Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights


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 »

“Unlike Gerry Adams & Mary Lou McDonald…”

Sun 30 March 2014, 8:56pm

Tweet In a follow-up to a previous post on his Broken Elbow blog, as noted here, Ed Moloney has “an answer to Gerry Adams, Mary Lou McDonald and other critics of the Boston archive“. Aside from myself and Anthony McIntyre there is only one other person who has read all of the interviews lodged in the Belfast […] more »

“when a major political leader tells such an obvious falsehood about a defining part of his life…”

Tue 25 March 2014, 9:42pm

Tweet Also for the record, Ed Moloney has responded to Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams’ attack on the Boston College oral history project.  From Ed Moloney’s blog I don’t intend to spill a lot of ink responding to Gerry Adams’ recent statement taking yet another swipe at the motives of those who were interviewed and […] more »

Forget ethnic thematics: a straightforward response to Billy Hutchinson

Sat 22 March 2014, 8:10pm

Tweet Billy Hutchinson’s explanation for his sectarian murders has been covered below by David McCann. Unfortunately they degenerate into concepts like “Truth recovery”, “ethnic thematics” and such like. The News Letter have provided somewhat more direct responses. From the News Letter: Kenny Donaldson of Innocent Victims United said that Mr Hutchinson’s attempted justification of his […] more »

Ivor Bell charged in connection with Jean McConville abduction and murder

Fri 21 March 2014, 8:36pm

Tweet The BBC are reporting that Ivor Bell, who was arrested earlier this week, has been charged in connection with the abduction and murder of Jean McConville in December 1972.  From the BBC report Ivor Bell, 77, who was a senior leader in the Provisional IRA in the 1970s, was arrested at his home in […] more »

TUV, SDLP and UUP host victims commemoration at Stormont

Tue 11 March 2014, 10:47pm

Tweet Alan has a post on the Alternative Ms. Ulster event hosted by Steven Agnew at Stormont on Sunday complete with the inspiring / daring / indecent, speech/ behaviour by Ms. Park. In contrast yesterday the UUP, SDLP and TUV hosted the third annual day of remembrance for victims of terrorism. 120 people attended and […] more »

David Cameron: “We will appoint an independent judge to produce a full public account of the operation of this administrative scheme…”

Thu 27 February 2014, 3:56pm

Tweet The BBC reports that the Prime Minister David Cameron has announced a judicial review of the operation of the controversial administrative scheme to deal with so-called “on the runs” which was highlighted in the recent collapse of the John Downey case.  From the BBC report Mr Cameron told a Downing Street press conference: “I agree with […] more »

Hyde Park bombing suspect will not be prosecuted

Tue 25 February 2014, 8:49pm

Tweet The BBC are reporting that John Downey who was arrested and charged with killing four soldiers in the 1982 IRA Hyde Park bombing will not be prosecuted because he was given a guarantee he would not face trial. Downey was arrested in 2013 at Gatwick whilst en route to Greece. From the BBC: ..over […] more »

Terrorist play park breached equality guidelines

Fri 14 February 2014, 6:57pm

Tweet The Equality Commission has produced its draft report on Newry and Mourne Council’s decision to name a children’s play park after IRA terrorist and hunger striker Raymond McCreesh. The play park had initially been called the Patrick Street Play Park but in 2001 its name was changed to honour McCreesh who was captured in […] 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 »

Kevin Conway murder: “Local Sinn Fein Councillor John O’Dowd was under no illusions…”

Thu 19 December 2013, 5:29pm

Tweet Arrested in a hotel in Birmingham on Monday, following “a review of the original murder investigation by detectives attached to Serious Crime Branch”, a 45-year-old man from Lurgan, Gary Marshall, has been charged at Craigavon court, and released on bail, for the murder of Kevin Conway in 1998.  The News Letter report notes Marshall, from Ennis […] more »

“The parties were told not to bring in any phones or other communication devices, nor to leave with any copies of the draft.”

Mon 16 December 2013, 11:48pm

Tweet Richard Haass’ attempt to ensure confidentiality during the on-going talks between the five Northern Ireland Executive parties – on the past, parades, and flags - failed to survive first contact with Sinn Féin.  Today the Haass team presented their first, complete, draft proposals to the parties.  The BBC report notes his latest attempt at ensuring […] more »

Smithwick: “the evidence keeps pointing back to the desire of the IRA to acquire information as to how the British Security Services had gotten advance warning of the IRA ambush on Loughgall Police Station…”

Thu 5 December 2013, 6:34pm

Tweet As the findings of the Smithwick Tribunal report [RTÉ-hosted 22mb pdf] continue to be digested, it’s worth recalling the reported concerns of “members of the PIRA” in May last year. The Smithwick Tribunal is becoming a “significant issue” among republicans who are concerned it is uncovering information on past murders, the tribunal has been told. According […] more »

Conviction of John Proctor’s murderer eloquent riposte to John Larkin’s proposals

Sat 30 November 2013, 11:31pm

Tweet Two weeks ago to almost universal revulsion Attorney General John Larkin proposed an effective amnesty for the crimes of the Troubles. Now the legal process has provided the most eloquent rebuttal to his suggestions. The facts of the murder of RUC reservist John Proctor were as loathsome as so many of the Troubles. Mr. […] 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 »

DCC Judith Gillespie: “Policing remains one of the most visible institutions whose actions are interpreted through opposing narratives and lenses…”

Thu 24 October 2013, 2:03pm

Tweet One woman dominated the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly this week in London – not the Secretary of State Theresa Villiers who opened the Assembly on Monday, but Judith Gillespie OBE, Deputy Chief Constable of the PSNI. She was no uninspiring plod – all proceeding northerly in strangulated officialise. She brought passion, conviction and incisiveness to […] more »

Ardoyne plaque forges new link between present tensions and a terrible past.

Wed 23 October 2013, 6:40pm

Tweet This part of the Flora Bradley-Watson’s report in the Belfast Telegraph  of the commemoration of the bombing of Frizzell’s shop leapt out at me. Charlie Butler, who lost three relatives in the attack – his niece Evelyn Baird, her partner Michael Morrison and their daughter Michelle – said that he had relied on the […] more »

“The family are of the view it is vital that the police ombudsman receives this journal…”

Wed 23 October 2013, 12:39am

Tweet As I noted back in January this year, an inquest has yet to be held into the death of former senior Sinn Féin member, and informer, Denis Donaldson in 2006 – responsibility for which was claimed by the Real IRA.  And, despite a previous NI Police Ombudsman‘s finding that there had been no police misconduct here, the new incumbent launched […] more »

Victims’ Commissioner sets herself against victims

Thu 3 October 2013, 1:38pm

Tweet Sam McBride from the News Letter has a series of articles interviewing Kathyrn Stone the relatively new victims’ commissioner in which she has expressed views likely to undermine her role as a spokesperson for victims. Stone’s problems seem to come from refusing to state an opinion on some of the most basic of issues […] more »

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