Topic Archives: Economy

Aggregate spend in Belfast is probably higher than any other UK city


Haven’t got time to unpack this properly, but I think this is important insight from Mike Morrissey on why despite very high funding levels tackling poverty in Northern Ireland is simply not working… Mainstream service spending per head in Northern Ireland is about 20 per cent greater than the UK  while the region has also more…

The #indyref essential count guide.


The last major debate happened between Alex Salmond and Alastair Darling last night and commentators where flying with debates about who won (yes, some poor buggars thought Darling did win). Yet, very few people seem to know just what exactly the process for the count will be and providing the public service that we do more…

Investment bubbles: houses, cars and tulips

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This is not really a typical slugger topic but I thought it would be interesting to look at parallels with the housing bubble in Northern Ireland (and even more so the RoI). Keep that in mind if you find what I am writing too tedious. I have a major interest in classic cars. I have more…

A-levels: How to make some lemonade when you get handed a lemon


This is the time of year when students either celebrate success or drown their sorrows as the standard debate takes place about are these exams getting easier? And did Northern Ireland come first? Are you getting into the University of your first choice? It was August 2007 when it my turn to open up that more…

Listen back to West Belfast Talks Back – Gaza, LGBT rights, lights out, #indyref & Haass #wbtalksback

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Noel Thompson swapped the comfy chair in the Good Morning Ulster studio to be ringmaster at West Belfast Talks Back this evening with Danny Kennedy (UUP, Minister of Regional Development), Fr Tim Bartlett (Catholic Church), Rev Dr Leslie Carroll (Presbyterian) and John O’Down (Sinn Féin, Minister of Education) in front of an audience of three more…

Martina Anderson MEP: “and if the British government lifts its ban on Executive access to the EIB…”


No update yet from Sinn Féin on the meeting they chose to trail a couple of days ago between three of their MEPs, led by the Derry Northern Ireland representative, Martina Anderson, and “the Vice-Chairman of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Jonathan Taylor”.  But let’s hope they were better briefed than the 15 July press release suggests, more…

“That is not a state of affairs they would expect to find in a competently run country.”


Riffing on the row over Garth Brooks’ non-concerts in Croke Park that has consumed local media attention, in the Irish Times John McManus has some pertinent points to make about the long-running saga of who controls the former Quinn Group companies – and the accompanying campaign of attacks and intimidation. In recent weeks one consortium, Quinn Business Retention more…

Graduation time: What comes next?


So, you’ve completed your degree and have been awarded (hopefully) a good classification. When I was receiving my degree four years ago, I remember reading an awful article in the Telegraph telling me that my year was about to go into the worst job market for 20 years with three hundred thousand graduates competing for more…

Scotland’s Choice: Reshaping Relationships #qubindyref … and a Federal UK pitch from Tory MSP Murdo Fraser

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Whatever the outcome, the referendum on Scottish independence on 18 September will have a profound significance for relationships spanning Britain and Ireland. That was the assertion at a one-day conference organised through the Political Studies Association and Queen’s University Belfast today. In his opening lecture “Tangled Histories” Prof Graham Walker (QUB) unravelled some of the more…

Is time the only consistent factor in post-conflict reconciliation?


In the course of a recent conversation, the statement was made that while international studies can point to many policies and initiatives that failed to lead to increased levels of reconciliation, few if any studies cite examples of practices or policies that can be shown to have successfully accelerated reconciliation. Whether on the back of more…

HBO’s Michael Lombardo: “Belfast is not the most cosmopolitan of cities to spend half of the year.”


With so much of some Northern Ireland Executive ministers‘ time and effort [and other people's money! - Ed] focused on exploiting the international success of HBO’s Game of Thrones to promote Northern Ireland overseas, it’s perhaps unfortunate, but refreshing, that HBO’s director of programming, Michael Lombardo, has given an honest answer to a straight question – as more…

Tejas Verdes – spectacular theatre holding a Chilean mirror up to this island’s past (The MAC, until 14 June)

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It’s estimated that over 3,000 Chileans went missing or were killed in the aftermath of the 11 September 1973 coup. Tejas Verdes tells one story. Standing in The MAC’s dark theatre space with a gritty feel underfoot, the audience listen to the disturbing testimony of six women who explain their involvement in the disappearance of more…

Tourism figures for 2013 bring us down to earth


The figures for tourism to Northern Ireland in 2013 out last week show a more modest reality than the hype suggesting it’s just about the most visited place on the planet. The numbers visiting from overseas amounted to just 9,000.  Home holidays and short trips and family visits accounted for most of the rest. It’s not more…