One aspect of the controversy about Belfast Lord Mayor Niall O'Donnghaile that has not received much attention is the fact that at some point in the ceremony he went off to make or take a telephone call. Now anyone who has been in the position of Lord Mayor for six months will know to turn their mobile phone off, or have it on silent and just ignore it. However, according to some reports, he was on the phone during the ceremony. Now on the basis of the above it is very unlikely that he was taking a call. It is much more likely that he was making a call.
Indeed in those circumstances I would suspect that he was phoning some of his Sinn Fein superiors in Connolly House, or wherever, to get instructions on what to do. Sinn Fein operates very much like a Stalinist party where nearly every decision, and certainly every significant decision, has to be taken in the centre or approved in the centre.
If he were challenged about this he might well deny it but that would prove very little. Sinn Fein members have notoriously bad memories - Gerry Adams seems to have forgotten what he did in the Troubles and Martin can't remember being in the IRA after 1974. Moreover this problem does not afflict only the older republicans. Even the younger members have this same problem. So there is probably little point in posing the question to Niall about who he was talking to and about what.