Latest update: 05/02/2010
“Tough road ahead” for Northern Ireland politics, despite policing deal
It’s a big step forward for devolved government in Northern Ireland. Policing and justice issues are now to be dealt with by the Belfast authorities instead of London. However John Murray Brown writing for the Financial Times says Northern Ireland still has many issues to resolve. The four-party coalition government has few policy achievements, he says.
A politics professor at Queens University Belfast, Rick Wilford remarked, “There is little sense so far of policies with a “made in Northern Ireland” stamp.”
This is because policy-making is still very sectarian; it still comes down to “us” or “them” in several key areas of government, notably education and housing policies.
Stephen Farry of the cross-community Alliance Party noted, “If you take North Belfast, there is huge overcrowding in Catholic areas but they can’t move into unused housing in the Protestant area because that would cause a riot.”
Thee cross-community Alliance Party is likely to be charged with the policing dossier as perhaps the only impartial party in Northern Ireland politics. Farry says that the problem with continued sectarianism is it costs a lot of money. There is a duplication of many services such as healthcare, leisure centers and schools, all of which costs the Northern Ireland authorities some £1 billion a year.
Other articles in today’s international papers:
Belfast Telegraph: “Iris-gate won’t go away”
Belfast Telegraph: “Legg report: sex scandal MP Iris Robinson claimed £1,600 for bed on expenses”
The Irish Times: Cartoon of mortally ill “Celtic Tiger”
The Guardian: “My heart refuses to race to this cross channel love in”
The Independent: “Tea Party movement reaches boiling point at first convention”
Newsweek: “The Revolution Kicks Off—In Style”