January 10, 2020
Three years ago, the Northern Ireland Assembly fell out in an argument over – believe it or not – wood pellets.
The Slightly Bonkers Reason Northern Irelands Stormont Government Has Done Nothing In Three Years
More specifically, a scheme involving burning wood pellets as fuel that some people were abusing, allowing them to make a profit simply by heating their homes.
When the scandal became public, one prominent minister refused to resign, leading another to resign in protest, leading to the collapse of Stormont and a weird political limbo that would paralyse the country until today.
After much negotiating – during which time civil servants have been largely left to fend for themselves while Westminster sets the country’s budget – things could be resolved on Friday if the main parties finally sign off on a draft agreement tabled by the UK and Irish governments.
Here’s how we got here...The scandalThe drama in question was the delightfully-dubbed Cash for Ash scandal, or, to give it its actual name, the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal.
This was supposed to be an environmental scheme whereby people were paid a subsidy towards the cost of buying wood pellets to burn for fuel rather than dirtier materials such as coal.
But the scheme had one rather massive flaw – due to some shoddy oversight, it paid out more than it actually cost to buy the pellets, meaning it didn’t take much for those in the scheme to fill their stoves and their wallets.The minister who didn’t resignIn charge of the scheme was then-minister for enterprise, trade and investment, Arlene Foster of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). You might remember Foster and her party from such political positions as “gay people can’t get married”, “you don’t really need that abortion” and “line dancing is sinful so step away from that cowboy”.Despite being in charge of the scheme and costing Northern Ireland half a billion pounds, Foster – who was now first minister – refused to resign, saying if she did then it would “have led to the conclusion that I was guilty of something improper which is not the case”.The minister who did resignEvery good scandal needs a resignation or two and, seeing as Foster was refusing to do so, Sinn Fein leader and deputy first minister Martin McGuinness decided they would instead – in protest.
The thing is, Northern Ireland’s government is set up in quite a delicate manner given the country’s tumultuous past and ongoing tensions between loyalists and republicans.
Sinn Fein and the DUP were a power-sharing executive who ran the devolved government, so when McGuinness resigned and his party refused to nominate a replacement, the whole thing came tumbling down, destroying the relationship between the erstwhile coalition partners in January 2017.The falloutAs it turned out, Sinn Fein and the DUP disagreed about a lot of different things and the row over Cash for Ash sparked a range of further disputes over traditional issues that had, until that stage at least, not boiled over to threaten the stability of the executive.The ideological gloves were off and a wrangle over proposed legislation for Irish language speakers and the region’s ban on same-sex marriage soon emerged as further roadblocks in the path of a return to restoring the government.
Ironically, the Cash for Ash scandal that sparked the whole mess was soon forgotten about and has barely registered since during negotiations. The political limboThe power-sharing impasse created a slow-burning crisis in Northern Ireland’s public services.
With no elected ministers and the government reluctant to reintroduce direct rule, civil servants have been left to run departments in a strange governance limbo-land. The situation has been getting gradually worse over three years as more and more decisions have been left untaken, PA Media reports.
But the situation has reached tipping point in recent weeks. Workers in the region’s struggling health service embarked on industrial action to highlight problems such as pay, spiralling waiting lists and staffing shortages.
There is little doubt the intense focus on the problems facing the health service has lit a fire under politicians’ feet, providing further impetus to get back round the negotiation table.The agreementNorthern Ireland could witness a return to power-sharing on Friday if the main parties sign off on a draft agreement tabled by the UK and Irish governments.
There are still hurdles to overcome, however. Same-sex marriage is no longer up for debate as a consequence of legislation passed by MPs at Westminster earlier this year that ended the prohibition, with the first marriages due in February.But the Irish language remains a key logjam. Sinn Fein has consistently made a standalone Irish Language Act a prerequisite of any deal to restore devolution.
The DUP has expressed a willingness to legislate to protect the language, but only as part of broader culture laws which also include the Ulster Scots tradition.
So the row is essentially more about presentation than substance, as both sides agree to the principle of legislating to protect the language, but are at odds over what those laws are called and whether they are contained in a standalone bill or as part of a wider piece of legislation.
Away from the language issue, there is an acknowledgement among all the parties that Stormont’s structures and practices require an overhaul. There is not yet consensus on the shape of those reforms, however.
One of the key issues that needs addressing is the controversial petition of concern voting mechanism. The mechanism, which enables large parties to effectively block change even if a majority of other MLAs agree to it, was a peace process construct designed to offer protections for minorities.
But there is a widespread sense that it has been abused, with parties using it for issues unrelated to the traditional community divide, such as on same-sex marriage and to prevent the censure of party ministers.Related... Victory For Sex Workers Taken To Court For Keeping Each Other Safe How To Change Careers: Four Women On The Relief Of Switching Jobs
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Adam McKay Reveals What ENDED His Friendship With Will Ferrell | Daily Pop | E! News
December 07, 2021
vZGkDjtPQUU
Drake Withdraws From 2022 Grammy Awards | E! News
December 06, 2021
cOQCUuo0-O4
"Vanderpump's" Raquel MOVES OUT After Breakup With James | E! News
December 06, 2021
VTCwiAgx5GM
Nick Cannon’s Youngest Child, Zen, Dies from Brain Tumor | TMZ
December 07, 2021
z-R_BTwg_GA
Elon Musk Declared Greatest Gamer But Lousy Boyfriend in New Grimes Song | TMZ TV
December 07, 2021
9Zak2eWfKKA
LIL UZI VERT RENTS NICKELODEON STUDIOS PARK ... For GF Birthday | TMZ TV
December 07, 2021
y0sQD5E8r_k
Why Bravo didn’t film Teresa Giudice and Luis Ruelas’ engagement party | Page Six
December 07, 2021
yip0fdP_dIg
John Goodman continues to show off 200-pound weight loss | Page Six
December 07, 2021
sfktyh8VIYs
Dorit Kemsley’s husband, PK Kemsley, arrested for DUI | Page Six
December 07, 2021
R3xg0lzwrnI
'Flee' Director Jonas Poher Rasmussen on How Animation Made it Easier to Revive the Past in his Film
December 07, 2021
o6R6N_vTjaY
BTS Sends a Heartfelt Message Via Video At Variety Hitmakers
December 06, 2021
4XBexjgWaxQ
VIP+ Exchange: The Future of Addressable Advertising
December 02, 2021
la03aixkBq0
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
19
Nov
ASIAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group H
Sydney FC - Shanghai SIPG
17
Nov
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE A: Group Stage
Spain - Germany
14
Nov
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE A: Group Stage
Germany - Ukraine
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Liverpool
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Aston Villa
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Valencia - Real Madrid
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Verona
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Bromwich Albion - Tottenham Hotspur
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Bologna - Napoli
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Genoa - Roma
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Inter Milan
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - Juventus
08
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen - Borussia Monchengladbach
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leicester City - Wolves
08
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Wolfsburg - Hoffenheim
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Valladolid - Athletic Bilbao
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Levante - Alaves
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Sociedad - Granada CF
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Torino - Crotone
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Villarreal
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Bayern Munich
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Manchester United
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Sheffield United
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Atletico Madrid - Cadiz
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Real Betis
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Augsburg - Hertha Berlin
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Stuttgart - Eintracht Frankfurt
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
RB Leipzig - SC Freiburg
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Rotherham - Preston NE
07
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Parma - Fiorentina
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Watford - Coventry
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Norwich City - Swansea City
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Blackburn - QPR
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Derby County - Barnsley
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Huddersfield - Luton
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Nottingham Forest - Wycombe Wanderers
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Fulham
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Sheffield Wednesday - Millwall
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Brentford - Middlesbrough
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Birmingham - Bournemouth
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Sevilla - Osasuna
07
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Benevento - Spezia
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Crystal Palace - Leeds
04
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group G
Ferencvaros - Juventus
04
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group G
Barcelona - Dynamo K.
03
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group A
Salzburg - Bayern Munich
03
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group D
Atalanta - Liverpool
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.