Monday, 1 February 2010

Parading and deals

WHILE party leaders and chief negotiators have been huddled together in Hillsborough, one has to wonder whether they have been paying attention to the ‘rest of the news’.

Already the talking has caused Assembly Committee meetings to be halted, and plenary sessions of the Assembly to be sparsely attended on such issues as special educational needs of children.

And, there have been a raft of job losses and factory closures.

As the DUP and Sinn Féin posture and pontificate, could they spare the time to explain to a parent of a child with severe autism, or a skilled worker made redundant what was the point of putting Northern Ireland into political hiatus?

Parades affect a few thousand people at most over a couple of weeks in the summer when the rest of the populace heads for sunnier climes or Donegal. And any Minister of Policing and Justice will have policing powers that amount to not much more than those of the Policing Board and DPPs – where politicians of all hues already sit.

In other words, what’s the point?

Only a cynic would suggest that it’s about covering electoral posteriors.

And right now in Northern Ireland there seems to be a growing number of cynics amongst the health care workers, struggling classroom teachers, those signing on the dole and the parent wondering whether their child will ever get the service they are entitled to.

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