Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

McGuinness was wrong to mention Mandela

Listening to Martin McGuinness being interviewed on Radio Ulster on Sunday, I wondered if there wasn't a chink or two in Mr McGuinness' logic.

To introduce Nelson Mandela as some sort of justification for unaccountable appointment of ministerial advisers seems a low-grade appeal for popular approval.

Mandela was elected to his position of president of South Africa, as is McGuinness to the Assembly. They are both irrelevant to this controversy as there is no dispute about elected representatives.

Mr McGuinness contended that a role for previous participants in Northern Ireland's conflict is important to the present peace process. Fair-minded people would not dispute that ex-prisoners should not be discriminated against in employment.

But equally, fair-minded people would contend that appointments of any sort should follow a transparent recruitment process, which includes application and full disclosure of relevant qualifications for the post. If appointees have extraordinary qualifications for a position, why should they not be published.

'Equality' is a Sinn Fein watchword. In the past, they argued that abolition of the 'jobs for the boys/girls' discriminatory practice of the unionist regime was integral to their 'struggle'.

With so many small ministries, why do ministers need special advisers? What does this tell us about the competence of the ministers we have?

C HASSON

Belfast

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