Back in July I posted about how Sinn Fein Executive ministers Caitríona Ruane and Michelle Gildernew may be the weak link on the Executive.
Now Minister for Regional Development, Conor Murphy MP, is under pressure over what is being described as the 'shambolic' response to the Northern Ireland Water (NIW) crisis that struck homes during the Christmas period.
Sinn Fein has no far rejected calls to remove Conor Murphy, despite already facing a motion of no confidence backed, quite publically by the UUP and SDLP. Should the DUP and Alliance give their support to the No motion confidence and Conor Murphy remain in place, it could be the straw that breaks the donkey's back, forcing the UUP and SDLP to abandon the Stormont Executive and set up shop as the Stormont Opposition.
With the Assembly Elections approaching and Martin McGuinness being surrounded by Ministers who have less than spotless records for the last year, one must question their electoral strategy. Two options that spring to mind would be
1) Riding out the storm - Potentially that after the Assembly election, Sinn Fein plan to switch some of their Ministries to those which have been less affected by the recession and mistakes by minsters. By maintaining the current ministers they don't have to expose any new potential ministers to potentially toxic departments.
2)Breaking the Coalition - By maintaing ministers which are not popular with the rest of the Assembly Sinn Fein may hope to force the UUP and SDLP out of the Executive which would bring two advantages. First Sinn Fein could claim the moral high-ground in not abandoning the power-sharing agreement and secondly by forcing the other two parties out they leave more ministries up for grabs.
Conor Murphy may face a tough few weeks before the Assembly enters full election mode.
Whats you view? please comment :D