Tag Archives | Economy

North -South is a political gift going a-begging

Two cheers to the Financial Times (£) for giving space to one of the many topics that people in Northern Ireland who live close to it take for granted but shouldn’t. The story is headlined “Irish two-speed economy puts integration under pressure”. Sixteen years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement that ushered in a more…

How do we unlock Northern Ireland’s tremendous potential?

sceconomyfinal8_tcm77-354487-2

I still remember the spring of 2001. The palpable excitement I felt about something I’d dreamed of since my adolescence and, with sixth form drawing to a close, was finally in a position to realise: leaving Northern Ireland. I was one of the almost 18,000 who emigrated that year, a number that rose to just more…

Kicking the [financial] can down the road, again.

According to the BBC’s Mark Devenport, The Treasury has been asked to supply Stormont with a one-off loan of between £100m and £150m to ease its budgetary crisis, the BBC understands. According to the reports, the proposal was discussed with the UK Treasury by the NI First Minister, the DUP leader Peter Robinson, and the more…

Time to call Sinn Fein’s bluff over welfare

John Simpson, an economist who deserves to be trusted, dismissed the Great Welfare  Crisis as essentially bogus months  ago – yet his analysis seems to have failed to pass into political  debate and comment from the Business pages.   It might help if  critics of Sinn Fein’s grandstanding spoke on the basis  of an agreed analysis. OFFICIAL Treasury more…

Talks on the past, no talks on the welfare deadlock, a border poll? No prizes for guessing what they amount to.

 Government by tweet is a curse as it fends off searching inquiry. Twitter is a blessing for the non-information strategies of government by politburo. I’ve never known a time when it’s been more difficult for political correspondents to do their jobs.  Is Liam Clarke of the Belfast Telegraph right when he fears a slow slide more…

Lisa McElherron: Why Northern Ireland needs a living wage

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…

A-levels: How to make some lemonade when you get handed a lemon

This is the time of year when students either celebrate success or drown their sorrows as the standard debate takes place about are these exams getting easier? And did Northern Ireland come first? Are you getting into the University of your first choice? It was August 2007 when it my turn to open up that more…

Martina Anderson MEP: “and if the British government lifts its ban on Executive access to the EIB…”

No update yet from Sinn Féin on the meeting they chose to trail a couple of days ago between three of their MEPs, led by the Derry Northern Ireland representative, Martina Anderson, and “the Vice-Chairman of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Jonathan Taylor”.  But let’s hope they were better briefed than the 15 July press release suggests, more…

“That is not a state of affairs they would expect to find in a competently run country.”

Riffing on the row over Garth Brooks’ non-concerts in Croke Park that has consumed local media attention, in the Irish Times John McManus has some pertinent points to make about the long-running saga of who controls the former Quinn Group companies – and the accompanying campaign of attacks and intimidation. In recent weeks one consortium, Quinn Business Retention more…

HBO’s Michael Lombardo: “Belfast is not the most cosmopolitan of cities to spend half of the year.”

With so much of some Northern Ireland Executive ministers‘ time and effort [and other people's money! - Ed] focused on exploiting the international success of HBO’s Game of Thrones to promote Northern Ireland overseas, it’s perhaps unfortunate, but refreshing, that HBO’s director of programming, Michael Lombardo, has given an honest answer to a straight question – as more…

Tourism figures for 2013 bring us down to earth

The figures for tourism to Northern Ireland in 2013 out last week show a more modest reality than the hype suggesting it’s just about the most visited place on the planet. The numbers visiting from overseas amounted to just 9,000.  Home holidays and short trips and family visits accounted for most of the rest. It’s not more…

“this month you will see a kind of victory for the Eurosceptics…”

EU flag

Ahead of the EU-wide parliamentary elections, a much needed overview from BBC Europe editor Gavin Hewitt of the state of the European Project and its extant political trilemma.  From Gavin Hewitt’s article Unless the polls are very wrong, sometime next weekend Europe will learn that at least a quarter of the seats in the next more…

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

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 the more…

Belfast Politics as petulant childsplay (while Ballymurphy langours in deprivation) Redux…

Somethings only start to look truly absurd when you look at them in conjunction with some other things… Here’s one thing, a DUP councillor being barracked for temporarily donning a Linfield scarf whilst the council body was discussing a motion calling on the council to honour out-going Linfield manager David Jeffrey. And here’s another thing: more…

Aventas: “These scandalous attacks orchestrated by a small group of criminals and their equally criminal sponsors…”

As the BBC reports, Lagan Cement Group has suffered damage of more than 1m euros (£820,000) in three separate attacks. The attacks followed the announcement that Lagan was buying, subject to approval, Rooftiles in County Fermanagh from the Aventas Group. The arson attacks at Lisburn, County Antrim, Comber, County Down, and Carrigtwohill, County Cork, are more…

Could raising the minimum wage hurt NI?

Last week the Tories did do a masterful job of combining their message of a growing economy with fairness by arguing that the minimum wage should rise from £6.31p to £7 per hour. As the IMF pointed out today prospects for the British economy are looking better but we have to remember that Britain is more…

“How many times has a labour movement supported a liberation movement, only to find itself betrayed on the day of liberation?”

Speaking of dissent…  The death of Nelson Mandela appears to have opened the door to some potentially significant criticism of the current leadership of the ANC.  As the BBC reports, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), the largest trade union in South Africa, has withdrawn its support for the ruling party of government.  From the BBC more…

Lough Neagh Working Group: “This report may never see the light of day.”

As the Belfast Telegraph reports, having set up a inter-departmental Working Group by September last year, “to explore and pursue actively the potential for a cross-departmental approach to bring Lough Neagh back into public ownership”, the Northern Ireland Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill has lost the group’s report down the back of the more…