There are lessons from Northern Ireland for the SNP’s row over Nick Robinson and the BBC

The row between the BBC’s outgoing political editor Nick Robinson and the former Scotland first minister Alex Salmond  reminds me of experience in  Northern Ireland during the Troubles  where there was a similar lack of fundamental agreement about the political destiny of the country. Nick’s row arose out of questions he put to Alex at more…

Breaking News(?): Frank Mitchell Had Eye Surgery

Frank Mitchell headshot

At what point does a news broadcast end and the advertisements begin? In the UK this is fairly clear, usually the broadcaster will say something along the lines of “back after the break/these adverts”… in America, it can be a narrower border, it is common practice for private companies to sponsor part of the news more…

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, Finn McCool is still pulling on his cleats….

Finn McCools

Ex pat Journalist Stephen Rea ten years on from Hurricane Katrina finds companionship can work miracles (even amongst Rangers and Celtic supporters)..,. I’m the last man standing. More than a decade after Finn McCool’s Football Club played our first soccer game, I’m the sole survivor from that team still playing. August 29 is the tenth more…

The Ulster Unionist Party are perfectly right to withdraw from the Northern Irish Executive

Irrespective of their motives for doing so, the Ulster Unionist Party are perfectly right to withdraw from the Northern Irish Executive. When the Provisional Republican Movement signed up to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, it agreed that it would no longer use violence as a means of protecting or furthering its interests. The paramilitary more…

A Command Democracy

Dan Boyle is a former Senator and member of the Green Party. He is the Author of ‘Without Power or Glory – The Greens in Government’. Today he gives us his take on local government and the threats to democracy posed by our current system After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the more…

Nationalisation is always a disaster: another truism in need of challenge?

Corbynmaina has gone a little quiet recently centrally due to repetition. Personally I am still unsure whether he will win or not. However, after having looked at some of the potentially questionable truisms regarding the unelectability of Labour in 1983 and the disaster which was the 1970s, I thought, to take our minds off the more…

A question of chairmanship

A wee Sunday thought. Under d’Hondt, and specifically section 18 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, the DUP is due to be asked to nominate the new minister for Regional Development when the Assembly reconvenes after the summer break. The current chairperson of the Committee for Regional Development is Trevor Clarke, in succession to Jimmy more…

More Questions Than Answers Following UUP Withdrawal

Mike Nesbitt

So the UUP executive met today and ratified Mike Nesbitt’s decision to leave the Northern Ireland executive, on Tuesday of this coming week Danny Kennedy will resign from his position as Minister for Regional Development – but what does this mean? I have spent today discussing this at length and have concluded that I know more…

UUP leaving the executive: anti agreement unionism for slow learners

So the UUP have finally done something exciting and left the Executive (or at least will once their own party executive rubber stamps the decision). The internal unionist politics of this: both why it was a politically good idea and the potential ramifications are significant and worth a separate blog (which I may get to more…

A critique of the Chief Constable’s statement on alleged PIRA involvement in the murder of Kevin McGuigan

Before considering my analysis of specific excerpts from George Hamilton’s statement on alleged PIRA activity, readers – if they haven’t already – may want to read the PSNI Chief Constable’s statement in full. Moreover, while I do feel there are a number of issues with what George Hamilton says in his statement, I am conscious more…

The 10 most annoying political phrases in Northern Ireland

Nice wee Friday thread for you all to get your head showered from the madness of Northern Ireland politics. One thing that really bugs me is the platitudes that pass for talking points in our political system. These annoying phrases can be heard on Nolan, Talkback and the Sunday Politics most weeks and if you more…

“The real story is not the existence of some skeleton structure, but the sound of gunfire…”

It’s not the still-extant Provisional IRA structures that are the immediate cause for concern, although “stupid” questions could, and should, be asked about their ultimate purpose, it’s the involvement of those Provisional IRA ‘structures’ in the events leading up to, and including, the murder of Kevin McGuigan, and the continued denials [of that reality! – Ed] more…

The collapse of the Northern Ireland Assembly can be averted

The Ulster Unionists appear to have succumbed to the revulsion many unionists feel at the very idea of sharing power with the spawn of the IRA that most of them have suppressed every day since 1998. The danger now is that they will set off a chain reaction and take the DUP with them. The  more…

Ahern: IRA allowed continue to prevent vacuum

Bertie

Since he left office in 2008, Bertie Ahern rarely ventures into the spotlight or gives any real in-depth comments about Northern Ireland. However, even his most ardent critics would acknowledge his role in bringing about the Good Friday and St. Andrews Agreement. Today he as spoken to Fiach Kelly in the Irish Times about the more…