Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Belfast Agreement

OTR crisis begins to abate: totally inappropriately

Tue 4 March 2014, 9:39pm

Tweet The crisis has begun to abate, without the direct threat of Stormont collapsing in the immediate future. Despite various claims from the predictable sources in both former government and pliant media circles this was and remains a major scandal and a colossal indictment of the whole political process. The first suggestion at minimising the […] more »

Hyde Park bombing suspect will not be prosecuted

Tue 25 February 2014, 8:49pm

Tweet The BBC are reporting that John Downey who was arrested and charged with killing four soldiers in the 1982 IRA Hyde Park bombing will not be prosecuted because he was given a guarantee he would not face trial. Downey was arrested in 2013 at Gatwick whilst en route to Greece. From the BBC: ..over […] more »

The right to sustain local areas will always trump the need to build a new nation…

Thu 8 August 2013, 4:02pm

Tweet Eamonn McCann notes that previous visions of the Belfast Agreement (or, as he terms it, ‘the pact’) as a precondition for future change, have, after six years of a joint DUP-Sinn Fein led coalition retreated to the cold lines of the agreement itself: Observers who see the recent outbursts of liveliness as threatening to […] more »

Trimble on Trimble: “Adams and McGuinness were deciding that they would prefer to have Paisley and Robinson as their interlocutors…”

Tue 6 August 2013, 11:23am

Tweet If you can, it’s worth listening to BBC Radio Four’s Archive on 4 extended interview with David Trimble. But it is particularly worth listening to the last ten minutes or so, in which he provides an important analysis of how he was dispatched to the boundary by some neat footwork by the Sinn Fein […] more »

“His beauty was his ability for silence. He sat there and waited them out…”

Sun 2 June 2013, 9:32am
TransAtlantic

Tweet Best review of transplanted Dubliner Colum McCann’s new novel Transatlantic, in which, amongst other things, he channels George Mitchell: There’s a moment in the book when the Good Friday Agreement has just been signed in Belfast, and Mitchell, who earlier compared himself to a terrorist willing to wait in a wet ditch all night […] more »

“But we’re still part of the UK…”

Wed 10 April 2013, 10:02pm

Tweet The DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson, MP, and Sinn Féin’s Alex Maskey, MLA, appeared separately on UTV Live this evening to give their thoughts on the 15th anniversary of the 1998 Agreement.  Apparently Alex Maskey hadn’t arrived at the studio in time for the first segment…  Whether by accident, or design, it was left to presenter Seamus […] more »

Good Friday Agreement at 15: The dour fatalism of our political Calvinists…

Fri 29 March 2013, 5:11pm

Tweet Maybe it’s because it took place in the last Millenium that our memories of that fateful day seem so quickly dated and fading so quickly. The freshest piece writing from that time is Danny Morrison’s great piece of gonzo journalism: Then, at 7.10 am Mitchell McLaughlin arrives to read out a short statement but […] more »

Micheal Martin: NI’s ‘establishment parties’ are failing the Belfast Agreement

Thu 28 February 2013, 12:16pm
Micheal Martin QUB

Tweet So Micheal Martin’s speech last night, revisited with my own analysis appended. First the word cloud (kindly generated by John) of Micheal Martin’s speech has one word which stands far out above any other. And it’s Agreement. Not surprising perhaps since the speech was themed around the coming 15th anniversary of the Belfast Agreement. […] more »

Exclusive: Ian Paisley’s belated acknowledgment of David Trimble’s legacy: the principle of Consent…

Fri 25 January 2013, 12:08pm

Tweet Now, this is interesting. No really, it is. And for a couple reasons. One is what it says. And two, though I am not sure whether it made the print edition of today’s Belfast News Letter, that it was only on the site for about a hour last night before it disappeared. It’s Doctor […] more »

Book launches: Everyday Life After the Irish Conflict and Belfast 400

Thu 24 January 2013, 9:00pm
Everyday Life After the Irish Conflict

Tweet Two books were launched tonight in Belfast. A reception was held at the City Hall to mark the book commissioned to mark the four hundredth anniversary of the city’s charter. I reviewed Belfast 400: People, Place and History (edited by Sean Connolly) back in December. It tells the story of the city that “emerged […] more »

Why further tinkering with the NI settlement could be politically dangerous

Wed 13 April 2011, 9:19am

Tweet In the Irish News this morning Brian Feeney takes aim at those who, like Mark Durkan, have highlighted the ‘ugly scaffolding’ set in place (if modified by the St Andrews Agreement) as a key problem in the move towards settled politics. He argues that “any political scientist worth his salt can recognise the north […] more »

“How many school yards now ring out to nationalist or republican songs like ours did?”

Tue 9 November 2010, 2:31pm

Tweet One of the most striking things about Barry Flynn’s great evocation of the IRA’s 1950′s border campaign was the degree to which the shooting of IRA volunteers Sean South and Fergal O’Hanlon seemed to galvanise pro Republic sentiment south of the border. That was reprised with the death of the ten hunger strikers of […] more »

Cenus figures no longer relevant

Sun 22 December 2002, 11:28am

Tweet Sunday journalists have the advantage over their daily counterparts of having a few days to pass by before they finally commit their copy . Tom McGurk in the Sunday Business Post, has had a few days to consider the wider picture around the Census and concludes: …the whole purpose of the new politics is […] more »

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