Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Media

Bishop John McAreavey: “Political representatives must answer for their own position on abortion…”

Thu 17 April 2014, 4:49pm

Tweet As the BBC reports, Sinn Féin’s Paul Maskey, MP for west Belfast, has apologised to the Catholic Bishop of Dromore, John McAreavey, for the misrepresentation of his views on abortion in “a letter written by local party members and distributed in west Belfast”.  Here’s the quoted apology in the BBC report - not yet available on the Sinn […] more »

“Post-nationalist Ireland has arrived.”

Sun 13 April 2014, 5:21pm

Tweet [Once more into the breach then - Ed]  In yesterday’s Irish News, Patrick Murphy posited three theories to explain what he describes as “the latest dismantling of Irish political and cultural nationalism.”  That would be Martin McGuinness, et al, at Windsor Castle in white tie and tails, and the GAA deal with Sky.  From the […] more »

“a claim on behalf of Mr Green against Sinn Féin has been registered with the Fair Employment Tribunal…”

Tue 8 April 2014, 3:03pm

Tweet When Sinn Fein’s political director at Stormont, Leo Green, failed to appear at the party’s Ard Fheis in February, both Mr Green, whilst confirming that he was no longer their northern political director, and the party were keen to play down suggestions of a dispute.  As Liam Clarke noted at the time Green said he had renewed […] 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 »

Belfast City Council: “what happened on Saturday evening is a clear breach of our terms and conditions of hire.”

Tue 1 April 2014, 4:16pm

Tweet The News Letter has an updated comment from the spokeswoman for Belfast City Council about the (Provisional) IRA commemoration at Whiterock Leisure Centre on Saturday night.  From the News Letter report Belfast City Council says a republican event in one of its leisure centres was clearly in breach of terms and conditions, after critics […] 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 »

“when a major political leader tells such an obvious falsehood about a defining part of his life…”

Tue 25 March 2014, 9:42pm

Tweet Also for the record, Ed Moloney has responded to Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams’ attack on the Boston College oral history project.  From Ed Moloney’s blog I don’t intend to spill a lot of ink responding to Gerry Adams’ recent statement taking yet another swipe at the motives of those who were interviewed and […] more »

Ivor Bell charged in connection with Jean McConville abduction and murder

Fri 21 March 2014, 8:36pm

Tweet The BBC are reporting that Ivor Bell, who was arrested earlier this week, has been charged in connection with the abduction and murder of Jean McConville in December 1972.  From the BBC report Ivor Bell, 77, who was a senior leader in the Provisional IRA in the 1970s, was arrested at his home in […] more »

OTR scheme review judge named, and NI Affairs Committee launches inquiry

Tue 11 March 2014, 10:01pm

Tweet Sinn Fein’s Alex Maskey might well think “it would’ve been better to have left the issue alone”  [I couldn't possibly comment... -Ed].  But that’s not happening.  Today the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, informed the House of Commons that “the Rt Hon Lady Justice Hallett DBE has been appointed to conduct an independent review of […] more »

“Just to confuse matters, some elements of the tale of the On The Runs appear to have been hidden in plain sight.”

Sat 1 March 2014, 4:26pm

Tweet BBC NI political editor Mark Devenport with, perhaps, the best description of the mechanism used to address the issue of on-the-runs.  From Mark Devenport’s BBC blog While republicans insist unionists knew all about what was happening to the On The Runs, that is not strictly true. Senior PSNI officers answered some questions posed by Northern Ireland […] 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 »

“The Government communicated back the response to Sinn Fein via a letter from the Northern Ireland Office…”

Wed 26 February 2014, 2:23pm

Tweet Via the Guardian politics live-blog.  Worth noting the written ministerial statement from the NI Secretary of State, dated yesterday, which details the mechanism of the on-the-runs administrative scheme [added emphasis throughout] The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mrs Theresa Villiers): On 21 February, Mr Justice Sweeney ruled that an abuse of process had taken […] more »

“a challenging project for which there is no agreed international framework…”

Mon 24 February 2014, 3:43pm

Tweet Despite having agreed “a detailed timetable” at a North South Ministerial Council in October 2012 “to bring in new laws for the mutual recognition of penalty points in both jurisdictions” The Ministers agreed the detailed timetable for the drafting, passage and enactment of parallel legislation, north and south, by 31st December 2014 to allow the mutual […] more »

Sochi Olympic success

Sun 23 February 2014, 6:31pm
Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Rings Closing

Tweet Heh. Some wonderfully humorous choreography in evidence at the Sochi 2014: Winter Olympics closing ceremony.  It made me laugh out loud.  They wouldn’t have had long to arrange it… [Photograph: Barbara Walton/EPA] As the Guardian live-blog adds, For anyone who slept through the opening ceremony, here’s a reminder of the failed snowflake-ring, and its […] more »

Cunningham changes plea on Northern Bank robbery money-laundering charges

Tue 18 February 2014, 4:48pm

Tweet 65-year-old Cork-based financier Ted Cunningham has re-joined the list of those convicted as a result of “Operation Phoenix”, a huge cross-border investigation into the December 2004 Northern Bank robbery - “involving anti-terrorist units, fraud squads and the Criminal Assets Bureau.”  His original 2009 convictions, and his 10 year sentence, were overturned on appeal in 2012, after the […] more »

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

Wed 12 February 2014, 3:15pm

Tweet 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, […] more »

Solar Dynamics Observatory: Year 4

Tue 11 February 2014, 5:00pm

Tweet Four years after its work began, and following last year’s three years in three minutes, Nasa have released another wondrous short video of a year of selected solar activity as viewed by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Video via Nasa Goddard.  Full-screen viewing recommended.  Stunning. [Credit: NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory. Music: Stella Maris courtesy of Moby Gratis] The […] 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 »

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 »

“Residents also protested outside the local Sinn Féin offices…”

Sun 26 January 2014, 5:03pm

Tweet As the BBC reports, local residents have continued their protest against the planned £70million redevelopment of Casement Park in west Belfast.  From the UTV report Around 100 residents took part in a demonstration on Saturday afternoon. They say they are now considering taking legal action. One woman said: “The main thing is the height […] more »

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