Monday, 26 January 2009


The arcane number above is the result of dividing 11 by seven (rounded to six decimal places in case your child is facing one of the new grammar school entrance tests).

Such sums may result from the much vaunted debates in slicing the number of Northern Ireland departments.

How many permanent secretaries can be divided into any new number of departments? Who is going to pay the redundancies of swathes of civil servants? These and other vexing questions have yet to be addressed.

Nevertheless, on Monday a DUP motion tabled by Simon Hamilton to reduce the number of departments to six or seven was passed in the Assembly with UUP and Alliance Party support.
The SDLP rejected the motion (the implications for deHont selection of Ministers clear to all) claiming it was a ‘carve up’.

Sinn Féin kept their proverbial powder dry saying the time was not right.

With the faltering and stumbling Review of Public Administration yet to be completed it seems that such a slicing and dicing of “the bloated bureaucracy” (© DUP) of Government will be held in abeyance, not least until the decision is made on the Department of Justice (© Judge Dredd).

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