Archive | January, 2017

Now the turn of Seamus Mallon at 80. Why he and Trimble were unable to unite over arms decommissioning remains unexplained

Following the tributes to John Hume on his 80th   birthday, the venerable SDLP deputy leader and  the initial deputy first minster Seamus Mallon has given a fascinating interview to the Irish News  for his own  80th. In passing I can’t help noticing the comparisons and contrasts with Sinn Fein. What are yours? On working with more…

In a slow and secret transition within Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams, still in charge, appears to be setting high targets for negotiations on the Assembly

At a Sinn Fein conference on a united Ireland in Dublin,  Gerry Adams has claimed Brexit  is a “ hostile action” that  will “destroy the Good Friday Agreement”,  although adding that  “special status” would not take Northern Ireland out of the UK. Is this to be a sticking point in any talks to restore the more…

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Jim Wells statement on family connections and RHI

Interesting statement from Jim Wells today. For context, his relatives appear to have been associated with a huge expansion in capacity by Moypark (an economic success story). Moypark had previously announced an expansion of some 400 new chicken houses, most of which you would guess, are taking advantage of the local RHI scheme just as more…

A modest case for Donald Trump. To be the exception may not be all bad

Entirely predictably, a chorus of commentators was affronted that Donald Trump so brutally violated the convention for lofty platitudes or proclaiming change in stately code in his inaugural address.  It was so much better in the days of boomer youth. But was it?   . JFK for instance, in Ted Sorensen’s imposing words of the famous more…

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So why did applications to the RHI fund hit such a steep spike?

This is really on foot of a question asked by one of our regular commenters Ted. It’s not a definitive answer (the Public Inquiry report should give us that) but more of an educated guess. First thing is to ask why for the first three years of the existence of this thing it was vastly under-subscribed. more…

The glimmer of light seen in Martin McGuinness’s departure can become a beacon of hope

So the  political establishment and the media are in rare unison praising Martin McGuinness. Illness and the shadow of death – ordinary decent, natural sickness and intimations of mortality  –   bring out the sentimentalist in all types of the Irish people. Let’s not be too starry eyed.  In a longish apologia for the different phases more…

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So, erm, if everyone agrees on how to deal with #RHI, why is Northern Ireland spending £5M on an election?

Sinn Fein, consummate news managers that they are, announced their massive U-turn on the form of inquiry needed for the RHI scandal little more than an hour after the media had recorded Martin McGuinness’s farewell interview. It was obvious which one was going to grab the lead, but the U-turn is the far bigger political news. What more…

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I’m not angry, I’m furious with the DUP…

I’m furious.  Sinn Fein’s election slogan ‘Don’t get angry, get even’, doesn’t do it for me on two counts.  Being angry while voting is no bad thing and anyway I am beyond anger with Northern Ireland’s political system and one party in particular. I remember one of my editors talking to me in the mid more…

Martin McGuinness addresses 2016 Sinn Fein ard fheis (Friday night) in Convention Centre Dublin

Martin McGuinness to stand down at the next election

The former Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness has announced he will stand down as an MLA at the next election. His statement is this; “Last year, Gerry Adams and I confirmed that we had a plan in place for transition to a new leadership. For my part, it was my intention to step aside in more…

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Whatever you do this election make your vote count…

As the scandal, exposés and drip feed of information continues from various departments and political parties over the renewable heat incentive scheme, there is one certainty.  We will be going to the polls on Thursday 2 March. Regardless of the why, we, the voters, have been handed a golden opportunity to pass judgement on the performance more…

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Sinn Fein now back the call for a Public Inquiry

Finance Minister, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has announced that he will be setting up a public inquiry under the 2005 Inquiries Act. This is a reverse of the Sinn Fein stance on this issue. Outlining his rationale he says; Throughout this week I have been continuing to focus on the RHI crisis. “As part of that work, more…

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Who signed off the 0% and 1% rises for Northern Irish teachers?

Just spotted this protest against a pay offer of 0% for 2015/16 and 1% for 2016/17 for teachers. Sinn Fein are doing the needful and out on the protests, this time in Crossmaglen: .@mfearonsf MLA supporting colleague @barraomuiri & his fellow striking teachers in Crossmaglen today @into_ni #fairness pic.twitter.com/xW4VaDjiAs — NewryArmagh SinnFein (@newryarmaghsf) January 18, more…

Ronan Fanning and the resonances of the history of a century ago

A few years ago at a conference in King’s College London, the Irish historian Ronan Fanning who has just died could still  get hot under collar about  how the British politicians Asquith and Lloyd George exploited Irish Home Rule for their own political ends.  We were about to  enter the decade of commemoration culminating in more…