There’s a general rule that
law made in haste is bad law.
And so the Assembly Commission proved again on Thursday when they banned filming at Stormont everywhere but the press point in the Great Hall and made cross-party (actually, just three MLAs) support a precondition on public events being held in the Long Gallery. All in order to reduce the publicity around Sinn Fein’s event on Friday to celebrate the life of Maireád Farrell on International Women's Day.
Bad law on two counts.
Firstly, the event went ahead in Sinn Fein’s offices at Stormont, complete with filming. So the quickly-enacted ban was ineffective on that count.
Secondly, while not their intention, the filming restrictions imposed on Thursday technically blocks the filming of Assembly business in the main chamber! Cutting off the feed for Stormont Live later this afternoon.
Maybe Jim Fitzpatrick and Mark Devenport could act out scenes from proceedings instead. Time to break out the sock puppets and some of Sean Crummey’s impressions?
While the commission are planning to meet again this morning (Monday) to review and revise their original ruling and make sure that TV coverage is not affected, it does look like a case of
Act in haste, reword at leisure?
Update - Blanket filming ban lifted before lunch.