Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights


FSB Euro Election Hustings #FSBNIHustings

Fri 4 April 2014, 9:41pm

Tweet This morning the Federation of Small Businesses in Northern Ireland hosted the first debate amongst all of the European candidates (Jim Allister didn’t turn up and Basil McCrea was representing NI21.) The event was attended by around 80 people at the top floor of the Europa Hotel. The debate kicked off with each candidate […] more »

TUV European Selection Convention- Jim Allister is the candidate

Thu 3 April 2014, 8:39pm

Tweet So, I wandered over to the Park Ave Hotel in East Belfast tonight to see the TUV announce as their candidate for the European election. The party room meeting was comprised of around 170 people. The evening began with a speech by the party leader Jim Allister, followed by a Q&A were delegates got the […] 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 »

“Adding more weapons to this volatile situation could destabilise the entire region…”

Sat 15 June 2013, 6:42pm

Tweet The Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers were in a sunny Downing Street garden yesterday, welcoming that suspect package, and extolling the virtues of demonstrating “peacefully, positively, constructively” [Is that with, or without, a Thompson sub-machine gun? - Ed]  Without, probably…  ANYhoo, on the same day Sinn Féin released the text of what appears […] more »

If Ireland north and south can commemorate the First World War together, so should the Germans alongside the wartime Allies

Wed 12 June 2013, 11:03am

Tweet A piece in the Indy by Matthew Norman on the UK’s plans to commemorate World War 1 has to be read quite carefully to register the satire against the (English) Culture secretary’s smiley  moral equivalence approach to the vexed issue of war guilt. Were the Germans the clear aggressors or “were we all to blame?” […] more »

Harry Fitzsimons arrested in Senegal

Sun 26 May 2013, 8:28pm

Tweet As the BBC reports A west Belfast man has been arrested in Senegal in west Africa. It is understood Harry Fitzsimons was detained in the capital Dakar last month. Earlier this year Italian police issued an arrest warrant for Mr Fitzsimons in connection with an alleged mafia money-laundering operation in Calabria in Italy. The […] more »

Azerbaijan Presidential Inquiry over Eurovision Vote

Mon 20 May 2013, 11:12pm

Tweet Denmark may have won this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, due to last year’s winner, held in Malmö, Sweden, but Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev is reported to have ordered an inquiry into why his country, apparently, failed to provide any points to their neighbour, Russia.  Russia gave maximum points, 12, to the Azerbaijan entry.  From […] more »

Irish Justice Minister: “a tribute to how far we have come as a society”

Tue 7 May 2013, 10:27pm

Tweet As promised by the Irish Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, in June last year, legislation has been passed by Dáil and Seanad providing for the granting of an amnesty and apology for the way the Irish State treated members of its Defence Forces who left to join the Allied Forces during World War II.  I’ve noted previously the historical […] more »

Cyprus: So what happens next?

Tue 19 March 2013, 9:01pm
EU flag

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 »

How do Robinson and McGuinness explain their anti- EU stances to Brazilian and other would be overseas investors?

Mon 11 March 2013, 10:44am

Tweet The Financial Times (£)  have another report warning of possible dire consequences if the UK voted to leave the EU in a 2017 referendum,  not least for Ireland north and south. An UK exit from the EU would produce huge complications to cross border trade – you can just imagine trying to put in […] 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 »

Irish Agriculture Minister: “I am seriously concerned about this development…”

Fri 22 February 2013, 8:14pm

Tweet I haven’t been posting on every twist and turn  [Not "an isolated instance", then? - Ed] of the still unravelling story of the Europe-wide horse meat for beef scandal.  But this looks like it could be a significant development.  From the RTÉ report A processing plant in Co Tipperary has been shut down after inspectors found it […] 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 »

Giro d’Italia 2014 announcement expected tomorrow

Wed 20 February 2013, 3:53pm

Tweet It looks increasingly likely that confirmation of the rumoured plans to start the 2014 Giro d’Italia in Belfast, before heading to Dublin, will be made tomorrow.  As Cycling Weekly reports The Giro d’Italia organiser RCS Sport has a lot on its plate this week, announcing the 2014 start from Belfast tomorrow and dealing with 19 WorldTour teams. […] 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 »

Copernicus’ “Google Doodle” and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

Tue 19 February 2013, 7:03pm

Tweet Sunday past was the 413th anniversary of the execution of Giordano Bruno (burned at the stake for heresies such as proposing that the Sun is a star and that the other stars in the sky are also Suns, probably accompanied by planets very much like ours). Today, more auspiciously, is the 460th anniversary of […] more »

Irish Agriculture Minister: “Somebody is selling rogue product and somebody knows about it and is responsible.”

Tue 5 February 2013, 9:07pm

Tweet Still early days in the investigation into the discovery of more beef horse meat at a number of meat processing plants – and note Mick’s update here.  However, the cause of the trace amounts of pork DNA and equine DNA in some ‘beef’ products is still likely to be different. But there are a few quotes […] more »

An Irish Borgen?

Sun 3 February 2013, 11:39am

Tweet Dyspeptic Scots columnist Kevin McKenna (now where did that name come from?) is  so right when he says Scottish politics are too boring to mount a drama like Borgen. But then, Alex might reply that Scotland is not an independent country – yet. Staying glued to Borgen though fits perfectly into Scottish culture. Manfully, […] more »

Cameron’s Dunkirk?

Sun 27 January 2013, 6:45pm

Tweet So at last David Cameron delivered his long awaited speech on Europe. Arguably the most important speech, by a British Prime Minister, since Tony Blair’s speech proposing the case for war in Iraq. British politics, it seems, has entered the era of the referendum arguably started with the referendum on the voting system in […] more »

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