Author Archive | Mick Fealty

Census 2001: Early estimates

Earliest indications from the BBC suggest that the final figures will be more like 53% Protestant and 44% Catholic. Other reports from RTE and UTV concur with this estimate.

Census 2001: Irish speakers

Aside from the issue of total in the religious populations before they were announced this morning, Sinn Fein focused on the rising numbers of Irish speakers, they expect to be demonstrated in the figures.

Census 2001: Catholic numbers to be less than predicted?

Gerry Moriarty. Northern Editor of the Irish Times is the first to hint (sub only) that the figures in census currently being bandied around, may prove to be hugely exagerating the final numbers of Catholics in the Province: “Some reports have suggested the Catholic population could be as high as 46 per cent, but this more…

Census 2001: Catholic school majority widening

Rosie Cowan goes on to quote some apparently sobering facts: “Four of Northern Ireland’s five cities, Belfast, Derry, Armagh and Newry, now have Catholic majorities – only Lisburn does not – and last year there were 173,000 Catholic schoolchildren, 146,000 Protestants and 22,000 others.” It should be noted that of these cities, only Belfast has more…

Census 2001: The Sinn Fein take

Chris Thorton reports that Mitchell McLaughlin warns unionists that the demographic trends should not simply be a source of fear, but suggests instead that they: “…they would serve their constituency best by encouraging discussion and debate on how a united Ireland would guarantee equality and human rights for all traditions.” Put like that, it’s an more…

Census 2001: Empey on the rising Catholic population

Reg Empey is the latest Unionist politician to share his thoughts on the potential outcomes of the census when it is announced on Thursday: “While this is no definitive guarantee of how people vote, it is a strong indicator. It must also be remembered that the figures refer to the whole population and not the more…

Census shock on its way

From Jude Collins, simply the most important story of the week. I cannot vouch for the rest of the speculation in Jude’s piece, but this one aspect alone could be revolutionary in its implications: “When census returns are released this month, the figure beside the Catholic 45% will not be 55% Protestant. When ‘others’ have more…

Robinson’s plan:summary

In conversation with Frank Millar, Peter Robinson outlined the conditions for his party’s willing engagement with the peace process. He outlined what he believes to be fundamental flaws of the current Agreement. He returned to a theme his colleague Sammy Wilson outlined in more detail a few weeks back – the unaccountability of the institutions. more…

Robinson’s plan: Consent

And finally, Peter Robinson confirms the need to seek consent within both communities: As a principle for the future, I believe you can only govern through consent and any attempt to govern without consent – and I do refer to that as being consent from both sections of our community – and I’ve argued the more…

Sinn Fein: between the lobby and the street

The Andersonstown News editorialises on the current deadlock, picking up on the recent murder in Ballygowan to suggest that Unionists seem more intent on keeping Sinn Fein out of government. But what’s more interesting about this piece is the detailed analysis of how recent political decisions have effected the social and economic life of nationalist more…

Sovereignty change?

Mitchell McLaughlin in a speech in Balbriggan, Co Dublin, challenged Unionists to declare whether they support the transference of sovereignty in the event that a majority in the North vote for it. On the face of it, it is hard to see the relevance of this concern. Particularly since the Belfast Agreement states in its more…

Religious figures in the census

Are due to be published this month. Though the Census office has not given a date, latest reports suggest that it is on schedule to reach the public before Christmas. In light of this, journalists, politicians and policy makers will be dusting down the many words written on the political demography of Northern Ireland, in more…

Blair speech: Completion

This may be the sound bite that outlasts the rest when the time and the place of this speech are long forgotten. Blair calls for decisive action: It’s time for acts of completion. We will do our best to carry on implementing the Agreement in any event. But, should real change occur, we can implement more…

Blair speech: The benefits

The focus changes to the political and economic benefits the Agreement has brought: “…there is still violence, but at a far, far reduced rate – in 1972, 470 people died. This year, so far, ten. Ten too many, but let us recognise the progress made. The transformation in the economy has been enormous: unemployment at more…

Suspension; eye witness

In the subscription only Irish News Newton Emerson, editor of the satirical website Portadown News was in Stormont on the last day of business. One thing that consistently erks the reasonable middle ground parties is the way that most commentators rarely talk to them: “The Women’s Coalition are first to brave the spotlight. Cruelly, several more…

Suspension; winners and losers

Malachi O’Doherty is the first one I’ve seen to evaluate the gains and losses made by each of four main parties through the events of the last fortnight. It’s an interesting exercise, but one that may prove misleading in a process that has become more long term, where many expected early closure. Indeed it is more…

Ouch!

Rumour has reached us that one of the assailants in a recent gun attack also managed to put himself into hospital by shooting himself in the ‘privates’ during the get away! For those less familiar with recent events in Belfast, there has been a low level conflict rising between rival Loyalist paramilitaries over the last more…

Short Strand protestants..

Suzanne Breen talks to protestant women in the troubled area in East Belfast, kindly reproduced by Newshound. The three women all live right on the peaceline in the Clandeboye Estate. Jean grew up in the staunchly unionist Newtownards Road area. She has five children and moved into the Short Strand 30 years ago. “Since May more…

Politician’s weblog

Interesting weblog by Westminster MP Harry Barnes. This piece is intriguingly titled; IRA plc and Loyalist Limited. Harry is a member of the House of Commons Northern Ireland Select Committee.

Economics.

James Kelly in the subscription only Irish News, is getting fed up with the seemingly endless series of constitutional crises, and suggests that NI Plc is being seriously neglected in all the furore. Meantime, out in the real world away from the political hothouse, voices are being heard protesting about the political stranglehold which is more…