MONDAY Bank Holiday Monday kicked off with more predictions and hot takes on the DUP leadership race, with the grand secretary of the Orange Order stating whoever gets the top job must get rid of the NI Protocol "by any means necessary".
Rev Mervyn Gibson was asked what exactly he meant by that, replying: "If it takes bringing down the Assembly." So, after three years with no functioning government, and less than 18 months of Stormont up and running, the answer to our political woes is going up the creek without a paddle, again?
One member of the Paisley clan, Kyle, was having none of it. “Reckless nonsense. NI will not be saved by collapsing the only thing that stands between its present position and an unaccountable London-Dublin joint authority," he tweeted.
"If the next DUP leader collapses Stormont, NI will be lucky to see another 10 years, never mind 100, as part of the UK."
It was revealed this week that there were 188 patients prescribed medicinal cannabis by health and social care services in Northern Ireland last year.
It followed a question from Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw to Health Minister Robin Swann.
"It is not known how many residents of Northern Ireland are on prescriptions for cannabis medicines via the Independent Sector," the minister said.
DUP leadership hopeful Edwin Poots turned up the heat in his party's battle against the NI Protocol, despite his party signing up to the Withdrawal Agreement that it is part of, stating he is taking legal action over the arrangements.
"On completion of that piece of work, it is my intention to lodge judicial proceedings against the protocol," he said. Not sure if it is possible to lodge legal proceedings against an inanimate piece of legislation, but you never know.
In the Assembly, Mr Poots faced questions from MLAs, with the SDLP's Patsy McGlone asking for an update on the completion of permanent facilities for checks at ports.
The Agriculture Minister said the Withdrawal Agreement was "an agreement made by the UK and EU not supported by any unionist party in NI and runs contrary to the Belfast Agreement, 1998." Curious, as the DUP never signed up to the Good Friday Agreement.
"We'd do better to have no new buildings constructed," he said.
Matthew O'Toole also took a dig at Mr Poots' views on how old the planet is. Taking to Twitter, he posted a postcard depicting the Giant's Causeway, with the phrase: "Northern Ireland - 60 million years old."
"These dangerously subversive postcards in the Stormont gift shop with their questionable 'scientific' claims may not survive a new DUP leadership," Mr O'Toole said.
Politicians discussed Northern Ireland's centenary in the Assembly, with People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll saying partition had held back both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.
"We want to see a socialist Ireland based on equality, justice and solidarity, where there is a world without borders, a world without imperialist war and its true to say the old world is dying and the new world is fighting to be born," Mr Carroll said.
DUP MLA Christopher Stalford dryly replied that it was ironic to be lectured about the new world "by someone who I suspect probably regrets the fall of the Berlin wall”.
At Stormont's Economy Committee, MLAs had a briefing from officials on the £100 voucher scheme. Sinn Fein's John O'Dowd asked if the voucher will impact on benefits people may receive. Turns out, the Department for the Economy doesn't know.
“I can't answer that question directly for you, but I think the intention is that it would not be deemed as being income and so therefore the purpose of universal credit, or other income related benefits, it wouldn’t count. Okay?" an official said.
"But what I will do is, I will check that for you. because clearly if it’s going to impact on people’s benefit system that would be counterproductive.”
Another committee heard from the Assembly Commission regarding interpretation for Irish and Ulster Scots in the chamber. The Commission's director of debates, Simon Burrowes, said there may be problems hiring an interpreter for Ulster Scots, as last time they had a recruitment drive for such a position, 12 years ago, it was "less than satisfactory".
"We got no one," he said, adding the last time someone spoke Ulster Scots was the DUP's Jim Shannon... 11 years ago.
Susie Brown, head of communications for the Assembly, said cabling was installed to enable an audio feed to reach each member in the chamber back in 2008, adding: "We never used it."
Ahead of elections in Great Britain on Thursday, UUP leader Steve Aiken urged voters to think of the union.
He took particular aim at the SNP, saying their "record on education, the economy and governance all raise very obvious concerns, their calls for a Second Independence Referendum - IndyRef2 - are not only destabilising, they fly in the face of the commitments the leadership of that party made in 2014. Not only do the people of Scotland, but the whole of the United Kingdom, deserve better.”
Mid and East Antrim chief executive Anne Donaghy and Mayor Peter Johnston faced another grilling by the DAERA Committee on Thursday over the decision to withdraw staff from the ports over safety concerns earlier this year.
Ms Donaghy wrote a letter to the Cabinet Office on the advice of three DUP representatives over the concerns.
Declan McAleer questioned why the advice came only from one party, one of whom, MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, doesn't even represent a constituency in the council area.
“For point of clarity, it’s fair to say it’s not the case that the chief executive deemed Sammy Wilson and Ian Paisley to be local MPs, they are Mid and East Antrim’s local MPs,” said Mr Johnston.
“Let’s not beat about the bush, Jeffrey Donaldson is a very experienced MP,” he added.
Sinn Fein's Philip McGuigan also had some stern words about the letter.
"I’ve never seen an official write such a highly political letter, a letter that for example that could have been taken straight from the pages of a DUP manifesto or press release,” he said.
Mr Johnston responded: “No chair, I have to interject there, I take complete exception at that remark."
Religious leaders also gave evidence to the Assembly's Ad Hoc Committee on a Bill of Rights.
Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw pointed out potential "tensions" with religious groups, noting protests outside abortion clinics.
The Evangelical Alliance's Danielle McElhinney said she didn't feel protests outside the clinics "is representative of all Christians in Northern Ireland. I don't particularly feel that that shows the love of Jesus".
Written Assembly questions are a useful tool for MLAs to find out information from ministers and ask pertinent questions. One department, with almost 400 staff, is notoriously slow at answering these questions.
The Executive Office currently has 192 written Assembly questions waiting to be answered. Such questions are generally answered by other departments with the space of a few weeks.
SDLP MLA Colin McGrath found out the 192 figure via an Assembly question that Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill answered this week. When did he first ask the question? ...September 15 last year.
A proposal to have a centenary rose at Stormont has proved a rather thorny issue, with DUP MLA Robin Newton unimpressed with a response he received from Finance Minister Conor Murphy on the matter.
Mr Newton asked, via an Assembly question, whether Mr Murphy would give consideration to displaying the centenary roses, specially bred by Dickson Roses of Newtownards at the request of the NIO, on the Stormont estate.
Mr Murphy said he would “give any such proposal full and fair consideration” but referred to sensitive historic and political issues involved”.
Unimpressed, Mr Newton said the response was “petty”.