Author Archive | Pete Baker

Payment will be due

Seán Flynn, in The Irish Times, picks up on the Value for Money Report on Grouped Schools project (full report) from the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General, published 28th september 2004, focusing on the real cost of Grouped Schools Pilot Partnership Project (summary) for the Department of Education and Science. Rather than the more…

All-Ireland Proposals All Can Welcome?

Moves are being considered to enable the implementation of an All-Ireland Free Travel scheme for pensioners and other groups. The BBC quotes Irish Minister for Social and Family Affairs, Mary Coughlan, “The use of this type of smart card [to be introduced next year] may hold the key to resolving many of the administrative difficulties more…

The ‘Old’ on the ‘New’

The New York Times magazine has an interesting article on political blogging and the bloggers who blog, Fear and Laptops on the Campaign Trail (free reg. required), focussing on bloggers’ coverage of the US presidential campaigns. With more than a hint of the patronising tone of the “ancient media” that blogging is, for some, a more…

Pulling the (phone) plug

Ireland is to become the first country in the world to block direct-dialled calls to entire countries. The decision, by Commission for Communication Regulation ComReg, is an attempt to stop an internet-based fraud that relies on modem-jacking. But, while the BBC report focuses on the need to counter the fraud, the blocking of entire nations’ more…

Cognito ergo blog

It isn’t just the old media that’s falling for (or being battered by) the charms of the blog – academia is too. Jim McClellan in the Guardian Online section looks at some successful academic blogs, and academic bloggers, who believe blogging can be beneficial to the “developing and sharing ideas, both with academic peers and more…

Remarkable Progress despite lack of Political Support

“Overall accountability and governance structures have shown themselves to be effective, with the PSNI and other bodies driving improvements forward despite the lack of full community support.” – That’s the view of the Police Oversight Commissioner, Al Hutchinson. He went on to say that “The lack of support is really the key barrier to deep more…

Booker Prize 2004

The shortlist for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2004 has been announced. Included in the shortlist of 6 is The Master by acclaimed Irish author Colm Tóibín – whose literary output includes the previously shortlisted The Blackwater LightshipAs well as Colm Tóibín, the shortlist includes David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, Achmat Dangor’s Bitter Fruit, Sarah more…

I think he drinks it neat

An intriguing article from The Guardian which, in my view, fails to provide sufficient background to the story. A British ‘entrepeneur’ has persuaded General Mikhail Kalashnikov, 83 (yes, that General Kalashnikov), to lend his name to a new brand of vodka, launched at a London club yesterday.While there will, undoubtedly, be some who see this more…

A wider angle needed

While much of the media has narrowed its optimistic focus to concentrate on the minutiae of the mechanisms of accountability, Frank Millar in the Irish Times takes a wide-angle look at the aftermath of the Leeds Castle talks, and sees a shadow on the image.In Millar’s view the dancing leading up to the talks, and more…

A Pragmatic Approach?

Malachi O’Doherty, in today’s Belfast Telegraph, on the difference between those who can admit to their mistakes and those who are still burdened by responsibility for the consequences of their actions. By way of comparison, in The Blanket, Eoghan O’Suilleabhain, sees some who, rather than admit to those mistakes, would prefer to hide the evidence.

Star of the Sea – The Movie

The Irish Independent carries the news, echoed in the Belfast Telegraph, that Joseph O’Connor has sold the movie rights to his acclaimed novel ‘Star of the Sea’ to “Britain’s biggest movie production company”, Working Title Films.That news will either gladden or dishearten the novel’s many fans, who include certain Slugger regulars. Working Title has produced more…

All Over by Christmas?

So, it’ll all be over by Christmas. At least that’s what Tony Blair says, and Bertie Ahern, since this was a joint statement, would appear to agree with him – Northern Ireland Talks Falter despite Blair and Ahern Nudges – NY TimesThere remain major problem areas though and while the obvious finger-pointing is, correctly, directed more…

The Oracle at Derry?

While not exactly proof of Delphic powers, Eamonn McCann’s article in the Belfast Telegraph earlier this week is looking more prescient as the day, and the talks at Leeds Castle, go by.The link between the Agreement of 1998 and the increasing polarization that Eamonn McCann sees and foresees, when there is a case to be more…

Smoke signals or smoke and mirrors?

According to a PA report carried on UTV, the centre parties are dropping heavy hints that there may actually be progress being made at Leeds Castle.SDLP leader Mark Durkan has told the assembled press corps that “”People are running out of arguments they have had on a number of issues for holding back”, while the more…

Time is short?

The Guardian runs through some of Ian Paisley Snr’s more famous, and infamous, moments in the spotlight in its profile of the current leader of the DUP today.”The lifelong outsider now leads unionism” according to the Guardian and, echoing Malachi O’Doherty’s Belfast Telegraph piece from a few weeks ago, points out that “any agreement must more…

The aim of the game

According to the Irish Times’ Gerry Moriarty’s ‘dependable sources’ “The British and Irish governments want to have the Northern Executive and Assembly back in operation by next January.”As Gerry Moriarty opines “Ambitious or what? Allowing for the New Year, the return to school and getting back into shape after the Christmas festivities, their January deadline more…

Hey Ho Let’s Go!

Not, strictly speaking, within the remit of the site, but allow me a little latitude. Johnny Ramone, real name John Cummings, one of the founder members of the punk of all punk bands, The Ramones, died yesterday after a 5-year battle with prostate cancer. The Guardian leads the tributes. A moment’s silence please, followed by more…

Ireland most expensive in Europe

Joe Humphreys in the Irish Times reports on the latest annual statement on prices and costs from the National Competitiveness Council. Consumer price inflation in Ireland has risen at twice the rate of the Euro zone average since 1999 and the average price of Irish goods and services by 22 per cent above the EU more…

In gratitude

Seamus Heaney writes on the life and work of his fellow poet Czeslaw Milosz, from last Saturday’s Guardian Review, while threading a simultaneous discourse on the nature and power of poetry.Within characteristically dense but measured prose Heaney pays tribute to Milosz and his “wish that poetry in general should be capable of providing an elevated more…

A Big Con?

A little later than intended but still a useful antidote to the party politics (possibly), a characteristically spiky interview with The Guardian has Roddy Doyle following on from his ‘blasphemous’ view that Joyce “needed a good editor” and kicking hard against the stereotyping, and self-mythologizing, of the Irish people.After all, who, if we’re being honest, more…