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A good day to bury bad news?

Mark Devenport | 13:40 UK time, Tuesday, 15 June 2010

I drove up to Londonderry this morning to get in place for a special Stormont Live this afternoon which will cover David Cameron's statement to the Commons and the findings of the Saville report.

Derry looked particularly attractive in the June sunshine - groups of tourists followed their guides around the Bloody Sunday memorial and Free Derry Corner. Up on the walls near the Apprentice Boys HQ, another guide waited to take people on a "Siege Heroes" tour.

Over at Guildhall square the massed ranks of the media prepared to cover the families' reaction to the voluminous report they are now studying inside the building. Some of my colleagues are heading in to try to glean what they can during an hour's "lock-in".

Earlier in the week I wrote about how the entirely unconnected sagas of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry and the Review of Public Administration were running strangely in tandem. It may be coincidence, but the Executive's failure to sort out their plans to streamline the local councils has emerged on a day when a far bigger story will push it out of the headlines.

When the former Arlene Foster appeared alongside the First and Deputy First Ministers inside Stormont Castle to unveil the eleven council compromise, it was hailed as an example of the Executive breaking a logjam. So why, under Edwin Poots, has the plan back fired?

Is it the argument Mr Poots makes, that without more collaboration on back office services, the merger no longer makes financial sense? Or is it to do with boundary concerns and unionist fears that Belfast could go green? Or what about suggestions that some politicians are still uncomfortable about the proposed governance arrangements for the new councils which would see the introduction of a proportional system to the handout of all posts?

Pay your £9 million (the bill the Environment department has so far wracked up) and take your choice. But what's clear is that the long awaited publication of the Saville report seems a fairly good day to bury some bad news.


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