Joint Authority

Thursday 7th September 2017

The Irish Foreign Minister, Simon Coveney, is simply playing political point scoring games with his recent comments about ‘joint authority’ should Stormont collapse.

However, Coveney’s utterances have more to do with keeping Fine Gael in power in Leinster House than solving the deadlock at Stormont, which has become a pawn in the spin war between Fine Gael and Sinn Féin. Perhaps because Mr Coveney is so new into the Foreign Minister’s post, he feels the need to “shoot from the lip” in a bid to stop Gerry Adams becoming Deputy Prime Minister after the next Dáil poll.

The fanciful notion of ‘joint authority’ seems to emanate from the history of the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement rather than the climate of the present political reality. The then Dublin government used that agreement as an excuse to meddle in Northern Ireland’s internal affairs via the so-called Maryfield Secretariat near Belfast.

But that political experiment has crashed and burned.

Maybe us ‘Northerners’ should set up a Unionist Embassy in Leinster House and start dictating how the South should run its internal affairs? It is worth remembering that the British Government contributed considerable cash to help the South out of their financial quagmire when they needed a multi-million pound European bailout.

If the South cannot even manage its own economic affairs allowing them to have any say in the running of Northern Ireland in the event of a Stormont collapse would be a complete disaster.

Coveney’s ‘joint authority’ jibe makes as much political sense as turkeys voting for Christmas! It might ring bells for Southern voters in the Fine Gael/Sinn Féin showdown, but it’s a complete non-starter in Northern Ireland.

Coveney should be more pragmatic in his role as foreign minister. Ridiculous nonsense about ‘joint authority’ only serve to fuel the perception that he needs to grow up politically. He would be far better using his role to expose how the IRA used his country to launch terror attacks on Northern Ireland property and people.