Row shines light on Stormont corridors


What to call the verbal fisticuffs between the DUP's Jim Wells and a Sinn Fein minister and her controversial former adviser?

Initially when I reported on it last week I settled on the term "corridor wars".

But the full report now available on the Assembly website makes it clear one of the altercations took place in a Stormont stairwell.

So maybe Monstergate is a better title, given Mr Wells' admission he called Mary McArdle a "monster adviser".

Although theoretically a seven-day exclusion was dangling over Jim Wells' head, it was always clear unionist MLAs would rally to the South Down member's cause.

In the end, they didn't need the Petition of Concern they had signed - the proposed punishment was rejected on a straight majority.

Once again, the episode shows us the personal degree of animosity that still exists between some unionists and republicans (amply illustrated at the weekend by Jim Allister's description of the Deputy First Minister as the "personification of evil".)

However, this has to be set alongside the fact that as the DUP and Sinn Fein troops launched their verbal assaults on each other, their respective leaders were unpacking their bags after a week-long joint selling pitch in China.

Stormont might feel frosty if you find yourself stuck in the same lift as Jim Wells and Mary McArdle, but the Assembly Speaker reported "a real family atmosphere" in the building as nearly 5000 people visited to celebrate Stormont's 80th birthday.

Monstergate appeared unedifying and not the kind of behaviour you would expect in an ordinary workplace.

But this Wednesday, Mary Travers' sister Ann will give evidence to the finance committee on the appointment of special advisers.

Her appearance in front of the committee, 28 years after her sister's murder, will illustrate that Stormont is still far from an ordinary workplace.

Mark Devenport Article written by Mark Devenport Mark Devenport Political editor, Northern Ireland

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  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    It can't be such a big deal that we're not allowed to comment on each and every article on the BBC, I'm sure Jeremy Paxman would have something to say about that (something along the lines of the BBC website becoming facebook or the like).

    As for the article, surely if you have the nerve to end someone's life, being taken to task by a little finger wagging is water off a duck's back?

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    I would suggest that the BBC should be seen as a non political organisation hence allow open discussion of topics not tinged with any undertones. Other blogs I have visited but declined to participate in have been one sided and biased in their portrayal of the facts.
    This should be a vibrant blog attracting all view points from every community in NI. However it's not!

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    4.Moldewart - ".......Maybe it would start to see how far from 'common view' it has diverged..."

    Not forgetting that those that are anti something speak out more than those in favour (marketing experts have spent many millions proving this down the years) so just because a lot of folk gob off about something does not mean it is a common view.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Absolutely agree, so many important topics which we are not 'allowed' to comment on, the BBC would do well to allow the licence fee payers to choose what they want to air their views on. Maybe it would start to see how far from 'common view' it has diverged...

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    I totally agree with you, the reason we don't get that much participation on this blog is the limited topics. There is so much to discuss from the state of our economy, unemployment, the fact that we are looking to lower the bar with regards education in stead of raising it. So much but no where on "our" BBC.
    What about letting us suggest a topic for Mark and his colleagues to report on.


Comments 5 of 7



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