Archive | December, 2016

New Year’s resolutions all round please.

If truth be told, at this point in time, I would happily pay off all existing MLAs (£50k each, OK £100k and not a penny more, off you go!) and be quite satisfied with 108 new Assembly members drawn purely randomly from the population at large for a fixed term of five years. Terms and more…

DRD-5-1-9 M1 and Sprucefield 2

A view of Sprucefield … pre-congestion #20yearrule

Hidden amongst the thousand or so government files released on Friday under the 20 Year Rule are some black and white photographs from the 1960s of the M1 motorway and its Sprucefield junction. Long before the days of early morning congestion at Junction 7! If you call into the Public Records Office and ask to more…

Irish State Papers: The Anglo-Irish Agreement, Sinn Féin and the Provisional IRA

In part 1 of 2 reports RTÉ’s round-up of the newly released confidential Irish State papers from 1986 includes a couple of items worth highlighting in relation to the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement.  First up is an account of a meeting in Belfast in April 1986 between David Barry, of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Anglo-Irish division, and solicitor PJ McGrory more…

CENT-3-144A DUP conference revival

#dup89 NIO’s DUP conference report: “many of the speeches and sentiments expressed were depressingly predictable” #20yearrule

DUP ALL OUT FOR DEVOLUTION says NIO official in his report on the DUP’s 1989 conference. The DUP was seen to be relaunching itself as the main unionist. Analysis suggested the UUP were finding it difficult to maintain their position faced with the twin electoral threats of a resurgent DUP and Conservative growth.

Sinn Fein stance hardening: Arlene must walk

The DUP must have hoped that the Christmas break would help relieve the pressure facing the party’s senior figures over the RHI scandal. The latest revelations, that Arlene Foster as DETI Minister wrote to banks in early 2013 urging them to “look favourably” on approaches from businesses seeking money to install renewable technologies for the more…

CENT-3-131A Royal Visits file landscape

Sensitivities and sensibilities around Royal Visits in the 1980s #20yearrule

ROYAL VISITS to Northern Ireland in the early 1980s were subject to much head-scratching. The file of internal correspondence and briefings between 1982 and 1984 released this morning gives an insight into the government sensitivities and sensibilities. Should a senior Royal visit a particular military unit? Why would the Ordinance Survey NI only be a more…