Sunday 30 April 2017

Fionola Meredith: Stormont a 'ghost ship' as the Assembly ends with a whimper

The sun sets over Stormont in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
The sun sets over Stormont in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Fionola Meredith

'This is the way the Assembly ends - not with a bang but with a sort of whimpering diminuendo of interest," said Eamonn McCann of People Before Profit. It was the day after the institutions had collapsed, yet Stormont was somehow still rolling on, carried forward by the sluggish momentum of old, familiar habit, if nothing else.

At first glance, it was like any other humdrum work day at Parliament Buildings. Politicians - with the exception of Sinn Féin MLAs, who had apparently vanished en bloc - were going through the motions in the Assembly chamber, and committees continued their sittings.

Small groups of tourists drifted through the Great Hall, or contemplated buying a Northern Ireland Assembly mouse-mat (which could probably become a collector's item, the way things are currently looking) in the gift shop.

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