Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Society and Culture

What makes for a successful and thriving democracy?

Thu 24 April 2014, 8:06am

Tweet I picked up this gif on Google Plus a few days ago. If you look at the detail you’ll see there’s plenty to argue about, but it seems to me that’s what makes it worth sharing. What do we consider needs to be present to consider a country to be democratic? The first and […] more »

Gerry Adams: “I have no recollection of that whatsoever.”

Wed 23 April 2014, 11:13pm

Tweet A couple of points to note about the BBC report of the interview with former Provisional IRA member Peter Rogers.  From the BBC report An ex-IRA man has made new allegations about Gerry Adams, in which he raises questions about the Sinn Féin leader’s claim to have never been in the IRA. Peter Rogers has alleged […] more »

#IndyRef: “Nationalism breaks things and they are things not easy to fix.”

Wed 23 April 2014, 2:03pm

Tweet On the subject of Scotland and the clear failings of the No campaign (such as it is) Hugo Riftkind’s column in yesterday’s London Times is worth looking at (if you have a subscription). He deals with the impossibility clause currently being pushed by Labour, up front… …as we all know really, an independent Scotland, […] more »

“Lesson One. Never, ever, agree to take over from a legend. Someone is bound to end up disappointed.”

Wed 23 April 2014, 10:58am

Tweet So Manchester United let go their decent man manager David Moyes after just ten months in the job. And with him goes the myth that somehow United where above the petty desperation that has infected other Premiership clubs (he’s the tenth to lose his job this season). Like the idea that the club was […] more »

Scotland Essays: Proud declaration of lack of vision is the hallmark of a failing No campaign

Tue 22 April 2014, 12:13pm

Tweet Just a week after John McTernan tried mightily to sound upbeat about about the No campaign’s relentless negativity and it’s almost universal condemnation by campaign analysts and the Scotsman writes: Alex Salmond is on the brink of securing a historic victory in the referendum, according to an exclusive poll suggesting Yes Scotland needs a swing […] more »

The Easter Rising: romance and regret but no barrier to reconciliation

Tue 22 April 2014, 12:18am

Tweet in response to David McCann’s very personal and sincere post, I must say that the Rising is part of my history but not part of my cause. I approach it with fascination and regret. Regret for the delayed victory for physical force it represented. But how could it not inspire? The world was in turmoil; nothing would […] more »

Polls: Ireland’s two party system dead as four blocks slip into their electoral trenches

Sun 20 April 2014, 7:58am

Tweet So, two Irish polls this weekend. Not sure what to make of either of them to be honest, since there’s a divergence between them in FG’s rating of some 9%. The B&A poll in the Sunday Times has Fine Gael dropping like stone from 30% to 21%, whilst Sindo/Millward Brown has them on 29% […] more »

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
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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 »

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