Is the Independent Financial Review Panel right to interfere with political process as well as pay?

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The three-person Independent Financial Review Panel was established in July 2011. It sets the pay, allowances and pensions of members and office holders of the NI Assembly. A series of consultation papers has steered the panel’s policies on topics including MLAs’ Pension Scheme, Employment of MLAs’ Staff, Prior disclosure of Interests and MLAs’ Salaries and more…

Greek Referendum: Win Win for Europe

Greek Referendum: A Win Win for Europe. So the Greek vote has lobbed a grenade into the Eurozone. Nobody should be surprised. After five years of austerity resulting in massive unemployment, extreme levels of poverty, a startling rise in suicide and 30% wipe out of Greek’s GDP; Greek voters yesterday stood against  the economic ‘terrorists’ more…

Greek referendum: a lose lose for Europe

I have always tried to avoid making predictions as unlike Mr. Ashdown, I have few hats and no desire to devour any of them. It does seem, however, as though the Greek population have rejected the terms of the latest bailout. The saga of the Greek Eurozone experiment and its travails seems to have gone more…

Just how was Project Eagle Landed?

Since last Thursday when Mick Wallace TD made a statement in Leinster House which set out concerns over the sale of NAMA’s loan book for the north, we’ve seen a steady stream of statements from a number of parties involved. It’s been a slow strip-tease, revealing a little at a time, keeping us on tenterhooks more…

The DUP and mainstream Unionism: More Christofascist than Unionist?

Christofascism: The observation that in the West (particularly in the United States), there are demagogues who seek to replace the established secular governments with theocracies built on their version of Christianity. I often wonder, do the DUP (and considerable elements of the UUP) seek a continued Union with Britain on the basis that it genuinely more…

Belfast: Toward a City Without Walls by Vicky Cosstick — Book Review

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In certain parts of Belfast, walls dominate the landscape – as well as the consciousness – of those who live and work around them.  A new book by Vicky Cosstick, Belfast: Toward a City Without Walls, explores the history, significance and most daringly, the future, of these walls, highlighting the efforts of some citizens of more…

“Greece today is angry and fearful, divided and conflicted, and will still be after Sunday’s vote.”

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With Sunday’s controversial, and confused, Greek referendum clearing its constitutional test in the courts, the Guardian Data Blog rounds-up the polls – as of 12.34pm Friday.  The then-live-blog added An Ipsos poll just released shows the referendum on a knife-edge. It has yes on 44% and no one point behind on 43%, with 12% still undecided. The more…

The Arena – Political Podcast. Greece, what now?

‘The Arena’ is a new political podcast featuring John O’Donovan, John McGuirk and Johnny Fallon. Slugger O’Toole is delighted to be associated with this new podcast and over the coming weeks and months we will be improving the quality and depth of the podcast. In the months ahead it will feature debate, interviews analysis and more…

Islam and Terrorism – Are they inextricably intertwined?

Perhaps last week’s decision to write on the contentious issue of immigration was a prescient warning of what was going to happen on Friday. After all, the deluge of press coverage on immigration is not simply dictated by the mass of people seeking refuge and economic relief in Europe but generally their religion too. Of more…

Grexit – is it happening and what does it mean for Europe?

While the result of Greece’s impending referendum is likely to dictate the country’s political and economic future, the implications for global financial markets and European politics are not so certain. Given that a no vote will almost inevitably lead to Athens defaulting on its debt and a subsequent exit from the Eurozone, surely a return more…

Off-Shore Bank Accounts and NAMA (NI)

Mick Wallace

Mick Wallace TD is the mop-haired Independent TD for Wexford. Today he opened a veritable can of worms – and the story is beginning to break on this evening’s bulletins on the BBC. Wallace today revealed in Tánaiste Questions in the Dail that Northern Ireland law-firm Tughans allegedly, according to Wallace, held a £7m Isle more…

Tall Ships have arrived (2-5th July)

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Yesterday Alan and myself had the opportunity to take a trip on the water to look around the Tall Ships festival which is starting today in Belfast. We were treated to a 90 minute tour of the Belfast Harbour which will be hosting nearly 50 tall ships for 3 days. Here I must declare an more…

Life, death and heartbeats…

The diagnosis of death is mostly straightforward; the medical practitioner looks for somatic, cardio-respiratory and neurological features. Clearly, someone with rigor mortis is dead. Someone with no spontaneous breathing, no heartbeat and no pulse, and whose pupils are fixed and dilated presents the classical features of death. This is usually enough to diagnose most cases more…

Greek Referendum: “a chunk of undecided voters to fight over.”

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Via the Guardian’s Greece crisis blog.   Another wrinkle for the game theory academics in the Syriza-led Greek Government, and those agitating on their behalf, to contemplate ahead of the controversial, and confused, on/off/on 5 July referendum in Greece. GPO poll Yes 47.1% No 43.2% Undecided 6.3% (via @euro2day_gr) #Greferendum #Greece #politics pic.twitter.com/xJRr3K2uAC — MacroPolis (@MacroPolis_gr) July 1, 2015

Ormeau Opportunity Calling: Can the Orange Grasp it?

The occasion of the official opening of the Orange Order’s two museums led to significant media coverage over the past week, with visits from former Irish President, Mary McAleese, and All-Ireland winning GAA footballer, Jarlath Burns, being used by the Order to effectively call for nationalists to follow in the footsteps of these two prominent northern more…