Half-Day Collapse

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The Half-Day Collapse was the collapse of the Sinn Féin-Labour-UWP Executive in Northern Ireland on 23 September 2021, which lasted less than 12 hours. This collapse was condemned by many and the reasons behind the collapse were also condemned. Most thought that an early election was to take place as an agreement was unlikely to happen with the UUP or Coalition. In the end, an agreement between the original parties was struck and the Executive was reinstated.

Background

In the June 2021 Northern Ireland Assembly election, Sinn Féin won the most seats in the Northern Irish Assembly, garnering a total of 35, down from 36 in the last election but meaning that their leader, ABrokenHero would become First Minister though she decided to resign and was replaced by Motelblinds. As the biggest party in the 'Other' designation, at 16 seats, the LPNI joined the government and their leader, Lady Aya, became Deputy First Minister, though again she quickly resigned in favour of former First Minister Ohprkl, whilst the largest 'Unionist' party was the Ulster Workers' Part on 20 seats, having overtaken the Ulster Unionist Party in the election, placing their leader, KalvinLokan as the last deputy First Minister.

Though eligible, the UUP under NeatSaucer chose to take up the opposition position. This arrangement would continue until the demerge of Coalition! NI which split the UUP, leaving them on 12 seats and C!NI on 7.

Reasons for the Collapse

Relationships between the governing parties were obviously breaking down, and there had been fall-outs within the Executive. The Executive seemed to be hanging by a thread in early September.

By mid-September, a motion to call for an increase in corporation tax was read in the Assembly, as well as a Bill to regulate fast-food advertising. The UWP were against both of these Bills and decided, alongside the UUP, to lodge a Petition of Concern against them. This was seen by many as an abuse of the Petition of Concern system as the system should only be used if the peace in Northern Ireland is threatened and to stop civil conflict. Many saw this as an attempt at a filibuster to stop the Bills from being approved by the Assembly.

Sinn Féin and Labour saw this as the last straw and both removed their support from the Executive, collapsing it immediately.

Response to the Collapse

Ulster Workers' Party

The UWP issued a statement in the press regarding the conduct of Sinn Féin in the Executive and their, as well as LPNI's, turnout in EQs. The statement included pointing to the two party's failures calling them "selfish" for the collapse and claiming that they were "destroying governance in Northern Ireland". This was followed with a claim that the UWP had been "forced out of budget negotiations" and that the Other and Nationalist communities were trying to push a "Nationalist-led agenda" to "force away Unionists in favour of Sinn Féin's irresponsible management."

Additionally, the Ulster Workers' Party claimed that hostile conduct in the Executive had meant that the party was "uncomfortable" taking matters through private channels when "abuse" had been directed at the deputy First Minister in the past behind closed doors.

Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin released a statement to announce the collapse of the Executive, saying the UWP "is not a party fit for governance", citing their labelling of the Republic of Ireland as "Southern Ireland" and holding Sinn Féin and Labour to "executive hostage".

Labour Party NI

Labour also released a statement on the collapse, naming the UWP "obstructionists" and stating that "they are unable of cooperation for the greater good."

Aftermath

An agreement was reached between Sinn Féin, the UWP and Labour to re-establish the Executive less than 12 hours after the collapse. This was seen as surprising given that all three parties had engaged in major press arguments and each laid out serious claims against each other. The agreement was reached so that the partnership could continue until the winter elections at the end of 2021.

Alliance responded by coining the term Half-Day Collapse, and heavily attacking all of the parties involved in the collapse. Alliance, C!NI and the SDLP claimed that if an agreement could be reached so quickly, there was no point in the collapse in the first place.