Topic Archives: Government

Johann Lamont: a necessary defenestration

Poor Johann Lamont, the leader of Scottish Labour leader who was always out of her depth and no time more so than during the referendum campaign when the Tory leader Ruth Davidson clearly outshone her. The BBC headline writer’s verdict is cruel  but accurate: Johann Lamont resignation: A leader without influence The post referendum message more…

Sinn Féin’s Peadar Tóibín: “I have no doubt that in the IRA modus operandi of the time that people were moved…”

With the out-going MP for Newry and Armagh, Sinn Fein’s Conor Murphy, declaring his ignorance of alleged abusers in the republican movement being moved out of Northern Ireland – BBC report “I’ve never heard that in all my life as a republican,” [Conor Murphy] said. …it’s worth extracting from the Fireman’s post some quotes from the interview more…

The Lords held the wrong debate

There was quite a lot of noble handwringing in that Lords debate that needs unpicking. Dealing with the past was confused with dealing with the present impasse. There is of course a link but they are really two clean different things.  It was odd to hear Paul Bew, a historian who has dedicated much of more…

Lord Bew on the Prospects for Dealing with the Past

Yesterday’s House of Lords debate on the Haass-O’Sullivan Talks raised questions about the responsibility of the British and Irish governments, as well as the Northern Ireland parties, in moving forward on addressing the legacy of the past. Lord Bew’s remarks on the unlikeliness of ‘a shared process of recovery from the past’ were particularly sobering more…

Amnesty release poll showing majority in NI back abortion law reforms in DOJ consultation

My Body My Rights logo

The Department of Justice have opened the public consultation on three specific changes to Northern Ireland’s abortion. Northern Ireland’s legislation in this area is very restricted with compared with the rest of the United Kingdom and for a long time there has been little political enthusiasm to change it. Public sentiment has softened over the more…

“Adams’s claim… is worthy of the most cynical bishop”

From today’s editorial in the Irish Times Adams’s claim that there was “absolutely no cover up by Sinn Féin at any level”, is worthy of the most cynical bishop. It appears to be based on the fact that the IRA came to accept that she had indeed been abused. But its response was not to more…

In defence of… Gerry Adams

The rape of Maria Cahill was a horrific crime. This writer cannot even begin to think of the suffering and torment that she has endured because of the actions of a depraved individual. There is no sane person who doubts Cahill’s version of events. Sadly, this horrific event has been seized upon by Sinn Fein’s more…

North -South is a political gift going a-begging

Two cheers to the Financial Times (£) for giving space to one of the many topics that people in Northern Ireland who live close to it take for granted but shouldn’t. The story is headlined “Irish two-speed economy puts integration under pressure”. Sixteen years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement that ushered in a more…

How do we unlock Northern Ireland’s tremendous potential?

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I still remember the spring of 2001. The palpable excitement I felt about something I’d dreamed of since my adolescence and, with sixth form drawing to a close, was finally in a position to realise: leaving Northern Ireland. I was one of the almost 18,000 who emigrated that year, a number that rose to just more…

Martin criticises Nesbitt and Kenny over talks and role of Irish government

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Interesting report in today’s Irish News about comments from the Fianna Fail leader, Micheal Martin and the UUP leader, Mike Nesbitt. The paper reports comments from Nesbitt last week saying he was provided with assurances that the Irish  government “would respect the principle of the three-stranded approach”. “However, the other two strands involve north-south and east-west more…

Nesbitt:”This is about the Union, this is about putting Unionism first, this is about the good of Northern Ireland.” #UUP2014

07 Mike Nesbitt

Yesterday as the Ulster Unionist conference wrapped up I sat down with the party leader, Mike Nesbitt to discuss the last election, Unionist unity and the party’s prospects for the upcoming Wesminster election. I began by asking him about the last election, how did he feel about the UUPs moderate improvement from 2011? Well I more…

#UUP2014 conference review & audio: “We want Fermanagh South Tyrone … we can win the Westminster seat”

07 Mike Nesbitt

Around 300 people filled the Ramada Hotel venue, marginally younger than previous years, and during the morning extra chairs had to be brought in to add a couple more back rows. It’s clear that the UUP have internally stabilised and while they emphasised their growth in the local government election, it’s not clear yet that more…

More channels for civic voices demanded

20141018 UUP Coffee Club

More channels for civic voices demanded #CoffeeClub at Ulster Unionist Party conference by Allan Leonard for Northern Ireland Foundation 18 October 2014  At a sidebar coffee club session, organised by lobby firm Stratagem, I asked a room full of Ulster Unionist Party attendees what was the good, the bad and the ugly lessons from the more…

Why the party membership could be our political salvation.

If we could have a term to describe the attitude of some supporters of political parties in Northern Ireland it would be people who like to indulge in “drinking the kool aid.” This term means to simply take the party line without question or any critical comment. The idea that your party is exceptional and more…

Saving the Ulster Orchestra is by any standards, a priority

Music Makes The World A Better Place

The modern trend in Orwellian-sounding government cultural policy is to head for the grass roots to look for new mainsprings of creativity. It has a variety of motives and aims. In GB,  the policies of the  DCMS and in Northern Ireland DCal and the priorities of various cash-strapped Arts Councils are also about investing in arts jobs and more…