Author Archive | Chris Donnelly

Arlene keeps mum as she bangs the drum

The DUP launched its manifesto today in a breathtaking example of the cynical manner with which the party has treated the electorate since the RHI scandal unfolded before our eyes. The party leader, Arlene Foster, declared that she would not answer any questions at the launch due to suffering from a case of “man flu” more…

AE17: A High-Stakes Election for Mike Nesbitt & the UUP

Whilst much of the focus has rightly been on Arlene Foster as the unionist leader feeling the heat in this election campaign on account of the RHI context and her leading role in delivering that catastrophic initiative, Mike Nesbitt could actually be the unionist political leader under the more severe pressure to step aside if more…

Assessing the Nationalist Battle in AE17

Prior to last year’s Assembly election, I wrote this article on Slugger about the impending battle for nationalist votes. I predicted that it was unlikely the nationalist parties would hold the 43 seats they held between them on account of the developing trend of a declining nationalist turnout over many years, which I have written more…

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DUP accuses TUV of having a ‘personal vendetta’ against……..loyalist paramilitaries

Yes, you read that right. The West Belfast DUP Facebook page has caused quite the stir today after accusing a TUV councillor of having a personal vendetta against loyalist paramilitaries. The TUV councillor in question, Andrew Girvin, had commented on Facebook that he wondered “how many SFIRA election transfers will be given to DUPUDA.” That more…

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Sinn Fein’s Unlikely Candidate

When Sinn Féin’s Assembly Election ’17 candidates were formally introduced at the Waterfront Hall on Monday morning, Dr Peter Doran, the candidate for Lagan Valley, quietly stepped into the limelight of Republican politics for the first time. The Donegal native, who currently teaches environmental justice at the School of Law in Queens University, raised eyebrows more…

The Hatching of the Great Misogyny Distraction Plan

Deep in the bowels of Party HQ, the Inner Circle have gathered for a think-in to plot the party’s way out of the abbreviation crisis Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken. Paul’s just off the phone. Can’t make it but he sends his regards. Someone organise for a tray of Ashers’ finest buns to be more…

DUP figure calls for boycott of News Letter over RHI revelations

As more RHI revelations make their way into the public domain, there are signs that the political temperature in the Executive is heading northwards. Today, the Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, reiterated his party’s call for Arlene Foster to step aside as First Minister over the issue. Whilst a non-attributed DUP statement appeared more…

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…

Arlene’s Ash For Cash Scandal: 10 Points to Ponder (No Comments)

1. Arlene Foster, and Arlene Foster alone, shoulders the blame through the basic principle of ministerial responsibility for the introduction of a Northern Ireland-specific RHI scheme that was appallingly devised and implemented. 2. The DUP as a political party is exclusively culpable for the most significant financial crisis in the albeit short history of the devolved institutions more…

Arlene’s Ash for Cash Scandal: DUP’s Hell as RHI Fire exposes Brimstone

Guess who’s back in the news? Stephen Brimstone, for long a prominent DUP Special Advisor (SpAd) at Stormont, has been revealed to be a beneficiary of the RHI scheme. Brimstone, very recently retired from his post as Arlene Foster’s SpAd, had previously served as SpAd for DUP Social Development Ministers Nelson McCausland and Mervyn Storey, more…

Detail is Important: Who benefitted from the scandal that is Arlene Foster’s Cash for Ash RHI Scheme?

Arlene Foster was Minister at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment when the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme was introduced. She was responsible for implementing and managing the scheme when it was brought to Northern Ireland, having been previously rolled out in Britain. While she was in post as Minister, a conscious decision was more…

Mike and Colum as ‘The Craggy Island Opposition’

The Opposition era at Stormont is still in its infancy stage, but the Executive parties certainly can’t be accused of adopting a defensive strategy in anticipation of the UUP and SDLP-led Opposition getting their acts together. The surprising appointment of David Gordon as the NI Executive’s Press Secretary marked a statement of intent by the more…

Sinn Fein taking tentative steps towards new visions of Irish unity

The latest Sinn Fein document seeking to promote the cause of Irish unity, Towards A United Ireland, was the subject of this piece from David earlier in the week. It is the product of the party’s decision to task senior party elected representative, Matt Carthy, with the task of developing a strategy to promote unity. more…

Sinn Fein asleep at the wheel over Parades, Flags & Identity Commission

The Irish News broke a story yesterday revealing that Neville Armstrong, the Independent joint chairman of the new Flags, Parades and Identity Commission established under the Fresh Start Agreement, is also a DUP appointee to a SIF group. In fact, as John Manley outlines in the paper, he is the DUP’s “sole political appointee on more…

Underachievement replacing selection as Stormont’s main education theme

At the DUP conference last month, the party published a paper entitled No Child Left Behind, a study into educational underachievement in Northern Ireland. The document was researched and written by the North Down party councillor, Peter Martin, who consulted with many educationalists ahead of producing the paper. The report can be accessed via the more…

Go! Cubs! Go!

The first time I ever saw a satellite dish up close was when I paid one of my regular visits to the home of my cousin’s grandparents on a sweltering hot summer’s day in Phoenix, Arizona, in the early 1980s. I must’ve been eight or nine, and my cousin Mike and me had stopped in more…

Brexit’s Challenges & Opportunities for Irish Nationalists

Ahead of Saturday’s Lighthouse Indian Summer School in Killough, I have an article in today’s Irish News examining the challenges and opportunities that Brexit presents for Irish nationalism in the short and long term. I’ve always thought that the developing European identity in the latter quarter of the 20th century helped Irish nationalists cope with more…