Round-up of press reaction to DUP conference #dup14

long thin dup conference flag

So what did the Monday papers think of the DUP’s weekend conference in La Mon? In an Irish Times opinion piece under the headline of “DUP leader’s subtle message of co-operation to end gridlock” Gerry Moriarty pulled out Peter Robinson’s statement – buried in his speech – about the need for the DUP and Sinn more…

Calling for more Unionist writers and/or bloggers?

The last few weeks and months have seen a great inflow of new talent. I’m particularly pleased that we have made a start on flipping the dominance of the male voice in Slugger’s blogging team.  Earlier in the year in her lecture for the London Review of Books Mary Beard noted that the sidelining of the more…

Despite the rise and rise of UKIP it remains a little confused on the matter of Northern Ireland

The more cynical political analyst might conclude there were two Monster raving loony parties standing in the Rochester and Strood byelection this week that resulted in the return to Westminster of Mark Reckless, UKIP’s second MP and a former Conservative. Standing on a ticket that was principally anti-immigration and anti-Europe – and Reckless got into more…

With DEL cuts of 10.8% NI Executive will be encouraging local talent to leave Northern Ireland

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 22.55.50

Professor Deirdre Heenan is Pro Vice Chancellor for Communications and Provost of Coleraine and Magee in the Ulster Univerity. She writes here on the long term depressive effect of proposed cuts to the funding of the two major universities in Northern Ireland. Relevant, accessible skills, innovation, new technology and productivity; these are factors that underpin more…

Casual Racism, Belfast-style

IMG_0850

Last weekend, I came across a number of disturbingly racist tweets. After seeing BBC reporter Kevin Sharkey complaining on Twitter about racist attitudes encountered by him whilst out with a black friend a few days ago, I feel compelled to share the tweets on Slugger in order to highlight what I believe is the worryingly more…

Gerry Adams: “There is a clear need for more innovative and forward-looking politics…”

By which, the passive-aggressive Sinn Féin president actually means, the SDLP must join Sinn Féin in a sectarian electoral pact in “the next Westminster and Assembly elections”, and the year after that, and the year after that… because… themmuns! To paraphrase, if Sinn Féin can get away with treating all future Northern Ireland elections as a glorified pissing contest more…

UKIP’s latest successes could yet damage it

Slowly the dust is beginning to settle on UKIP’s latest by-election victory. This one could be analysed as more or less important than the last one dependent on a number of factors. Rochester and Strood was a considerably less attractive target seat for UKIP than Clacton on Sea. It has much less of the older, more…

‘Deprivation’ fund gives grant of £350,000 to Lurgan Golf Club

Another cracking exposé by the one man opposition that is Jim Allister. The Department of Social Development gave a grant of  £350,000 to Lurgan Golf Club under its ‘Neighbourhood Renewal’ scheme. It gets even better. A member of the club, who is a senior official in DSD, was involved in processing the application. But he failed to more…

Photo of the day – Milky Way Ablaze over An Port, Donegal

donegal

Photo by Brendan Alexander, Taken on November 15, 2014 Brendan says: The final shot from my trip to the enchanting famine village of An port in southwest Donegal, Ireland (15th November 2014). In the image the Milky way shines over the the lobster pots, boats and a solitary cross commemorating the passing of a Scottish man in more…

Campbell: No apology on remarks but “If they wanted me to repeat it, they went the right way about it”

Gregory-Campbell-291x275

He’s been in the headlines recently over his comments about the Irish Language during question time in the Assembly and normally it is Sammy Wilson who grabs the headlines at a DUP conference for an interesting speech, but this year Gregory Campbell unbowed continued with his remarks and brought some visual aids to demonstrate his more…

Peter Robinson on Westminster and defending Ashers Bakery from the “Big Brigade” of the Equality Commission #DUP14

Peter Robinson dup14

As things wrapped up in the afternoon at the DUP Conference, I managed to get some time with the First Minister, Peter Robinson to discuss the conference, the upcoming election and the DUP’s support for Asher’s Bakery. I began by asking him how he felt the mood of his conference was this year? Not surprisingly, more…

Dail Eireann “system is too complex and contains rules that are not mutually compatible…”

The Council of Europe is a Strasbourg based international organisation concerned with the development of legal and judicial structures in member countries. It is not part of the EU, and its recommendations are advisory rather than mandatory. There’s a report out today from one of their programmes flagging up some concerns about corruption in Ireland the more…

Serial Podcast: What do you think?

serial party

Have you heard of Serial or are you happy over there, living under your rock? For those who fall in the latter camp, let me briefly summarise. Serial is a podcast, first released last month, which seeks to shed light on the real life case of a Baltimore teenage girl, Hae Min Lee, who was more…

#SOSVigil: Women’s refuges facing closure because they come at the end of a long funding chain?

So the Taoiseach finally met with the Louise O’Keeffe yesterday. Yesterday was also the occasion of Women’s Aid #SOSVigil campaign protesting the cutting of funding to its network of women’s refuges. There were protests both outside 10 Downing Street and Leinster House at cuts in women’s refuges on both sides  of the Irish Sea. Far from more…

Devo Max with corporate tax cut ” disastrous” for NI

This powerful case against the SNP’s Devo Max plans including a 3% cut in corporation tax is made in the academic  website The Conversation by  Arthur Midwinter Associate Professor, Institute of Public Sector Accounting Research at University of Edinburgh  and a former adviser to the former Labour leader in the Scottish Parliament  Johann Lamont. It more…

Northern Ireland Independent Network seeking support for an independent representatives’ umbrella group

sorting Belfast West assembly votes - May 2011

One of the interventions people frequently call for in Northern Ireland politics is the creation of new parties. It came up again last night as one of the first questions at Platform for Change’s event: “Why can’t the [middle ground] politicians sitting around the table unite and form a new party?” I’m not so convinced more…

Corporation tax powers huge test for Stormont

The word is out that the government will grant  Stormont control over corporation tax when the Chancellor makes his Autumn Statement on 3 December.  Peter Robinson is  talking with the confidence of a done deal.  David Cameron gave a broad hint this morning as he was  grilled by  all the select committees chairs in the more…

Photo of the day – Continental Market, Belfast City Hall

15796739356_c85603663b_h

Photo by Roger Bradley, Taken on November 18, 2014 The Continental Market is back at Belfast City Hall. Depending on your view either it’s an English company bringing outside traders in to hoover up the Christmas cash at the expense of local traders or a wonderful chance to experience a wide range of foreign delicacies and crafts. Either more…