Author Archive | Pete Baker

EU Standardised Driving Licence, mostly, Trumps Political Psychosis

Sinn Féin TD, Dessie Ellis, has taken umbrage with the Irish National Driver Licence Service for refusing to indulge some nationalists’ political psychosis on the recently standardised EU driving licence.  From the Irish News report Sinn Féin’s Dessie Ellis spoke out after a renewed licence issued to Co Tipperary resident Thomas Murray stated ‘Northern Ireland’ more…

“I’m trying not to take The Fall personally.”

Guardian TV critic Stuart Heritage with a nail on head review of the “dead dog of a show” that The Fall became.  From the Guardian review Even by most recent standards, The Fall was dire this year. Now that it’s done, and Paul Spector is dead and Stella Gibson is back enigmatically muttering like a more…

Battle lines re-drawn over new Casement Park stadium plan

The BBC reports that the Mooreland and Owenvarragh Residents Association (MORA) has said it opposes the recently unveiled revised GAA plan for a new stadium at Casement Park.  MORA campaigned successfully against the original proposal.  From the BBC report In a statement, the residents group said it supported a “suitable-sized redevelopment” that was safe, did not host concerts and more…

Northern Ireland High Court rejects Brexit Challenges

As the BBC report notes, the High Court in Belfast has dismissed two judicial review challenges to the way the UK Government intends to invoke Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union to trigger withdrawal from the EU. One of the legal challenges, by victims’ campaigner Raymond McCord relied on legal aid.  The other, involving Sinn Féin, the more…

Tackling Paramilitary Activity: “government funding will not be released until the Executive agrees a more detailed action plan”

As I noted in a post in September In July, the NI First and deputy First Ministers and Justice Minister, Claire Sugden announced the publication of the NI Executive’s Action Plan for Tackling Paramilitary Activity, Criminality and Organised Crime – 147kb pdf file here. Costing £50 million over 5 years, it’s jointly funded, £25 million each, by the NI Executive and the more…

“It may seem that writing in icing on a cake is a trivial form of expression…”

As Alan mentioned in his post on the Court of Appeal ruling against Ashers Baking Company yesterday, noted legal commentator Joshua Rozenberg, describing the ruling as “surprisingly straightforward”, outlined the judges reasoning …if a business does supply a service, it must not discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation — which means it must not refuse more…

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: “I need to know what it is that the Executive in Northern Ireland is actually seeking”

With the Northern Ireland First Minister over-praising a letter of acknowledgement from the UK Prime Minister, and the deputy First Minister sounding off [again? – Ed] about his lack of trust in “this British government”, it’s worth noting this exchange between Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams in the Dáil yesterday high-lighting the more…

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Vote Nobody 2016!

Ahead of the third, and final [thankfully! – Ed], televised debate between the Republican and Democratic parties candidates for US President, BBC Trending reports on the campaigns for the best person for the job – none of the above! Survey show that dissatisfaction with the two major party candidates is particularly acute amongst young people. According more…

Tánaiste: “It has always been the case that Ireland and the United Kingdom cooperate closely on jointly securing the external border of the CTA…”

A couple of recent written questions in the Dáil, on the future operation of the Common Travel Area and immigration controls, provided the Irish Government with an opportunity to address what are described as “a number of misleading media reports on these matters in recent days”. From the Dáil record [13 Oct] Brexit Issues 10. Deputy more…

Wolfgang Münchau :”those in Ireland in favour of EU membership should give some thought to what could go wrong”

Possibly related to my previous post…  The Irish Times republishes an interesting article by Wolfgang Münchau in the FT.  He starts with Brexit, and a necessary new direction of travel for the UK economy… There is a risk that Brexit and the associated change in model business will go wrong. Brexit is not necessarily a bad more…

“Government will seek to pursue any appropriate opportunities for Ireland arising from the UK’s departure”

As mentioned in a couple of recent written answers in the Dáil, here and here, the Irish “Government will seek to pursue any appropriate opportunities for Ireland arising from the UK’s departure” from the EU. Here are those written answers Brexit Issues Deputy Niall Collins   asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport   if he has set up a more…

NI Attorney General on post-brexit future: “not one word or phrase in the Belfast Agreement” would be affected

There might be another, somewhat related, reason why Sinn Féin delegated their now-backbench MLA, John O’Dowd, to front the party’s support for the High Court legal action against Brexit – as a party of the NI Executive they may have seen legal advice from the Attorney General for Northern Ireland, John Larkin, QC. Earlier reports more…

Don’t forget your passport if you’re crossing the border…

Given the level of hand-wringing concern being publicly expressed about the possibility of border controls post-Brexit, disingenuous or otherwise, here’s a topical and relevant story courtesy of the BBC. A County Armagh vegetable grower says businesses need more clarity about border controls, after eight of his workers were detained by Irish police on their way more…

Rory Finds Form to Win FedEx Cup

By winning the Tour Championship yesterday in Atlanta, and with it the FedEx Cup for the first-time, Rory McIlroy has turned a decent, if disappointing by his high standards, season into a great one.  Until the FedEx play-offs began his only win this year was the Irish Open.  The new FedEd Cup winner now heads to the more…

Declan Kearney: “an attempt to destabilise nationalist areas in the North.”

As mentioned by Newton Emerson in Saturday’s Irish News, in an under-reported article in An Phoblacht this week, the Sinn Féin national chairperson, and MLA for South Antrim, Declan Kearney, doubled down on Roy Greenslade’s ‘policy of criminalisation‘ for dissident republicans to explain away the evident discontent the party is experiencing – adding further layers more…

“rather than trying to pretend that essentially, testing does not exist”

As the BBC notes, the Northern Ireland Education Minister, the DUP’s Peter Weir, has reversed the department’s previous position prohibiting the use of academic selection to decide what post-primary school pupils transfer to.  That position was set out in 2008 by then NI Education Minister, Sinn Féin’s Caitríona Ruane, and upheld by the subsequent Minister, Sinn Féin’s John O’Dowd. more…

“Better to criminalise rather than politicise.”

Here’s something you might have missed last week.  In an interestingly timed, if much belated, intervention in the Guardian, professor of journalism at City University, self-declared Sinn Féin supporter and, in the late 1980s, a pseudonymous contributor to An Phoblacht, Roy Greenslade channels his inner Thatcher for a call for media [self] censorship when reporting on still violent dissident republican groups.  From the Guardian article In other more…

Calm down, dears…

Wilful or otherwise, there’s been a degree of misrepresentation of Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s apparently unscripted, and qualified, comments at the MacGill Summer School yesterday – you can read the official version of his speech here. As the initial reported quote demonstrated, his focus was not on preparing for the prospect of referendums on a united more…

Live Cricket: Ireland v Afghanistan at Stormont – 5th ODI

After a somewhat controversial victory in the 4th One Day International on Sunday, Afghanistan have a 2-1 lead going into today’s 5th, and final, ODI against Ireland’s cricketers at Stormont.  Afghanistan won the toss and put Ireland in to bat.  Live video via CricketIrelandTV.  Cricinfo has the usual over-by-over text commentary.  Ireland made 265 for more…