Tag Archives | northern ireland assembly

Assembly reform needed but to enable rather than to block

Rick Wilford the recently retired professor of Politics at Queens, provides  an analysis in the Belfast Telegraph  of the deadlock in power sharing that is as bleak as it is authoritative. “That there is a case for reforming the Assembly and the Executive is irrefutable”… This was recognised by all parties at St Andrews, where more…

2011 Sinn Fein/DUP Speaker Deal

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In 2011 during the election of William Hay as speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly it was agreed that Sinn Féin would assume the post in May 2014. First Minister Peter Robinson (DUP) confirmed the deal to the Stormont Assembly.   Following William Hay’s retirement due to ill health the DUP apparently reneged on the more…

Time to call Sinn Fein’s bluff over welfare

John Simpson, an economist who deserves to be trusted, dismissed the Great Welfare  Crisis as essentially bogus months  ago – yet his analysis seems to have failed to pass into political  debate and comment from the Business pages.   It might help if  critics of Sinn Fein’s grandstanding spoke on the basis  of an agreed analysis. OFFICIAL Treasury more…

Dealing with the past. Inquiries are over. The politicians must come clean. It’s time to stop paying lip service to victims.

You can’t say she’s not even handed . Theresa Villiers will not allow case reviews or inquiries into the Ballymurphy massacre and the la Mon atrocity. She says sorry to the victims but it’s not in the public interest. That’s it. It’s about time the penny dropped. After the de Silva review which exposed a long more…

Women in Politics in Northern Ireland

The issue of women in politics, or lack of them to be more accurate has been an issue pondered by academics, pressure groups and political parties alike for years. In September 2013, Michael Potter prepared a research paper on this topic for the Northern Ireland Assembly and his findings make for sobering reading as he more…

McCann meets… Phil Flanagan MLA

Many of you know that I put out a call on twitter for suggestions on which politicians they would like to see interviewed for Slugger. Today I bring you the first interview with Stormont’s No.1 tweeter, Sinn Fein MLA, Phil Flanagan. This was aired earlier on Lisburns 98FM. I met Phil on Tuesday in Stormont more…

The Assembly shuns reform despite UK government pressure

The news from the Assembly and Executive Review Committee that the political parties in the Assembly have been unable to agree on reforming the political system will hardly shake the world. “No Consensus” is the mantra apart from minor concessions towards an opposition.  There is not much here to tempt the SDLP or the Ulster more…

Seize the opportunities opened up by the Good Relations strategy. Don’t write it off

Mick’s last post is probably representative of the muted reaction to the long awaited initiative. All the same I’d rather take a more positive approach and – yes!-  begin with accepting it at face value.   So I’m asking: are critics justified in  writing off  already the Cohesion Sharing and Integration statement ( not yet a strategy and not more…

A real chance to promote Assembly reform must not be lost

  Just a reminder if you need it -and you can hardly be blamed if you have noticed. You have until 28 March to submit your proposals to reform the politics of Northern Ireland. The Assembly and Executive Review Committee is carrying out  a review of the GFA arrangements which is required by 2015. They more…

Stormont needs to raise itself above the level of events

If nothing else the flags trouble has exposed the dearth of genuine engagement over  grievances that are the expressions of low morale. They’re not all about making  excuses for rioting and grabbing fifteen minutes of fame with egregious and calculated exercises of disinformation and distortion. I’ve listed below two sets of grievances carried in separate Newsletter reports more…

After Finucane, “a new disaster waiting to happen, ” warns Justice lobby group. But why not a new inquest?

The de Silva report  presents a challenge to the legal establishment and others in Northern Ireland over how to proceed in the light of the UK government’s refusal to hold a public inquiry. Accountability concerns are not confined to history. They remain a live issue today since the devolution of policing and justice. One of more…

The danger of an impotent Assembly

The litany of ritual condemnation in  yesterday’s Assembly debate could have been spoken any time during direct rule.   There is no hint here of a responsible government trying to get on top of events. Just a wringing of hands in an Assembly, impotent, riddled with its own contradictions, waiting for the trouble to burn itself out. more…

Spare us a new long game of political numbers

More clearly than before as Mick observes, it is Peter Robinson’s medium term strategy and perhaps his personal legacy to enlist the support of enough Catholics to preserve the Union.  But despite the superficial confidence in Peter’s leader’s speech it is loaded with insecurity.  He has been forced to recognise the likelihood of an eventual Catholic more…

Northern powersharing is faring better than the southern version, says Emerson. Can this be right?

In the Sunday Times,(£) Newton Emerson, apparently unabashed at being dropped by the BBC,  strikes a counterintuitive note by offering a few words of  support to the powersharing Executive at the expense of that other coalition in Dublin. Ignoring the recent Kearney-Robinson dingdong, he bounces his critique off Micheal Martin’s Bodenstown speech deploring the southern coalition’s more…

Kearney of Sinn Fein’s “reconcilation” pitch deserves a considered response

 The pitch made within the precincts of Westminster last night by Declan Kearney the up and coming Sinn Fein chairperson, for “national reconciliation within Ireland through  uncomfortable conversations” was more than the usual rally cry for exiles and republican sympathisers.  It was a pull-together of the Sinn Fein package for the future, carefully and not more…

The Rising of the Undead

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Disparate republican militant groups have announced a coming together under a single leadership that has breathed new life into the IRA, promising to bring murder, anarchy and terrorism back to Northern Ireland. Here’s my illustration.