Martin McGuinness, deputy First Minister in the Northern Ireland Executive, arrived back in Ballycastle aboard an unscheduled sailing of the Rathlin Express catamaran accompanied by what appeared to be some minders and the remnants of the Rathlin Rave and 'chaperoned' by Mary O'Driscoll, a director of Rathlin Island Ferry Limited. The Minister said that he'd had a very enjoyable visit to the island and I understand that one of his guides on the Puffin Tour was a RIFL skipper.
Waiting anxiously to greet the Minister on the quayside for the next part of his itinerary - a visit to the Corrymeela Centre - was the Rev Harold Good, sometime Corrymeela Centre Director and, more recently, a witness to the decommissioning of IRA arms. I say anxiously as the catamaran has been running well behind its advertised 20 minute crossing time and had broken down the previous Monday. There's a tale going round that someone forgot to switch on the water supply to the engines leading to overheating but that sounds a rather unlikely explanation for a modern £1.2 million craft.
I wonder if either Minister realised that Rathlin's Stone Age arms facility has never been 'decommissioned' - well, there are no photographs to prove it.
Adds August 3, 2009
Eye On The Hill has highlighted some disarray in the Declan O'Loan press release front; Declan is the SDLP MLA for North Antrim.
“Do a draft for me? Include some nice words about Rathlin.”Well, the nice words didn't appear in the FIRST release but some of Declan's ditherings did. This is one for the political anoraks :)
I've posted the following to the Devenport Diaries:
Here's a line for you, Mark: "Who pays the ferryman?".
The DFM travelled on an unscheduled crossing on a quiet August Monday on a publicly subsidised life-line ferry.There appeared to be no OFMDFM staff or other SF elected representatives. Martin and the Minders were too late to have appeared as a support act in the week-end's 'Rathlin Rave'.