Tag Archives | NI Executive

Reflections on the British-Irish Association in Oxford

 A tale of two Unions: can circles be squared by a new devolution settlement?   This was written for the blog of the Constitution Unit of University College London. In the wake of the Brexit vote there has been much discussion about the possibility of Scotland and Northern Ireland, where there were Remain majorities in more…

The Ulster Unionists and the SDLP need to form a shadow Executive. Otherwise, they face oblivion

In the tradition of political comment for decades without a government, Alex Kane’s analysis of the state of opposition at Stormont  concentrates on political positioning rather than the politics of policy. He exaggerates somewhat  the achievements of the two- party Executive. Foster and McGuinness have played a blinder in terms of standing together on difficult issues more…

Brexit is not an alibi for inertia. Executive action within its own powers is needed on the economy

The Executive must take action within its own powers to counteract the slowdown effect of Brexit. That’s the consensus among economic commentators. But as yet there’s little sign of that happening. The begging bowl strategy was already failing and bluster against “ austerity “ will have declining impact. And with the replacement of inclusive multi-party more…

David Gordon appointed as the new Executive Press Secretary

NI Executive Logo

The current editor of the Nolan Show and the odd time has written some pieces for this website, David Gordon has been announced as the new NI Executive Press Secretary.  David was often credited as the man responsible for conducting the in-depth research that saw many local politicians caught out on their figures during the more…

“rather than trying to pretend that essentially, testing does not exist”

As the BBC notes, the Northern Ireland Education Minister, the DUP’s Peter Weir, has reversed the department’s previous position prohibiting the use of academic selection to decide what post-primary school pupils transfer to.  That position was set out in 2008 by then NI Education Minister, Sinn Féin’s Caitríona Ruane, and upheld by the subsequent Minister, Sinn Féin’s John O’Dowd. more…

Message for the divided politicians. Read the long list. This is what really matters over Brexit.

Divisions in the Executive and the Assembly contributed to the lack of  scenario planning for the referendum outcome and are inhibiting the development of a clear Brexit strategy. These are among the conclusions in  a comprehensive briefing paper prepared for the Centre for Peace Building and Democracy ( chair Lord Alderdice) by  Queen’s academics  Professor more…

Big effort is needed to avoid polarising Brexit along Orange and Green lines

Yesterday Theresa May made it clear that while the devolved administrations will be consulted the decisions on Brexit will be taken by the UK government.  The triggering of Article 50  will not require parliamentary consent and it will happen probably in January or February next year. A Norway-type deal  looks ruled out  because it  entails more…

A cautious approach to the McKay affair is right. But for the sake of Executive cohesion, O Muilleoir needs to say more or stand aside.

So rather than buckle down to the altogether tougher demands of trying the govern the place, the politicians are having themselves a jolly crisis. Far more fun isn’t it? And the more bizarre the better. But might there just be a chance that the Executive will in the end decide not to waste a good more…

Why is Martin McGuinness making a stand on ” remain must remain” the obvious loser, whatever happens with Article 50?

Martin McGuinness appears to have reverted to Brexit fundamentalism in an article in the Irish Times. He  describes  a worst case scenario, “ the biggest constitutional crisis since partition…and insists  that “Remain must mean remain.” From our perspective, what is needed now is an island-wide approach to dealing with this crisis. That is why Sinn more…

Well Mairtin it’s a start!

 From the Irish Times. EU structural and investment projects in Northern Ireland signed before the British chancellor of the exchequer’s autumn statement will be guaranteed after Brexit, the Treasury in London has said. The current level of agricultural backing, which underpins the farming industry, will also be matched by the British government until 2020. Europe’s more…

United approach to Brexit? Well done, Arlene and Martin.

Rather out of the blue, this joint letter from Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness   to the prime minister Theresa May changes the impression of a divided Executive heading for  a fresh stand-off and is to be warmly welcomed. It is artfully couched in calling for no weakening of cross border measures to deal with crime more…

In Brexit dialogues the DUP must be included. The Good Friday Agreement requires it.

Sadly, the Sunday Politics programmes have registered no closing of the gap between the DUP and Sinn Fein over “Brexit means Brexit.”  Inevitably there is a real danger that narrow politics and positioning will confuse already very difficult issues.  But at least they  are not the ones aggravating the disagreement at  the moment. They appear more…

US Consulate: “We anticipate that a US trade and investment delegation will visit Northern Ireland in the first half of 2017”

The Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, has, in effect, called ‘bullshit’ on Martin McGuinness‘ claim that a proposed US investment delegation to Northern Ireland has been postponed “directly as a result of the vote” in the UK-wide EU membership referendum. Unlike the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, echoed by his party colleague, Conor Murphy, more…

Time for the Irish government to lay out their ideas on a “special status” for Northern Ireland

The chronic weaknesses of both governments hardly assists clear thinking over Brexit. On the other hand there seems to be a general willingness to minimise the damage e.g. over a hard border and trade. Whoever is the new British PM we cannot expect much departure from Theresa Villiers’s minimalist approach to coordination with the Republic. more…

Ireland is not abandoned. Britain does give a damn but in its own way

“The Brexiteers – (meaning the ascendant strain in the Conservative party -) don’t give a damn about Ireland” is a common reaction from Martin McGuinness to Fintan O’Toole. It’s quite an irony to hear Irish nationalists complain about nationalists of the English persuasion. But the cry is as much plaintive as enraged. After all that more…