The Northern Ireland Assembly has announced that in light of and because of the Coronavirus they will cease all parliamentary meetings for the next three years, a roughly similar time scale to their last long-term absence from work.
The move comes just a few short months after the Assembly resumed functions after a three-year suspension which began on the 26 January 2017. Now it appears that the Assembly will self-isolate “in the public interest” for a further three years and that MLA’s will remain on full salary over the self-imposed suspension.
‘Protect even Catholics’
Speaking on the steps of Stormont Castle, two government spokespersons, one Sine Féin and another for the DUP, were, in accordance with power-sharing protocols, handcuffed together and only allowed to speak one sentence each before letting the other guy have his turn.
However, there was a short delay to the proceedings as a Shinner spokesperson lad cleared each statement with a few of the boys who were hovering in the background looking rather menacing in balaclavas.
“We are imposing this short three-year period of self-isolation in an attempt to protect the wellbeing of all the people of N. Ireland, even Catholics,” the DUP spokesperson said.
A nod from the lads
As he spoke, the Sinn Féin spokesperson received a nod from the lads in balaclavas and then replied: “Yeah, we agree with that.” And then added, “Tiocfaidh ár lá,” to which the lads in the balaclavas intoned “Up the RA.”
“Of course the politicians, who are selflessly self-isolating, will receive their full salaries, perks and bonuses — I mean it’s only fair,” the DUP chap told the reporters.
“Yeah, that sounds about right,” the Shinner said, but only after receiving another nod from the boys with the balaclavas who again intoned “Come out you Black and Tans,” for no apparent reason but a desire to be heard and the need to prove that they hadn’t really-really gone away.
Not surprisingly, the decision to suspend the Assembly was greeted with a certain degree of cynicism from the assembled media with one reporter saying: “Jaysus they’re just back from a fecking three-year-paid holiday, now they’re pulling the same stunt again only this time they-re blaming the Coronavirus not each other.”
However, not all the comments were negative. Political analyst Dr. Fred Dalton of the Institute for Peace and Reconciliation was in favour of the three-year self-isolation plan.
“I’m completely behind the idea of suspending the Assembly for another three years. I’ve been talking to various virologists and they all agree that the Corona thinghy thrives in a hot warm environment and let’s face it, there is plenty of hot-air in Stormont, so there is.
“But from a political point of view, in this current virus crisis, what the public need is strong and focused leadership and again let’s face it they’re not going to get that with the current shower of idiots in the Assembly. The best thing that could happen is to shagging isolate and ignore them for three years,” Dr Dalton concluded.
Can this be made permanent?
As we go to press, Meanwhile in Ireland understands that both the British and Irish governments are holding emergency talks to see if the three years of Stormont self-isolation could be perhaps made a sort of a permanent thing. More when we have it.