Author Archive | Soapbox

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Crime and punishment (beatings)…

It was a hellish scene. The shaky video taken on someone’s phone showed a stolen car speeding up and down the Falls Road, doing hand brake turns at brake neck speed. Tyres and onlookers squealed; smoke filled the air. Terrified road users attempted to make it by without getting written off and pedestrians fled from more…

UTV Vote17 studio

A Women’s election?

Andrée Murphy is a Columnist with the Andersonstown News Sitting in my living room on Thursday night seeing three women leaders of the local parties and two male leaders on the two fringes made me chuckle. I tweeted it was hard to believe that it was Michelle O’Neill’s first time in the spot as leader, more…

Large print version of manifesto

#AE17 Platform: People have moved on and their politicians need to move with them.

Clare Bailey is the Deputy Leader of the Green Party and a candidate for South Belfast I’ve been struck by the ramping up of regressive rhetoric since the traditional parties “launched” their election campaigns. The Irish language, soldiers in the dock, orange halls and border patrols. I became interested and active in politics as a mature student at more…

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Cannabis Oil; An idiot’s guide

Patrick, 84 this year, is nothing short of a minor miracle.  A bright, intelligent and curious man, had he not been such a heavy and committed drinker, his life might have been very different.  He has always lived in the street where he grew up in the pitiful poverty of the 1930s.  In spite of more…

Gemma Weir WP

Gemma Weir: We Need A Socialist Alternative

Gemma Weir is the Workers Party candidate for North Belfast This election is unnecessary and will solve absolutely nothing unless people use it to pass judgement on all the parties in Stormont. The two Executive parties in particular – the DUP and Sinn Fein – have been irresponsible, arrogant and contemptuous. Returning them to power to do more…

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The Case for a ‘Foyle Free Trade Zone’.

Derry’s days as a regional transport hub appear to be largely behind it. In better times the city has served as a hub for shipbuilding, an international naval base, a thriving export centre and a key departure point for emigrants. Nowadays, the sole legacy of that is a small but important port facility at Lisahally.  more…

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Spring into Lifelong Learning at Stranmillis University College           

This week Stranmillis University College rolls out its new Lifelong Learning courses –both daytime and evening- from History to Ethics and Wine-tasting. In sync with the ongoing ‘Decade of Centenaries’ resident historian, Dr Éamon Phoenix is offering ‘The Terrible Beauty 1916-23’ exploring the Irish Revolution and Partition. His regular Irish History morning discussion class looks at more…

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I’m not angry, I’m furious with the DUP…

I’m furious.  Sinn Fein’s election slogan ‘Don’t get angry, get even’, doesn’t do it for me on two counts.  Being angry while voting is no bad thing and anyway I am beyond anger with Northern Ireland’s political system and one party in particular. I remember one of my editors talking to me in the mid more…

Bedroom Tax promises must be honoured

Of all the welfare changes introduced in Great Britain since 2010, it is the Bedroom Tax that has perhaps attracted the most attention. The patent unfairness and arbitrary nature of the policy, along with its arresting tabloid moniker (officially it is the ‘Social Sector Size Criteria’), has provoked much interest. Social tenants on housing benefit more…

Soapbox: Arlene Foster Was Never a Suitable First Minister

The exclusion motion on Arlene Foster focussed on the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scandal.  I would argue, however, that Mrs Foster has a track record beyond RHI that shows she was never suitable to be our First Minister. The potential £250m clean-up costs highlighted in 2013 by the Mills Report into illegal waste dumping in more…

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How should we deal with pharmacists who make mistakes?

  On 6th February 2014, Mrs Ethna Walsh, a 67-year-old grandmother, was prescribed Prednisolone Tablets 5mg by her doctor.  Having taken the first dose of 8 tablets she became ill, collapsed, was rushed to hospital and was dead within two hours.  She had been dispensed propranolol 40mg tablets by mistake. Martin White, her pharmacist, fully more…

Press Eye - SDLP  -  28th Jan 2016
Photograph By Declan RoughanSDLP's  leader Colm Eastwood.
SDLP Ð Prosperity not austerity
New SDLP team will deliver positive alternative for Northern IrelandSDLP leader Colum Eastwood MLA unveiled his new team of party spokespeople today at an event in Belfast at Cultœrlann McAdam î Fiach.  The nine spokespeople will shadow the nine new NI Executive Departments which are set to be in place in the next Assembly mandate. The party is the first to do so and the team will include MLAs and councillors from across the North.
New appointees include South Belfast MLA Claire Hanna (Department of Finance), former Belfast Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon (Department for Communities), West Tyrone MLA Daniel McCrossan (Department for Infrastructure). Mid-Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone MLA is spokesperson for the Department of the Economy and Fearghal McKinney (South Belfast) continues as spokesperson for the Department of Health. Larger portfolios will see new teams where spokespeople are supported by Assembly or Council colleagues.

Colum Eastwood: NI Executive need to come to a collective response on RHI

SOAPBOX Writing exclusively for Slugger, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood invokes the old political truism that if a story involving a political scandal runs into the second week then resignations always follow. Arlene Foster is now facing into her second week of the biggest political scandal to hit Stormont since devolution. This story isn’t go away more…

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How the big UK parties utilise technology for canvassing & voter management…

UK political parties and constituencies are going through a period of ‘change-and-upgrade’ in relation to their campaign practices and constituency management. Ever since social media became a must-have for politicians there has been a pressure to manage their public life through digital means. In most respects, the US still leads the way in this type more…