Tag Archives | Society

Northern Ireland Water charges to rise…

As the BBC reported on 27 March Northern Ireland Water is putting up charges to its 80,000 non-domestic customers from April – the first price rise in three years. The company said the increase would average out at 2.4%. The main factor “dictating this increase” is a £14m rise, or doubling, of its rates bill, more…

“Now it seems that Sinn Fein is realising how badly exposed its negotiators left it to accusations of a sell-out.”

In today’s Irish News John Manley does everyone a favour by identifying Sinn Fein’s problem with the agreement they signed up to in December. The nub of the problem appears to lie in the figures contained in the Stormont Castle Agreement, an agreement within an agreement negotiated between the five parties days before the final more…

Dawn over Ceres

Dawn at Ceres

On Friday afternoon [GMT], ahead of Ireland cricketers’ epic encounter with Zimbabwe, Nasa’s Dawn spacecraft became the first man-made object to go into orbit around a dwarf planet – Ceres, at 950km across, the largest object in the main asteroid belt. [Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA] From the associated text The slim crescent of Ceres smiles back as the more…

“it looks like they were repeatedly blocked from accessing vital pieces of evidence or pursuing certain suspects…”

The Guardian and Observer’s Berlin correspondent, Kate Connolly, reports on the campaign for justice by the family of Heidi Hazell, the 26-year-old German wife of a British army sergeant, murdered by the Provisional IRA outside her married quarters in Unna-Massen, a Dortmund suburb, on 7 September 1989.  From the Guardian report The following day the IRA claimed more…

#UCIHourRecord Live

Join celebrity cycling fan Stephen Fry [loving the on screen metrics! – Ed], and others, watching paralympian Sarah Storey attempt the UCI Hour Record live on the UCI YouTube channel.   The current record stands at 46.065km, set by Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel of the Netherlands in October 2003 in Mexico City.  Storey is in London’s Olympic velodrome, at more…

“…the platform on which Syriza won the recent general election has been significantly reconstructed.”

EU flag

What now for “the Syriza experiment“?  The Irish Times reports that the Eurogroup of finance ministers have deemed the Greek government’s list of proposed reforms to be “sufficiently comprehensive” for a four-month extension of the Greek bailout programme which was due to expire on Saturday. In an official statement released after today’s conference call between more…

Sinn Féin Cllr Anne Brolly: “I thought the British Army had all gone home.”

The six-foot sculpture of supposed Celtic sea-god, Manannán Mac Lir, that was ‘stolen’ from Binevenagh Mountain, near Limavady, in County Londonderry, has been found – some 300 metres from its original location… [Good initial search, Batman! – Ed]. The sculpture was apparently discovered by local ramblers, who “advised members of A company 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Regiment more…

“By standing firm against the London-Dublin Tory axis, Sinn Féin achieved a welfare system better than the one in Britain…”

According to Sinn Féin national chairperson Declan Kearney, [Don’t mention the Dark Side! – Ed] …Sinn Féin from 2011 onwards opposed the proposed welfare cuts and insisted welfare protection was absolutely fundamental for all citizens. “That is why Sinn Féin politically campaigned against welfare cuts alongside trade unions and grassroots communities. “This principle guided our more…

“…complex issues cannot always be addressed via online petitions.”

EU flag

Sinn Féin, and others, agitating on behalf of “the Syriza experiment” following the recent elections in Greece, has more to do with positioning to blame the current Irish Government for the likely outcome [added link] than any professed desire for a resolution in Ireland’s favour. But there are a few things to note about the rise more…

“Sunday’s election could be a significant day for Europe…”

EU flag

The campaign may have resembled a “political circus”, but Sunday’s general election in Greece could see the leftist Syriza, led by former communist Alexis Tsipras, emerge as the leading party – but in search of a partner-in-government [We’ve been there before! – Ed].  Indeed.  Although, they could still achieve a majority… In the meantime, the Irish Times highlights a more…

Spreading the word in the Irish language requires a new beginning

I thought I’d tiptoe into the minefield of the “Irish Language Act”, an area where the massed ranks of persuadables risk getting wasted by the zealots, but here goes. Concubhar is right, there should be a mature discussion. I’m one of those who shrugged off Gregory Campbell’s leaden humour and hoped that most language supporters felt more…

Je Suis Charlie

New Yorker Cartoon

Via the BBC coverage of the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in which 12 people were killed, an eloquent cartoon from the New Yorker.

“The brinkmanship that seems inescapable on such occasions has become self-indulgent and self-important too”

The Guardian’s editorial on the Stormont House Agreement has some pertinent things to note about Northern Ireland’s latest deal.  Although, if, as they claim, “the glass is half-full” it is also, by definition, half-empty.  From the Guardian editorial The talks came very close, after 11 weeks of discussion, to falling apart, as earlier efforts under the more…

Outsourcing solutions may be the secret of dealing with more than the past

Well, perhaps amid the encircling gloom the political parties have seen some light at last. The details of the agreement on welfare reform are awaited but it looks as if any new money will come from Westminster mainly to deal with the past which is surely fair. Adds: United Executive request for a total of £2.1 billion over 10 more…

There Is No Alternative! (to Casement Park development plan) – Redux

Belfast High Court has ruled that the decision to grant planning permission for the controversial £70million redevelopment of Casement Park in west Belfast was “fundamentally flawed”.  However, Mr Justice Horner did not quash the decision, and will take further submissions from lawyers for the Department of the Environment, the GAA and the residents group who mounted the more…

“…why else would MLA’s fail to protest when their office expenses are taken from them?”

As the Irish Times reports Former Minister of State, Ned O’Keeffe has been fined €3,500 and given a suspended seven month jail sentence after he pleaded guilty to five counts of submitting false invoices to claim over €3,700 in mobile phone expenses. O’Keeffe of Ballylough, Mitchelstown, Co Cork was arrested by gardaí this morning and more…