Archive | June, 2015

Bernadette Smyth: conviction and restraining order quashed

Anti abortion campaigner Bernadette Smyth was cleared on appeal yesterday. She had initially been convicted of harassing Dawn Purvis at the end of last year. At the original trail the judge Chris Holmes made a number of interesting comments. He stated: “I want to make it absolutely clear that I do not feel it’s appropriate more…

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Does Loyalism Have An Image Problem?

Following my article about the Sandy Row bonfire last week, a fair amount has happened. It was burned down (it wasn’t me), it has been moved (by a few feet), it is going to be bigger in size (the base layer seems at least 30% larger than before), and the level of anti-social behaviour in more…

They've united, so have we! Vote Spratt - DUP election poster featuring pictures of SF's Alex Maskey and SDLP's Alasdair McDonnell

Jimmy Spratt to leave the Assembly in September

Report from the Belfast Telegraph that the South Belfast DUP MLA, Jimmy Spratt will step down from the Assembly this September due to health reasons. This will mean that from September 4 out of 6 MLAs in the constituency will have been co-opted leaving just Michael McGimpsey and Anna Lo as the only reps who more…

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The Duties of a Doctor. Morality and conscientious objection…

Medical practitioners who wish to practice medicine in the UK must by law be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). If you do not practice, you are not required to register. The GMC is a regulatory body which publishes guidance on the ‘Duties of a Doctor’. Much of this is about registration, and practice more…

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Greece: bitter pills & ill-wills

Of the grand, ambitious projects embarked-upon on the European continent over the last three decades two highly visible examples were recalled today in Brussels: football’s Champions League and the Single European Currency. Whatever they have in common there is one crucial difference in joining either of these prestigious clubs, in the Euro one can gain more…

Greek Referendum Question 5 July 2015

“For those who can’t read Greekdebtspeak, well, you’re on your own”

With European leaders, including Syriza’s erstwhile ally the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, warning Greek voters that they will be, effectively, deciding whether or not they want to stay in the eurozone, the BBC takes a side-ways look at the wording of the controversial 5 July referendum the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras suddenly announced at more…

Jim Allister sets sights on SpAd excesses

Today, TUV Leader and North Antrim MLA, Jim Allister has set his sights firmly back on the Special Advisers at Stormont. Having already succeeded in getting one of only two Private Members Bills onto the statute book in the lifetime of this Assembly (the other being Lord Morrow’s Human Trafficking Bill) and the only Bill more…

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Using data for public good – launch of Detail Data

NICVA’s relationship with investigative journalism website The Detail began with the reporting on the umbrella organisation’s research paper on The Impact of Welfare Reform on Northern Ireland. Lisa McElherron said she was thrilled to launch the Detail Data project. NICVA had been keen (1) to better tell the stories of the sector they represent; (2) more…

Guide to Blogosphere 2010

Blogging: Why I bother doing it.

Blogging, why the hell do you bother? This is the question that bloggers of all stripes get asked A LOT and in the past week I have been getting this question more often than I usually do. It’s a fair enough question I suppose. There is no secure income from it, it is generally looked more…

James McClean (Michael Kranewitter, Wikimedia Commons, CC-by-sa 3.0/at)

High Time Media Moved on from Indulging Pseudo-Controversy Surrounding James McClean and “Poppy Issue”

The media don’t half like flogging dead horses. Right on cue, James McClean‘s move to West Bromwich Albion last week prompted talk in the Belfast Telegraph (not for the first time) of his repeated eschewing of the wearing of a political poppy on his various past clubs’ football jerseys around Britain’s celebration of its Remembrance Sunday each more…

My trip to the Orange Museum

I paid a visit to the new Museum of Orange Heritage in Belfast’s Schomberg House on Thursday. I was given a guided tour by David Scott, a very articulate and clearly passionate advocate of the Order. The tour featured in a BBC Good Morning Ulster story on Friday (1hr 16 mins in.) The tour took more…

“The exact location of the international boundary between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland through Loughs Carlingford and Foyle remains an issue for determination…”

In January 2012 I suggested there might be some cause for optimism that the unresolved issue of the delimitation of the territorial water boundary between the UK and the Republic of Ireland could be, erm, resolved.  As the then Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, TD, said at the time. Recently the two Governments agreed to address more…

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More Greek gamesmanship…

With the Greek Parliament, and Greece’s creditors in Europe and elsewhere, discussing the latest sudden manoeuvre by the game theory academics in the Syriza-led Greek Government, via the Guardian’s live-blog, here’s a reminder of Alexis Tspiras’ criticism of ex-PM George Papandreou’s, failed, attempt to hold a similar referendum in 2011. @graemewearden A transcript of @atsipras‘s scathing more…

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Cartoon – Martin Varoufakis

Yesterday Theresa Villiers hosted the Stormont House Agreement Implementation Review meeting with the 5 Executive parties and Irish Government. Word has it Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness fired a verbal volley at Secretary of State. Very Varoufakis.

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First do no harm – smoking and the ethics of vaping…

  Michael McBride is crystal clear; our Chief Medical Officer believes too many people are vaping and this is a bad thing.  In a recent TV interview he was unambiguous in his discouragement of e-cigarettes.    The views of CMO are important, people listen and people take note.  He’s not alone; the British Medical Association, WHO, more…

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Northern Ireland gets a new electricity company

Northern Ireland will have a new electricity supplier from this August. Open Electric pledges to be the most “socially aware” power company with promises to reward its customers with a share in any profits made. The company will be run by local entrepreneur Marc Norris who set out his rationale for wanting to set up more…