CitizenFour – humanising the whistleblower Edward Snowden while letting his secrets speak for themselves #nihrf

Edward Snowden CitizenFour

When reaching out to journalists prior to leaving the NSA along with gigabytes of secret documentation, Edward Snowden signed off his emails as ‘CitizenFour’. It’s also the name chosen by Laura Poitras for the third film in her post-9/11 surveillance trilogy. We are building the greatest weapon for oppression in the history of man, yet more…

Time to embrace true integrated education?

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Dave Thompson has been a teacher in Forge Integrated Primary School for over 18 years.  Here are two facts about myself. I firmly believe in the importance of Integrated education. I also like irony; I frequently have a wry smile on my face. Sometimes these facts merge. For example, when local opinion polls show overwhelming more…

Photo of the Day: Gerry Kelly being mindful

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Gerry Adams has a whimsy contest for you people to enter into, which we are doubling up as our photo of the day 4 a special prize: What is Gerry Kelly doing? And where is he doing it? pic.twitter.com/ieILeapyTY — Gerry Adams (@GerryAdamsSF) December 13, 2014 1st Prize in Gerry Kelly Quiz: A day @ more…

A closer look at the DRD budget consultation

Having written at length about Belfast commuting in a post written after midnight the other day, and which I have to admit showed it, I wanted to look more closely at the DRD consultation. Current expenditure The baseline cash available for “current expenditure” is reduced from £344.6 million in 2014/15 to £322.1 million in 2015/16, more…

The time approaches for Westminster to impose a settlement

The time has come to put cards on the table.  The British government should publish its funding proposals and refuse point blank to entertain a return to direct rule or even a suspension of the Assembly. If necessary it should impose a financial settlement.  This would reverse the natural rhythm of devolution whereby the centre more…

Transport options for Belfast. Who gets priority on our roads?

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Andy Boal explores the transport options for Belfast It’s been interesting to read the responses to Brian’s post, but I’ve had a good look at the DRD’s proposed budget cuts and the consequences for public transport. It’s grim reading. Before we get into that, let’s start with a few principles. First of all, there is limited more…

#SluggerSoapbox: Who speaks for poor children in Northern Ireland?

Professor Paddy Hillyard occupies the chair in Social Policy at Queens University in Belfast. His most research has focused on poverty, conflict and inequality in Northern Ireland, and the range of the social harms which people experience from the cradle to the grave. A draft budget has been circulated for consultation. The heads of some of our more…

Cameron and Kenny go home

From the BBC, David Cameron and Enda Kenny go home after talks failed to reach a deal. There was an offer on the table of spending powers that would amount to £1 billion over five years. However, the reaction from Sinn Fein was not very encouraging for Cameron as the Education Minister, John O’Dowd labelled more…

Ireland you’re exceptional, we should act like it.

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Ireland is an exceptional country, well so I think anyway. I know this is the easiest plug that any person can give a home town crowd “there’s nowhere like …..” and you get your applause. The concept of exceptionalism is more commonly identified with the United States, were the notion of this being a special more…

Photo of the day – brakes!

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Photo by James Hislop. Taken on May 16, 2014 Dan Kneen fails to control his bike during the Thursday practice session at the NW200

Independent Panel finds problems with MLA Staff Recruitment.

Quick scan through the report…. The Independent Financial Review Panel report today said that MLAs have 84 different job titles for their staff. But, what was more bizarre was that the pay rates for some levels of staff ranged from £6.35-£33.75 per hour. The report was also critical about the recruitment process for members of more…

Cold and stormy at ‘Cnoc an Anfa’

I was up in Stormont yesterday – Cnoc an Anfa is the Irish for Stormont – and it certainly lived up to its name.  It was bitterly cold, so cold I could feel my fingers begin to detach themselves from my body as I clutched my ‘Acht Gaeilge’ placard at the bottom of the steps more…

Is the arrival of Cameron and Kenny more than part of a tired old ritual?

 The credibility and effectiveness of the devolved institutions is on the line, writes  David Cameron. Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy  warned if a deal isn’t done then the Northern Executive will “crash”. “The implications are that the Executive can’t continue to function. You go into a crash and you go back to an election and more…

Fifty years on, Sam still Sends Us…

Sam Cooke (1931-1964)

In the 1991 hit film “The Commitments”, the Dublin band’s ambitious impresario Jimmy Rabbitte (portrayed by Robert Arkins) explains to his suspicious proteges that they must play only soul music, because it is simple, basic, and honest: ‘[Soul] sticks its neck out and says it straight from the heart.  Sure, there’s a lot of different music you can more…

Dear Mr Prime Minister come to take a walk with me

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Writing for the first time on Slugger is recently married PUP Belfast City Cllr Julie-Anne Corr Johnston One of the major local headlines last week was that British Prime Minister David Cameron and Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny had “cleared their diaries” to lend their support to the inter-party talks at Stormont. It seems that no Stormont more…

Here are the final details for our end of year review show

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So this Monday the 15th brings our end of year review. Doors open at 7pm for a start at 7.30 sharp. The intimate venue has very kindly been given to us free of charge by the Duke of York pub likely to be very full, so we recommend that you get there early if you want more…