Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights


“a claim on behalf of Mr Green against Sinn Féin has been registered with the Fair Employment Tribunal…”

Tue 8 April 2014, 3:03pm

Tweet When Sinn Fein’s political director at Stormont, Leo Green, failed to appear at the party’s Ard Fheis in February, both Mr Green, whilst confirming that he was no longer their northern political director, and the party were keen to play down suggestions of a dispute.  As Liam Clarke noted at the time Green said he had renewed […] more »

“the electoral prospects of individuals are not strictly a relevant factor when weighing the public interest in the disclosure of information…”

Wed 2 April 2014, 3:29pm

Tweet Another week, another ruling by the Information Commissioner that the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers acted against the public interest in refusing to disclose information in response to a FoI request.  The request, from the News Letter, was for disclosure of OFMDFM’s corporate risk register – a list of the issues “causing […] more »

Belfast City Council: “what happened on Saturday evening is a clear breach of our terms and conditions of hire.”

Tue 1 April 2014, 4:16pm

Tweet The News Letter has an updated comment from the spokeswoman for Belfast City Council about the (Provisional) IRA commemoration at Whiterock Leisure Centre on Saturday night.  From the News Letter report Belfast City Council says a republican event in one of its leisure centres was clearly in breach of terms and conditions, after critics […] more »

OFMDFM: “open and transparent…” – redux

Sat 29 March 2014, 4:44pm

Tweet Via The Irish News.  As UUP leader Mike Nesbitt says, “We’re not North Korea…”  [Thankfully... - Ed]  ANYhoo…  The UUP leader has welcomed a recent (27 March) decision by the Information Commissioner (not yet online) that the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers were wrong to refuse to release the results of market research, […] more »

Cartoon – With friends like these

Fri 7 February 2014, 4:10pm
Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness, Brian John Spencer

Tweet   Who needs enemies? And of course it’s been said:  “I fear the real danger for Unionism lies not in what our opponents would seek to do to us but in what we do to ourselves.”   more »

NI Justice Minister: “I trust that the executive will recognise that it is the right decision, and that I was right to make it”

Fri 31 January 2014, 4:46pm

Tweet In the aftermath of the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers/Executive/Assembly/Policing Board members semi-detached polit-bureau’s kerfuffle over the NI Justice Minister’s proposed changes to the criteria for the next Chief Constable, Liam Clarke reveals some significant correspondence on the matter.  Firstly, the Chief Executive of the NI Policing Board, Sam Pollock, tries his hand at […] more »

NI Justice Minister: “It is important to note that, in setting some minimum standards, I am not prohibiting the Board from adding to these minimum criteria…”

Tue 28 January 2014, 2:39pm

Tweet Whilst Brian may regard them as “surely sensible” changes to the criteria for the next Chief Constable, and they may well be, as I mentioned in updates to a previous post, no sooner had the Northern Ireland Justice Minister, the Alliance Party’s David Ford, announced those changes than the NI First and deputy First […] more »

Meghan O’Sullivan: “how do we make it possible for the others to deliver on the agreement? . . . I don’t know if there was enough of that in the room this time.”

Sat 11 January 2014, 4:58pm

Tweet Whilst the Northern Ireland media continue to obsess over digest the parting shot from Richard Haass on the political parties’ failure to agree to his proposals (version 7), the co-chair of those talks, Meghan O’Sullivan, appears to have been delegated the task of addressing the media south of the border.  [Partitionists! - Ed]  ANYhoo.. […] more »

“So in a sense, these resignations were expected.”

Wed 8 January 2014, 1:57pm

Tweet In the absence of agreement between the political parties on what happens next, the continuing uncertainty about what new arrangements will be put in place to deal with the past is having, what should have been, an anticipated effect.  As the BBC report, “HET: Four officers leave specialist police team“. BBC Northern Ireland Home Affairs Correspondent […] more »

Arkiv: “in the real world pre-existing themes will skew the integrity of investigation, putting ideology before history”

Mon 6 January 2014, 2:45pm

Tweet In an early critique of the Haass proposals (version 7), Brian identified, as a potential problem, the “role [] envisaged for academics and experts especially historians”. A great role is envisaged for academics and experts especially historians, reporting to an Implementation and Reconciliation Group of political nominees .  However the academics are  naively treated as an […] more »

Lord Chief Justice Morgan: “this is a case about political failure”

Sat 28 December 2013, 4:02pm

Tweet Not the Haass talks.  You can keep your nose pressed against the windowpane with David if you’re hoping for a scrap of comfort from that.  No, this is about the continued dysfunctional approach of the two main parties of the Northern Ireland Executive semi-detached polit-bureau to the process of government – as defined under the […] more »

“must at the very least include a mechanism that makes the broadcasting companies accountable and answerable to this Assembly…”

Tue 26 November 2013, 4:12pm

Tweet Speaking of making the media accountable…  The Northern Ireland Minister for Culture, Sinn Fein’s Carál Ní Chuilín, has declared that she is “considering options such as appointing a panel of experts to review broadcasting in the North and devolution of responsibility locally with a view to bringing proposals forward for cross-party support”.  Here’s a […] more »

“The fact of the matter is that somebody ordered that Jean McConville be murdered…”

Thu 7 November 2013, 12:17am

Tweet The BBC reported that, following the broadcast of the recent BBC/RTÉ programme on The Disappeared, the Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness said The fact that some families still do not know where their murdered relatives were secretly buried by the IRA is a “wound that must not be left to […] more »

“So, what was British policy?”

Fri 1 November 2013, 5:42pm

Tweet John mentioned, in passing, Alex Kane’s column in today’s Irish News.  But, in reaching for his hyperbolical conclusion, he missed the more interesting part of the article.  From Alex Kane in the Irish News. As far back as 1972 the Heath government introduced the concept of power-sharing, the ‘Irish dimension’ and the constitutional guarantee: and […] more »

Planning Bill: Or how OFMdFM dropped the ball on their end of the Downing Street economic pact?

Wed 23 October 2013, 1:40pm

Tweet So let’s join the dots a little on yesterday’s crash landing of the planning bill. [Focus people, focus - Ed]. This was the bill intended to fix set up the Enterprise Zones that were so critical to the Downing Street package of cash agreed just before the G8 with David Cameron. That was on […] more »

“This is just the latest example of the (First) Minister(s) failing to spend monies…”

Tue 22 October 2013, 1:47pm

Tweet A slight variation on Alex Maskey’s excoriation of Nelson McCausland for failing to spend a cool £26 million in his housing budget last year. [Tail gunner out of control captain! - Ed]  Did no one tell Alex his own party  in OFMdFM failed to spend a single penny of £80 million on actual social […] more »

Peter Robinson: “We must learn to communicate better…”

Fri 18 October 2013, 12:35am

Tweet Interesting comments reported by the BBC from the Northern Ireland First Minister, DUP leader Peter Robinson, speaking at a Co-Operation Ireland dinner at Queen’s University in Belfast on Thursday night.  From the BBC report Mr Robinson said that while it is easier and more comfortable for politicians and people in wider society to retreat […] more »

“His independent role has on occasions required him to take actions against the Executive…”

Wed 16 October 2013, 2:14pm

Tweet In the Belfast Telegraph Liam Clarke picked up on this exchange during questions to the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers in the Assembly on Monday.  The topic was the review, by Dame Elish Angiolini, Lord Advocate of Scotland until 2011, of the Office of the NI Attorney General, the report on which was delivered […] more »

Theresa Villiers: “That’s the kind of Northern Ireland we’re determined to build…”

Mon 9 September 2013, 5:28pm

Tweet Louth TD, and Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams has taken exception to a recent speech by the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers at the British-Irish Association’s 2013 conference - describing it as “an unacceptable intervention” ahead of those talks with Richard Haass.  Although, I don’t think the speech was delivered “yesterday”…  [And what's he going to […] more »

Haass “asked the parties for confidentiality and to put forward their best team of negotiators…”

Wed 4 September 2013, 6:42pm

Tweet The BBC reports that “it has emerged” Richard Haass has written to the Northern Ireland Executive parties ahead of the up-coming talks on parades, and other matters. Dr Haass, who is due to chair talks later this month, sent the letter after his mid-July visit to Belfast. He asked the parties for confidentiality and […] more »

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