Nelson McCausland misled Assembly over a meeting which had no apparent or measurable effect…

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Getting accused of ‘misleading the Assembly’ is problematic for any minister. So it is for Nelson McCausland in the majority report of his department’s oversight committee. The minority report (composed entirely of MLAs of his own party) takes his view that he had merely ‘inadvertently misinformed’ them. The committee chair, Sinn Fein’s Alex Maskey laid more…

EU statement on abstention from #UNHRC #Gaza vote

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Even with no immediate end in sight to the violent Israeli assault on Gaza, one dimension of the post-ceasefire landscape is already clear. Despite the global connectivity offered by social media and the public platitudes of political ‘leaders’ it is clear (and has been for a very long time) that the international diplomatic architecture is more…

Belfast’s Burning – VICE News reports from Lanark Way

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An outsider’s view of eleventh night bonfires from VICE News. Jake Hanrahan based himself at the Lanark Way bonfire, interviewing those building the dizzyingly high tower of pallets as well as those who came along to the structure burn. Near the end of the ten minute video report [8:50] one lad seems to surprise the more…

“We have a politics that treats people almost as infants to be sold policies rather than actively engaged…”

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Every year, the MacGill Summer School gives us under exercised political anoraks a moment to resolutely focus on Irish public affairs. Last night the subject was trust between the governors and the governed, a title none of the three speakers were particularly comfortable with. And it invoked some biting, cynical wit on Twitter… Don't miss more…

What Northern Ireland might learn from Rory McIlroy… (ie, sidestepping vanity, becoming the thing you want to be…)

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There’s an odd typo in one of the few press releases to make it through Sinn Fein’s unofficial (and largely unreported embargo on letting any substantial work past through its hands at OFMdFM). In only its second effort of the First and deputy First Minster talk about McIlroy’s “rich vain of form.” Maybe it’s because more…

Theresa in the Wonderland of the Hallett review

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The plainly rushed Hallett Review and the British government response to it raise as many questions as answers. They expose not a carefully planned discreet operation but a terribly improvised muddle in which the  left hand ( the  PSNI)  did not know the full de facto amnesty effect of what the right hand ( the more…

Ramadan in Belfast

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It’s a muggy Saturday evening in south Belfast and the summer sun, covered by dense cloud, is just setting. Out in front of Shaftesbury Leisure Centre, just off the lower Ormeau Road, children are running in circles around their parents squealing joyfully. Approaching the centre, women wearing pink, red and yellow hijabs push prams past more…

The downing of MH 17 shifts spotlight back to Ukraine

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The downing of Malaysian Airlines flight 17 over Ukraine has been one of the major events of last week. Most of the fingers of blame have been pointed at the pro-Russian separatists who have previously shot down Ukrainian military aircraft with sophisticated Russian surface to air missiles (though both sides have access to such weaponry). more…

Derrylin to host hunger strike commemoration

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The 2014 National Hunger Strike Commemoration has been announced to be in Derrylin Co. Fermanagh this year complete with buses to the event. Diane Woods the niece of local IRA murder victims Thomas and Emily Bullock told the Belfast Telegraph she felt sick at the prospect. From the Belfast Telegraph: A gang of up to more…

Israel’s Ambassador to Ireland big on rhetoric but not facts

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Earlier this week, Israel’s Ambassador to Ireland, Boaz Modai, penned a particularly audacious letter in the Irish Times. His narrative is almost entirely designed to misleading the public through the selective manipulation of information and half truths to obscure Israel’s crimes. Modai claims that “Hamas began its present rocket offensive against Israel on June 12th”, more…

Israel/Palestine and the Irish perspective

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The people of Ireland are hugely sympathetic to the people of Palestine! There you go my bid of understatement of the year is well and truly lodged. Like most people, I have watched incredible and horrific scenes of Palestinian people losing their homes, jobs and relatives as they face a pounding from one of the more…

Are we slowly waking up to the pressing need to deal with child sexual abuse?

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Something interesting is happening in the territory of child sexual abuse. The arrests over the last few days indicate a few rather disturbing patterns… Police forces across the country have arrested 660 suspected paedophiles including doctors, teachers and former police officers in the biggest operation for more than ten years targeting online child abusers. A more…

Martina Anderson MEP: “and if the British government lifts its ban on Executive access to the EIB…”

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No update yet from Sinn Féin on the meeting they chose to trail a couple of days ago between three of their MEPs, led by the Derry Northern Ireland representative, Martina Anderson, and “the Vice-Chairman of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Jonathan Taylor”.  But let’s hope they were better briefed than the 15 July press release suggests, more…

#OTRs: a ready made exit strategy?

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So the review of the OTR scheme by a British judge has found it to be ‘not unlawful’ and not secret (pretty much how Dominic Grieve, British Attorney General, had described it before the review). Earlier on today Secretary of State Theresa Villiers made an oral statement to the House of Commons to coincide with more…

UPDATED #ShinnersList not a secret and not an amnesty…

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So, the #ShinnersList is real, legal but not an enforceable amnesty… The police had realised they had made a mistake, but the assurance to the County Donegal man was never withdrawn. “Nothing in law or logic” explained their failure to rectify the error, Lady Justice Hallett said. “The administrative scheme was kept ‘below the radar’ more…

The Orange Order and Scottish Independence

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The recent Orange Order parade in Glasgow, which featured an estimated 4500 marchers and a similar number of spectators, resulted in the usual disruption and finger-pointing. Eighteen people were arrested for offences related to drinking, disorder and other minor offences, although Grand Lodge of Scotland representatives and Police Chief Superintendent Andy Bates noted it was more…