Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Northern Ireland

NI21 launch a diverse squad of 47 council candidates – will any get elected?

Wed 23 April 2014, 3:43pm
2x2 NI21 candidates

Tweet A lost-looking Mark H Durkan walked past the candidates. He hadn’t come to throw his lot behind Tina McKenzie, but was instead early for his appointment with Alex Attwood at the Electoral Office around the corner! It was clear that for most this was their first foray into politics. Most I spoke to were […] more »

Women in Politics in Northern Ireland

Tue 22 April 2014, 11:25am

Tweet The issue of women in politics, or lack of them to be more accurate has been an issue pondered by academics, pressure groups and political parties alike for years. In September 2013, Michael Potter prepared a research paper on this topic for the Northern Ireland Assembly and his findings make for sobering reading as […] more »

The Easter Rising: romance and regret but no barrier to reconciliation

Tue 22 April 2014, 12:18am

Tweet in response to David McCann’s very personal and sincere post, I must say that the Rising is part of my history but not part of my cause. I approach it with fascination and regret. Regret for the delayed victory for physical force it represented. But how could it not inspire? The world was in turmoil; nothing would […] more »

1916 Rising and how it inspired me 78 years later.

Sun 20 April 2014, 3:23pm

Tweet There are a lot of pieces going around today looking back at the Rising and its subsequent impact on the direction of Irish politics. But, I wanted to tell a different story of how the Rising inspired me and impacted on my future direction and beliefs. I don’t claim that this story is indicative […] more »

Independent unionist ‘gentleman’ MLA David McClarty dies

Fri 18 April 2014, 3:51pm
David McClarty

Tweet Coleraine man and MLA for East Londonderry constituency, David McClarty has died, aged 63. An independent unionist MLA since 2011 when he successfully fought off competition from the two candidates selected by UCUNF, he had previously been a member of the UUP and a served as a UUP MLA between 1998 and 2010. By […] more »

Belfast Telegraph’s Are you voting for the wrong party poll, and other political anomalies?

Fri 18 April 2014, 1:20pm

Tweet Right, I am literally just rushing out the door… Can I ask that people take a bit of time out to to complete the Belfast Telegraph’s Local Election party preference poll and then share your experiences (though not necessarily your choices) with us here below. I’ll come back over the weekend and share some […] more »

Geraldine Finucane: “A deep wound cannot be stitched over and just left because it won’t heal”

Fri 18 April 2014, 12:19pm

Tweet In the week the Victims Commissioner quietly and discreetly left her post, the BBC’s Stephen Sackur conducted an unusually moving and telling interview with Geraldine Finucane, widow of Pat Finucane. I recommend watching the whole thing, but I think the end was the most powerful and universal: There is an analogy that I use […] more »

“Foras na Gaeilge is centralising resources around a small number of Dublin-based organisations”

Fri 18 April 2014, 11:06am

Tweet Janet Muller is CEO of Pobal an advocacy organisation that has spearheaded work on Irish language rights since the Good Friday Agreement. Hers is one of the Northern Ireland based organisations facing a restructuring will see all publicly funded Irish language groups headquartered in Dublin and away from Belfast. It is now 3 months […] more »

AN LÁ DEARG was an expression of both a growing sense of anger

Fri 18 April 2014, 7:47am

Tweet This is the first of two related pieces we’re publishing today which relate to the funding and status of the Irish langauge in Northern Ireland. The first is on the Dearg le Fearg protest last weekend by campaigner Caoimhe Ní Chathail. In the aftermath of an ‘An Lá dearg’ a pertinent question has yet to […] more »

Bishop John McAreavey: “Political representatives must answer for their own position on abortion…”

Thu 17 April 2014, 4:49pm

Tweet As the BBC reports, Sinn Féin’s Paul Maskey, MP for west Belfast, has apologised to the Catholic Bishop of Dromore, John McAreavey, for the misrepresentation of his views on abortion in “a letter written by local party members and distributed in west Belfast”.  Here’s the quoted apology in the BBC report - not yet available on the Sinn […] more »

More evidence that the Westminster village is waking up to the threat of Scottish independence

Thu 17 April 2014, 1:07pm

Tweet John McTernan is among the shrewdest of political strategists. As quoted by David McCann, he offers  “don’t panic” advice to fellow strategists. What’s missing here are reasons for Scots to vote No. The McTernan view isn’t cutting  it with leading commentators on the centre left and right. Martin Kettle in the Guardian The psychological impact in England, […] more »

A tale of two wars (well two divergent accounts of the same war)…

Thu 17 April 2014, 12:30pm

Tweet Two conflicting responses to the Secretary of State’s speech, first from Gerry Kelly… “Her comments on the past are deeply offensive to the hundreds of victims of state killings and loyalist collusion. Many of these killings were ordered from the very top of the British establishment during the Thatcher era. “Around 15,000 republicans were […] more »

Trouble at NI21 mill…

Wed 16 April 2014, 9:25am

Tweet Having a good idea (NI21) is not the same as putting it into action… Trouble in Holywood and Clandeboye… Gerry Leddy, who had been involved with the party since its inception almost a year ago, said that he could not tell people to vote for its European candidate, Tina McKenzie, as he had “no […] more »

Villiers: What Stormont needs is the revitalising influence of an opposition…

Wed 16 April 2014, 7:30am

Tweet Another day in Northern Ireland, another Groundhog.. Theresa Villiers is make a speech today saying it is time to make progress on the past and on a future that could bring NI political life back to the cryogenically sealed democracy unit currently operating at Stormont.. “Political institutions the world over adapt and change. As […] more »

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 »

‘Silver Liberties’, Sinn Féin and the Ciste

Tue 15 April 2014, 10:04am

Tweet One of the artistic injustices of the Troubles has been righted this week with very little fanfare indeed.   Down at the Ulster Museum, an artwork, entitled ‘Silver Liberties’, by Lancashire born artist, Conrad Atkinson, has been hung this week.  Back in 1978, it was the piece, created to mark the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, […] more »

Come on BBC NI give us the bad news on our beaches…?

Tue 15 April 2014, 9:37am

Tweet So, here’s what the listeners to Radio 4 got this morning on the new Good Beach guide report, picking out Northern Ireland as a noteable weak point in the overall UK figures… .@mickfealty – @BBCr4today puts NI beach water quality stats in context wholly, sadly missing from @BBCNewsNI report pic.twitter.com/cW7nCFcSMR — Patrick Corrigan (@PatrickCorrigan) […] more »

“That’s the only way I can put,” he said “they sleep with the victims.”

Mon 14 April 2014, 12:43pm

Tweet I was struck by Michael D Higgins’ interview with the BBC’s Fergal Keane: He said he could not ask the families of victims to put the past behind them. Society could not afford to wipe out the memory of violence, he said. “I think that there is very significant work to do,” he said. […] more »

“Post-nationalist Ireland has arrived.”

Sun 13 April 2014, 5:21pm

Tweet [Once more into the breach then - Ed]  In yesterday’s Irish News, Patrick Murphy posited three theories to explain what he describes as “the latest dismantling of Irish political and cultural nationalism.”  That would be Martin McGuinness, et al, at Windsor Castle in white tie and tails, and the GAA deal with Sky.  From the […] more »

The route to better government is clear. Why don’t the parties take it?

Sun 13 April 2014, 12:46pm

Tweet Nuff history  – Ed.  Thanks to Alan and Chris Donnelly for presenting significant data on how Northern Ireland is faring. The third CRC Peace Monitoring Report by Dr Paul Nolan reads  authoritatively, quite depressingly and utterly unsurprisingly. At around the same time, some polls have been published which broadly reflect the results but with […] more »

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