Tag Archives | NI Executive

NI Tourism Minister: “I recently had discussions with the chief executive of Tourism Ireland and expressed my disappointment about how the promotion of the Wild Atlantic Way stops at the border.”

Irelands Ancient East Map

Without wishing to undermine historian Hiram Morgan’s call for Irish Government action to preserve the cultural heritage in the seas off the Wild Atlantic Way, it’s worth noting the stated objective of that tourism initiative… The overall aim of the project is to develop a route that will achieve greater visibility for the west coast of more…

Northern Ireland Water charges to rise…

As the BBC reported on 27 March Northern Ireland Water is putting up charges to its 80,000 non-domestic customers from April – the first price rise in three years. The company said the increase would average out at 2.4%. The main factor “dictating this increase” is a £14m rise, or doubling, of its rates bill, more…

“Now it seems that Sinn Fein is realising how badly exposed its negotiators left it to accusations of a sell-out.”

In today’s Irish News John Manley does everyone a favour by identifying Sinn Fein’s problem with the agreement they signed up to in December. The nub of the problem appears to lie in the figures contained in the Stormont Castle Agreement, an agreement within an agreement negotiated between the five parties days before the final more…

Calling All Politicos: Pick your fantasy NI Executive

For most reading  this blog this will be the type of transfers you’ll be interested in. For just a few minutes imagine you’re the First Minister and you get to choose an Executive. Choices must be from within the current Assembly and sure we will use the new departments, Department for Communities Department for the more…

“By standing firm against the London-Dublin Tory axis, Sinn Féin achieved a welfare system better than the one in Britain…”

According to Sinn Féin national chairperson Declan Kearney, [Don’t mention the Dark Side! – Ed] …Sinn Féin from 2011 onwards opposed the proposed welfare cuts and insisted welfare protection was absolutely fundamental for all citizens. “That is why Sinn Féin politically campaigned against welfare cuts alongside trade unions and grassroots communities. “This principle guided our more…

Signs of real politics emerging from Stormont House Agreement

Be grateful for small mercies. With less than a hundred days to go before the election, implementing the Stormont Hose Agreement has had the effect of postponing the worst kind of  dog-eat -dog  sectarian  campaigning – so far. Sinn Fein like the rest of them have had to swallow the basics of the Welfare Bill more…

Making haste slowly in dealing with the past

In the words of the old witticism, in dealing with the past  there’s no Northern Ireland equivalent  to the Spanish  mañana  that has quite the same sense  of urgency, despite the £30 million earmarked for  legacy issues by the Stormont  House agreement. Or is that too bleak a view? Patricia Bell (67), is seeking to challenge more…

At last our leaders are starting to take a realistic line to cope with cuts

Credit where credit’s due, while commending Bystander’s vigilance. Simon Hamilton cuts a competent figure as minister of finance, blowing the trumpet for the financial aspects of the Stormont House Agreement. This is what a finance minister is for, rather than sniping at colleagues. Meanwhile  the Agreement has attracted the rare attention of the Economist which more…

It’s the economy, stupid. Not a federal Ireland

In the Irish Times Paul Gillespie floats the idea that the North might benefit by a federal deal with the south. He invokes the useful hand played by the Republic in the recent Stormont House agreement. Certainly Charlie Flanagan waxed more eloquently than Theresa Villiers but that isn’t saying much. I discern a much bigger more…

“The brinkmanship that seems inescapable on such occasions has become self-indulgent and self-important too”

The Guardian’s editorial on the Stormont House Agreement has some pertinent things to note about Northern Ireland’s latest deal.  Although, if, as they claim, “the glass is half-full” it is also, by definition, half-empty.  From the Guardian editorial The talks came very close, after 11 weeks of discussion, to falling apart, as earlier efforts under the more…

The star of wonder shines through the Christmas Agreement

In Northern Ireland God seems to work in mysterious ways  his wonders  to perform  at peak moments in the Christian calendar. Sixteen years after the Good Friday ( or Belfast ) Agreement, we have the Christmas ( or Stormont House) Agreement. Behind the details the main features are: Apparently genuine efforts by the parties to end deadlock by more…

On Welfare and the Budget, reality for Stormont is acceptable

Only the rashest observer would claim that s/he has a complete understanding of the complexities of welfare payments and reform and the  other details of the negotiations that are said to be reaching a climax. My feeling is that they are less about negotiations and more about accepting realities they can live with. On welfare more…

Outsourcing solutions may be the secret of dealing with more than the past

Well, perhaps amid the encircling gloom the political parties have seen some light at last. The details of the agreement on welfare reform are awaited but it looks as if any new money will come from Westminster mainly to deal with the past which is surely fair. Adds: United Executive request for a total of £2.1 billion over 10 more…

Time for other parties to break Executive ranks as Sinn Fein sacrifices northern interests for southern ambitions

Following on from Mick, let’s  begin by making the best possible case for Sinn Fein, the party which seems the most intransigent in the inter- party talks. The Conservatives’ strategy for the next five years to a produce budget surplus of £23 billion by 2019-20 is probably unsustainable, unless the rate of growth picks up more…

What Stormont must do to convince Cameron to up his offer

Are the political parties still hoping that David Cameron will turn into a White Knight and Save Ulster from Austerity?  What does Stormont have to do to persuade him to answer  their pleas to up his offer? Among the elements are: devising a proper three year  plan for the first time so as the world more…