Author Archive | Andy Boal

So what of those 27 trade deals?

Time for a little light relief. Much is made of the 27 countries queuing up to make trade deals with the UK, but as ever the devil is in the detail.  The first observation is that two or three of the countries concerned are not in a position to enter into bilaterals with the United more…

Contradicting Carl’s constitutional conundrum

Picking up on Mick’s post regarding comments by Carl Gardner, I thought it might be helpful to give another perspective, having like Carl read the full judgement, but I don’t think he has quite picked up on some of the most significant points.  This is what I posted yesterday on another site… I’ve read the more…

The NHS prescription: £22 billion of efficiency savings

At what point can an organisation which has undergone many years of reorganisations and “efficiency savings” actually create any more efficiencies and still comply with the regulatory regime? Leave aside the arguments about the £350 million lie of the Leave campaign, because it’s not actually relevant until Brexit is complete.  Even if every penny we more…

City council recommends no free Christmas parking

This is a rare post from myself that is almost entirely from the perspective of being a motorist. As Belfast City Council’s Growth and Regeneration committee recommends that they do not offer free parking after 6pm or on Saturdays coming up to Christmas, my first reaction is that in fact we are only really discussing more…

Interview with Translink CEO Chris Conway

Thursday afternoon in the Europa Buscentre, and knowing I’ve been scooped by the Business Telegraph (the price of blogging), I meet with Chris Conway in the conference room.  We’ve met before, as I happened to be at Stormont for an Autism event on the day Translink launched Train and Bus week, but this chat has more…

Reflections on Johnson and Davis

As we learn that we have a new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (but not, as I write, knowing who), I wanted to reflect on the two most controversial appointments to Theresa May’s cabinet. Either the appointment of Boris Johnson and David Davis as Foreign Secretary and Secretary of State for Brexit respectively is more…

Devolved legislatures and the EU

Devolved legislatures and the EU

Jim Fitzpatrick drew our attention to an interesting possibility the other day: (extract from Chapter 7 of The process of withdrawing from the European Union) The key issue here is the competency of Westminster to amend the Northern Ireland Act 1998, the Scotland Act 1998 and the Government of Wales Act 2006 (and 1998 to more…

So what happens now?

Well, the markets are currently having their say, but I would strongly advise that we look at them in a week and a half and see if they recover from the initial shock. Now for Andy’s predictions on what happens from here. Negotiating our way out The next step is Article 50 notice to leave more…

Farm subsidies post Brexit

What would happen in the event of Brexit depends on who is on the media at that particular time, and I confess to being almost as fed up listening to the remain side telling us how awful things would be in the event of Brexit as I am listening to the relentless optimism of the more…

Perspectives: parking tickets in Belfast

The Belfast Telegraph is creating a fuss about parking tickets on the Lisburn Road.  Fortunately, I happen to have the actual figures in front of me from a request I made last year… First, a little perspective.  The Lisburn Road is two miles long.  There is no comparison to a city centre street at a more…

Adult Autism Family Workshop

As part of World Autism Awareness Week, I attended an Adult Autism Family Workshop on Wednesday 6th April hosted by Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and facilitated by Patricia Reaney. Rodney Morton, Head of Improvement within the Directorate of Social Care and Children’s services in the Health and Social Care board, laid out a more…

Committee for Regional Development slams DRD in Coleraine-Waterside inquiry

Seven months after agreeing their report from the Inquiry into the Coleraine to Londonderry Rail Track Phase 2 Project on 1 July 2015, the Committee for Regional Development appears to have lost patience waiting for the report to be laid before the Assembly, and has therefore quietly published it on their own website. The report more…

And great was the gnashing of teeth…

… over the implementation of the 20mph speed limit in areas of Belfast city centre where it’s very difficult to exceed 20mph except late at night. Leaving aside the delay in implementation (not at all exceptional – I’ve seen many examples where legislation has been brought in for a speed limit or other traffic orders more…

Bus lane cameras in review

Some months ago I rather foolishly said that “[bus lane camera] success will only be if the number of fines issued diminishes rapidly over the next number of months, because that will be the indicator of a change of behaviour – the real purpose of the cameras.” So, in the week that DRD released figures more…

Traffic

Poetry in motion. Just why is traffic so bad on a Friday?

Ah, Friday.  POETS day.  Quieter rush hour than usual because of long weekends, and people getting the bus in so they can have drinks after work before getting a taxi home. So where does all the congestion come from on Friday afternoons? That was the question Brian asked me a wee while back, and it 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…

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…

A fresh start for the A5 – but at what cost?

Disclaimer: being a strong public transport advocate does not stop me from enjoying the open road, gliding effortlessly past slower traffic [You don’t say – Ed] Indeed – but we all have too many things to do that cannot conveniently be done by bike, bus or train… Mick has already considered the opportunity cost of more…

On the Historical Investigations Unit…

Mick has noted the reaction to David Ford’s comment to David Funston that the Historical Investigations Unit “might at best produce one or two prosecutions,” which came a few weeks after a related piece by Lyra McKee, but this has been the elephant in the room ever since the HIU was proposed as part of more…

A question of chairmanship

A wee Sunday thought. Under d’Hondt, and specifically section 18 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, the DUP is due to be asked to nominate the new minister for Regional Development when the Assembly reconvenes after the summer break. The current chairperson of the Committee for Regional Development is Trevor Clarke, in succession to Jimmy more…