn Fein in different trenches.

Hear Arlene Foster describe an ever-growing republican shopping list; Simon Hamilton’s reference to Sinn Fein demanding a 10-0 win; and read a senior DUP source on this website offer these words after the recent snap election results: “There’s no point having a strong unionist turnout to have weak unionism.”

Sinn Fein, he said, was being “100% pig-headed”.

These talks had arrived at a roadblock.

Listen to Gerry Adams speak on the rights issues that need to be resolved.

“The reality is that the Sinn Fein electorate will not consent to be governed by the DUP on their terms,” he said.

Before there is any Executive, Adams wants “great clarity” on agreements and how they will be delivered across Irish language, marriage equality, legacy and other matters.

This is the continuing standoff and stalemate as these negotiations wander towards some autumn effort to fix what is so badly broken.

In the latest statement from Secretary of State James Brokenshire there is talk of progress and gaps.

He will “reflect carefully in the coming days”.

There seems to have been a lot of that in this start-stop process. The overriding priority remains the restoration of an inclusive power-sharing Executive, Brokenshire said.

There is no new deadline. This a wise decision given the number of dates that have been set and broken.

How long will this take?

We don’t know.

One insider described a different character to this negotiation, using a sporting analogy of defensive football at its worst. This a reference to the DUP – “no one out of their own half”.

The DUP has been on the back foot, the spring returning to its step only after the recent snap election.

Since then, it has enjoyed the bright lights and stage of London; the influence of its Westminster numbers propping up the May Government.

On Tuesday, as the obvious became even more obvious – that there was to be no summer deal at Stormont – Adams accused the Tory Government of “a monumental failure”.

Will the DUP and Sinn Fein now benefit from some time away from each other?

Away from the Castle, away from the media.

We will not know the answer to that question until the autumn.



Stormont has let the grass grow under its feet.

The same work will be waiting in the autumn, the same issues, the same negotiators.

Those who thought that Martin McGuinness would not resign in January and that the institutions would not collapse were wrong.

Some of the supposed big players in these talks have been badly advised.

They didn’t get it, and this is something else that needs to change.

That is if they want the Executive back in place.

4 thoughts on “Curtain Falls on Stormont Farce – By Brian Rowan 

  1. As an interested party, no a vested interest, in education I watch with increasing despair. We have no budget, no money and no prospect of stability. Our representatives posture, they look for issues that will separate and divide them. How important is language, gender equality, cultural identity and the other issues. In and of themselves – very. In the context of a failed state, they can wait. Schools with large classes, crumbling buildings – A&Es on life support, doctors/nurses on their knees – butl let’s make sure the ancient history is looked after first. Let’s make sure we can best the old enemy. Do the green half really care about the gay community…maybe and does the blue half agonise over the decline of an Ulster Scots (or bad grammar) tradition – maybe. When you take public office, there a responsibility to hold your nose, swallow your pride and prejudice, get on with doing good for all of the young and old and the in betweeners.

    • George, I find some of your points a little bit despairing to be honest, though I appreciate your overall sentiment.

      Whilst I would like to see the Assembly how back up and running, and as you have said, you want politicians to ‘get on with doing good for all of the young and old and the in betweeners’, you previously state that:

      ‘How important is language, gender equality, cultural identity and the other issues. In and of themselves – very. In the context of a failed state, they can wait’

      These issues effect young and old alike, and the inbetweeners. If we want our state to become one that is no longer failed and works for all as you so eloquently described, then the issues highlighted above need to be fixed and dealt with now, not kicked down the road as they have been for the past 20 years.

      It is a crying shame that agreements have been reneged on, that parties are not wanting to talk or that others wish to deny rights that, whilst they are not in favour of their exercise, would not adversely affect them if exercised.

  2. What we have here is back to the future with the DUP and the old unionist cry of no surrender to nationalist as they wish to return to a Protestant Parliament for a Protestant people
    TIME they woke up and smelt the coffee there will never again be a stormont domination of nationalist/republicans that day is gone and gone for good this generation of Croppies will not lie down or rollover to unionist/dup/loyalist bigotry

  3. Brokenshire needs to book the assembly, lock stock and barrel, into HMP Magilligan for three months for starters. They can earn their release by creating an agreement for a civil society which we and our children can live in with peace and prosperity. If they want to stay in the past, with no idea of real politics, budgets, unemployment, poverty, disease, education, social welfare and prosperity well they can stay in HMP Magilligan. They are no use when they are let loose.

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