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"A Glorified County Council"

Stormont, the glory of the Six County statelet that masquerades as a country in the partitioned area of Ireland attached to an alien power, has suffered a cruel blow from an unexpected source.

Long regarded as the symbol of power of a governing elite, it began life eighty odd years ago as the home of "a Protestant Parliament for a Protestant people" determined to lord it over a minority of dispossessed, downtrodden Irish-dispossessed of their own land under successive waves of planters from the time of Cromwell, and downtrodden under political gerrymandering and the denial of fundamental human rights.

Stormont is a massive structure, impressive in its setting, outwardly proclaiming to native and visitor alike that it is likely to maintain its pre-eminent position in the political firmament for centuries.

Alas and alack, it has tumbled precipitously from its pinnacle of pomposity, its pretentiousness laid bare.

To elucidate what happened it is necessary to glance at its recent history. Reluctant to grant civil rights and unable to govern democratically, the gerrymandered Stormont Parliament was abolished in 1973 by Her Majesty's government at Westminster. A partially reformed government and parliament were elected to Stormont in 1997.

Numerically still dominated by its traditional majority it has continued to seek recognition as a state titled Northern Ireland. One manifestation of its own self importance is the unprecedented growth in the number of officials it has employed.

As revealed in a recent CBC exposé, Stormont now has more cabinet officials than Westminster and the twenty-six county Republic of Ireland combined.

The figures speak for themselves. The Prime Minister of Great Britain employs only 190 officials at Downing Street. The Taoiseach's department in Dublin has 205 civil servants. The Stormont office of First and Deputy Prime Minister has 424 personnel on its books.

When the figures hit the headlines in August, Sir Bernard Ingham, former press secretary to Margaret Thatcher when she was British Prime Minister, was "flabbergasted".

Northern Ireland's devolved government, he pointed out, was "not so much a world power as a glorified county council".

What an unkind cut!

"A glorified county council"!

The indignity!

The shame of it!


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