The Westminster deal has a confidence building effect which should allow the DUP and SF to confront their differences honestly – and soon, in the Assembly

The DUP deal at Westminster is reasonably secure. The prospects for a Stormont deal seem up in the air and due for postponement until the autumn. The best hope for today is that Sinn Fein may feel they’ve got just enough to continue the negotiations back in the Assembly pending the creation of an Executive more…

When is a Billion quid really worth £30 million?

When it’s the amount of the deal done by the Conservative Party with the DUP, that’s when. Today the parties announced the terms of reference and the financial package that will underpin their confidence and supply agreement. There’s been widespread shock and anger amongst Parliamentarians and the great British public that these upstarts from Ulster more…

Councilor Paul Reid, William Diver (BAM McCann), Deirdre Mackle (Department for Infrastructure) and Councillor Joan Baird with guests at the opening of the A26 dualling project from Glarryford to Drones Road near the Wee Frosses

So what can we do with £400million for infrastructure projects?

With thanks to my good friend Wesley Johnston, whose inestimable website is the source for any intelligible figure I can find to help me write this article… I was at the official opening of the A26 two weeks ago, and I think that there is definitely an appetite to get York Street Interchange sorted out more…

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A good reason to return to Stormont? “What have Sinn Fein ever got you? Nothing.”

Here’s a revealing exchange between LBC’s liberal shock jock James O’Brien and ex-Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers: James O’Brien (JOB): How can Westminister observe rigorous impartiality to the political traditions in Northern Ireland when it is writing a seven-figure cheque for one side. Theresa Villiers (TV): The package of financial support is for more…

And there could be more dosh to come! But the government rejects demands from a chorus of women MPs to fund abortions for NI women

The payout could be higher as a result of studies of the impact of lower corporation tax and scrapping air passenger duty.  In its financial analysis the FT points out that Costs will be higher if the renewed commitment to allow Northern Ireland to set its own lower corporation tax rate and air passenger duty more…

First questions about the DUP deal with the Conservatives

Handing over the money is not contingent on restoring the Executive – at least in print. but it is clearly intended  to put pressure on Sinn Fein. If there is no Executive what happens with the new £1 billion and even the already promised £500 million? A budget has to be passed next month by more…

Tory-DUP deal reached

Very briefly… source for all information is the Guardian as that was the first place I could find with the detailed documents! The agreement The short version is that the DUP will vote with the Government on the Queen’s Speech, the budget, all finance and money bills, supply and appropriation legislation and Estimates. In return, more…

Belfast City Council’s Bonfire Scandal: The Key Questions

The revelation that Belfast City Council is involved in facilitating the storage of pallets (including stolen pallets) to be burnt on loyalist bonfires typically adorned with posters of nationalist politicians, Kill All Taigs-emblazoned Tricolours, Celtic shirts and a statue of the Virgin Mary would be remarkable on its own, but news that the stored pallets more…

Do we want Westminster to impose uniform UK standards? On abortion and same sex marriage? How about an indemnity for soldiers?

 Social reform – on abortion and same sex marriage – is not only a bone of contention in the Stormont talks. It’s creating a clash with MPs across party at Westminster at a precarious time for the future of both legislatures. The Supreme Court’s rejection of the appeal against the decision of the Health Secretary more…

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George Osborne in a Twitter wilderness: “That all you got George? You disappointing me.”

“I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody.” Are those famous Marlon Brando lines from ‘On The Waterfront’ swirling round George Osborne’s head? Bitterness towards Theresa May and the world in general, is the most obvious explanation for the ex-Chancellor’s behaviour. There must be a certain degree of enjoyment for more…

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Trading Partners Wanted: Looking at France…

As it stands, arguably Ireland’s most important trading and investment partner is the United Kingdom. This has been the case since Independence although the balance has shifted greatly since Ireland entered the EEC in 1973 with the UK no longer wholly dominant despite our reliance on the UK in certain sectors such as beef, timber, more…

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Dodds: “We will work to see an end to the dark tunnel of austerity…”

Interesting line from Nigel Dodds, who leads the DUP at Westminster… The Belfast North MP said the economic outlook of Northern Ireland would be “easier to predict” with “stable” government both in Belfast and Westminster. He told MPs: “The electorate sent a very clear message to politicians about austerity at the election, and I think more…

Steven Agnew

The collapse of the Executive, two Assembly elections, a General Election, a new Taoiseach, Trump and the decimation of the Conservative Commons majority.

Steven Agnew is the Leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland. It’s a year to the day since the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union. It’s been remarkable but often disconcerting. The Green Party campaigned to Remain within the EU with great effort and energy. A year later, we haven’t shifted more…

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Can Warren Gatland see off his tribal critics with an historic Lions NZ win for only the second time in history?

When Warren Gatland announced his Lions squad for the tour to New Zealand there was considerable disgruntlement in Scotland that only two of their kith and kin and had been selected. Former Scottish internationals lined up to criticise the selection that also saw 16 players from England and 12 players from Wales even though they more…