Tag Archives | Northern Ireland

NI Public Appointments Commissioner: “Despite all the supportive talk in principle I don’t see any change in the public appointment process.”

When the previous Commissioner for Public Appointments in Northern Ireland, Felicity Huston, stepped down from the role in 2011 she, pointedly, wished whoever her successor would be “the best of luck”, noting that She said there were difficulties asserting her role as a regulator at Stormont. “People recruit people who look like them, sound like more…

“future banknote designs, starting with the new polymer £5 note, will explicitly represent all four nations of the UK.”

As mentioned in this BBC report focused on the first Bank of England polymer banknote – a £5 note featuring Sir Winston Churchill which will be issued in 2016. Banknotes will feature images from all four nations of the UK starting with the new £5 note entering circulation in 2016. [Timing, eh? – Ed]  Eh?  more…

The welfare crisis deepens. The DUP are making common cause with Sinn Fein over George Osborne’s cuts

The Guardian’s Politics Live feature reports an analysis of the impact of the Welfare Reform and Work Bill on the working poor.  Read across locally, it has the effect of adding the DUP’s opposition to the UK’s government’s budget strategy  to Sinn Fein’s, albeit on more limited grounds. The analysis was made by the highly reputable, unbiased more…

“Sinn Féin were not in court today. Councillor Kelly was, and he was acquitted of all charges.”

Entirely unrelated to Sinn Féin’s opposition to welfare reform… Last week a Deputy District Magistrate in Londonderry acquitted Sinn Féin Councillor Colin Kelly on charges of fraudulently claiming over £19,000 in Housing Benefit and Job Seekers Allowance between November 2010 and March 2014 – when he was a member of Derry City Council.  He is currently a councillor on more…

The 16 seats to come

Back in 2011-12, we had prolonged discussions about the knock-on effects for Northern Ireland of the previous government’s proposals to cut the number of MPs in the House of Commons down to 600, which in Northern Ireland’s case would have meant a decrease from 18 MPs to 16. That didn’t happen in the end, as more…

Conversations about the future require candour, not platitudes

Because of a clash of commitments I’m having to miss out on the Westminster launch on Tuesday of  Uncomfortable Conversations: An Initiative for Dialogue Towards Reconciliation  edited by the Sinn Fein chair Declan Kearney.  It will follow a similar launch in the Linenhall Library in Belfast  which Sinn Fein covered on YouTube in April. It more…

Casement Park Development: Further allegations at Assembly Committee Hearing

The BBC reports that GAA official, and independent Northern Ireland Policing Board member, Ryan Feeney, has threatened “immediate [legal] action” following further allegations by the chairman of the safety technical group, Sport NI’s Paul Scott, of pressure being exerted to drop concerns about safety at the controversial proposed £70million redevelopment of Casement Park in west Belfast.  more…

Does Loyalism Have An Image Problem?

Bus Depot

Following my article about the Sandy Row bonfire last week, a fair amount has happened. It was burned down (it wasn’t me), it has been moved (by a few feet), it is going to be bigger in size (the base layer seems at least 30% larger than before), and the level of anti-social behaviour in more…

“The exact location of the international boundary between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland through Loughs Carlingford and Foyle remains an issue for determination…”

In January 2012 I suggested there might be some cause for optimism that the unresolved issue of the delimitation of the territorial water boundary between the UK and the Republic of Ireland could be, erm, resolved.  As the then Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, TD, said at the time. Recently the two Governments agreed to address more…

Ulster says Yes to marriage equality.

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Local poet, theologian, group worker and Leader of the Corrymeela Community , Pádraig Ó Tuama, wrote this blog about yesterday’s Marriage Equality march in Belfast and with his permission has allowed us to re-post on Slugger. Here is his story.  So yesterday was a beautiful day. Sun. Celebration. Support. Story. Hope. I gave a cúpla focail at the marriage more…

Abortion pressure continues slowly, slowly

Two interesting blasts from non-natives in the abortion debate have appeared in – can you guess?  Yes! –  in the Guardian and the Independent. In the Indy, London-based Siobhan Fenton has been combing the statistics just out, to find that  that 828 women who had abortions in England and Wales  last year gave Northern Ireland more…

Famous Sir Seamus and his Oul Orange Flute.

    In Belfast Town where they built the Titanic, The folk are all merry but oftimes bit manic; James Galway he lived there a fluter by trade, And sure all of us thought him a stout Orange blade. On the 12th of July as it yearly did come, James played on the flute to the more…

Henry Patterson is half right, but dealing with the past must be broadly based

. Henry Patterson, a historian of high repute from the unionist tradition has entered the debate sparked by the Panorama on collusion, Britain’s Secret Deals. He laments what he sees as unionism’s “parochialism and defensiveness “in failing to challenge the republican narrative  of the Troubles as a struggle for freedom and  justice in common with similar struggles elsewhere. more…

“A Battle A Day” Is Creating A Political Wasteland

“It will always be a battle a day between those who want maximum change and those who want to maintain the status quo”. Recognise the quote? It came from Gerry Adams’ speech calling for the IRA to permanently abandon violence in 2005. Just a few days before the 2007 Assembly Elections that restored devolved government, more…

Another Societal Milestone Passed; What Next for Progressing Ireland?

Another Societal Milestone Passed; What Next for Progressing Ireland?

Last Saturday’s overwhelmingly positive referendum outcome in support of constitutional recognition for same-sex marriage was a great result for progress, equality, liberty, inclusion, rights for everyone and all things good in Ireland. It was a proud and historic moment for Irish society generally and especially for those Irish citizens living in the Republic who had and positively utilised the more…

Panorama on collusion: Does Trevor Ringland support coverup?

Trevor Ringland’s criticism of Darragh MacIntyre’s Panorama on collusion for rewriting history with a political slant is misguided.  The documentary  gave examples of  a spectrum of collusion ranging from loose handling of informers to covering up agents who were multiple repeat killers, sometimes with the foreknowledge of their  handlers.  Much of the material is in the de Silva more…

Not all the zombies are politicians. This is also civil society’s failure

Not so long ago, Northern Ireland  politics were conducted in a seething cauldron. Today they’re in zombieland.  Nobody seems to know what sort of situation is facing  Northern Ireland in the  forthcoming days, weeks and months. Your starter for 10. Is it bailout, surrender or just staggering on?   At home, nobody can be bothered even to more…