Archive | January, 2017

Have [or how] the DUP made a United Ireland more likely?

Fintan O’Toole seems to think so. He argues in his column in the Irish Times that the party’s shady dealings – the Iris Robinson affair, the NAMA scandal and the Cash for Ash debacle – make the DUP look like Fianna Fáíl’s northern branch. While the ‘Brexit spree’ gambled the future of NI within the more…

Theresa May holds the initiative as she makes promises on an open border

While the world is transfixed by Trump, we made a little quiet progress on the interlinked politics of Brexit and the future of the Assembly. What did we get from Theresa May’s immersion in the generally anti-Brexit atmosphere of the joint ministerial committee and a summit with Enda Kenny? A warm gesture of commitment,  that’s more…

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“on behalf of all those other people you let down by not being good enough to win the election…”

With kind permission of Tom Harris, the former Scottish Labour MP for Glasgow South, this is a posting from his Facebook page. It’s an important ‘dry your eyes’ corrective to beaten political parties, to get over themselves and a reminder that politics is competitive for good reason: There’s a lot of anger among my friends in the more…

“Will he spell out how much the US President and/or the Trump Organisation has donated to the party?”

I don’t usually publish whole pressers, but this interestingly provocative from Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins (Adds: in response to this earlier statement from Adams presumably) “Gerry Adams, in common with most other right thinking people, condemns the travel ban initiated in recent days by US President Donald Trump. However, he has gone further than more…

Why Slugger (and NI) needs more female voices (and thran ones at that)…

If you could, by use of some clever algorithm, develop a truly democratic voice, representative of almost any demos in the west, it would speak in a slightly female tone. The absence of women in public life is (or should be) perplexing to anyone with decent democratic instincts. Outside the Scandinavian countries, (where the whole democratic process more…

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Caring for Carers? – 4 Corners, Cliftonville Football Club, and Rethinking Public Policy

The value of carers’ contributions to Northern Ireland is similar to that of the entire 2016/17 Stormont health budget – but is our Government investing in improving their circumstances? This year’s 4 Corners Festival (3-12 February) is highlighting carers’ contributions to our society through a banquet at City Hall for people who provide full time more…

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Are women making their mark in political leadership?

Regardless of whether you agree with their politics or not, the appointment of Michele O’Neill as Sinn Féin’s leader in Northern Ireland should be welcomed. Northern Ireland, potentially, could have female First and Deputy First Ministers. Of course that depends on how votes are cast on 2 March, however we now have women leading our more…

Identity

How we’ve reduced our identity to a Google Maps search

A Queen’s University student discovered some alarming home truths when he spent months investigating our addiction to the use of the blanket terms Protestant and Roman Catholic as a catch-all to describe the population of Northern Ireland. Roy Fisher, a print-maker and market trader who carried out the research for his Masters thesis, found that more…

Fine Gael on Sinn Féin: “We couldn’t work with them”

Something to keep in mind when criticising others…  There was a bit of a kerfuffle following Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s mid-term non-answer to a question on the potential for any future coalition involving Sinn Féin.  The Irish Examiner records Enda Kenny saying While strongly ruling out doing any deal with Fianna Fáil, Enda Kenny said “depending more…

The DUP have a point about an Irish Language Act but it’s smaller than they think – and small minded too

The journal.ie have done a useful bit of fact checking over contradictory claims that the St Andrew’s Agreement committed the DUP to “ an Irish Language Act.”  Their verdict: VERDICT The DUP’s claim that they never agreed to establish an Irish Language Act as part of St Andrews Agreement is true, as the legislation refers more…

Good news, Gerry! The Human Rights Act is here to stay

Another of Gerry Adams’ sticking points for returning to the Assembly seems about to disappear. The on- off on sequence of the May government’s  commitment to a new British Bill of Rights to replace the Human Right Act now looks permanently off the agenda and not just delayed until after 2020, according to  Daily Telegraph more…

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The Case for a ‘Foyle Free Trade Zone’.

Derry’s days as a regional transport hub appear to be largely behind it. In better times the city has served as a hub for shipbuilding, an international naval base, a thriving export centre and a key departure point for emigrants. Nowadays, the sole legacy of that is a small but important port facility at Lisahally.  more…

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Be grateful for small mercies & scandals

This week in the Seanad we held a thorough debate on the current situation in Northern Ireland ahead of the upcoming Assembly Elections and the many challenges that lie ahead Beginning with an address by Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan TD, where he laid out the Irish Government’s role and responsibilities, the House covered more…