The serious business of statistics

When something you hear makes you burst out laughing, you know it’s time to write a blog. In this case, I was listening to “the biggest show in the country” on the subject of Boris Johnson and his peddling of the myth that once Brexit is achieved there will be £350m a week available for more…

Environmental Governance Failure in Northern Ireland: High Time to Turn Over a New Leaf

By Ciara Brennan, Ray Purdy and Peter Hjerp Recent scandals including the RHI debacle and the discovery of illegal dumping on a massive scale (most notably at the Mobuoy Road ‘super-dump’) have catapulted Northern Ireland’s environmental governance failures into the public eye. The divergence from what can be considered ‘good’ environmental governance is clear and the more…

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Clare Bailey to step down as Deputy Leader of the Green Party

South Belfast MLA, Clare Bailey is to step down as Deputy Leader of the Green Party. Clare has been deputy leader since November 2014 and will remain an MLA within the party. Speaking about her decision she said; “I have been given and gained so much as Green Party deputy leader across the past three more…

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CSSC research shows complexity and diversity of controlled education

The Controlled Schools’ Support Council (CSSC) launched its baseline assessment of the controlled schools sector in Northern Ireland on Monday 18 September. Controlled schools are non-denominational and firmly set within an ethos embedded in Christian values. They are open to pupils of all faiths or none, and account for 558 or 48% of all schools more…

Barcelona vs Madrid

The Spirit of Franco never really left the Spanish state. Sometimes it is hard to see from the outside world but in the run-up to the Catalan referendum the Spanish Government are clearly trampling over basic human rights in their efforts to prevent the referendum from even taking place. Yesterday some 100,000 pro-independence posters were seized by more…

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If not loyalists, who else will do this job?

I’ve rarely heard such a lack of political sensitivity as Jim Wilson telling Stephen Nolan that, in applying to the British government to be deproscribed, the Red Hand Commando wants their ‘place in the sun’. What a disturbing way to put it. But at the same time, Wilson’s interview on the Nolan Show tells us more…

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Where “shared memory” and “story” meet lies something valuable

I was lucky enough to be asked by Youth Action Northern Ireland to present a workshop at their two-day Islands of Innovation conference/symposium attended by young leaders (18-35) yesterday in Belfast. The key purpose was to “explore what Britain and Ireland could look like in 2021, consider how they can contribute and assess what decisions more…

“In some Unionist areas, it would be tantamount to erecting a Tricolour from a flagpole.”

The root cause of our current political crisis remains political unionism’s opposition to the development of a shared and equal Northern Ireland. Of course, twas ever thus. The Loyal Sons will not be rerouted on their fateful march to Ulster’s precipice in spite of more enlightened pro-Union voices regularly exposing the hypocrisy and instinctively supremacist more…

German Federal Elections: Chancellor Merkel is a beacon of consistency in turbulent times

On 24 September, the German people will head to the polls for federal elections. Chancellor Angela Merkel is seeking a fourth term, with her Christian Democratic Union party (CDU) defending its position against the Social Democratic Party (SPD), led by former European Parliament President, Martin Schulz. In the 2013 elections, the CDU and its Bavarian more…

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The Irish border as a Brexit bargaining chip: A rejoinder to Legatum

The Legatum Institute’s ‘Special Trade Commission’ published a paper this week on the subject of Brexit and what it terms ‘the Irish border issue’. Citizens on the island of Ireland need to take note of this for two main reasons. First, Legatum is one of the most influential think tanks in London on the subject more…

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George Hook, Rape Culture and the Irish Media…

Last week broadcaster George Hook made some comments during his radio show about a recent rape case that have been almost universally condemned. Although he has since apologised, his words ring hollow, not least because he apologised for causing offence rather than retracting his central thesis; that a victim is partially responsible for what happens more…