Sectarian campaign by small NUJ group ends with a tantrum 

The small group within the Belfast NUJ
who have fought hard to block my perfectly legitimate membership, have run out of road. 

This realisation has led to an almighty tantrum, with the Belfast NUJ social media page even stating that the NUJ “used to attract a better class of applicant”. An astonishing comment from a union that is supposed to base their entire ethos on equality. 

  

The Belfast NUJ gleefully rejected my application. I appealed this decision and won. My appeal was upheld within 24 hours. 

Despite the fact the appeals panel ruled in my favour, still some members of the Belfast NUJ resolved that they would block me from being ratified. 

Despite my letter confirming my eligibility and successful appeal, the Belfast NUJ continued to use their social media accounts to claim I was not a member of their union and make other comments about me. I posted a copy of the picture confirming all the details of my successful appeal on their page- they deleted it!
    

 
In January, their final throw of the dice also failed as the NUJ governing body, the NEC, ratified my membership. 

  

At this point the Belfast NUJ decided that they would shut down their social media accounts- which they had used to announce I was not a member of their Union. Whether this is on instruction, or because they would have had to clarify that I am a member of the Union, is not known. 

 

 

There has also been posts made on the Belfast Branch NUJ page, which refer to me as an individual unsuitable to be a member to the Union. That is an outrageous comment. I responded, as per my right, and the Belfast NUJ simply removed my post and banned me from their page. 

  
At this point I emailed the Belfast Branch secretary and requested that I be added to the branch mailing list and informed of meeting times. The secretary responded saying “no”. It appears that now this small group within the Branch also wish to exclude me from all Branch activities. 
  

This is a disgraceful way to treat any person. All groups and organisations have rules which should be equally applied.

 I have succeeded in gaining membership through the proper channels and by using the NUJ’s own rules; it appears the next phase is for the Belfast NUJ to treat me like some kind of sub-human that is not allowed to be included in activities or even added to the Branch mailing list.  

The former secretary, who has resigned in outrage, writes in today’s Newsletter that I am not a journalist. The logical conclusion of this is that he does not agree with the NUJ’s broad definition of journalism. One would wonder why he only became so infuriated at this broad entry criteria once I submitted an application. 

The former Secretary also makes clear in the Newsletter he does “not accept” the NUJ’s decision. It appears the rules are only good so long as they work in their favour; much like class equality is the ethos, until such times as they come across an application from an individual who doesn’t meet their “class of applicant”. 

Perhaps some of the outraged individuals, including those quoted in the Newsletter, could point us to some stories with their byline on it? 

Due to their stringent definition of journalists I presume subs, PR consultants or authors don’t fall under their criteria. Perhaps they will end up demanding such a tight criteria that they will exclude themselves. 

Most actual journalists I have spoken to this week are too busy covering a momentous week in politics. They have no time, no interest, in worrying about whether I am in the NUJ or not. Meanwhile others are calling emergency meetings to plan how they are going to inflict more humiliation upon themselves. 

As far as I am concerned this matter is now closed. The small cabal within the Belfast NUJ- who are not reflective of the vast majority of members- have done little but humiliate themselves with their squalid little sectarian campaign to block me, presumably because I wasn’t a high enough “class” of applicant. Their tantrum-now they have run out of road- is quite a sight to behold. 

Full text of Ruth Patterson’s City Council speech 

Before I begin this motion, let me address the intervention by the British Government this afternoon. The test under Section 1 is clear, it is a test of public concern. And I believe that is best satisfied by a democratically elected council demonstrating that concern. 

Therefore whether the British Government makes a helpful intervention on behalf of the DUP and SF or not, the Secretary of State still has statutory responsibilities under the Inquiries Act 2005 and he should not be allowed to shirk them, or bury this motion with an 11th hour intervention- to try and save the un-saveable marriage of Marlene! 

This motion comes before Council tonight to provide all of us, as public representatives, the opportunity to call on the Secretary of State to initiate a full public inquiry into the shambles that is the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.

I have listened in bewilderment as various parties have called for various forms of inquires, yet appear to continually insinuate that the DUP have some form of veto over a full public inquiry, or that their permission would be required to initiate such.

That is, colleagues, absolute nonsense. 

Sinn Fein are full of bluster, full of flowery language- but it’s all nonsense. Because when it comes to the legislative mechanism that would actually enable a full public inquiry, they want to airbrush any mention of the Inquiries Act from this motion! 

Sinn Fein have ended up at sixes and sevens over this motion. Their position, for the first time, has been flushed out. We even had that Sinn Fein stalwart, Mr Kearney, writing an article and then having to withdraw it from Sinn Fein’s own publication. How humiliating! 

SF’s reasoning, apparently, is that a public inquiry could take too long or cost too much. Yes, that’s what SF- the serial public inquiry advocates- have said. I take it we will witness the immediate abandoning of their call for inquiries into Pat Finucance, Loughall and Ballymurphy etc then? 

Their investigation proposal wants the Attorney General to select the Judicial figure- this would be the same Attorney General that is appointed by the DUP and SF through the Executive Office! That arrangement came about after yet another dirty deal at Hillsborough- but that’s a story for another day! 

The DUP of course have moved on to trying to bully the media. They don’t want the public to read any paper besides those they approve. 

Ms Fosters office worker wants us to boycott the Newsletter, the DUP are now attacking the BBC- yesterday we had Mr Wilson getting wound up about an ‘exclusive’ that was in the public domain 5 years ago! And previously they refused to speak to the Irish News! Like North Korea it appears the DUP have decreed the people may only read what they approve! 

The requirements for a full public inquiry are laid out very clearly in Section 1 of the Inquires Act 2005. It is abundantly clear upon reading Section 1 that the Secretary of State has discretion to initiate a full public inquiry if- and I quote the act- “particular events have caused, or are capable of causing, public concern, or.. there is public concern that particular events may have occurred.”
In relation to the shambolic RHI scheme, it is impossible to see how the above conditions are not satisfied. 

But how better to demonstrate public concern, than by an elected council placing on record our concern and therefore asking the Secretary of State to use his discretion contained within Section 1 and initiate a public inquiry.

The DUP have no veto, no emergency brake. They are not the custodians or arbitrators of public concern, so let us as a Council clearly satisfy the conditions laid out in Section 1 of the Inquires Act 2005, by placing the public concern on record in writing to the Secretary of State.

This is a way to subvert the DUP’s attempts to sweep this matter under the carpet. Under that carpet is already bulging with the skeletons of Red Sky, SIF, Nama, £5 land deals and numerous property scandals. And let me briefly highlight those appalling aforementioned matters, which it may appear have disappeared from public consciousness.

And talking about things drifting from the Public’s mind. Let me turn now to one of the biggest lies ever sold to the electorate of Northern Ireland. In the most recent Assembly elections the DUP, and their foot soldiers, trooped all around Northern Ireland telling the people that only a vote for Arlene Foster could keep Martin McGuiness out. Such a lie, and many of us called it for what it was at the time!

Arlene Foster cannot even speak without the permission of Martin McGuinness, well not withstanding the dubious assistance of the Charter NI advisor and Stormont Speaker Robin Newton. Yet the DUP told the electorate that a vote for them would keep Sinn Fein out! Lies, lies, lies! That, colleagues, is why my motion refers to the Joint First Minister Arlene Foster, because that is what she is.

The DUP cannot have it both ways, they want all the trappings of power, ministerial cars and expenses granted to them by virtue of the mandatory coalition structures of the Belfast Agreement, yet they want to pretend that such structures do not wed them to their partners in Government, Sinn Fein! Of course they do. So, in that regard, I was glad that the DUP’s electoral lie was woefully exposed- as the DUP leader spoke only to her fawning sheep, in an otherwise empty Assembly chamber.

Now that I have dealt with the practical matters, and highlighted the duplicity of the DUP, let us look at the burning- pardon the pun- matter of RHI.
This scheme is a farce, a waste of hundreds of millions- how many hundreds we don’t even know yet- of tax payers money. Why was the RHI scheme constructed in such a woeful manner? And who benefitted from such scandalous errors?

There have been serious allegations from a former DUP Minister, Mr Bell, of political corruption. These allegations need fully tested and investigated. 

In relation to the DUP attempts to blacken Mr Bell- If any woman, or man, feels bullied, harassed or intimidated then they should always report such matters. It can never be a case of ‘the party comes first’ and thus such despicable behaviour is covered up. However, one must few with cynicism complaints that arise only after an individual has dared speak against the party. I would wonder why no such issues arose prior to Mr Bell exposing matters relating to alleged political corruption.  

There are also other allegations in the public domain that DUP donors benefitted extraordinarily well from the scheme. If this is the case, and as yet we do not know, then this is a scandal that could well out-do every out recent DUP scandal- and my oh my, that takes some doing!

And in relation to the second part of my motion. I think every right think person within Northern Ireland believes Mrs Foster should step aside, not as an admission of guilt of any wrong doing, but at the very least to demonstrate some remorse for the horrendous squander that has taken place- and just to ensure Gregory Campbell doesn’t work himself up an end up screeching over the radio, squander that WILL take place. Mr Campbell of course does not accept there has been squander, because it will take 20 years for the squander to be complete. Such absurdity! So we aren’t raiding the current bank account, just spending the inheritance. 

We increasingly see the arrogance of the DUP, a far cry from the party I joined. A family party under the leadership of the late Dr Paisley. It is a matter of great disappointment to me that the ‘Paisleyite’ wing of the party didn’t re-take the reins following the departure of Mr Robinson, who was himself, of course, embroiled in allegations of political corruption.  

Perhaps those DUP members who ‘fought the good fight’ in the same vein as Dr Paisley may take the current opportunities available to them and turf Mrs Foster out. One can only hope.

I must say that I had great respect and hopes for Arlene Foster. But her arrogance has grown to such an extent that she appears a shadow of her former self. It appears she takes the attitude that she will do what she wants and how dare anyone- whether it be the opposition, the media, or the general public- question her or the DUP.

I hope I never displayed such arrogance or smugness, but in May I was humbled at the polls. And that is no bad thing, a bit of humility never done anyone any harm. So from a position of experience I can tell Mrs Foster, do the decent thing, show some humility and step aside- even for a short period of time. Because if you don’t, eventually your arrogance and smugness will be your undoing. 

Someone close to me said on election day, suck it up, take it all in and let them gloat- one day it will all come crashing down around them. Perhaps today isn’t that day, but it is coming, and my oh my how many people will love to see them humbled and brought back to earth with a bang. NAMA, SIF and RHI… every dog indeed has its day! 

To those in the DUP that have a conscicence. Going against your party isn’t easy. They will savage you, and perhaps- like me- you will even be savaged by the electorate…. but at least you won’t be tortured by your own conscience. History will judge you kindly.

I ask all of my colleagues in this chamber, regardless of party background, vote for what is right. Do what is right. Do not vote for your party- vote for the difference between right and wrong- because frankly- Northern Ireland deserves better! 

Cllr Ruth Patterson dismisses SF ‘amendment’ to Tuesday’s Council motion 

Statement from Cllr Ruth Patterson following Sinn Fein attempts to amend a motion calling for a full public inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005
” Sinn Fein’s statement, issued on Sunday evening by Cllr McVeigh, is a textbook piece of political wriggling- designed to get them out of the box that Tuesday night’s motion has locked them in. 

” The matter of RHI is only being debated at Belfast City Council because of this motion, a motion that Sinn Fein would clearly rather had not come before Council. 

” The proposed Sinn Fein amendment is designed- as is so often the case- to use linguistic summersaults in order to cloak their true aims in language that suggests something quite different. 

” The fact is that Sinn Fein are running a mile from a public inquiry- which can only properly happen under the Inquiries Act 2005. The amendment seeks to omit any reference to the Inquiries Act, thus removing the legislative mechanism that would give all their blustering some credence. 

” I hope my Council colleagues see through Sinn Fein’s duplicitous posturing on this issue. 

” It may appear to some that the marriage of ‘Marlene’ is going through a very public and nasty divorce. But make no mistake, despite one partner being linked to an organisation recently involved in the murder, and the other caught sharing the spoils of the family inheritance with their cronies, the marriage will soon be back on. 

” Sinn Fein are playing poker, and not playing it very well. Their most cherished possession is the iniquitous architecture of the Belfast Agreement; hell will freeze over before they collapse the Assembly. 

” As for the DUP, they are the chief implementers of the Belfast Agreement, and therefore as long as they continue to ride on that Trojan horse, they can do whatever they want. Sinn Fein might make a lot of noise, write a lot of articles and put out a lot of statements, but the DUP give Sinn Fein the oxygen to breath and to advance their ultimate goals, there’s no chance either of the partners are cutting out the other.”