Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights


What makes a good local Councillor?

Sun 13 April 2014, 12:40pm

Tweet Over the coming weeks hundreds of people will be seeking a job with an interview panel of thousands asking questions about their ability to deal with local problems, create jobs and run local services. But, this year will be a little bit different as local councils take on a lot more powers. Speaking about […] more »

“the electoral prospects of individuals are not strictly a relevant factor when weighing the public interest in the disclosure of information…”

Wed 2 April 2014, 3:29pm

Tweet Another week, another ruling by the Information Commissioner that the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers acted against the public interest in refusing to disclose information in response to a FoI request.  The request, from the News Letter, was for disclosure of OFMDFM’s corporate risk register – a list of the issues “causing […] more »

OFMDFM: “open and transparent…” – redux

Sat 29 March 2014, 4:44pm

Tweet Via The Irish News.  As UUP leader Mike Nesbitt says, “We’re not North Korea…”  [Thankfully... - Ed]  ANYhoo…  The UUP leader has welcomed a recent (27 March) decision by the Information Commissioner (not yet online) that the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers were wrong to refuse to release the results of market research, […] more »

UPDATE- Jamie Bryson-A rebel without a hope?

Mon 24 March 2014, 11:20pm

Tweet You might think I don’t have better things to do with my time but alas this evening I ventured out to conduct my second interview with Jamie Bryson. I was surprised when he contacted me saying he wanted to talk to me again, as our first encounter led him to be generally criticised but […] more »

McCann meets….Naomi Long MP #AP2014

Sun 23 March 2014, 4:33pm

Tweet On Saturday afternoon I caught up with the MP for East Belfast and Deputy Leader of the Alliance party, Naomi Long. We discussed a range of issues from her background growing up in East Belfast to her future as an MP and a possible leader of the Alliance party. The full audio of the […] more »

Belfast’s Big Tweet Up-Thursday 13th March 7:30pm. #TweetupNI

Tue 11 March 2014, 6:26pm

Tweet Calling politico’s across the land-we are going to be hosting our big tweet up in McHughs bar this Thursday night from 7:30pm. We will have the finest collection of bloggers, politicos, journalists and politicians that a free basement in Belfast can buy. Plus we will have our guest speaker, the Lord Mayor, Máirtín Ó […] more »

“Sit down and stop acting like a petulant child.”

Mon 3 March 2014, 11:13pm
DUP Cllr Ruth Patterson with Linfield scarf

Tweet According to the BBC’s Mark Simpson, former Provisional IRA OC in the Maze Prison, now Sinn Féin leader in Belfast City Council, Cllr Jim McVeigh, objected tonight when DUP Cllr Ruth Patterson put on a Linfield football scarf while speaking on a motion calling on the council to honour out-going Linfield manager David Jeffrey.  From the […] more »

Clearing up the social mess created by the #ShinnersList is only a first stage…

Mon 3 March 2014, 8:10pm

Tweet So one thing the revelation of the #ShinnersList might do is to reset public discussion over policing and justice to something a little saner than heretofore [travel in hope rather than expectation, eh? - Ed]. One problem Unionist politicians have been bombarded with for years is the idea put to them repeatedly by Loyalists […] more »

David Cameron: “We will appoint an independent judge to produce a full public account of the operation of this administrative scheme…”

Thu 27 February 2014, 3:56pm

Tweet The BBC reports that the Prime Minister David Cameron has announced a judicial review of the operation of the controversial administrative scheme to deal with so-called “on the runs” which was highlighted in the recent collapse of the John Downey case.  From the BBC report Mr Cameron told a Downing Street press conference: “I agree with […] more »

Robinson threatens to quit over Hyde Park

Wed 26 February 2014, 1:13pm

Tweet Following on from Nigel Dodds very annoyed performance during  Prime Ministers Questions, his boss Peter Robinson is now threatening to bring down the whole show telling the BBC that he is not prepared to continue leading an administration that is being kept in the dark about these type of issues. He is now insisting that […] more »

Belfast’s Big Tweet Up – Thursday 13 March at 7:30pm

Tue 25 February 2014, 8:59am

Tweet Please do come along to this event for some drinks, political chat and a good warm up before the St Patrick’s Day weekend. Guest will be the Lord Mayor, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Picture is by Brian John Spencer. more »

McCann meets…LAD Part 1

Thu 20 February 2014, 6:53am

Tweet On Wednesday night I met up with three of the brains behind Loyalist Against Democracy (LAD) for a few pints beside City Hall for their first sit down interview. Billy, Rab and Ron talked with me for the well over an hour and no topics were off limits. My first impressions of them were-not […] more »

Nigel Dodds: “Sinn Fein’s problem is that they can’t take a decision within their own party”

Thu 6 February 2014, 8:32pm

Tweet Sometimes it is hard to know whether to laugh or cry when dealing with NI politics. [Might be better if you'd just stick to walking the dogs? - Ed]. Ah, so. Here’s Nigel Dodds riposte to Martin (just remember, there’s a war an election on): Sinn Fein’s problem is not that they can’t reach […] more »

Policing board’s Epaphroditos to Ford’s Nero

Thu 6 February 2014, 7:38pm

Tweet Nero is said to have been killed (albeit at his own request – or he may have committed suicide) by his private secretary Epaphroditos. David Ford’s (aka little Nero) solo run to change the rules for appointing the new Chief Constable has been slapped down by the Policing Board. From the BBC: At a […] more »

Talking without listening and victory without annihilation

Sun 2 February 2014, 3:40pm

Tweet Mick has covered the criminalisation of users of prostitution debate and the spat between Dr. Graham Ellison and Jim Wells ain the Stormont committee below. I thought there might be some merit in looking at what this shows about the DUP’s view of itself, others views of it and how the DUP deals with […] more »

NI Justice Minister: “I trust that the executive will recognise that it is the right decision, and that I was right to make it”

Fri 31 January 2014, 4:46pm

Tweet In the aftermath of the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers/Executive/Assembly/Policing Board members semi-detached polit-bureau’s kerfuffle over the NI Justice Minister’s proposed changes to the criteria for the next Chief Constable, Liam Clarke reveals some significant correspondence on the matter.  Firstly, the Chief Executive of the NI Policing Board, Sam Pollock, tries his hand at […] more »

[Updated] Queens academic taught a hard lesson at the hands of ‘that lot in the DUP’

Fri 31 January 2014, 4:39pm

Tweet This is odd. Well intentioned or not, a Queens academic has managed to get himself on the poor end of the argument over Maurice Morrow’s private members bill which contains a maximalist clause that would criminalise prostitution. Rather ill-advisedly Dr Graham Ellison decided to lobby a Swedish witness, Gunilla Ekberg, an ex-special adviser with […] more »

Robinson on the Irish Govt “relations have never been better”.

Thu 30 January 2014, 9:27pm

Tweet Gregory Campbell just fell off a chair somewhere as Peter Robinson heaped praise on the improving relationship with the Irish government today. He told his audience By focusing on outcomes we have found a way to work together in all of our interests. He continued arguing that what were once controversial issues were now […] more »

NI Justice Minister: “It is important to note that, in setting some minimum standards, I am not prohibiting the Board from adding to these minimum criteria…”

Tue 28 January 2014, 2:39pm

Tweet Whilst Brian may regard them as “surely sensible” changes to the criteria for the next Chief Constable, and they may well be, as I mentioned in updates to a previous post, no sooner had the Northern Ireland Justice Minister, the Alliance Party’s David Ford, announced those changes than the NI First and deputy First […] more »

Memo to the next Chief Constable: “It sounds to me like a battle a day – a siege.”

Fri 24 January 2014, 11:50am

Tweet I’m sure it is only decent christian forbearance that stops the Chief Constable Matt Baggott from telling his political employers exactly what he thinks of them. They booked him for the gig knowing exactly what they were getting, and they could have sacked him at any point after. Not that you’d know that from […] more »

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