Belfast Telegraph

Charity shops have most to gain as items aren't exactly on the wishlist

By Suzanne Breen

It's a tricky old business buying presents for people and it's been hit and miss for those who showered our Stormont ministers with gifts.

Former DUP Culture Minister Gregory Campbell was given two books on Tyrone Gaelic football.

His successor, Nelson McCausland, was presented with a Gaelic football.

Will such cross-community gifts have converted either man to the game or have local charity shops received some sporting donations?

Peter Robinson was given a tie by Hillary Clinton.

She must have the First Minister's measure because he loves ties.

He has a collection of over 1,000 at home and is always keen to add to it.

The Deputy First Minister was given a wall plaque of Crumlin Road Gaol - a gesture which seems to acknowledge his past.

Except Martin McGuinness actually had a charmed existence during the conflict, avoiding decades in a dingy cell.

Apart from a few months in prison down south, he was as free as a bird.

Employment Minister Stephen Farry and Education Minister John O'Dowd top the league when it comes to individual gifts.

They both received statues of racehorses valued up to £1,000 from millionaire owner JP McManus.

Maybe next time JP will go the whole hog and buy them real horses.

Former Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew is a woman who loves life and that shines through in the gifts she received.

Boxes of chocolates, crates of strawberries, bottles of wine and whiskey were among her presents.

Poor old Justice Minister David Ford received the most uninspiring gifts - a Kyrgyzstan police hat being typical of his presents.

Caitriona Ruane is not a fan of the Police, the group that is. When a music promoter gave her tickets to their concert at Stormont she passed them onto grateful colleague Conor Murphy.

Hard-working Finance Minister Arlene Foster received two compact mirrors as gifts. Thoughtful benefactors may have reckoned that on that long journey from Fermanagh to Belfast every day, Arlene might appreciate having a mirror handy if she's ever in a rush to an event.

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown gave Martin McGuinness a copy of President Obama's 2009 inaugural address.

I'm sure it was better reading than anything President Adams has penned.

A nice gesture of reconciliation was made by Hillary Clinton. She gave the First and Deputy First Ministers presents from a top New York designers' clothing range.

So, if you see Peter and Martin sporting matching woolly hats and gloves next winter, you'll know Hillary's to blame.

Belfast Telegraph


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