Nama: DUP appear happy to put a lid on the Daithí McKay affair

First Minister Arlene Foster has yet to say anything about Daithí McKay's back-channelling

How the DUP has reacted to the revelations about Daithí McKay's secret dealings with Jamie Bryson speaks volumes about its relationship with Sinn Féin and power sharing. Despite deep scepticism over Sinn Féin's claim that there was no concerted effort to discredit and even oust the party's former leader Peter Robinson, the episode thus far has not merited comment from the current leader and First Minister Arlene Foster.

Mrs Foster is understood to be enjoying a break at present, which she is of course fully entitled to. However, senior politicians are regularly called upon in times of crisis to interrupt their holidays and focus on their duties. Perhaps the revelations around Mr McKay's back channelling don't warrant the first minister ending her holiday early, but it may be fitting to at least issue a statement giving us some insight into how she views the matter.

Can it be characterised as a minor setback in the DUP's relationship with Sinn Féin, or is it regarded as something more serious?

The mood music so far suggests the former. Within hours of the story being broke by The Irish News it became apparent that the DUP didn't intend going for the jugular and were content to accept, publicly at least, that Diathí McKay was acting without the leadership's approval.

All their ire to date has focused on the former MLA rather than the party machine.

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Equally telling is that while Stormont's opposition parties are gunning for Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, the DUP has yet to mention the finance minister in its dispatches. The South Belfast MLA is the only individual mentioned in the messages between Mr Bryson and Mr McKay's assistant Thomas O'Hara, which is why questions are being asked about whether Mr Ó Muilleoir was part of the scheme.

Yet despite the DUP having no love for the former Belfast lord mayor, the party appears to be giving him a bye ball.

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Brexit and the Daithí McKay revelations mean the DUP-Sinn Féin honeymoon period that followed May's assembly elections is fast becoming a distant memory. Nevertheless, it appears the desire to keep the Stormont show on the road so far trumps other concerns.

It could be argued that the DUP shouldn't 'sweat the small stuff' and is better focussing on the bigger picture of long-term political stability. So perhaps all we need to bring some perspective to this situation are a few words of reassurance from Arlene Foster?

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