Archive | November, 2015

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Remembering the Life of Fr Gerry Reynolds

The island of Ireland lost one of its great ambassadors for peace today with the passing of Fr Gerry Reynolds. Fr Reynolds, a Redemptorist priest based at Clonard Monastery in West Belfast for more than 30 years, is well known for his long and patient work promoting reconciliation among Christians. He was 82. Fr Reynolds’ more…

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Climate Change and what Northern Ireland is doing about it.

CLIMATE CHANGE: The Assembly is debating a motion on Climate Change tonight, so how has Northern Ireland been doing on this issue? The Department of the Environment has compiled some statistics of our performance from 1990-2013 (note these figures are never totally exact).

Coalition politics of necessity can make liars of everyone…

Nice story from Noel Whelan pointing out that whatever parties say now about what their position will be after the next election, complicated electoral mathematics will exert its own power when the time comes… Labour spent the first two weeks after the 1992 election teasing out coalition prospects with the other parties. When these efforts more…

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High Court rules NI abortion legislation breaches Article 8 of European Convention on Human Rights

HIGH COURT rules that abortion legislation in Northern Ireland breaches Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights by failing to provide an exception to the prohibition on abortion in cases of a foetal fatal abnormality (at any time during the pregnancy) or where the pregnancy is the result of sexual crime (up to more…

#Brexit Northern Ireland

The debate on EU membership in Northern Ireland has recently kicked off.  On Saturday Northern Ireland born Labour MP Kate Hoey laid out the Vote Leave & Labour Leave case from leaving the EU at the TUV conference at the Hilton Hotel in Templepatrick (UKIP`s Paul Nuttall addressed their conference in 2012 on the same more…

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TUV lay out vision of “voluntary coalition and vibrant opposition as path to durable devolution” #TUV2015

DURABLE DEVOLUTION through voluntary coalition and vibrant opposition was the promise of the TUV’s leader Jim Allister at his party’s annual conference in Templepatrick. 300 delegates lapped up the sharp criticism of other parties and welcomed Henry Reilly to the fold. But is the party’s hard edge and tone of voice holding back their support more…

Black taxis = Black Friday chaos

Last Wednesday, Frank Mitchell welcomed David McNarry and two Belfast public hire taxi drivers onto his U105 show, where the story unfolded of how NSL’s traffic attendants are now carrying out enforcement activities around the taxi rank in Donegall Square North. The complaint was that taxi drivers have insufficient space on the taxi rank, and more…

Saturday Labour roundup: Corbyn, Syria, and potential mutiny

On Monday, I said that this would be Jeremy Corbyn’s worst week ever, and it has been, and next week will be worse again. That’s the pattern. It was a week defined by Chairman Mao’s little red book, Livingstone blaming Blair for the 7/7 terror attacks, McDonnell’s endorsement of the IRA’s “ballot, the bullet and more…

Van Hool vs Wrights

Michelle McIlveen announced the award of the contract for the Belfast Rapid Transit vehicle supplier earlier today, and to the surprise of probably most observers, Wrightbus wasn’t the winner. Let’s go back in history a little. Robert Wright Coachworks Limited was established in 1946.  They first came to my notice in the 1980s, when they more…

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One fifth of all (1/3 of SF) MLAs sitting right now are unelected…

CUSHY NUMBERS: In the Assembly you can resign with no subsequent test before the electorate. No tug of war in the courts (as in the Donegal SW by election of 2010) which at least holds the possibility of massive electoral change. Is it going to change any time soon? Do Turkey’s vote for Christmas?

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The Tampon Tax and how to effect positive change

TAMPON TAX: Now, I am the last person to be jumping to the defence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. But I have found myself in the most uncomfortable position following Wednesday’s Spending Review.

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‘This community deserves better…Our young people deserve better.’

COMMUNITY CONTROL: The brutal attack on a voluntary community worker in Bangor can be viewed as a blatant attempt by loyalist paramilitaries to assert their power and authority over a working-class community which reacted adversely to paramilitary attempts to lay claim to the area over the past nine months.

Four KPMG Belfast partners arrested in tax investigation…

Interesting developments in Belfast this afternoon (H/T Doug)… Disputes between the big accountancy companies and and tax authorities are common enough. But the decision by HM Revenue and Customs to visit the Belfast offices of KPMG on Wednesday and arrest four senior partners there for questioning on suspected tax evasion is a most unusual development more…