Tag Archives | Northern Ireland

Sinn Féin’s Peadar Tóibín: “I have no doubt that in the IRA modus operandi of the time that people were moved…”

With the out-going MP for Newry and Armagh, Sinn Fein’s Conor Murphy, declaring his ignorance of alleged abusers in the republican movement being moved out of Northern Ireland – BBC report “I’ve never heard that in all my life as a republican,” [Conor Murphy] said. …it’s worth extracting from the Fireman’s post some quotes from the interview more…

Essay: Gough Whitlam and the fragility of parliamentary democracy

Carl Zahle (1866-1946), Danish Prime Minister 1909-10, 1913-20

However over-quoted a historical figure he may be, Winston Churchill certainly gave his global audience plenty to ponder over whenever he opened his mouth or put pen to paper.  His dictum that ‘democracy is the worst form of government, except for the all the other forms that have been tried’ still strikes ringing chords, five more…

The Lords held the wrong debate

There was quite a lot of noble handwringing in that Lords debate that needs unpicking. Dealing with the past was confused with dealing with the present impasse. There is of course a link but they are really two clean different things.  It was odd to hear Paul Bew, a historian who has dedicated much of more…

“Assertion in blog is shameful and cruel” – McDonald

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Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald has posted a twitter response to a blog circulating on social media which describes Maíria Cahill’s alleged rape ordeal as “a year long sexual liaison”. The blog describes the alleged rapist as a man “whom many a 16-year-old would likely fancy”. The blog prompted a twitter question from  more…

“Adams’s claim… is worthy of the most cynical bishop”

From today’s editorial in the Irish Times Adams’s claim that there was “absolutely no cover up by Sinn Féin at any level”, is worthy of the most cynical bishop. It appears to be based on the fact that the IRA came to accept that she had indeed been abused. But its response was not to more…

North -South is a political gift going a-begging

Two cheers to the Financial Times (£) for giving space to one of the many topics that people in Northern Ireland who live close to it take for granted but shouldn’t. The story is headlined “Irish two-speed economy puts integration under pressure”. Sixteen years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement that ushered in a more…

Saving the Ulster Orchestra is by any standards, a priority

Music Makes The World A Better Place

The modern trend in Orwellian-sounding government cultural policy is to head for the grass roots to look for new mainsprings of creativity. It has a variety of motives and aims. In GB,  the policies of the  DCMS and in Northern Ireland DCal and the priorities of various cash-strapped Arts Councils are also about investing in arts jobs and more…

A great example of cross border cooperation. More needed

This is a key example of the sort of all-island planning that should be speeded up in all sectors.  Good to see that flag waving doesn’t come into it. But the “black hole” must be filled. .. fears have been voiced that more families will face a uncertainty over where operations will take place in England 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…

UPDATED: Spotlight investigation to explore republican treatment of ‘abuse’ victim

Maíria Cahill, Gerry Adams

BBC NI’s Spotlight programme tonight investigates the republican movement’s handling of sexual abuse allegations against a suspected IRA member. Maíria Cahill has waived her right to anonymity to tell how the republican movement responded to her allegations by first investigating them, then burying them and imposing a code of silence to protect the movement. She more…

Shirlow on the gap between slowly shifting attitudes and political positions

Peter Shirlow has to deal with politicians and so cannot afford to sound completely exasperated or polemical. Informed  by his detailed work in the communities  he discusses the perceived gap between public attitudes and the starker political  positions in the Belfast Telegraph, in the light of the recent LucidTalk poll commissioned by the paper. I would only add more…

On Jonathan Powell – a vision is needed for talking to terrorists

I haven’t yet managed to read Jonathan Powell’s new book: Talking to Terrorists: How to End Armed Conflicts”,  but potted  versions like this one in Prospect magazine  delivers his thesis with his usual crispness. “In democracies we cannot kill all the terrorists, so we will have to talk to them at some stage! And just in more…

“Are you going to pay your water charges, Gerry?”

To pay or not to pay water charges was the question of the week for the southern wing of Sinn Féin.  In the north, things are completely different…  Under pressure from former MEP Paul Murphy of the Anti-Austerity Alliance, the party’s candidate in today’s by-election in Dublin South West, Cllr Cathal King, had majored heavily more…

Facebook: A Breeding Ground For Racism

Facebook breeding ground

UPDATED In the past twelve months racist attacks in Northern Ireland have increased by 50%. In the early hours of Sunday morning yet another home was attacked in South Belfast – an attack that the PSNI described as a ‘hate crime’. A bottle was thrown and smashed the living room window of a house owned more…

It’s time we actually debate welfare reform

Graffiti on a Belfast Dole Office

After weeks of debate about welfare reform in Northern Ireland, it must be said that we haven’t actually debated welfare or reform. In fact, the argument, at its core, has been about power and responsibility, which, at this point, neither the DUP or Sinn Féin seem to want. We desperately need leadership and we’re not more…

Adams and McGuinness: hard cop, soft cop routine

What are we to make of this?  Who calls the shots? Gerry Adams 24 September ( party leader but unelected in the jurisdiction he’s pronouncing on) Sinn Féin would be willing to allow the Northern Ireland Executive fall and new elections called if the parties cave in to the British government imposing budget cuts of up to more…