Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Human Rights

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 »

More than ever, the “crisis” shows the need to face up honestly to the end of Troubles prosecutions

Thu 27 February 2014, 11:40am

Tweet Fair enough. There are genuine grounds for shock and anger but there is a good deal of grandstanding too. The pity of it is, the growing recognition among unionists of the case for limited immunity tied to truth recovery will be set back. Taking the optimistic view (somebody has to), the full extent of […] more »

United Ireland’s struggle against gay rights wins RTE damages

Tue 4 February 2014, 6:45pm

Tweet   Is it defamatory to accuse opponents of same sex marriage of homophobia? Or are they fairly exercising their consciences in declining to recognise equality with heterosexuals?   Irish Times columnists are on opposite sides of an argument which is part of the Republic’s slow emergence into the modern era. Sadly though the columnists haven’t gone […] more »

“So in a sense, these resignations were expected.”

Wed 8 January 2014, 1:57pm

Tweet In the absence of agreement between the political parties on what happens next, the continuing uncertainty about what new arrangements will be put in place to deal with the past is having, what should have been, an anticipated effect.  As the BBC report, “HET: Four officers leave specialist police team“. BBC Northern Ireland Home Affairs Correspondent […] more »

Haass – Larkin unrepentant, Allister is on the attack, but where oh where is the DUP critique?

Fri 3 January 2014, 5:47pm

Tweet Now hold on, the fat lady hasn’t sung yet.  Inevitably most early reaction to Haaas is about the overall political verdict without going  much into detail. And you know how we can’t be bothered  to go into detail if we can stick  it into them instead. But hush!  Jim Allister QC has spoken. People […] more »

Kevin Conway murder: “Local Sinn Fein Councillor John O’Dowd was under no illusions…”

Thu 19 December 2013, 5:29pm

Tweet Arrested in a hotel in Birmingham on Monday, following “a review of the original murder investigation by detectives attached to Serious Crime Branch”, a 45-year-old man from Lurgan, Gary Marshall, has been charged at Craigavon court, and released on bail, for the murder of Kevin Conway in 1998.  The News Letter report notes Marshall, from Ennis […] more »

On dealing with the past, a hard sell on immunity should not rule out cooperation with historians.

Thu 19 December 2013, 1:44am

Tweet I’ve belatedly come across a Queen’s Blog which is the submission legal academics Professor Kieran McEvoy Dr Louise Mallinder Prof Gordon Anthony and Luke Moffett have presented to Haass.  It’s a hard sell of a powerful case but with a couple of flaws I’ll come to later.   I would have blogged about this in preference […] more »

“The parties were told not to bring in any phones or other communication devices, nor to leave with any copies of the draft.”

Mon 16 December 2013, 11:48pm

Tweet Richard Haass’ attempt to ensure confidentiality during the on-going talks between the five Northern Ireland Executive parties – on the past, parades, and flags - failed to survive first contact with Sinn Féin.  Today the Haass team presented their first, complete, draft proposals to the parties.  The BBC report notes his latest attempt at ensuring […] more »

Dealing with the Past. The lawyers must join John Larkin in speaking out

Thu 21 November 2013, 2:58pm

Tweet The first thing to remember about John Larkin is that he’s an advocate.  Barristers make ingenious cases whether they believe in them or not.  In 2002, he was the Peter Robinson’s counsel before the law lords arguing – unsuccessfully as it happens – that the election of the FMDFM was legally invalid after the […] more »

Human Rights Political Policing PSNI Brutality

Wed 20 November 2013, 4:17pm

Tweet The Parades Commission has given its determination on the ‘Loyal Peaceful Protestors’ march on 30th November through Belfast city centre. The purpose of the parade is given on the application as ‘Human Rights Political Policing PSNI Brutality’ and the date is to coincide with anniversary of the designated days vote in Belfast city council […] more »

“The fact of the matter is that somebody ordered that Jean McConville be murdered…”

Thu 7 November 2013, 12:17am

Tweet The BBC reported that, following the broadcast of the recent BBC/RTÉ programme on The Disappeared, the Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness said The fact that some families still do not know where their murdered relatives were secretly buried by the IRA is a “wound that must not be left to […] more »

Queen’s Chancellor (and Commonwealth chief) under fire over Sri Lankan abuses

Wed 6 November 2013, 10:04pm

Tweet Kamalesh Sharma, the secretary-general of the Commonwealth – and Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast – is under fire after being accused of withholding crucial legal advice that could have prevented Sri Lanka from hosting the imminent heads of government meeting. The legal opinion said that the firing of the Sri Lankan chief justice by […] more »

“The lack of a truth recovery process means that tribal myths will continue to trump actual memory”

Mon 4 November 2013, 1:48pm

Tweet A parting shot from the out-going chief commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, Prof Michael O’Flaherty.  From the Irish Times report Prof O’Flaherty said: “Some of our most vulnerable people remain at the margins, with inadequate acknowledgment of their suffering; many are dying without ever being able to share their stories of pain […] more »

The Pope is still a Catholic but maybe one like John XX111

Sat 21 September 2013, 12:19am

Tweet There’s no doubt of the instant secular and humanist appeal of Pope Francis’s interview with a Jesuist magazine .  The pope has attempted to change the whole direction of modern Catholicism.. Not since Khruschev denounced Stalin at the 20th Communist party conference has there been such a reforming speech-. That was the speech that […] more »

A brave new orthodoxy. Whatever you say, say nothing.

Sat 7 September 2013, 12:22am

Tweet Eamonn McCann’s class war may be a touch whiskery these days but it still helps him  punch a big hole in one of our brave new orthodoxies. A little while ago, a friend attended a session of non-sectarian training sponsored by her employer. Each must respect the “culture” of the other side, it was […] more »

“that’s why Richard Haass needs proof – right from the start – that the will to construct a deal really does exist”

Mon 26 August 2013, 4:32pm

Tweet Having abandoned their first, draconian, attempt to control regulate Public Assemblies, Parades and Protests, Sinn Féin and the DUP may now face a wider variety of emboldened dissenting voices in seeking compromise on the issue.  Alex Kane has some advice for the incoming chair of the new, improved, working group on parades.  From the News Letter article […] more »

Free speech under pressure or action against inflammatory comments?

Tue 20 August 2013, 10:54am

Tweet Ought we to be a mite concerned about protecting free speech from officious prosecutions, even when the comments are “obnoxious”, in the opinion of a district judge?  I hold no brief for Ruth Patterson’s “alleged” comments on Facebook which it’s customary not to repeat once someone is charged and for which she has apologised. […] more »

Hasan Turan (Kirkuk Provincial Council) visit to Northern Ireland

Sun 18 August 2013, 8:41am
20130818 Hasan Turan NI

Tweet “Terrorists tried to divide us, but we are now stronger together”: Hasan Turan (Kirkuk Provincial Council) visit to Northern Ireland by Allan Leonard for Forum for Cities in Transition 16 August 2013 On the back of the political assassination of a fellow member of Kirkuk Provincial Council, its Chairman Hasan Turan travelled to Northern […] more »

“this Assembly notes the lawful but illogical determination issued by the Parades Commission…”

Tue 16 July 2013, 3:44pm

Tweet As the BBC reports, the Northern Ireland Assembly has rejected a tabled Sinn Féin amendment, and supported the DUP’s original motion on the recent north Belfast determination of the Parades Commission by 43 votes to 42 – here’s the Commission’s earlier defence of that decision.  And here’s the resolved text from the NI Assembly That this Assembly notes […] more »

The Catholic church is behaving as if it knows it does not speak for the Irish people over abortion

Fri 21 June 2013, 9:10am

Tweet Just a reflection or two on the issues of Mick’s post. When you see it written down so starkly out of the mouth of one Cardinal Burke from the real life perspective of the Roman Curia, the effect is breathtaking. Will  Catholics now rush to contradict him? I wonder. Many people seem to want […] more »

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