Jean-Claude Juncker: “[Tsipras] must explain that some of the promises upon which he was elected will not be honoured…”

EU flag

As Mick has noted, at the weekend the under-pressure new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras took undiplomatic aim at the governments of Spain and Portugal [But not Ireland! – Ed] in an attempt to explain the outcome of European negotiations to his Syriza party coalition. The European Commission has been quick to step in to act as a “mediator” more…

2015 is looking bleak on the jobs front…

Education Minister John O’Dowd has said schools will likely see 500 job losses for teachers and 1,000 for non-teaching staff due to £28m cuts to his budget. Meanwhile we keep churning out student teachers with no work for them. Also today 200 jobs are to go at a call centre in West Belfast. Translink is more…

SF’s latest “Trojan Horse of Equality” spotted in Mid Ulster…

Here’s Sinn Fein Councillor Sean McGuigan explaining his party’s decision in the new Mid Ulster supercouncil to ban the sale of the poppy on council premises: “We wanted to create an environment of equality and neutrality in council-owned facilities.  This interim arrangement will cover the sale and display of all symbols, including poppies and Easter more…

Tsipras attacks Spain and Portugal for ‘bailout blackmail’…

Worth noting in passing that the great white hope of the anti austerity lobby has started to attack two of countries closest to it in terms of debt distress: According to Tsipras in a speech to the central committee of Syriza on Saturday, Greece came up against “an axis of powers led by Spain and more…

No surprises as Translink warns of fare increases and service cuts

Before you keep reading this, check my earlier articles here, here, and especially here. BBC News is reporting that David Strahan, current Chief Executive of Translink, has given a gloomy outlook to the Committee for Regional Development on fare rises and service cuts.  Missing from the media reports is that their subsidy is being cut more…

The Front National: Populism in Europe

The Front National will attain unprecedented support in the French departmental elections less than a month from today. Although the party, led by Marine Le Pen, received 17.9% and 24.86% of votes in recent presidential and European elections respectively, it has not yet replicated such results in local elections. (more…)

Poor handling of Bytel whistleblower came with a €4 million price tag

Procurement remains a bit of nightmare for the permanent government the Civil Service, especially when it comes to judging what constitutes value for money. John Campbell at the BBC has the core of the story. As the Auditor General notes, “two years later, a whistleblower went directly to the NIAO and it was only then that more…

Cochrane: I know so many brilliant women who hold back in their careers for fear of being cut down. It’s time to put those fears behind us and create a more progressive society for us all.

Cochrane MLA

Continuing on with our series, Alliance party MLA, Judith Cochrane writes for us about her experiences in the Assembly Northern Ireland has seen momentous change since the 1970s. Politically, socially and culturally, we have made huge strides over the past few decades, and have become a more progressive and inclusive society. Women have certainly come more…

Will Americans succeed in outlawing kids’ soccer, as you know it?

World Cup winning striker Brandi Chastain has a new goal in mind: Saving your kid from the dangers of soccer. Chastain, once the face of Women’s Soccer, is stripping back the layers of ignorance that apparently define the relationship between kids playing football and brain injuries.* So, what type of reception is Chastain’s campaign likely to receive on European shores? more…

Calling All Politicos: Pick your fantasy NI Executive

For most reading  this blog this will be the type of transfers you’ll be interested in. For just a few minutes imagine you’re the First Minister and you get to choose an Executive. Choices must be from within the current Assembly and sure we will use the new departments, Department for Communities Department for the more…

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Ireland v South Africa

Ireland, and Surrey, wicketkeeper Gary Wilson sounds positive ahead of tonight’s/tomorrow’s match against South Africa in Canberra in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. Given the Proteas’ comprehensive tonking of the West Indies, courtesy of captain AB de Villiers’ supreme batting prowess, that optimism may be misplaced… Meanwhile, CricketIreland talked to Ireland captain William Porterfield, John Mooney, more…

Big Politics Pub Quiz – anagram round!

PoliticsQuizlogo

Ten days to go until the return of the Great Big Politics Quiz – a night to find the champions of all-things-balloty, this year as part of the all-new Imagine! Belfast Festival of Ideas & Politics. So, if you’re a politician, press officer, policy wonk, journalist, lobbyist, psephologist, academic, student, blogger, tweeter, House of Cards more…

Elliott launches his Private Members Bill to prevent the naming of public facilities after “terrorists”‏

Tom Elliott, UUP

Well this is always going to be controversial but the UUP MLA, Tom Elliott is launching a Private Members Bill to prevent the naming of public facilities after those convicted of terrorist offences. Speaking about his bill he says; Today I am commencing a consultation process which is the first step to introducing legislation which more…

Jo-Anne Dobson: We need to inspire change rather than force it

jo-anne dobson

Slugger will be running a series of articles over the next few weeks highlighting the issue of women in politics. First up is the Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson writing about her experiences in the Assembly. A few months after I was elected to Stormont I found myself standing on the front steps of Parliament more…

Reconciliation, Rebuilding and Recovery: A model for Ireland?

It’s not because we don’t realise the nature of the odds we have to beat, but because we know that if we can win that battle we can win them all. Let’s not start off by doubting our capacity to win. A defeatist attitude now is certain to lead to defeat, it’s primarily a question more…

Shale of the century – the future for fracking in Ireland

Ban Frackin

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” as it has become universally known, is a technique for extracting reserves of oil and gas that would be otherwise impossible or uneconomic to extract. The technique, which involves injecting rock with a mixture of water, chemicals and sand, has become one of most contentious issues in British and Irish politics. more…

50 days since 50 lashes – blogging is still not a crime

raif yellow

Whatever we may disagree about here on the pages of Slugger, we can all agree that blogging is not a crime. Yet, Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi is still in jail and still due to be lashed another 950 times. On the upside, it’s now been 50 days since he was flogged very publicly 50 times by more…

Mairia Cahill honoured with James Larkin award

Mairia Cahill honoured with James Larkin award

UPDATED – WITH VIDEO Mairia Cahill was last night presented with the ‘Larkin Thirst for Justice Award’ at the Labour Party’s National Conference in Killarney. The award, named after the trade union leader and founder member of the Labour Party James Larkin, is awarded to a person who, in their personal and/or professional life has more…