Assembly questions!

21 03 2010


SDLP MLA Thomas Burns takes no prisoners in the hot pursuit of the public interest. No, not even his party leader it seems.

When Margaret Ritchie carried off the leadership last month, she had no idea Thomas was preparing his ambush. For Thomas had asked all departments how much money was wasted on flights left unused by civil servants. So who were the biggest wasters? Step forward Margaret’s own department with a soaring £28,865! Way to augur in the new era Thomas!

Now that Margaret has finished her first full month as SDLP leader, I’m wondering whether Thomas might be preparing another potshot at her. Mr Burns has asked DSD for details about incidents of vandalism at traveller sites in the p ast five years. Sorry Margaret, but just to be on the safe side I’d say its probably best to have an alibi prepared. God knows where he’s going with this.

Erm… go get ’em Thomas.



This month marks the third anniversary of the last Assembly election. Those heady days of 2007 – how everything has been transformed. Since then we’ve had devolved government, US investment conferences, heads of States visiting us… and an, erm, 300% increase in civil service grievance claims!

An assembly question from SDLP MLA Thomas ‘Decapitation Strike’ Burns reveals that between 2007 and 2009, civil service grievances went up from 61 to an eye-watering 190. What can the matter be?

I’m quite sure that any suggestion the post-devolution era workload is a source of grievance for our public servants is completely unfounded.



It seems decision-making in the Northern Ireland Executive, specifically the Education Department, is getting ever faster. Quickfire even.

The department had been running a consultation on its decision to cut public funding for prep school pupils. Consultation closed? Thursday March 4th. Estimated possible saving? About £2 million.

Lo and behold!

Within 24 hours, the department stepped in to announce improvements to accommodation in the Irish-medium sector. Date announced? Friday March 5th. Estimated expenditure? About £2 million.

So three cheers for DENI. You win this month’s Bobballs award for ‘Excellence in Juggling Public Finances’. Many happy returns.




4 responses

21 03 2010
Bil Al

Hi Bobballs,

I think you will find that it all comes down to who Mr Burns’ researcher is.

When submitting these questions, they are not doing it out of public interest but out of the hope that they might get a ‘headline answer’.

It is common practise at Stormont however people have begun to notice who cringeworthy it is with Thomas Burns.

23 03 2010

hi big al – yes, indeed. thomas is better than most at getting his headline, so maybe his researcher is worth the office cost allowance. do you think its having a negative effect on thomas?

i’m also starting to see questions emerging from SF seeking comparisons between the 4 belfast constituencies. this sort of comparative question looks to me like infromation gathering for a manifesto etc. Showing how great Gerry is etc. So the public purse & civil service man hours are no doubt going into finding information that is designed simply to furnish election literature. outrageous eh?

21 03 2010

Re: Juggling numbers,

Hmmmm A coincidence?? Surely not.

22 03 2010
John K Lund

In view of the Roman Catholic Church’s past performance performance in running educational establishments; is it not the time to integrate all State funded education and stop the form of apartheid which has been inflicted upon the RC Youth and been one of the root causes of sectarianism.

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