Topic Archives: Politics

“Sinn Féin were not in court today. Councillor Kelly was, and he was acquitted of all charges.”

Entirely unrelated to Sinn Féin’s opposition to welfare reform… Last week a Deputy District Magistrate in Londonderry acquitted Sinn Féin Councillor Colin Kelly on charges of fraudulently claiming over £19,000 in Housing Benefit and Job Seekers Allowance between November 2010 and March 2014 – when he was a member of Derry City Council.  He is currently a councillor on more…

Putting a narrative on your political past.

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The past is always a difficult thing for parties to deal with. The Tories for example, wrestled for years with how they should deal with the Thatcher legacy and modernise themselves to represent a Britain that had socially changed going into the 21st century. Closer to home this very same problem is impacting on Fianna more…

A modest proposal (to abandon public service broadcasting

When some propose a massive change in the way the BBC is structured and run, you have to ask ‘what problem are they trying to solve’? This advocacy piece on Political Betting betrays a profound thoughtlessness behind scrapping the licence fee for a subscription service: In the beginning, the licence fee was entirely justifiable. It more…

“No politician, nor any relative of any politician in Northern Ireland, was ever to receive any monies in any way”

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So after the utter feverishness of last week, which finished with a flat denial by the First Minister, Ian Coulter speaks pretty plainly about the Project Eagle deal… The concept of a Northern Ireland NAMA deal was developed and significant work leading up to this deal was done by other business people in Northern Ireland, more…

Gavin Robinson: “I don’t think we can leave it for another year … to make sure we manage all of the bonfires in a much better way” … but what can be done?

Gavin Robinson BBC interview about bonfires screengrab

Six fire engines and 35 fire crew sprayed cold water on houses and trees facing the East Belfast Chobham Street bonfire to keep them safe from the savage heat and flames on the Eleventh night. Speaking to the BBC today, local MP Gavin Robinson said: Elected representatives, community representatives, statutory agencies, the police and those more…

Election Notebook (Nick Robinson) – a humble & honest recollection of #ge2015 – and a reminder that NI politics don’t matter at a UK national level

Nick Robinson Election Notebook

Nick Robinson’s premise was to document the twelve month run up to the May 2015’s General Election. Between the Scottish independence referendum, UKIP’s rise and wobbles, and early polling that couldn’t predict the next government at Westminster, it was sure to be volatile period on which to report. The diary format of Election Notebook: The more…

Greek deal: This Is NOT a Coup

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Whether the Syriza-led government of Greece survives its own domestic democratic pressures remains to be seen following the deal struck at the Eurozone summit yesterday – in the end the 28 EU leaders didn’t have to meet…  The Guardian live-blog on the Greek crisis notes one possible scenario Analysts at Eurasia Group suspect Greece could soon head towards more…

If progress is to be made on dangerous bonfires, the political footballs need to be kept firmly in the bag

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The bonfire is not, as you would think from all the commentary, an exclusive feature of July Orangeism. In my own Tyrone village for instance – which is predominantly Catholic in population, but broadly quite apolitical in attitude – various housing estates would traditionally compete at Halloween time to see who could build the biggest more…

Conversations about the future require candour, not platitudes

Because of a clash of commitments I’m having to miss out on the Westminster launch on Tuesday of  Uncomfortable Conversations: An Initiative for Dialogue Towards Reconciliation  edited by the Sinn Fein chair Declan Kearney.  It will follow a similar launch in the Linenhall Library in Belfast  which Sinn Fein covered on YouTube in April. It more…

“Mammy, why do we not have a flag on our house?”

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Mairia Cahill writes on her impressions of visiting a bonfire site on the lower Shankill yesterday, and how a child’s eye view, unencumbered by the narrative framing of cultural matters, helped her see another side to the celebrations of The Twelfth. A week ago, I caused consternation amongst some of the hardline Loyalist community for more…

A Banana Republic without Bananas

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According to Wikipedia a Banana republic is “a politically unstable country, whose economy is largely dependent on exporting a limited-resource product, e.g. bananas. It typically has stratified social classes, including a large, impoverished working class and a ruling plutocracy of business, political, and military elites. This politico-economic oligarchy controls the primary-sector productions to exploit the more…

Has George Osborne Already Begun Fighting the Next Election?

So Ed wasn’t so red after all. George Osborne’s budget yesterday contained at least six promises that Labour set out in their manifesto for the May elections, including further taxes on the banks, the increasing the NMW (I refuse to call it the national living wage) and (not quite) abolishing non-dom status. Indeed, poor Andy more…

Casement Park Development: Further allegations at Assembly Committee Hearing

The BBC reports that GAA official, and independent Northern Ireland Policing Board member, Ryan Feeney, has threatened “immediate [legal] action” following further allegations by the chairman of the safety technical group, Sport NI’s Paul Scott, of pressure being exerted to drop concerns about safety at the controversial proposed £70million redevelopment of Casement Park in west Belfast.  more…

Giving With One Hand and Taking More Away with the Other

Koulla Yiasouma H_S

In response to yesterday’s budget speech, the Northern Ireland Children’s Commissioner, Koulla Yiasouma writes about its impact on child poverty YESTERDAY we saw a budget delivered that was trumpeted as a triumph for boosting earnings, but here in Northern Ireland tens of thousands of families are set to lose out. There was scant reference to more…

Cuts lead third level education down the path of the privileged

Eugene Tinnelly is a founder member of the Student Poverty Alliance Group. He writes for us about the cuts in higher education Education should be free. Whether it be primary level or third level, your access to education should not be determined by what’s in your wallet but instead, by what’s in your brain. People more…