Mini-Public Deliberation on Constitutional Futures – Launch Event…

On the 23rd of September 2021, the Institute for British-Irish Studies (IBIS) at UCD in collaboration with the Democracy Unit at Queen’s will host a launch event at which researchers will share findings of the Mini-Public Deliberative Forum on Constitutional Futures organised in the Republic of Ireland by the Constitutional Futures after Brexit Project. In 2019, IBIS established the Constitutional Futures after Brexit as a three-year project to conduct research on the implications of the UK’s decision to withdraw from …

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The Great Resignation will have a profound impact on society…

Woman in white robe writing on white paper

We are living in strange times. History tells us that after a major crisis the stock market tanks, we get a recession and unemployment goes up. This is the boom and bust cycle. Except for this time… Governments have embraced Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and have been pumping money into the system to keep the economy afloat. The result is the markets are actually up and instead of massive unemployment but have a massive skill shortage. I am a fan …

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Limitations of the ‘infinite jest’ and standing up for the freedom and the right to be human… 

“Wittgenstein realised [that] no conclusion could be more horrible than solipsism.” – David Foster Wallace. Complacent solipsism is becoming the defining characteristic of the 21C. Kathy Sheridan in The Irish Times picks up the baton after columnist Niamh Walsh lammed into three female FF parliamentarians, simply for how they looked: The point-and-laugh piece included tired old tropes such as outrage/hilarity at false tans, hairstyles, outfits, shoe-shapes and to avoid the woman-bashing rap, a mention of male bellies and boring blue suits. …

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The bridge between Northern Ireland and Britain is no more…

golden gate bridge, suspension bridge, construction

To the surprise of no one, the treasury has knocked on the head the stupid idea of a bridge between Northern Ireland and Britain. Apart from the enormous cost, it would have been a massive engineering challenge. Not to mention over million tonnes of explosives and chemicals dumped in Beaufort’s Dyke. From the Guardian: Johnson was reportedly keen to link Northern Ireland to Great Britain as part of a broader vision to connect the constituent parts of the UK. But …

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Abimael Guzman (1934-2021), Monster of the Peruvian Andes

A brutal military conflict scourged the land in the 1980s and early ’90s, with guerrilla fighters based out in the countryside seeing themselves as freedom fighters rather than terrorists, and a central government often resorting to dubiously legitimate means to combat the insurgents. The scenario straightaway sounds depressingly familiar.  Then again, it must be said that a lot about the history of Peru is depressing, as the country this year marks the bicentenary of its declaration of independence.  The death …

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Raducanu’s extraordinary win affords us a glimpse of Britain’s fascinating demography…

Photo of Lanterns in London Chinatown during COVID-19 Pandemic.

I recently read that between 1991 and 2011 some 25% of all babies born in England and Wales were born to women who were born outside the UK. Sunder Katwala contextualises the new British US Open champion in these terms: If Emma-mania is the theme of the sporting year, does that tell us anything about identity, migration and integration in Britain today? Sport’s role in society has made it a focal point on identity for decades – about social class in …

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The crucial work general practice has been doing throughout the global pandemic…

stethoscope, hospital, doctor

Dr Laurence Dorman is Chair of RCGP Northern Ireland… As Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners in Northern Ireland, I wish to refute some of the comments made by Mr Terry Maguire on your website last week and to highlight the crucial work general practice has been doing throughout the global pandemic. Like Mr Maguire, all GPs want to provide the highest standard of patient care including access and timely repeat prescribing. His comments are in significant contrast …

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English Nationalism and its identity issues…

face, faces, dialog

You think we are bad with identity politics until you look across the water at England. The Daily Express managed the impressive task of simultaneously criticising migrants and congratulating them on the same page. You don’t like to overshadow Emma Raducanu’s magnificent achievement with discussion around her heritage. But it is astonishing how quickly people can switch from ‘immigrants out’ to embracing new ‘British’ stars. We have been here before. When Andy Murray loses he is Scottish. When he wins …

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Confidence, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and the NI Protocol…

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has threatened to pull down Stormont and said the NI Protocol is undermining confidence in devolution, but how can we define this confidence? Confidence, in general, is a mysterious commodity. One minute we seem to have it in abundance and the next – just when we need it the most – seems to melt away like a Mr Whippy on a scorching hot day. If we want to increase our self-confidence we might want to obtain some …

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The comprehensive case for rejecting general amnesty without further legal process.

Scene outside  the Law Courts in Belfast during the Ballymurphy Inquest  The Model Bill team of NI academics led by Profs Kieran Mc Evoy and Louise Mallinder and the Committee for the Administration of Justice has delivered a scathing analysis of the UK Government’s proposal for an amnesty or statute of limitations, which they’ve entitled “Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland’s Past”. The team had previously produced a report for making the Stormont House Agreement work effectively.  At its core, …

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The 20th Anniversary of 9/11…

Never Forget.

Seems like all my fellow New Yorker friends and acquaintances are once again busy posting their 9/11 memories on social media today. Lots of “Never Forget” comments and photos of the Monument of Light that every year seems to pierce the stratosphere from lower Manhattan, representing the two absent towers at the World Trade Center. It’s all completely understandable. It’s our generation’s JFK assassination moment; “Where were you when..?” Some of my friends were down there on the day, some …

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Tyrone are All-Ireland Football Champions…

The Mayo curse strikes again as Tyrone beat Mayo to win their 4th All-Ireland Football Title. In a thrilling match, Mayo had a promising lead at the start but Tyrone soon took over and Mayo was behind most of the game. Watch the Full-Time Highlights of Tyrone v Mayo in the All Ireland Senior Football Championship Final here!Full-Time Score:Tyrone 2-14Mayo 0-15#GAANOW pic.twitter.com/ka4qFsOxbY — The GAA (@officialgaa) September 11, 2021 You have to feel sorry for Mayo, who have now lost …

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Grassroots Gaelic Football and All-Ireland Fever…

Tomorrow, Tyrone and Mayo will stand centre stage in the All-Ireland Football Final. It is the ultimate sporting showpiece, with desperate demand for tickets at a reduced capacity Croke Park. Ballygawley is bouncing and Glencull looks great – the spiritual Harte-lands of Tyrone GAA are dressed in red and white, and the bunting is up. There are good discounts to be had on car flags and headbands at Ballygawley Roundabout, as well, “each day between 4pm and 7pm”, according to …

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Bluff or confrontation is the looming choice, as pressures mount over the NI Protocol

Over the Protocol, somebody’s bluff will be called over the next few weeks. But whose? If he’s to be believed Jeffrey Donaldson has just announced that if the EU doesn’t concede the abolition of most inspections at the ports, the DUP will quit the Assembly. The immediate withdrawal of DUP ministers from north-south bodies except over Covid liaison is the warning shot across the bows. Donaldson’s threats deliberately coincide with the visit of EU vice president Maroš Šefčovič to address …

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Jeffrey Donaldson – The mouse that roared…

There is no stranger sight than the famously mild-mannered Jeffrey Donaldson trying to play the hard man. This morning he gave a speech threatening to quit Stormont and trigger a fresh election “within weeks” if their demands over the NI Protocol are not met. At the start of the week, I heard a rumour that the DUP wanted to crash the Assembly to prevent SF from getting the First Minister position. I thought it was a bit fanciful but three …

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Time to be bold, let politics work and “arrest the spiral of unlearning we seem to be on”…

clock, alarm clock, time

Reconciling Ireland by Richard Humphreys which details and analyses 50 Agreements between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom received an official online book launch hosted by the Irish Association and Queen’s University on 31 August. Asked by facilitator Freya Mc Clements, Northern Ireland correspondent of the Irish Times, which of the Agreements he would describe as a favourite, the author opted to nominate the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. In addition to his personal association with the process …

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If Populism is a rational response to how we chose to structure our political debates, we need to slow things down…

photographs, lenses, photography

“In newspaper work you have to learn to forget every day what happened the day before. Newspaper work is valuable up to the point it begins to destroy your memory.” – Hemingway As my engineer friend Hugh puts it, for much of my time on Slugger, I’ve tried only to share what I feel is important, perhaps not obvious but nevertheless true. That’s increasingly important in a world abundant in information. If you can (and you haven’t already), I thoroughly recommend …

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Social care: do we need a cultural shift in how we treat the elderly?

elderly, hands, ring

This week a poll was conducted on the proposal being internally mooted by the Tory government to raise national insurance contributions to adequately fund social care. Unsurprisingly the mood wasn’t warm when people were sampled on whether they’d like to pay tax, although its not the kind of “never, never” attitude to taxation that a populist would expect: National insurance will be increased in order to fund social care reforms, it has been reported. Net support for this, by age …

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Top two Fine Gael players in government find themselves in a swamp of their own making

mud, earth, red

Sometimes, only satire can be relied on to report what would otherwise be classed as the bleeding’ obvious. Mario Rosenstock’s skill in showing a good man (Paschal Donohoe) losing it (which he rarely does in real life) is put to good use here as he interrupts Leo preening over his picture chilling at a London music festival at the weekend. First we had Merrion-Gate, could this be Mighty Hoopla-Gate?! 👀 @GiftGrubMario @IanDempsey https://t.co/IC6PEhTkHC — Today FM 💛 (@TodayFM) September 6, …

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Bernie Sanders and the States He’s In

Bernie Sanders, Rally at Pittsburgh University, Sunday April 14.

Tomorrow one of America’s most recognizable public figures will turn 80.  He is a former mayor of Burlington, he has been an independent senator for fourteen years, and has twice made an unsuccessful bid for the Presidency, via the Democratic Party.  He is, it is fair to say, unlikely ever to become President.  Whatever you think of Bernie Sanders, though, it is undeniable that he has had an impact on his country.  What is more, it is an impact that …

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