Meet Belfast’s millionaire traffic camera…

Nice work from the Belfast Telegraph (and another good reason for moving the Open Government agenda further down the road), who discovered that one traffic camera in Belfast has raised £1million in bus lane fines alone… Situated at Donegall Square East, it is responsible for 18,000 penalties being issued to city centre commuters in just more…

The driving record of Sinn Fein’s publicly funded, off books ministerial drivers…

Interesting curio from Sam McBride. The figures concerned are relatively small, but it seems that Martin’s driver is a tad accident prone… Mr McGuinness’s ministerial driver has been at fault for four accidents since 2011, costing the public purse £1,517 in repair bills. He was responsible for two accidents in March of this year, costing more…

Twadell deal shapes up at last (but WTF kept youse?)

One of the massively frustrating aspects of the parading problem in North Belfast has been is just how arch and false the whole thing has been. Well, if Fresh Start means anything to real people in a real space it may just mean a whole bunch of pointless street trouble is coming to an end: more…

What will make for a good opposition at Stormont?

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The two main government parties seem to have convinced a large chunk of the media that in order to be effective as an opposition, the UUP and the SDLP must form a government-in-waiting. It suits the DUP and Sinn Fein to paint it that way in order to cover their many splits on policy. Unfortunately, it more…

It’s a no brainer. Dublin will cleave to the British-Irish relationship to navigate through Brexit rather than become persuaders for unity

Chris Donnelly is right to believe that Brexit will give an immediate boost to the cause of a United Ireland and he expresses it in terms well removed from the old Sinn Fein mantra. In the longer term, Brexit presents an unexpected opportunity for many in nationalist Ireland to develop a vision of an Ireland 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…

Moving the IRA to peace: limitations of the agents of influence theory…

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There’s a fine line to be walked in judging the influence of largely unaccountable state actors and historic corollaries. Both Mark Devenport and Jen O’Leary today ask the question of whether state agents of influence were critical factors in moving the IRA to peace. The question is easier to ask than to answer. Devenport cites more…

The problems of Brexit are big enough without nurturing new grievances against the Brits

In his eloquent contributions to the Mount Stewart conversations, (warm thanks to Alan), Fintan O’Toole in terms stated as fact that the people had exercised an irreversible act of sovereignty in approving the Good Friday Agreement enshrined in international treaty. This had been violated by the “reckless” imposition of Brexit on the Northern Ireland.  The more…

Pledging for the International Day of Peace

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Each year, on 21st September, people throughout the world mark an International Day of Peace.  Across our planet, communities live with the impact of war and violence, but there are also many examples of mankind’s ability to resolve conflict, foster better relationships and create happier, more peaceful societies, including here, in Northern Ireland. It’s more important more…

2016/7 NI Party Conference dates

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PARTY CONFERENCE SCHEDULE – a list of the 2016/17 party conferences and gatherings most relevant to followers of NI politics. It’ll be updated with information as and when the parties decide and share their plans, and updated with links to Slugger’s conference coverage after each event.

Interview with Translink CEO Chris Conway

Thursday afternoon in the Europa Buscentre, and knowing I’ve been scooped by the Business Telegraph (the price of blogging), I meet with Chris Conway in the conference room.  We’ve met before, as I happened to be at Stormont for an Autism event on the day Translink launched Train and Bus week, but this chat has more…

Reflections on the British-Irish Association in Oxford

 A tale of two Unions: can circles be squared by a new devolution settlement?   This was written for the blog of the Constitution Unit of University College London. In the wake of the Brexit vote there has been much discussion about the possibility of Scotland and Northern Ireland, where there were Remain majorities in more…

Catch up on the Mount Stewart Conversations: diplomacy and Europe, then and now

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MOUNT STEWART CONVERSATIONS – a weekend of ideas, debate and stories looking at relationships with Europe from Lord Castlereagh’s involvement in the Congress of Venice right through to Brexit and the kind of diplomacy that will be required in years to come. Throw in live music, food, and the gorgeous National Trust gardens and walks, more…

Respect our culture…

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I for one can’t help but feel immensely proud of Belfast when tens of thousands of us can join together to celebrate culture in a way which doesn’t involve some kind of reference to warfare or create a huge police overtime bill.

Hail Mary, David Gordon & a Transitioning Sinn Fein

A fortnight ago, I was in Dublin to watch the opening game of the first Saturday of the American college football season between the universities of Boston College and Georgia Tech. It was an exciting encounter between two well matched teams, the latest in a series of Dublin-based fixtures that has brought tens of thousands more…