Israel/Palestine and the Irish perspective

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The people of Ireland are hugely sympathetic to the people of Palestine! There you go my bid of understatement of the year is well and truly lodged. Like most people, I have watched incredible and horrific scenes of Palestinian people losing their homes, jobs and relatives as they face a pounding from one of the more…

Are we slowly waking up to the pressing need to deal with child sexual abuse?

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Something interesting is happening in the territory of child sexual abuse. The arrests over the last few days indicate a few rather disturbing patterns… Police forces across the country have arrested 660 suspected paedophiles including doctors, teachers and former police officers in the biggest operation for more than ten years targeting online child abusers. A more…

Martina Anderson MEP: “and if the British government lifts its ban on Executive access to the EIB…”

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No update yet from Sinn Féin on the meeting they chose to trail a couple of days ago between three of their MEPs, led by the Derry Northern Ireland representative, Martina Anderson, and “the Vice-Chairman of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Jonathan Taylor”.  But let’s hope they were better briefed than the 15 July press release suggests, more…

#OTRs: a ready made exit strategy?

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So the review of the OTR scheme by a British judge has found it to be ‘not unlawful’ and not secret (pretty much how Dominic Grieve, British Attorney General, had described it before the review). Earlier on today Secretary of State Theresa Villiers made an oral statement to the House of Commons to coincide with more…

UPDATED #ShinnersList not a secret and not an amnesty…

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So, the #ShinnersList is real, legal but not an enforceable amnesty… The police had realised they had made a mistake, but the assurance to the County Donegal man was never withdrawn. “Nothing in law or logic” explained their failure to rectify the error, Lady Justice Hallett said. “The administrative scheme was kept ‘below the radar’ more…

The Orange Order and Scottish Independence

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The recent Orange Order parade in Glasgow, which featured an estimated 4500 marchers and a similar number of spectators, resulted in the usual disruption and finger-pointing. Eighteen people were arrested for offences related to drinking, disorder and other minor offences, although Grand Lodge of Scotland representatives and Police Chief Superintendent Andy Bates noted it was more…

Gove, Cameron and the old four year Switcheroo…

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Here’s a classic case of where the polling mechanism breaks down. The question presumes there’s a meaningful difference in interest between Michael Gove and his boss, the British Prime Minister. I’m not convinced there is any such difference. I saw the Indy going to town on the salary loss, but to be frank, career progression more…

Intercept evidence could convict terrorists, says former SoS Murphy

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As a  curtain raiser to Lady Justice Heather Hallett’s  review of OTRs’  “ administrative scheme” due out tomorrow (Thursday), the mild-mannered former Labour secretary of state Paul Murphy has told the separate  inquiry into the affair by the Commons Northern Ireland Select Committee that more convictions might have been obtained if the rules of evidence more…

Why is Irish nationalism neutral on Scottish independence?

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Martin Mansergh is a splendid relic of an old Anglo-Irish tradition, a Tipperary landlord, one of a very rare breed of Fianna Fail intellectuals, an adviser on the North to successive Fianna Fail Taoisigh, a minster who never quite fulfilled his promise possibly due to his background, a historian and son of Nicholas, one of more…

Different Drums and the Spirit of the Samba

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During the World Cup I was watching one of the Brazil games. When they were still contenders, mind. And I was well content, for a potentially decent game and a cold beer are hard to beat. A bit like Teenage Kicks, as the Undertones might have put it. Anyway, the Samba spirit was in full more…

The Twelfth: ‘it ain’t all burger vans and bouncy castles’

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On Saturday I attended one of the flagship Twelfth demonstrations in Markethill, County Armagh, at the invitation of Orangeman and Ulster Unionist mayor of Craigavon, Colin McCusker. The day was arranged through a friend of mine who comes from a Catholic background in North Belfast. Our intention was no greater than to enjoy a day more…

“That is not a state of affairs they would expect to find in a competently run country.”

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Riffing on the row over Garth Brooks’ non-concerts in Croke Park that has consumed local media attention, in the Irish Times John McManus has some pertinent points to make about the long-running saga of who controls the former Quinn Group companies – and the accompanying campaign of attacks and intimidation. In recent weeks one consortium, Quinn Business Retention more…

#Bonfires 2014

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As has been blogged on here already, for good and bad, bonfires have been attracting a lot of attention over the last few years. This appears to be, in part, due to combination of the ubiquity of social media and cameras. While a number of high profile news stories are giving a significantly negative impression of bonfires more…