NI’s surreal crisis

Update: Thursday 20th April:


Sunday 12th March:


Friday 3rd March:

Election Day:

Power-sharing in the balance as Northern Ireland heads to polls


Politicians in Northern Ireland are gearing up for an Assembly election on March 2nd, a mere eight months after the previous one. The campaign, which is likely to see a return to partisan divisions, was made more probable following the resignation of Sinn Fein’s veteran Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, and has been brought to the boil – sorry – primarily over the handling of a controversial green energy scheme.

Meanwhile, while Belfast has no sitting Assembly, the British Supreme Court ruled that devolved administrations had no right to be directly consulted over the London government’s plans for Brexit.

Latest developments:

See the parties’ election broadcasts at the BBC here (scroll down to 2017).

Tuesday 28th Feb

Sat 25th Feb

Weds 22nd Feb

Mon 20th Feb

Thurs 16th Feb

Weds 15th Feb

Sun 12th Feb

Sat 11th Feb

Fri 10th Feb


Weds 8th Feb

Tues 7th Feb

Mon 6th Feb

Sun 5th Feb

Fri 3rd Feb


Thurs 2nd Feb

Weds 1st Feb

Tues 31st Jan

Mon 30th Jan

Sun 29th Jan

Thurs 26th Jan

Tues 24th Jan

but, it seems some people are happy not to have a voice..

Mon 23rd Jan

Sun 22nd Jan

Sat 21st Jan

Thurs 19th Jan

Mon 16th Jan

Sun 15th Jan

Sat 14th Jan

Fri 13th Jan

Thurs 12th Jan

Weds 11th Jan

Two good big-picture reads today:

In Westminster today…


How Monday’s day of drama played on local front pages:

The resignation meant the First Minister, the DUP’s Arlene Foster – who had resisted stepping aside while an inquiry into the scheme took place – was also automatically  “resigned” from her post in the power-sharing executive.

What happens next?

Basically, if SF does not nominate a DFM by 5pm next Monday, the Assembly will cease to exist and it will fall to the Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire to set a date for an election, with wide-ranging implications not just for the province, but for the British government’s plans on Brexit. It will be an interesting few days, weeks and, likely, months.

Read this thread for a quick overview.

RHI timeline from the BBC.

Stay tuned. There’s more to come.

Tues 10th Jan

Alex Kane writes in the News Letter that the DUP leader “should step aside for good.”

In 30 or so years of observing and writing about the DUP I don’t think I have seen them make such a calamitous dog’s dinner of a problem as they have of the RHI saga.


And in case you were wondering, this isn’t the First Minister.


Previously on the Note

Northern Ireland nears election deadline – Jan 16

Northern Ireland on brink of election – Jan 10

Arlene’s “love glasses” – Jan 7

Foster’s credibility under scrutiny – Jan 5, 2017

First Minister faces no confidence vote – Dec 19, 2016

RHI – The ‘biggest shambles since DeLorean’ – Dec 7