Page last updated at 10:50 GMT, Friday, 9 May 2008 11:50 UK

D-day for Politics Show awards

Find out who the winners are on the Politics Show this Sunday
Find out who the winners are on the Politics Show this Sunday

One year on from devolution day and the Politics Show will be assessing the performance of Northern Ireland's 108 assembly members by handing out its inaugural political awards.

A panel made up of four political observers sat down and made their selection in four categories: Politician of the Year; Best Communicator; Best Newcomer and Political Moment of the year.

Arguably the most coveted award - Politician of the Year - saw a number of high profile names considered, including Ian Paisley, Martin McGuinness, Margaret Ritchie, Peter Robinson, Arlene Foster and Michael McGimpsey, among others.

In the Best Communicator category, there was a general bemoaning of the quality of many of the assembly members' abilities to communicate.

As one panel member put it: "I'd say out of 108 MLAs, 100 you wouldn't pay to see."

Another commented: "The pool - or rather puddle - of talent is so shallow, it's hard to draw up a medium-length shortlist even."

Assembly members who did win praise included Sammy Wilson, Basil McCrea, Danny Kennedy, Barry McElduff - who was described as a "cheeky chappie" - Naomi Long, the First and deputy first Ministers, and Gerry Adams.

In the Newcomer category, the panel singled out Basil McCrea, Anna Lo, Michelle McIlveen, Daithi McKay and Simon Hamilton. Eventually they came to a unanimous decision - as they did in all the categories.

The only dissension, as such, was over the Political Moment of the Year.

Among the events considered were the meeting of Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley last March, Devolution Day on 8 May, Iris Robinson being ejected from Stormont, Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness at Wall Street with President Bush and the resignation of Ian Paisley Jnr.

In the end, it was all agreed amicably. But to find out who the winners are, join Jim Fitzpatrick for the Politics Show this Sunday starting at 1200 BST on BBC One.


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