Region Archives: Northern Ireland

Is the Independent Financial Review Panel right to interfere with political process as well as pay?

NI Assembly logo

The three-person Independent Financial Review Panel was established in July 2011. It sets the pay, allowances and pensions of members and office holders of the NI Assembly. A series of consultation papers has steered the panel’s policies on topics including MLAs’ Pension Scheme, Employment of MLAs’ Staff, Prior disclosure of Interests and MLAs’ Salaries and more…

Belfast: Toward a City Without Walls by Vicky Cosstick — Book Review

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In certain parts of Belfast, walls dominate the landscape – as well as the consciousness – of those who live and work around them.  A new book by Vicky Cosstick, Belfast: Toward a City Without Walls, explores the history, significance and most daringly, the future, of these walls, highlighting the efforts of some citizens of more…

Off-Shore Bank Accounts and NAMA (NI)

Mick Wallace

Mick Wallace TD is the mop-haired Independent TD for Wexford. Today he opened a veritable can of worms – and the story is beginning to break on this evening’s bulletins on the BBC. Wallace today revealed in Tánaiste Questions in the Dail that Northern Ireland law-firm Tughans allegedly, according to Wallace, held a £7m Isle more…

Tall Ships have arrived (2-5th July)

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Yesterday Alan and myself had the opportunity to take a trip on the water to look around the Tall Ships festival which is starting today in Belfast. We were treated to a 90 minute tour of the Belfast Harbour which will be hosting nearly 50 tall ships for 3 days. Here I must declare an more…

Life, death and heartbeats…

The diagnosis of death is mostly straightforward; the medical practitioner looks for somatic, cardio-respiratory and neurological features. Clearly, someone with rigor mortis is dead. Someone with no spontaneous breathing, no heartbeat and no pulse, and whose pupils are fixed and dilated presents the classical features of death. This is usually enough to diagnose most cases more…

Time for a City Deal for Belfast…

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Last week, LOCUS and I, hosted a City Deal seminar in Belfast which was addressed by Mr Richard Brown, Director of Regeneration Glasgow City Council. He explained that City Deals are agreements that have been negotiated between the UK government and 29 cities in the UK; the city gets new powers in exchange for greater more…

Underfunded youth mental health services; austerity hitting child poverty levels; NI Executive delays

Childrens Commissioners report to UNCRC

In 2012, the five-year average rates of suicide in Northern Ireland were 4 times higher than England and Wales for 15−19 year olds and 17 times more for 10−14 year olds. [source] However, in 2013−14, only 7.8% of the total planned mental health expenditure was allocated to child and adolescent mental health services in Northern more…

Bernadette Smyth: conviction and restraining order quashed

Anti abortion campaigner Bernadette Smyth was cleared on appeal yesterday. She had initially been convicted of harassing Dawn Purvis at the end of last year. At the original trail the judge Chris Holmes made a number of interesting comments. He stated: “I want to make it absolutely clear that I do not feel it’s appropriate more…

Jimmy Spratt to leave the Assembly in September

They've united, so have we! Vote Spratt - DUP election poster featuring pictures of SF's Alex Maskey and SDLP's Alasdair McDonnell

Report from the Belfast Telegraph that the South Belfast DUP MLA, Jimmy Spratt will step down from the Assembly this September due to health reasons. This will mean that from September 4 out of 6 MLAs in the constituency will have been co-opted leaving just Michael McGimpsey and Anna Lo as the only reps who more…

The Duties of a Doctor. Morality and conscientious objection…

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Medical practitioners who wish to practice medicine in the UK must by law be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). If you do not practice, you are not required to register. The GMC is a regulatory body which publishes guidance on the ‘Duties of a Doctor’. Much of this is about registration, and practice more…

Jim Allister sets sights on SpAd excesses

Today, TUV Leader and North Antrim MLA, Jim Allister has set his sights firmly back on the Special Advisers at Stormont. Having already succeeded in getting one of only two Private Members Bills onto the statute book in the lifetime of this Assembly (the other being Lord Morrow’s Human Trafficking Bill) and the only Bill more…

Using data for public good – launch of Detail Data

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NICVA’s relationship with investigative journalism website The Detail began with the reporting on the umbrella organisation’s research paper on The Impact of Welfare Reform on Northern Ireland. Lisa McElherron said she was thrilled to launch the Detail Data project. NICVA had been keen (1) to better tell the stories of the sector they represent; (2) more…

Blogging: Why I bother doing it.

Guide to Blogosphere 2010

Blogging, why the hell do you bother? This is the question that bloggers of all stripes get asked A LOT and in the past week I have been getting this question more often than I usually do. It’s a fair enough question I suppose. There is no secure income from it, it is generally looked more…

High Time Media Moved on from Indulging Pseudo-Controversy Surrounding James McClean and “Poppy Issue”

James McClean (Michael Kranewitter, Wikimedia Commons, CC-by-sa 3.0/at)

The media don’t half like flogging dead horses. Right on cue, James McClean‘s move to West Bromwich Albion last week prompted talk in the Belfast Telegraph (not for the first time) of his repeated eschewing of the wearing of a political poppy on his various past clubs’ football jerseys around Britain’s celebration of its Remembrance Sunday each more…

“The exact location of the international boundary between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland through Loughs Carlingford and Foyle remains an issue for determination…”

In January 2012 I suggested there might be some cause for optimism that the unresolved issue of the delimitation of the territorial water boundary between the UK and the Republic of Ireland could be, erm, resolved.  As the then Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, TD, said at the time. Recently the two Governments agreed to address more…

Cartoon – Martin Varoufakis

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Yesterday Theresa Villiers hosted the Stormont House Agreement Implementation Review meeting with the 5 Executive parties and Irish Government. Word has it Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness fired a verbal volley at Secretary of State. Very Varoufakis.

First do no harm – smoking and the ethics of vaping…

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  Michael McBride is crystal clear; our Chief Medical Officer believes too many people are vaping and this is a bad thing.  In a recent TV interview he was unambiguous in his discouragement of e-cigarettes.    The views of CMO are important, people listen and people take note.  He’s not alone; the British Medical Association, WHO, more…

Northern Ireland gets a new electricity company

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Northern Ireland will have a new electricity supplier from this August. Open Electric pledges to be the most “socially aware” power company with promises to reward its customers with a share in any profits made. The company will be run by local entrepreneur Marc Norris who set out his rationale for wanting to set up more…