Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Profile for Alan in Belfast

Normally to be found blogging over at Alan in Belfast where you'll find an irregular set of postings, weaving an intricate pattern around a diverse set of subjects. Comment on cinema, books, technology and the occasional rant about life. On Slugger, the posts will mainly be about political events and processes.

Latest posts from Alan in Belfast (see all)

Alan in Belfast has posted 595 times (11 in the last month).

Jon Snow and Peter Hain appearing on 1 May, the opening day of Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival

Tue 15 April 2014, 10:39pm
CQAF 2014 programme sunflower

Tweet While there’s lots of great stuff going on in the 15th Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival from 1-11 May, there are a couple of political events on the opening day that might interest some Slugger readers. Having heard Jon Snow speak before in Belfast, I can strongly recommend the opening event on Thursday 1 May […] more »

Art of the Troubles at the Ulster Museum

Sat 12 April 2014, 3:12pm

Tweet The Ulster Museum’s Art of the Troubles exhibition is now open and runs through the summer until 7 September. A variety of styles, “sides” and periods exhibited: sixty works from fifty artists. Reactions to atrocities, depictions of politics (a particularly grim triptych by Joseph McWilliams of Sammy Wilson, Ian Paisley Snr and Peter Robinson) […] more »

Knock Euro election hustings #nieuro (+audio)

Tue 8 April 2014, 10:12pm
Knock PCI hustings

Tweet Nine parties sent candidates or representatives to the European Election hustings organised by the Peace Group in Knock Presbyterian Church in East Belfast tonight. listen to ‘#nieuro Euro hustings at Knock Presbyterian Church – candidate 60 second summary at the end’ on Audioboo A little under 200 people turned up to hear a three […] more »

NI Peace Monitoring Report – continuing gaps in educational achievement, life expectancy & the cost of NI’s stuttering peace process

Thu 3 April 2014, 12:16pm
NI Peace Monitoring Report 2014 cover

Tweet The third annual Northern Ireland Peace Monitoring Report was released this morning. Part statistical almanac, part annual report card, it has been compiled for the last three years by Dr Paul Nolan. At times the report acts like a common man’s conscience, calling out where the naked emperors are hiding under the policy carpet […] more »

Local Government Bill back in the Assembly: will MLAs support a new voting method and social media use in meetings?

Tue 1 April 2014, 9:28am
NI Assembly logo

Tweet It may be April Fools Day, but MLAs are back in the Assembly debating 34 amendments (broken into four groups) to the Local Government Bill which reaches its Final Consideration Stage today. (115 amendments were considered over two days in the last round). The Local Government Bill is the main business in today’s plenary […] more »

NI21 issue open call for council candidates: fresh politics or desperate measures?

Mon 31 March 2014, 11:37am
ni21 needs you

Tweet Relatively few people seem to wake up in the morning and decide to be a politician. Existing party activists recognise the gifts and passion in people they see and invite them to join, and invite them to run. Time and after time at the Alliance conference, and again at the Green Party conference, speakers […] more »

Green Party conference: Euro candidate Ross Brown sets out his stall and his journey #GPNI #GPNI14

Sun 30 March 2014, 9:31pm
steven agnew podium

Tweet The Green Party has come a long way. Over the years I’ve been popping into its annual conference, the number of delegates attending has steadily risen, their dress code has smartened and the professionalism of the organization has grown. Yet there is still an informality and an ability to crack a joke in the […] more »

Belfast Film Festival – Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Albania, Maze/Long Kesh and Belfast

Thu 27 March 2014, 9:01pm

Tweet The annual Belfast Film Festival starts tonight and runs for 10 days showing 121 films. I’ve blogged elsewhere about some of the festival highlights. There’s certainly plenty of local and international films to challenge, entertain or even offend. I thought I’d bring some of the international/conflict/political films to the attention of Slugger readers. Sunday […] more »

Alliance Party urges society to step forward … while it deals with past week’s comments by Anna Lo #AP2014

Sat 22 March 2014, 11:46pm
Granni Trixie

Tweet Today’s Alliance Party conference came just days after Anna Lo’s perfectly valid – though politically thoughtless – comments about her personal views on Irish unification were reported as part of her interview with John Manley in the Irish News. It was hard to avoid the annual party member get-together being seen through an Anna […] more »

Everything is not awesome for Alliance as they go to conference and prepare for May’s elections; though @keithbelfast puts up a spirited defence …

Wed 19 March 2014, 8:50am
Alliance For Everyone

Tweet Alliance’s party conference takes place in La Mon Hotel on Saturday. Expect to hear speeches from their Euro candidate Anna Lo, the Minister for Employment & Learning Stephen Farry (whose department failed to go away you know), as well as deputy leader and East Belfast MP Naomi Long. With the party conference so close […] more »

Latest comments from Alan in Belfast (see all)

Alan in Belfast has commented 960 times (21 in the last month).

  1. Comment on Knock Euro election hustings #nieuro (+audio)
    on 9 April 2014 at 9:39 am

    I think the reason given by Lord Empey was that Jim had a farming meeting this morning … it’ll be near the beginning of the audio. Diane Dodds had a CAP vote.

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  2. Comment on GAA concludes a lucrative deal with Sky Sports…
    on 3 April 2014 at 11:39 pm

    Mick – Sky wasn’t reckoned to have paid bigger sums that normal for the rights. GAA’s not greedy. Explanation on Evening Extra (on Wednesday evening?) was that many ex-pats in GB and beyond complain they can only see games in an Irish pub but not at home. This hooks into that market for relatively little pain back home. And for Sky, it keeps Irish viewers subscribed all year (when they tend to cancel at the end of the football season and take a few month’s break)

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  3. Comment on NI Peace Monitoring Report – continuing gaps in educational achievement, life expectancy & the cost of NI’s stuttering peace process
    on 3 April 2014 at 11:10 pm

    Mick – check form page 91 of the CRC report – these education figures and the original graphics are in the Education section of the Equality chapter. I haven’t spotted a strong explanation for the figures …

    It’s multi-factoral. CCMS’s stronger control over their school state and perhaps faster and more decisive intervention to improve schools compared with a more sprawling education and library board estate with councillors on the boards that make decisions political and slow. Prosperity breeds prosperity – valuing education and seeing it as part of a community ‘journey’ must also make a difference. Political leadership that at times pays lip service to anything that’s not a grammar school must also play a part. But if it’s multi-factorial, it’s also a vicious circle that seems hard to get out of.

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  4. Comment on NI Peace Monitoring Report – continuing gaps in educational achievement, life expectancy & the cost of NI’s stuttering peace process
    on 3 April 2014 at 8:39 pm

    Charles, Reader – I don’t think I care whether there are 10 children a year in the FMSE categories or 10,000 … the fact that any size of cohort of children is let down so badly by the education system is appalling,.

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  5. Comment on Green Party conference: Euro candidate Ross Brown sets out his stall and his journey #GPNI #GPNI14
    on 31 March 2014 at 3:56 pm

    John Barry on North Down council.
    Martin Gregg on Castlereagh council.

    They were taking pictures of council candidates on Saturday so I imagine the new website will be updated soon with a list of hopefuls.

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  6. Comment on NI21 issue open call for council candidates: fresh politics or desperate measures?
    on 31 March 2014 at 2:11 pm

    I wouldn’t want to point fingers solely at the DUP, but some of their new council candidates look less than convincing on paper as public servants with a desire to get stuck into issues rather than council banquets. But then they have the luxury hassle of having to vet and field such large numbers of candidates …

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