Tag Archives | northern ireland assembly

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…

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…

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


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.

Summer Recess Caption Competition

Sleeping bear

With the Northern Ireland Assembly many weeks deep into a very generous summer recess I felt compelled to capture the personal and political détente and the legislative freeze with some striking illustrative prose. I look forward to hearing what captions come up.

The Hain contempt case: a warning to England from Northern Ireland


It’s worth taking a closer look at the Peter Hain contempt case before it’s written off as a straightforward free speech victory for the metropolitan Mr Punch over the paddywhackery of Northern Ireland’s appointed and politically independent Attorney General.  John Larkin QC brought the case against the former Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain on the admittedly more…

Cross border education: lay out all the facts please


Is this form of cross border cooperation actually divisive? Contrast two stories about the SF led Education department’s plan for a survey of 50,000 “border families “ (i.e. families on both sides of the border) on the takeup of school places by children from the other side. Liam Clarke’s story records the objections of DUP’s Mervyn more…