“Oh Claire… You are the answer to our prayers…”

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STORMONT LOVE: Claire, the moment we met you we swear, we thought you were going nowhere, not trying to mean that’s just how it seemed. But then, we found ourselves thinking again, and maybe you could be our friend. This may come as news, but beggars can’t choose. So please, could we interest in a more…

The New Departmental Committee Chairs

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The Assembly also nominated the new chairs of the various departmental committees that will have to scrutinise legislation and the work of ministers. Executive Office- Mike Nesbitt Department for Communities- Colum Eastwood Department for the Economy- Conor Murphy Department of Education- Barry McElduff Department of Health- Paula Bradley Department for Infrastructure- William Humphrey Department of more…

Cartoon – A ‘black spider’ memo for OFMDFM on Justice

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Tuesday May 24 had a busy afternoon. Sinn Fein announced its executive team. Prince Charles, known for his letter writing, visited Portadown and the Orange Museum as part of #RoyalVisitNI. Then news broke that the loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson  had written a letter to OFMDFM suggesting he be considered for the position of Justice Minister. Like the Justice portfolio, more…

Martin McGuinness announces new Sinn Fein ministerial team

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SINN FEIN ministerial team for May 2016 was announced today, ahead of tomorrow’s D’Hondt process. Martin McGuinness will be joined around the NI Executive table by colleagues Chris Hazzard, Megan Fearon, Michelle O’Neill and Mairtin O’Muilleoir.

Arlene Foster on Women, Leadership and Peacebuilding

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First Minister Arlene Foster delivered the fourth Harri Holkeri Lecture yesterday evening on ‘Women, Leadership and Peacebuilding’ at the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice’s Spring Festival at Queen’s. Holkeri was a Prime Minister of Finland and took part in the Good Friday Agreement negotiations. The lecture was co-sponsored by the more…

How little thought have ‘the Brexotics’ given to any form of risk from a putative #Brexit?

Is the EU a liability on the ballot papaer?

This morning’s #SluggerReport featured this great essay from Ferdinand Mount in the London Review of Books (h/t Ciaran!). Here’s  some of the highlights in the argument… Splendid isolation’. ‘Very well, alone’. ‘Fog in Channel – Continent Cut Off’. That is the name of the game, the only game that appeases the dreams and resentments of more…

Boring to say so perhaps, but a stable DUP- Sinn Fein partnership matters more than hopes for the opposition or changes in voter behaviour

While we wait on developments, our thoughts might profitably turn to a  the immediate future in which the key signifier is nearly 50:50 but the electorate is becoming somewhat more diverse than that and looking for “delivery.” What sort of cross community politics may be emerging? Which will be the more important: a better DUP/SF more…

Entitlement to participation in the ‘official opposition’

Interesting sidebar to the issue of an ‘official opposition’. The proposed scheme is set out in Appendix F4 on page 55 of the “A Fresh Start: The Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan” document (although it still requires some administrative mechanism to formalise it). The first section clearly states that: (i) “Those parties which would be entitled more…