Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Society and Culture

Geraldine Finucane: “A deep wound cannot be stitched over and just left because it won’t heal”

Fri 18 April 2014, 12:19pm

Tweet In the week the Victims Commissioner quietly and discreetly left her post, the BBC’s Stephen Sackur conducted an unusually moving and telling interview with Geraldine Finucane, widow of Pat Finucane. I recommend watching the whole thing, but I think the end was the most powerful and universal: There is an analogy that I use […] more »

“Foras na Gaeilge is centralising resources around a small number of Dublin-based organisations”

Fri 18 April 2014, 11:06am

Tweet Janet Muller is CEO of Pobal an advocacy organisation that has spearheaded work on Irish language rights since the Good Friday Agreement. Hers is one of the Northern Ireland based organisations facing a restructuring will see all publicly funded Irish language groups headquartered in Dublin and away from Belfast. It is now 3 months […] more »

AN LÁ DEARG was an expression of both a growing sense of anger

Fri 18 April 2014, 7:47am

Tweet This is the first of two related pieces we’re publishing today which relate to the funding and status of the Irish langauge in Northern Ireland. The first is on the Dearg le Fearg protest last weekend by campaigner Caoimhe Ní Chathail. In the aftermath of an ‘An Lá dearg’ a pertinent question has yet to […] more »

Bishop John McAreavey: “Political representatives must answer for their own position on abortion…”

Thu 17 April 2014, 4:49pm

Tweet As the BBC reports, Sinn Féin’s Paul Maskey, MP for west Belfast, has apologised to the Catholic Bishop of Dromore, John McAreavey, for the misrepresentation of his views on abortion in “a letter written by local party members and distributed in west Belfast”.  Here’s the quoted apology in the BBC report - not yet available on the Sinn […] more »

A tale of two wars (well two divergent accounts of the same war)…

Thu 17 April 2014, 12:30pm

Tweet Two conflicting responses to the Secretary of State’s speech, first from Gerry Kelly… “Her comments on the past are deeply offensive to the hundreds of victims of state killings and loyalist collusion. Many of these killings were ordered from the very top of the British establishment during the Thatcher era. “Around 15,000 republicans were […] more »

Villiers: What Stormont needs is the revitalising influence of an opposition…

Wed 16 April 2014, 7:30am

Tweet Another day in Northern Ireland, another Groundhog.. Theresa Villiers is make a speech today saying it is time to make progress on the past and on a future that could bring NI political life back to the cryogenically sealed democracy unit currently operating at Stormont.. “Political institutions the world over adapt and change. As […] more »

Jon Snow and Peter Hain appearing on 1 May, the opening day of Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival

Tue 15 April 2014, 10:39pm
CQAF 2014 programme sunflower

Tweet While there’s lots of great stuff going on in the 15th Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival from 1-11 May, there are a couple of political events on the opening day that might interest some Slugger readers. Having heard Jon Snow speak before in Belfast, I can strongly recommend the opening event on Thursday 1 May […] more »

‘Silver Liberties’, Sinn Féin and the Ciste

Tue 15 April 2014, 10:04am

Tweet One of the artistic injustices of the Troubles has been righted this week with very little fanfare indeed.   Down at the Ulster Museum, an artwork, entitled ‘Silver Liberties’, by Lancashire born artist, Conrad Atkinson, has been hung this week.  Back in 1978, it was the piece, created to mark the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, […] more »

Could fracking actually be environmentally good for us after all?

Tue 15 April 2014, 9:43am

Tweet Could fracking be good for us? -Ben Webster in the Times yesterday (£) with an unexpected output from the IPCC… Shale gas can help the world to avoid dangerous climate change if it replaces coal in power stations, according to a United Nations report. Global emissions need to fall by at least 40 per […] more »

Come on BBC NI give us the bad news on our beaches…?

Tue 15 April 2014, 9:37am

Tweet So, here’s what the listeners to Radio 4 got this morning on the new Good Beach guide report, picking out Northern Ireland as a noteable weak point in the overall UK figures… .@mickfealty – @BBCr4today puts NI beach water quality stats in context wholly, sadly missing from @BBCNewsNI report pic.twitter.com/cW7nCFcSMR — Patrick Corrigan (@PatrickCorrigan) […] more »

“That’s the only way I can put,” he said “they sleep with the victims.”

Mon 14 April 2014, 12:43pm

Tweet I was struck by Michael D Higgins’ interview with the BBC’s Fergal Keane: He said he could not ask the families of victims to put the past behind them. Society could not afford to wipe out the memory of violence, he said. “I think that there is very significant work to do,” he said. […] more »

“Post-nationalist Ireland has arrived.”

Sun 13 April 2014, 5:21pm

Tweet [Once more into the breach then - Ed]  In yesterday’s Irish News, Patrick Murphy posited three theories to explain what he describes as “the latest dismantling of Irish political and cultural nationalism.”  That would be Martin McGuinness, et al, at Windsor Castle in white tie and tails, and the GAA deal with Sky.  From the […] more »

Art of the Troubles at the Ulster Museum

Sat 12 April 2014, 3:12pm
Print

Tweet The Ulster Museum’s Art of the Troubles exhibition is now open and runs through the summer until 7 September. A variety of styles, “sides” and periods exhibited: sixty works from fifty artists. Reactions to atrocities, depictions of politics (a particularly grim triptych by Joseph McWilliams of Sammy Wilson, Ian Paisley Snr and Peter Robinson) […] more »

Lissadell, always romantic. But the jinx lingers

Sat 12 April 2014, 2:34pm

Tweet It is surely the quintessential Irish story of romance, divided family loyalties,  declining wealth and fierce litigation. Over Lissadell  it has extended  through the painful transition from   the Anglo-Irish  to the meritocratic blow-ins of today who so often try to ape the  style of the ould dacency.  And still struggle continues, with the successors every bit […] more »

Michael D and the Queen are just “what you need on occasions like this…”

Fri 11 April 2014, 5:02pm

Tweet There’s a ton of good comment on Nuzhound re Michael D’s state visit to the United Kingdom [makes a change from the single transferable column much in evidence at home this week - Ed]. It’s hard to know what to leave out of John Spain’s column for IrishCentral, so here goes: The plain people […] more »

Friday thread: Perhaps ‘War’ brings a properly social benefit after all?

Fri 11 April 2014, 3:54pm
Morris War

Tweet Today’s Friday thread is a talk delivered yesterday at the RSA in London by Ian Morris, author of a new book which posits the controversial idea that, over time, war is actually good for us, not necessarily as individuals but as societies. The presentation is fairly short but it was around this part I […] more »

Row over GAA tops at University of Ulster

Fri 11 April 2014, 2:10pm

Tweet Jim Allister recently asked the Stormont Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry to: “outline any discussions he has had with the University of Ulster regarding concerns that the proliferation of GAA tops on campus leads to an intimidating atmosphere for many students” Jim has apparently been approached by unionist students complaining about the “chill […] more »

“Merely reflecting this majority view is the easiest form of leadership….”

Fri 11 April 2014, 1:34pm

Tweet So for those of you itching for a blog which takes Peter Robinson to task for poor leadership, here’s Warren Little with a usefully proportionate analysis of a missed opportunity: So here we have a golden, gilt-edged, how-could-it-possibly-go-wrong opportunity for the unionist leadership to step beyond the traditional tribal boundary. God knows they don’t […] more »

Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition (except for opening stuff and jobs announcements)

Fri 11 April 2014, 8:20am

Tweet What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account? Lady MacBeth, Act V, Scene 1         Hard to disagree with an essential core of Newton Emerson’s criticism of Peter Robinson, ie that as a leader he’s more tactical than strategic. He is right too that […] more »

McGuinness trying to assure ordinary unionists that he recognises their Britishness?

Thu 10 April 2014, 11:16am

Tweet Can’t have been easy for Martin to that Royal Banquet. He’s never struck me as the Black Tie type. But clearly there was method in his constituional madness. One, not going would have been a step back from the last time. Doing it, as Tom Kelly points out allows them to project a statesman […] more »

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