Tag Archives | Northern Ireland

How will Ireland square the circle of close relations with Brexit Britain and continuing loyalty to the EU?

An Irish government official said to me a few weeks ago: “ we’re with the other guys now.” That arresting comment  meant that Ireland was making a necessary shift further away from Britain and towards the continuing relationship with the EU. A binary choice  is in prospect, goes the argument, depending on the Brexit outcomes. more…

A Pointless £5m Election

Consider this. We have a coalition government that is incompetent and has fallen because it can’t govern. The leadership of both coalition parties (DUP and Sinn Fein) are calling for an Assembly election (that will cost around £5m) just a few months after the last election. The last election had a turnout of less than more…

“a strategy which now views the very presence of devolved government in Northern Ireland as a bargaining chip with the Government and with the DUP.”

In the News Letter, Sam McBride provides an astute assessment of the “profound consequences” of Sinn Féin’s decision to resign Martin McGuinness from the Northern Ireland Executive Office.  From the News Letter article   Mr Adams now appears to envisage yet another round of ‘crisis talks’ in Belfast in attempt to extract further concessions from more…

Time to fix this broken shire

The RHI scandal showed the extent of the incompetence at the heart of the Northern Ireland Executive. The cock-up, moreover, was not just the DUP’s. Not one local MLA had the gumption to inspect and raise alarms about a botched and ridiculous scheme that, in the words of John Humphries on Radio 4’s Today programme, more…

“The whole issue has, unfortunately, become party political…”

In the Belfast Telegraph, Conservative MP, Laurence Robertson, who chairs the House of Commons Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs, asks some pertinent questions about the ‘crisis’ over the RHI scheme. What would [Arlene Foster’s] resignation achieve? Who would take over? Would this stabilise the workings of the Assembly and the Executive, or throw it more…

Irish State Papers: The Anglo-Irish Agreement, Sinn Féin and the Provisional IRA

In part 1 of 2 reports RTÉ’s round-up of the newly released confidential Irish State papers from 1986 includes a couple of items worth highlighting in relation to the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement.  First up is an account of a meeting in Belfast in April 1986 between David Barry, of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Anglo-Irish division, and solicitor PJ McGrory more…

“More important, though, is to never forget the monstrous things that can be done by apparently affable family men, who write poetry and enjoy fishing.”

With former Sinn Féin MLA, Daithí McKay [now a Slugger contributor… – Ed], speculating elsewhere that the, as yet unspecified, illness that caused the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister to pull out of December’s NI Executive Office trip to China at the last minute may force him to step down in 2017, Eilis O’Hanlon takes a pre-emptive more…

If the 2016 Assembly election had had five seats per constituency…

There has been some speculation about a possible early election for the Assembly. While I personally am sceptical – the institutions have a habit of creaking on through – it’s worth noting that all future elections, including an early one if called before 2021, will be for an Assembly with five seats in each of more…

NI Executive’s £80m Social Investment Fund projected to cost extra £13.1m

Another day, another leaked Northern Ireland Executive memo…  That’s quite a budget over-run, btw.  And the Fund is to run for 4/5 years longer than anticipated.  The leak was to BBC NI Spotlight.  As the BBC report notes The Stormont executive’s controversial Social Investment Fund (SIF) requires an extra £13m of taxpayer money, according to a leaked document. more…

“It is not just Stormont that has a Social Investment Fund.”

Newton Emerson in yesterday’s Irish News with some details on the other, less talked about, ‘social investment’ funds out there.  From the Irish News IT is not just Stormont that has a Social Investment Fund. Belfast City Council runs the Belfast Investment Fund and associated Local Investment Fund, with a combined pot of £31 million over three years more…

“by the manipulation of the committee in order that Jamie Bryson’s evidence be received in open session.”

The BBC reports that former Sinn Féin MLA, Daithí McKay [now a Slugger contributor… – Ed],  is being sued for damages by Belfast property developer, Paddy Kearney.  According to the report the writ lodged at Belfast High Court alleges Mr McKay “unlawfully conspired” with Loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson to damage Mr Kearney’s reputation. From the BBC report The more…

“What you should not do is expose Joe Bloggs who might have been buried as a hero but was in fact an informant for the Brits.”

With this attempted distraction in mind, the latest comments by Denis Bradley make even more interesting reading. Bradley also expressed concern about the fate of thousands of one-time informers if there was “full disclosure” of all sensitive Troubles-related security files. “What Robin Eames and I found out in our investigations leading to the Consultative Group more…

While the Supreme Court continues the agenda moves on. A hard Brexit looks more and more likely and the future of the Irish border is in the balance.

The Financial Times (£) says it all in the editorial quoted at some length below  – or most of it. If Theresa May had introduced a simple bill granting MPs a vote on Article 50, the November High Court case and the appeal to the Supreme Court would not have happened. What it doesn’t say more…

NI Attorney General: “Article 50 trigger – will ‘amend not a comma or a full stop of the 1998 Act’.”

As with the Belfast High Court, so with the UK Supreme Court…  NI Attorney General John Larkin has been repeating the argument.  From the BBC text coverage from the Supreme Court Northern Ireland’s attorney general, John Larkin, is continuing to make his case that none of the legislative or constitutional arrangements underpinning devolution should stand more…