September 17th 09
No to Lisbon in Cork
Delay on transfer cannot go on indefinitely
This blog spent Wednesday afternoon in Dublin and Leinster House. The government was unveiling its proposals to bail out its banking and developer friends. NAMA is the name of the game.
On Thursday I was in Cork. Preparations for a victory against Kerry’s footballer are well afoot, if a little premature.
It should be a thrilling encounter but no one knows – and that’s the great thing about it – no one knows if the kingdom or the rebel county will prevail.
I’m not fully recovered from the hurling final but all being well Sunday will see me in the Hogan Stand. The hurling was awesome.
The Lisbon Treaty is less so but that’s another story.
The response from people on the streets of Cork suggests many are still equally opposed to Lisbon. The referendum is only two weeks off so there’s a lot of work to be done.
While in Cork City me and Richard joined a picket of workers who have been treated shamefully by the Coca Cola company.
In a scenario similar to Visteon, 120 workers – some with 40 years service – have been sacked by company bosses who want to outsource the jobs at lower wages.
They are for the Labour Relations Commission on Friday. Even this was resisted by Coca Cola.
It’s bad enough that companies are paying off workers because of the recession – it’s a disgrace that a very profitable enterprise like Coca Cola is leading the race to the bottom.
Meeting Coca Cola Workers in Cork
Meantime the DUP is still footering about over how it will conduct itself in the Executive in the north. Elements in the party are still resisting equality for all citizens and partnership in government.
Martin McGuinness was in Downing Street this week trying to get the First Minister to honour his obligations, particularly on the issue of the transfer of policing and justice powers from London to Belfast.
The delay in the transfer of these powers cannot go on indefinitely. This is a crucial issue of concern for every citizen. It is not about creating another crisis.
It is about communities who are deeply anxious about public safety issues.
This is about families who want to be sure about safety in their homes, secure and safe in public places and who want to know that if they fall foul of criminals that they can have confidence that the perpetrators will be pursued and a transparent system of accountable justice is in place to deal with the perpetrators in a fair and just way.
We can’t have that while the British retain control of policing and justice powers.
We can only have that if there is a local Minister and all of the other mechanisms in place.
There is a real sense that this issue has gone on too long.
The DUP agreed a process with Sinn Féin. It was widely publicised at the time. I like to think that Peter Robinson is a man of integrity and I look to him to keep to the agreement he made.
The British government clearly has a responsibility to honour its obligations under the St. Andrew’s and other commitments which they gave in relation to financing and funding.
So this blog looks to Peter to do the right thing by the people he represents and by the wider society here in the north eastern part of the island.
He cannot allow party concerns around Jim Allister to hold up progress on this matter. Jim Allister lost the election. The vast majority of people voted overwhelmingly for partnership government.
There clearly are elements within the DUP who are not for partnership and equality. Sinn Féin has to be patient but there is also a need to be assertive and determined to ensure the implementation of all of these issues.
This can’t go on indefinitely. There has to be delivery. Republicans are not into setting up deadlines or worrying about who blinks first; this issue is more important than all of that.
It’s about people’s right’s rights. Just like the Lisbon Treaty debate or the need to campaign against NAMA.