Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights


David Cameron’s bid to go it alone could open up the debate on the UK’s future on the EU

Tue 25 February 2014, 7:45am

Tweet NOW this is interesting. James Kirkup at the Telegraph broke the news last night that as well as having its manifesto writen by five old Etonians (and one former pupil of St Pauls, and I don’t mean the one in Beechmount!), the Tories will be going into the next election determined not go into […] more »

Lord Chief Justice Morgan: “this is a case about political failure”

Sat 28 December 2013, 4:02pm

Tweet Not the Haass talks.  You can keep your nose pressed against the windowpane with David if you’re hoping for a scrap of comfort from that.  No, this is about the continued dysfunctional approach of the two main parties of the Northern Ireland Executive semi-detached polit-bureau to the process of government – as defined under the […] more »

On Ireland’s strange romance with ‘Euronationalism’….

Fri 29 November 2013, 2:58pm

Tweet Ever wondered why nearly all our Northern Ireland MEPs have been Eurosceptic (with the exception of the SDLP) whilst those in the south have been almost universally Europhile? John Coakley on the remarkably protean nature of Irish identity, and it’s willingness to engage with wider notions of European identity… It may well be the […] more »

“His independent role has on occasions required him to take actions against the Executive…”

Wed 16 October 2013, 2:14pm

Tweet In the Belfast Telegraph Liam Clarke picked up on this exchange during questions to the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers in the Assembly on Monday.  The topic was the review, by Dame Elish Angiolini, Lord Advocate of Scotland until 2011, of the Office of the NI Attorney General, the report on which was delivered […] more »

EU drops Maze funding

Fri 4 October 2013, 1:43pm

Tweet The BBC are reporting that the European Union’s Special European Programmes Body has dropped its offer of £18 million to the Maze peace centre / shrine after consulting with OFMDFM. The announcement is not yet on SEUPB’s website but according to the BBC: “The SEUPB has been in discussions with the lead partner in […] more »

“Two European countries, Ireland and Norway, have already banned all eel fisheries.” – redux

Wed 11 September 2013, 6:46pm

Tweet Despite a brief flurry of activity by Sinn Féin in February this year, around the Northern Ireland Executive Minister with responsibility for regulating Eel Fisheries, Sinn Féin’s Carál Ní Chuilín’s sudden “refusal to support European proposals for a unilateral suspension of eel-fishing”, the Minister’s promised Assembly statement on the issue never materialised.  That’s possibly because, at that […] more »

Louth County Council Suspend Narrow Water Bridge Project

Tue 9 July 2013, 4:05pm

Tweet Looks like the Northern Ireland Finance Minister’s caution was justified.  As the BBC report Plans to build a cross-border-bridge between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic have been put on hold. Louth County Council said tenders had been significantly above the figure expected for the Narrow Water bridge project, leading it to halt it. RTÉ has […] more »

Cyprus: So what happens next?

Tue 19 March 2013, 9:01pm
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Tweet The Guardian’s still live-blogging, for now, in the aftermath of Cyprus’ parliament’s rejection of an, albeit amended, EU/IMF cunning plan bail-out which included the public seizure levying of €5.8billion from private depositors in Cypriot banks – 36 votes against, 19 abstentions, none in favour.  The paper’s economics editor, Larry Elliot, answers the title question …there are really only […] more »

Italy’s Five Star Movement – is this what The End of History looks like?

Thu 28 February 2013, 7:00am
Former TV comedian Beppe Grillo on his election 'Tsunami Tour'. Photo by Roberto Beragnoli.

Tweet In 1992, Francis Fukayama predicted in The End of History that the end of the Cold War would impend not only an era of triumphant liberal-democratic capitalism, but one where political evolution had reached its final form. Western democracy, he argued, was the best form of state organisation practically achievable by humans. The folly […] more »

Italy: “Unless of course all polls and projections so far turn out to be wrong …”

Mon 25 February 2013, 5:13pm
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Tweet They’re still counting the votes in Italy…  But the early projections are contradicting exit polls predicting, as the Guardian reported, “strong support for alliance led by Pier Luigi Bersani’s Democratic party and bloody nose for Mario Monti”.  Not contradicting the bloody nose for the Borg Mario Monti, that is.  But Silvio Berlusoni’s centre-right alliance seems to […] more »

Italy: “History risks repeating itself…”

Fri 22 February 2013, 3:58pm
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Tweet The BBC’s Europe editor, Gavin Hewitt has been looking to Italy ahead of a general election brought 2 months early after Silvio Berlusconi’s party withdrew support for Mario Monti’s technocratic government – voting begins on Sunday.  The FT notes that Strong, stable government will be needed to continue the reform process put in place by […] more »

“Two European countries, Ireland and Norway, have already banned all eel fisheries.”

Tue 19 February 2013, 10:11pm

Tweet But not in Northern Ireland.  [Partitionist! - Ed]  Indeed.  Here the regulation of eel fisheries is the responsibility of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure – and the current Minister, Sinn Féin’s Carál Ní Chuilín.  As is salmon fishing… There was a brief flurry of press statements last week as the NI DCAL Minister suddenly […] more »

“Ireland has the potential to generate far more wind energy than we could consume domestically…”

Mon 28 January 2013, 8:28pm

Tweet Apparently, Ireland is to become Britain’s off-shore wind farm…  That seems to be the gist of the complaint from opponents to wind farms in the Irish Midlands, as reported in the Irish Times. Andrew Duncan, spokesman for the Lakelands Wind Information Group in Co Westmeath, said: “It seems to be an Irish solution to a […] more »

“I think it is somewhat contemptuous.”

Thu 8 November 2012, 8:44pm

Tweet It’s difficult to argue with Jeffrey Dudgeon’s comments on the Office of the Northern Ireland First and Deputy First Minister last minute compliance with an FoI request – 320 days after the application was made, and one day before a judicial review hearing into the delay was due to begin.  From the BBC report Jeffrey Dudgeon […] more »

Corporation tax: put us out of our misery

Mon 15 October 2012, 2:18pm

Tweet The Financial Times (£) carries a blunt warning from Bombardier, Northern Ireland’s largest employer, that it will lose its ability to invest in the province unless the end of regional aid at the behest of the EU is offset by a cut in corporation tax. This gets down to the bottom line after years […] more »

Nobel Peace Prize 2012: “What next? An Oscar for Van Rompuy…”

Fri 12 October 2012, 8:12pm

Tweet The Norwegian Nobel Committee has done it again…  This time they have decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2012 is to be awarded to the European Union (EU).  *shakes head* As a sceptical Ambrose Evans-Pritchard notes at the Telegraph blog The EU’s high priests draw on a caricature version of history that must be […] more »

Euro crisis: “This time it’s really, really serious…”

Thu 26 July 2012, 2:55pm
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Tweet European Commission President José Manuel Barroso is off to Greece for “a regular meeting” with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.  His first visit to Athens since June 2009.  Meanwhile, the rising cost of Spanish and Italian Government borrowing has prompted a declaration of intent from European Central Bank president Mario Draghi. “To the extent that the size of […] more »

Laois counterfeiting trial collapses

Thu 19 July 2012, 6:33pm

Tweet The Dublin Special Criminal Court trial of four men arrested at the scene of an underground bunker in County Laois in 2010, after what Europol described as “a major investigation into one of the most sophisticated money counterfeiting set-ups uncovered in Europe to date”, has collapsed after the prosecution counsel entered a nolle prosequi – a […] more »

Bovine TB and badgers: “This approach has not been tried anywhere else…”

Sun 15 July 2012, 3:26pm

Tweet The different approaches of the various administrations in the UK and Ireland to attempting to eradicate bovine tuberculosis [TB] in wild animals, specifically badgers, are worth noting.  They are all in response to the EU Directive 64/432/EEC which, as the Welsh adminstration’s website notes, “requires Member States to provide plans showing how they will eradicate bovine TB in […] more »

“it is in the public interest to know the type of information that the Ministers were taking into account”

Sat 14 July 2012, 8:29pm

Tweet Here’s a little referendum related snippet from Scotland.  The Scottish government is reportedly “surprised” at a recent ruling by the country’s Freedom of Information Commissioner. In response to a request by Labour MEP Catherine Stihler on 30 May last year, the Scottish government had refused to confirm or deny whether it had received legal advice […] more »

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