Region Archives: Northern Ireland

Ivan Lewis (shadow SoS) sets up Heenan-Anderson commission to address worklessness & intergenerational poverty

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Ivan Lewis

English MPs with an interest in Northern Ireland are coming along like buses today. Labour MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Ivan Lewis delivered a speech to the Labour party conference in Manchester this afternoon. He joked that the city was home “to three institutions in serious decline … the Tory party, more…

Sinn Fein Connolly House Masterplan – Tory cuts on steroids

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Devolution in Northern Ireland is in the political equivalent of a hospital high dependency unit with a serious discussion about whether or not it is should head rapidly to intensive care. This deterioration in its health is as a result of the insistence by Sinn Fein to block the next steps of Welfare Reform. This more…

Right then, let’s think hard about a border poll

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The political conditions for the Scottish referendum were simple compared to anything likely to apply in Ireland.  With the dominance of the proportionality principle in the institutions, the weight of the GFA is against it and a new political chapter would have to be turned before it is conceivable. It would become a potential result of a more…

Has anything been happening while I’ve been away?

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For the past few of months I’ve been buried in other projects, not least the Scottish referendum. So Northern Irish affairs are as inward looking and deadlocked as ever. Well I never! Paisley’s death passed off with little fuss amid the  customary respect the Irish reserve with fingers crossed  for the recently dead in contrast to more…

Celebrating Louis MacNeice in Carrickfergus

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macneice flyer

The anniversary of the birth of the poet and playwright Louis MacNeice was marked on 12 September with a celebratory event in Carrickfergus Museum and Civic Centre. The event was titled ‘Beyond the Hawthorn Hedge, the Sound of Bugles,’ and was hosted by local historian and author Philip Orr. It included an engaging lecture by more…

A smaller Northern Ireland Assembly?

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Martin McGuinness has today added his support to the notion of cutting the Northern Ireland Assembly to 90 seats from the current 108, ie to five per constituency instead of six. How would this have affected the 2011 election? It’s a fairly straightforward calculation to raise the quote in each seat from 14.29% to 16.67% more…

“to protect the Policing Board’s integrity…”

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In the absence of any further explanation from Sinn Féin for Caitríona Ruane’s dramatic flouncing off the NI Policing Board selection panel to recruit a new PSNI Deputy Chief Constable on Monday, her party colleague on the Board, Gerry Kelly, MLA, has attempted to defend her actions. “If the process is wrong and particularly if the belief [is] more…

Sinn Féin: “In light of the need for absolute transparency in all public appointments and to protect the Policing Board’s integrity…”

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Earlier today the Sinn Féin MLA, and member of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, Caitríona Ruane, suddenly announced that she was unilaterally withdrawing from the panel to recruit a new PSNI Deputy Chief Constable – claiming that she “[believed] that the process may have been compromised”.  Here’s the statement from Sinn Féin Sinn Féin MLA and Policing Board member Caitríona Ruane more…

Lisa McElherron: Why Northern Ireland needs a living wage

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NICVA has recently published some important research into the benefits of introducing a minimum wage in Northern Ireland. Writing for Slugger O’Toole, NICVA’s Head of Public Affairs, Lisa McElherron makes the case for its introduction Fifteen years ago the New Labour government introduced the National Minimum Wage (NMW). Critics vehemently argued that it would impose more…

Aggregate spend in Belfast is probably higher than any other UK city

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Haven’t got time to unpack this properly, but I think this is important insight from Mike Morrissey on why despite very high funding levels tackling poverty in Northern Ireland is simply not working… Mainstream service spending per head in Northern Ireland is about 20 per cent greater than the UK  while the region has also more…

Rev. Dr. Ian Paisley: a religious and political life fully lived

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Paisley molyneaux

Any analysis of Ian Paisley in life or in death is tempered by one’s own views of him but also ones own view of post war Northern Ireland events: such is the extent to which the man came to define though actually rarely dominate events. There is circularity to Dr. Paisley’s life: he began as more…

Ian Paisley, a profile for Prospect Magazine from 2007…

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A version of this article first appeared in the May 2007 edition of Prospect Magazine… It’s replicated here on the occasion of the death of Ian Paisley Senior. Ian Paisley has been the single most disruptive figure in Northern Irish politics over the last 40 years. He has also been around longer than anyone else—the more…

Praying for Ian Paisley’s Soul

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I have prayed for the happy repose of the soul of Ian Paisley. Initially almost to make him turn in his grave, but then with sincerity. The Book of Common Prayer says that Christ died as a “full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world”. Note the sins more…