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Tweet Wars

Mark Devenport | 15:47 UK time, Thursday, 7 April 2011

This has been Northern Ireland's first real twitter election and generally I've been sceptical about how much of a difference that makes, other than having politicians tell us they've just completed an excellent canvass. But there are exceptions that prove the rule. The Ulster Unionist Health Minister Michael McGimpsey and Sinn Fein's Martina Anderson have just demonstrated that you don't have to be staring at each other across the Assembly chamber to have a good ding dong.

Mr McGimpsey tweeted that he'd received a warm response strolling around Sandy Row in South Belfast. Ms Anderson responded "You want to try walking about Foyle - then you would get the true measure of views held of you": a clear reference to his decision not to press ahead with the Altnagelvin radiotherapy centre.

The Health Minister hit back "was it not Sinn Fein/DUP/Alliance who voted FOR health cuts? I remain committed to Altnagelvin & work will continue when money becomes available." But Ms Anderson replied scornfully "Remain Committed! Catch yourself on. It will be the incoming Executive that will deliver the Cancer Unit not you, Michael Tory"

Mr McGimpsey enquired whether that meant "Sinn Fein will be taking health in the next Executive to deliver it? Im glad to hear it." Back came the reply "you can rest assure that whether we take it or not we will be making sure it's delivered:Executive doesn't need your permission".

All good knock about stuff, as recognised by Stephen Nolan who promptly invited both of them onto the airwaves to which only Ms Anderson responded with "Ready Willing & Able When?"

Martina versus Michael. As Harry Hill might say there's only one way to sort this out....fight!

On a more peaceable note, the SDLP's Claire Hanna and Sinn Fein's Conor Maskey have been swapping tales of terrible canvassing experience, egged on by blogger AlaninBelfast. Ms Hanna recounts being told to get lost in no uncertain terms by a householder and beating a hasty retreat - she then made her way down the next drive and knocked the next door, only to discover it was a seperate entrance to the same irate voter's home.

But Conor Maskey beat that with his moving account of winning over a more supportive constituent. As he walked away, chalking the house up as a likely vote, some local kids kicked a ball in his direction. He blasted it back, smacking the son of the friendly voter full in the face.


  • Comment number 1.

    Anderson and her comrades will be fully implementing the cuts post election but don't tell anyone until then.

  • Comment number 2.

    Having looked at the detail of the health budget and the failure of Sammy Wilson to sign off the plan since October , whilst it increases by 2% year on year it does show a deficit and does not allow for inflation currently near 5% .M McGimpsey is correct and all the floss from the DUP and S/Fein looks more like they were the ones playing politics with the health service to inflict electoral damage to the UUP.

  • Comment number 3.

    Its no secret that the Sdlp on a sliding scale in the run up to the election have become more vocal in there opposition to Sinn Fein. Snide remarks and cheap jibes don,t however take the place of real political change championed by Sinn fein.
    Sinn Fein is the party that has promoted equality in every department in government.
    In the 26 counties Sinn Fein put forward its vision to the people and to lead the ordinary working class people in taking a stand and the party returned 14 TD,s. Today Sinn fein takes its place as the only all Ireland party in the Dáil, Stormont , Europe and councils across Ireland.
    While some pay lip service to a united Ireland Sinn Fein forge ahead with its vision and make the unification of the country a priority.

    There are still many challenges facing us all in the times ahead and a strong mandate for Sinn fein in this election will bring about change, change in the way our children are educated so every one of them has a real chance and none are classed as failures. Change in Policing, when others jumped Sinn fein held its nerve and helped bring about a non sectarian service which the community supports and created. This in itself gave the potential for change in the political landscape on this island forever. Sinn fein got it right.

    It seems the only time in recent times anyone in the party got it wrong was indeed when Conor Maskey hit in the face with a ball a friendly voters son whilst on the campaign trail, so it,s as well Sinn fein has helped secure £60m to reconstruct Casement Park as the provincial headquarters for Gaelic Games in Ulster. (Maybe some money could be put aside for training).

    So folks across the island Sinn Fein are working hard for the ordinary people and in this election ask again to help them on the road to real change. Either that or join the n,n,n,n,m,s....NO NAY NEVER NO MORE,S.

    Eyes wide open .......Onward to victory

  • Comment number 4.

    "Executive doesn't need your permission" ... Martina Anderson

    A succinct summation of the role of les petits dictateurs who most likely will occupy the OFMDFM office post-election.

  • Comment number 5.

    Post 3. That was a party political broadcast for the failed united Ireland party.

    Is the 60mil to put energy efficient lights in Casement, it feels like daytime everytime I pass it - or is it to help reimburse the Northern Bank for the funding gap it faced a few years ago!

  • Comment number 6.

    Stonehills: Maybe the next time your passing casement you might call in and help one of the many teams who would be training under the lights. I note your linking northern bank robbery with casement park! Tell me why? In fact don,t tell me tell the PSNI.

    Eyes wide open ......By the way the lights run of generators.

  • Comment number 7.

    What about Ian Paisley Junior having his phone hacked by reporters from the News Of The World.

  • Comment number 8.

    The issue of can we can't we afford the Altnagelvin radiotherapy centre would have been so much less of an issue if the Executive had not opted to comit the resources required to fund their share of the PMS rescue package.

    That being said I suppose those who will claim credit for delivering the package will expect pay back in the form of votes at the May elections.

    As a non PMS member I personally would have preferred to see progress with the Altnagelvin radiotherapy centre.

  • Comment number 9.

    The bullying tactics of Robinson/mcguinness will backfire. We all know the health minister had to make hard decisions. The DUP seem to have learnt very little from Robinson's humiliation in East Belfast. Unionists do not like politicians who appear to have their snouts in the trough.

  • Comment number 10.


    If the IRA did carry out the Northern Bank robbery, and there is no evidence to prove that they did, then fair play to them. If they are spending the money on community projects such as the lights at Casement Park, then fair play to them. They are putting money back into the community. The Northern Bank only ever robbed the people in the first instance; they were one of the worst offenders of illegal charges and they should, if what you say is correct, take their oil!

    Like eyeswideopen1 said before, if you have any evidence, take it to the PSNI. If you don't put your evidence forward, you are perverting the course of justice.

  • Comment number 11.

    You will find 'volunteers' spending the proceeds of the Northern Bank robbery in a number of well known bars in the city centre. It is a community project to enhance the licensed trade.

  • Comment number 12.

    I see Jeffrey Donaldson was a guest at a recent Tory party donor dinner in Scotland. So have the Tories dumped the UUP? And are they now trying to woo the DUP into some sort of political marriage?

  • Comment number 13.

    #11 maxmerit

    If as you say is correct, they are spending the money on creating jobs in the licensing trade in the city centre, then surely that is better than what the British government is doing. And that is squandering the people's money on weapons of mass destruction, and dropping them on innocent men, women and children all over the Arab world. At least the Provos have committed themselves to peace; it's a pity the Brits won't do the same. There be be no recession if that were the case!!!

    And of course you will be taking your evidence to the Strand Road? If not, again, you are also perverting the course of justice!!!

  • Comment number 14.

    Evidence and justice. You miss the irony I think, or maybe its just pot, kettle and black. Sadly its the men of the past who are trying to wreck our wee country's future. Have to echo the sentiments of Jim McA and Tom E - those in the know should shop their former masked colleagues. Thats much more important to all of us than a few quid.

  • Comment number 15.

    #14 Stonehills

    And perhaps those unionists in the know should shop their former masked colleagues too. The ones who are dragging young Protestants out of the classrooms and into the drug gangs. You see, that type of rhetoric works for a lot of our politicians. Many have danced with the devil, and not just the republican variety!!!

    Open your other eye and take a look around your own backyard before peeking over the fence at your neighbour's back yard!!!


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