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So why did applications to the RHI fund hit such a steep spike?

This is really on foot of a question asked by one of our regular commenters Ted. It’s not a definitive answer (the Public Inquiry report should give us that) but more of an educated guess. First thing is to ask why for the first three years of the existence of this thing it was vastly under-subscribed. more…

The glimmer of light seen in Martin McGuinness’s departure can become a beacon of hope

So the  political establishment and the media are in rare unison praising Martin McGuinness. Illness and the shadow of death – ordinary decent, natural sickness and intimations of mortality  –   bring out the sentimentalist in all types of the Irish people. Let’s not be too starry eyed.  In a longish apologia for the different phases more…

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So, erm, if everyone agrees on how to deal with #RHI, why is Northern Ireland spending £5M on an election?

Sinn Fein, consummate news managers that they are, announced their massive U-turn on the form of inquiry needed for the RHI scandal little more than an hour after the media had recorded Martin McGuinness’s farewell interview. It was obvious which one was going to grab the lead, but the U-turn is the far bigger political news. What more…

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I’m not angry, I’m furious with the DUP…

I’m furious.  Sinn Fein’s election slogan ‘Don’t get angry, get even’, doesn’t do it for me on two counts.  Being angry while voting is no bad thing and anyway I am beyond anger with Northern Ireland’s political system and one party in particular. I remember one of my editors talking to me in the mid more…

Martin McGuinness addresses 2016 Sinn Fein ard fheis (Friday night) in Convention Centre Dublin

Martin McGuinness to stand down at the next election

The former Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness has announced he will stand down as an MLA at the next election. His statement is this; “Last year, Gerry Adams and I confirmed that we had a plan in place for transition to a new leadership. For my part, it was my intention to step aside in more…

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Whatever you do this election make your vote count…

As the scandal, exposés and drip feed of information continues from various departments and political parties over the renewable heat incentive scheme, there is one certainty.  We will be going to the polls on Thursday 2 March. Regardless of the why, we, the voters, have been handed a golden opportunity to pass judgement on the performance more…

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Sinn Fein now back the call for a Public Inquiry

Finance Minister, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has announced that he will be setting up a public inquiry under the 2005 Inquiries Act. This is a reverse of the Sinn Fein stance on this issue. Outlining his rationale he says; Throughout this week I have been continuing to focus on the RHI crisis. “As part of that work, more…

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Who signed off the 0% and 1% rises for Northern Irish teachers?

Just spotted this protest against a pay offer of 0% for 2015/16 and 1% for 2016/17 for teachers. Sinn Fein are doing the needful and out on the protests, this time in Crossmaglen: .@mfearonsf MLA supporting colleague @barraomuiri & his fellow striking teachers in Crossmaglen today @into_ni #fairness pic.twitter.com/xW4VaDjiAs — NewryArmagh SinnFein (@newryarmaghsf) January 18, more…

Ronan Fanning and the resonances of the history of a century ago

A few years ago at a conference in King’s College London, the Irish historian Ronan Fanning who has just died could still  get hot under collar about  how the British politicians Asquith and Lloyd George exploited Irish Home Rule for their own political ends.  We were about to  enter the decade of commemoration culminating in more…

UK Government: “Clearly, any form of joint authority would be incompatible with the consent principle [of the Belfast Agreement].”

A short BBC report points to an interesting exchange today in the House of Lords where the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office and Scotland Office, Lord Dunlop, poured a bucket of cold water on the suggestion that “joint authority” could be an option if the relevant parties fail to form an Executive following more…

“The department did not know about flaws in the RHI scheme in the summer of 2015…”

The BBC has a good summary of the headlines arising from the PAC meeting this afternoon. Remember, the PAC is the place where normally the heavy lifting is currently being done in interrogating officials. Permanent Secretary Andrew McCormick was today’s star witness: A meeting with former enterprise minister Jonathan Bell to review ministerial papers in December may have more…

John Hume, a thumbnail sketch of achievement and failure

I’ve never been quite sure if we can call John Hume an unvarnished nationalist, but if we do, he was a great example of a leading nationalist who wanted to reach agreement more than attain  the goal of  Irish unity, as expressed in  his  wonderful oxymoron, “ an agreed Ireland.” While he enjoyed his hard- more…

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John Hume’s 80th Birthday – The Martin Luther King Jnr of Ireland

Bono in his song ‘In The Name of Love’ sang about Martin Luther King Jnr about how “One Man Came In Love”. Today we celebrate the 80th birthday of the Martin Luther King of Ireland, one man who came in love and preached a message of peace, tolerance and accommodation. It is a sad irony more…