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Rare signs of maturity among Northern Ireland's politicians

By Will Chambre

Published 17/02/2016

Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams

Sometimes politics is weird. Okay, politics in Northern Ireland is weird most of the time. But when the leader of Sinn Fein praises the DUP you know that you have stepped into the Twilight Zone.

In context, Mr Adams' praise of the DUP was in response to other parties in the Republic of Ireland being sniffy about going into coalition with Sinn Fein after the forthcoming general election, with a "Look at me, we're all 21st century now" pitch.

Of course, our First Minister has engaged in some politicking of her own - claiming that while she had difficulty working with Martin McGuinness, "the past is the past".

What's going on with these people? Have they gotten mature all of a sudden, forgetting how confusing it is for the Norn Iron public when our politicians put their mud slings down and start playing nice?

In spite of all this, last week still had its fair share of venom. There were disagreements over the issue of abortion; an alleged altercation between Jim Wells and Megan Fearon; more arguments about legacy issues, and some colourful comments about the Enterprise Minister after he announced the end of the domestic and non-domestic renewable heat incentive schemes.

Do not get downbeat though, dear reader. Just four spats in one week is still a record for the Assembly.

But among all the squabbling our political representatives even had time to take their legislative roles seriously.

They squeezed in an extra plenary session to try and work through the backlog of Bills which have built up over the course of the Assembly term.

A cynic might say that extra sessions and late-night sittings would not be necessary if our MLAs spent more time acting like adults after each election.

Of course, that is still preferable to cutting out the entire legislative process and simply imposing decisions from above, eh Jeremy Hunt?

  • Will Chambre is a public affairs consultant

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