Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Post Archives 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.

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 »

Did you hear the one about the politicians who didn’t want their photos taken? Local Government Bill (updated)

Tue 18 March 2014, 11:13pm
Beyond Transparency cover

Tweet MLAs have been starting to debate the Local Government Bill and six groups of amendments – totalling 115 – at today’s plenary session of the Assembly. A lot of worrying about photographs being taken of councillors with their eyes closed and being misconstrued as being asleep. Is this the first time in history that […] more »

Cara Park: “Continue the fight for equality in the face of casual misogyny, physical misogyny and, most importantly, resist and revolt against misogyny by the state.” #AMU (video added)

Mon 10 March 2014, 8:25pm
BelTel Editorial Cara Park Alternative Ms Ulster

Tweet Strong words in Parliament Buildings. But not from the Assembly chamber or a committee room. I stand before you today as a woman unfree, in spite of the location of my birth here in the European Union, a colony of the British empire, the island of Ireland, Eire. This is because I do not […] more »

NI Tories lend their weight as Labour NI accuse Ed Miliband of “undemocratic, 1950s, colonial governor mindset”

Wed 5 March 2014, 5:24pm
Labour Party in Northern Ireland

Tweet It’s happened before, and it’ll happen again. “Long-suffering Labour members locally have launched yet another campaign to persuade Ed Miliband to stand candidates in Northern Ireland” (Trevor Ringland, Conservatives NI) Not for the first time, Conservatives NI have issued a statement to support their beleaguered NI Constituency Labour Party colleagues opponents. Both groups strongly […] more »

The Belfast Urban Motorway (Wesley Johnston): economic, engineering, political and social drivers that created Belfast’s road network

Mon 3 March 2014, 9:00am
The Belfast Urban Motorway Wesley Johnston bookcover

Tweet Imagine an elevated three-lane motorway encircling Belfast city centre. A mini-M25 taking through-traffic off the inner-city streets, serving all parts of the city equally? Imagine the noise and pollution from an above ground ring-road, jammed full beyond its intended capacity, severing communities with its concrete and tarmac. A monument to the victory of private […] more »

Downey case collapse may become a resigning matter – Peter Robinson demands judicial inquiry

Wed 26 February 2014, 1:09pm
Still image grab from Peter Robinson talking before DUP's 2011 Assembly Election launch

Tweet BBC News >>> Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson has threatened to resign unless there is a judicial inquiry into secret letters given to more than 180 paramilitary suspects. The DUP leader said he was not prepared to remain as first minister in a power-sharing administration that is being kept in the dark about […] more »

Political morality, power, education … believing you are right or being open to debate? #p4cmorals + What’s Platform for Change’s purpose?

Mon 24 February 2014, 11:48pm
part 3 p4cmorals Q and A

Tweet Platform for Change’s look at political morality suffered from wet weather, a low turnout, an imbalanced panel and a topic that the room tended to engage with in a relatively passionless way. Robin Wilson chaired the evening, peppering the panellists’ contributions with quotations and observations. I’ve noted my sense of what I heard in […] more »

“Morals in politics and political morality” Platform for Change discussion (Mon 24 Feb at 7.30pm in Dukes) #p4cmorals

Sun 23 February 2014, 10:29am
platform for change vertical banner

Tweet ‘Moral’ issues continue to provoke not just debate but political controversy in Northern Ireland. Most recently it was the “furore” over the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s version of the Bible in Newtownabbey. But there are many other examples including the establishment of the Marie Stopes Clinic in Belfast and the availability of abortion; the continued […] more »

Hope, delusion, memory and trauma in the Scottish referendum of 2014: Prof Murray Pittock (QUB, Wed 12th)

Mon 10 February 2014, 8:54pm
Murray Pittock The Road to Independence Scotland in the Balance

Tweet Cultural historian Prof Murray Pittock (University of Glasgow) is delivering a lecture entitled The British people? Hope, delusion, memory and trauma in the Scottish referendum of 2014 in QUB’s Canada Room (Lanyon Building) on Wednesday afternoon (12 Feb) at 4pm. His presentation will be followed by the launch of his updated book The Road […] more »

What Women Want: removing barriers to full participation in politics

Sun 9 February 2014, 12:28pm
Labour Party in Northern Ireland

Tweet Labour Party NI are holding a women’s policy conference on 22 March in The Pavilion at Stormont. The all-day event – the same day as the Alliance Party conference – is free to attend and open to non-party members and men. Under the title of What Women Want? the organisers want to discuss “real […] more »

#sfaf14 Sinn Féin ard fheis motions – universal broadband & 4G; praise for Belfast Lord Mayor; abortion (again), underground power lines; removing FOI charges

Fri 7 February 2014, 8:52pm
SFAF14 clar

Tweet Sinn Féin ard fheis is underway in Wexford’s Opera House. The party has a long history of streaming its annual conference online, so you’ll be able to follow the business. (Though I do wish the party would stump up the cash top remove the adverts that appear in the middle of speeches.) The full […] more »

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