Topic Archives: Society and Culture

Jim Wells Face

Jim Wells statement on family connections and RHI

Interesting statement from Jim Wells today. For context, his relatives appear to have been associated with a huge expansion in capacity by Moypark (an economic success story). Moypark had previously announced an expansion of some 400 new chicken houses, most of which you would guess, are taking advantage of the local RHI scheme just as more…

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So why did applications to the RHI fund hit such a steep spike?

This is really on foot of a question asked by one of our regular commenters Ted. It’s not a definitive answer (the Public Inquiry report should give us that) but more of an educated guess. First thing is to ask why for the first three years of the existence of this thing it was vastly under-subscribed. more…

UK Government: “Clearly, any form of joint authority would be incompatible with the consent principle [of the Belfast Agreement].”

A short BBC report points to an interesting exchange today in the House of Lords where the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office and Scotland Office, Lord Dunlop, poured a bucket of cold water on the suggestion that “joint authority” could be an option if the relevant parties fail to form an Executive following more…

CRC Award for Fr Gary Donegan; & Reconciliation Reframed by Rev Norman Hamilton

CRC Award for Fr Gary Donegan; & Reconciliation Reframed by Rev Norman Hamilton

Fr Gary Donegan, a Passionist priest who served 15 years at Holy Cross Church in Ardoyne in North Belfast, was today honoured with the Community Relations Council (CRC) Award for Exceptional Achievement. Rev Norman Hamilton presented the award after delivering the annual David Stevens Memorial Lecture on “Reconciliation Reframed.” The event was held in the more…

It’s time for the DUP to change its tune on Gaeilge

I was listening to Evening Extra  after a day which began with Paul Givan finding £50,000 to restore to the Líofa bursaries in his ministerial sofa and which featured a marvellous and energetic protest outside his department imploring him to continue his search to see whether he might find the missing Irish Language Act. It more…

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Windfall Tax Could Save Northern Ireland Millions from the Cash-for-Ash Scheme

Various media have reported that the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) may cost “up to £490million”. A windfall tax would recover much of that money for Northern Ireland, without disrupting the scheme for genuine users who are using the scheme to conserve energy. Leaving aside the political questions about the RHI, the main question exercising many more…

A Pointless £5m Election

Consider this. We have a coalition government that is incompetent and has fallen because it can’t govern. The leadership of both coalition parties (DUP and Sinn Fein) are calling for an Assembly election (that will cost around £5m) just a few months after the last election. The last election had a turnout of less than more…

The Irish language hasn’t gone away you know

I’m back at work though suffering with a cold, flu or ‘man-flu’.   I don’t like feeling congested at the best of times.  Being back at work at the start of a cold and wet January doesn’t brighten my mood. This is all put in perspective by Martin McGuinness who has serious health issues, it more…

“a strategy which now views the very presence of devolved government in Northern Ireland as a bargaining chip with the Government and with the DUP.”

In the News Letter, Sam McBride provides an astute assessment of the “profound consequences” of Sinn Féin’s decision to resign Martin McGuinness from the Northern Ireland Executive Office.  From the News Letter article   Mr Adams now appears to envisage yet another round of ‘crisis talks’ in Belfast in attempt to extract further concessions from more…

“The whole issue has, unfortunately, become party political…”

In the Belfast Telegraph, Conservative MP, Laurence Robertson, who chairs the House of Commons Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs, asks some pertinent questions about the ‘crisis’ over the RHI scheme. What would [Arlene Foster’s] resignation achieve? Who would take over? Would this stabilise the workings of the Assembly and the Executive, or throw it more…

Earth and Moon from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

A bit of perspective…

…with this stunning composite image of the Earth and its moon, courtesy of the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. [Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona] From the associated text This composite image of Earth and its moon, as seen from Mars, combines the best Earth image with the best moon image more…

AG-60-2-209 Sausage Making 1

Producing Sausage Meat #20yearrule

PRODUCING SAUSAGE MEAT – This is my favourite item from my mid-December stink looking through government papers that would be released on Friday 30 under the 20 Year Rule. The title could have been referring to a report on the state of the pork industry. The papers could have been an evaluation of how best more…