Ten years ago Sinn Fein signed on at Stormont and, like serial dole seekers, claimed maximum benefits for minimum work.
Before that they came late, in the 11th hour, to negotiations leading to the Good Friday Agreement.
However, apart from photo opportunities in a car park or peeping through the bars of a closed gate, they contributed little to the actual work.
But, as in the parable of the labourers in the vineyard, they were rewarded equally with those who had borne the heat and burden of the day.
An ungrateful Sinn Fein then refused to lift a pen to sign the Agreement or lift a finger to help secure a ‘Yes’ vote in the referendum.
After signing on for work at Stormont, their tardy response to de Chastelain was ‘not a bullet, not an ounce’.
Similarly with Patten and police reform, their minimal contribution was delayed until after the SDLP had done the heavy lifting and the DUP made police support a condition for continued Assembly ‘benefit’ payments.
Now after a five-month Executive work stoppage, Gerry Adams tells an American audience his party takes a long-term view of Irish unity.
In the meantime, how about actually doing some work, or any work, in the interests of all the people?
Perhaps that may even reverse the steadily receding prospect of Irish unity — caused by Sinn Fein’s long support for a failed physical force campaign, followed by a 10-year self-indulgent failure to work for political progress, in compliance with the 1998 mandate given by the Irish people. Why not begin acting as their servants, not their political masters?