12 Dec

A Wry Eye – Time to Dock

WHEN cast adrift on turbulent seas the wise politician seeks calmer waters and a safe place to dock…unless it happens to be at Strangford.

Not content with seeing £400m going up in smoke in the renewable heat fiasco, the controversy continued last week with news that the new £6m Portaferry to Strangford ferry can’t work when the lough is at high tide.

Of course, we can’t blame ministers for the ferry, as they are not maritime engineers, but the blame was being spread widely over the renewable heat initiative that saw millions go up in smoke, literally.

When a whistleblower revealed the problems with the scheme the First Minister, Arlene Foster, was head honcho at the Department of Enterprise.

However, the game of throwing accusations and demands to appear in front of various committees is right now what could be best described as a media mini-tsunami: the type that threatens a huge wave, but ends up a tiny ripple.

While Ms Foster’s comrade Simon Hamilton tried to defuse the situation with an on-air apology to the whistleblower, the critics hadn’t been pacified.

Elsewhere, our MLAs are already winding down for their Christmas break. There are no plenary sessions this week, and only a few committee meetings left before the political class crack open the champagne, prosecco or non-alcoholic alternatives.

Sure there will be a little shouting and accusations as if there is a compulsive need to hear their own voices. Such shouting may generate enough heat to offset losses by powering Parliament Buildings for years to come.

Come next year with Brexit etc there should be enough hot air to get enough energy for most of Belfast and beyond.

In the meantime the north west is thinking about the future, Brexit or not. The cash-strapped Executive is spending up to £5m on a new office development in Derry~
Londonderry on the site of the former Ebrington Barracks.

One can only hope that someone will make sure that the Foyle doesn’t flood, and that a hurricane doesn’t strike. They might consider building a dock nearby so staff can make a hurried getaway. Apparently there’s a ferry going spare at the minute…

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