Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Who will be boss of the Northern Ireland Civil Service? Foster-O’Neill Deadlock, Frantic Piggies 🐷 in Queue for £182,272 top job

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Ugly scenes are visible at the highest levels of Belfast’s assembly government, rivalling FFFGGG coalition government jobbery in Dublin. Anything Fianna Fáil Fine Gael and the Greens can do in Leinster House is matched by the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Féin in Lord Carson’s Stormont.

🐷 Three piggies are slugging 🐌 it out, frantic to slurp alone at a very expensive trough – it is called Head of the NI Civil Service.

“In July, it was reported that the NI Civil Service was offering a salary of up to £188,272 for its top job.

The NI Civil Service employs about 22,845 staff and has a total annual budget in excess of £20bn.”

First and Deputy First Ministers Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill hold the keys 🔑 needed to unlock 🔐 a pot of gold, but can’t agree which of three piggies’ snouts 🐽 is the winner.

Sisters Grim Arlene Foster & Michelle O’Neill deadlocked at Stormont – who gets top job worth £188,272 a year?

“The First and Deputy First Ministers have failed to appoint a new Head of the Civil Service in Northern Ireland following a round of interviews.

It is understood that three candidates were interviewed on Wednesday, but were unsuccessful.

In a statement, an Executive Office spokesperson confirmed an appointment had not been made.

They said the “next steps are currently being considered”.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said she hoped the Executive Office would be shortly able to appoint an interim Head of the Civil Service, until a new full recruitment process can take place.

The post has remained vacant since David Sterling stepped down at the end of August.

He had worked in the civil service for more than 40 years, joining in 1978.

It is understood the three candidates interviewed yesterday were Sue Gray who is Permanent Secretary with the Department of Finance, Peter May who is Permanent Secretary at the Justice Department and Richard Pengelly who is the Permanent Secretary at the health department.”

BBC NI political correspondent Mark Devenport asks an awkward question about this shambles :

“the failed recruitment process wasn’t limited to internal applicants but advertised publicly. To attract a new field of business executives with a track record of managing 20,000 plus staff in the private sector, Stormont might have to radically increase the £188,000 salary ceiling. How would that go down with the public in these challenging economic times?”

One favoured piggy is probably Richard Pengelly, husband of former DUP South Belfast MP, the notorious bigot Emma Little-Pengelly. After Claire Hanna of the SDLP secured a landslide 15401 vote victory over Little-Pengelly in the December 2019 Westminster General Election, Emma did not have to worry about the dole queue. She became a full-time advisor to Stormont First Minister Arlene Foster.

Defeated ex-MP’s Emma Little-Pengelly and Nigel Dodds with DUP colleagues at Belfast’s Titanic Centre in December 2019 – Electoral humiliation, North and South Belfast Westminster seats lost.

The Democratic Unionist Party knew that Little-Pengelly was odds-on to lose her Westminster Seat. Sinn Féin did not contest this seat, and its supporters were encouraged to vote SDLP.

Emma Little-Pengelly donned an outfit inspired by Cruella de Vil (or, maybe, Morticia Addams) at the General Election Count. Grim-Faced Nigel Dodds (who lost his North Belfast seat to Sinn Féin’s John Finucane) carried the demeanour and uniform of the undertaker from hell (Red-Tied Man Glaring with Menace, to the Right of Little-Pengelly in the above picture).

Ms Little-Pengelly’s father, Noel Little, is a well-known loyalist, and was an active supporter of his daughter’s election campaigns. Noel’s diligent role buying South African weapons in the 1980’s and 1990’s for loyalist paramilitaries featured in a BBC Spotlight Documentary Series on the Troubles. This was an unattractive CV for many South Belfast voters.

“The programme accuses Noel Little of sourcing arms, a shipment that in 1987 was split three ways between the UDA (immediately intercepted), UVF (lost a short time later) and Ulster Resistance, whose stash of automatic rifles, grenades, rocket launchers were not stored up in case of some doomsday scenario but were shared with the other organisations and can be tied back to murders including Michael Stone’s Milltown cemetery attack.”

Spotlight on The Troubles: A Secret History (episode 5): a dirty war with unionist political support for loyalist insurrection, security service and government support for collusion (BBC One NI and BBC Four at 9pm)

The DUP / loyalist paramilitary election campaign is described below.

“The banner, which appeared at the junction of Oak Street and Donegall Pass on Thursday, asks the question: “Will the Shankill bomber be campaigning for the Sinn Fein/SDLP joint South Belfast candidate.”

An SDLP spokesperson said the party has already made it clear Sean Kelly will not be canvassing for any of its candidates. A party spokesman said Ms Hanna would not be commenting on the banner.

Colum Eastwood said the suggestion Kelly would be part of their campaign trail was “absolutely and totally offensive and nobody believes it”.

Michelle O’Neill is mired deep in pig-shit. Perhaps somebody from the big-house farm at Westminster will have to appoint a new piggery-manager in Belfast?

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