Irish curses!

Ni fhaca me an leithid!! If you want to shortcut years of study and great summers in the Gaeltacht, just to take your neighbour down a peg or two in the ould tongue, try this. Looks like hours of fun! adminA slightly inhuman presence that bans bad comments and works late at night to remove the wrinkles in Slugger’s technical carpet. You will need to know about the comments policy to stay off the fightin’ side of me and there … Read more

Priomhoide briste as a phost

Dhearbhaigh an Foras Pátrúnachta cinneadh bhord bainistíochta Ghaelscoil Thulach na nÓg Tomás Ó Dúlaing a bhriseadh as a phost. Mar a duirt ceann den a na tuismitheoirí na scoile, i mBearla: “I feel sickened. We wanted to give our kids something different. We wanted them to learn more about religion than we ever had. Now bloody religion has come along and divided us and the school after all. What hope do those in the North have?” Dearainn Ian Malcolm, “Níl … Read more

Is it getting worse, or better?

Ian Paisley Senior had a reasonably polite exchange with John Reid today over figures he’d pulled together on the rise of violence since 1999, the year after the Belfast Agreement was signed which demonstrated some substantial increases. Tom Maguire of the Fire Brigade Union spoke yesterday: “We have an anti-authority ethos in some areas,’’ he said. ‘‘Part of that anti-authority ethos has been created by the 30-plus years of the Troubles. The attacks on the Fire Service occur in the … Read more

Education and the economy

Sammy Wilson drops his usual penchant for the one-liner and uses a recent IoD report to argue that the NI economy needs a strong vocational element within its educational system, and will suffer, if Martin McGuinness’s educational reforms go through. The four page summary makes no specific mention of Northern Ireland, but warns against the one-size fits all approach that some have accused the Minister of adopting. The issue has divided opinion down traditional lines, ever since the publication of … Read more

A dysfunctional agreement?

Regarding my piece of the 23rd July, political scientist Michael Hodkinson comments: “The Belfast Agreement is a consociational model. Basically, it requires political elites to reach a consensus about objectives in the hope that the followers will adopt more consensual attitudes from the lead given by their representatives. The model was developed from the Dutch experience after 1945 where the society was deeply divided between Protestants, Catholics and Secularists. It worked for Holland thru big coalition governments but is hardly … Read more

Paramilitaries

Malachy O’Doherty, looks at a new ‘leading player’ in the North Belfast Loyalism and highlights several key differences in the political profile and prospects of Republican and Loyalist paramilitaries. adminA slightly inhuman presence that bans bad comments and works late at night to remove the wrinkles in Slugger’s technical carpet. You will need to know about the comments policy to stay off the fightin’ side of me and there is a bit of background about me here. You can email … Read more

Crisis deepens..

Trimble is by several accounts preparing for a serious split with John Reid: “Mr Trimble’s confidence in Dr Reid is believed to have fallen sharply after the MP for Upper Bann suggested a security initiative after a break-in at Castlereagh police station in March, for which the Provisional IRA has been blamed. Mr Trimble’s advisers said that he expected Dr Reid to relay the information to Tony Blair but, they say, he was surprised several weeks later to discover that … Read more

Renaissance in the North West?

After years of isolation, the City of Derry seems to coming back to economic life again. However the much hoped for boost in the tourist trade is not materialising. adminA slightly inhuman presence that bans bad comments and works late at night to remove the wrinkles in Slugger’s technical carpet. You will need to know about the comments policy to stay off the fightin’ side of me and there is a bit of background about me here. You can email … Read more

The Guardian says…

The link from the Guardian news weblogs describes the Letter as an “Excellent, balanced weblog on Northern Ireland.” adminA slightly inhuman presence that bans bad comments and works late at night to remove the wrinkles in Slugger’s technical carpet. You will need to know about the comments policy to stay off the fightin’ side of me and there is a bit of background about me here. You can email me using this spam-proof link if you really need to, and … Read more

Sandy Row in uproar

There have been street disturbances for two nights in Sandy Row. Roy Hattersley suggests that the hard line action against paramilitaries that the Unionists are looking for, will necessarily lead to an unraveling of the peace process. Reg Empey outlines a key dilemma facing pro-agreement Unionists over remaining in government with Sinn Féin and its links to an armed paramilitary organisation. The Gerry Adams responds by throwing the focus back onto Loyalist killings. There has been several mentions in the … Read more

Trimble again

The First Minister was the subject of some forceful journalism this weekend. Áine O’Neill wonders if: “The penny might just have dropped with the UUP this week that loyalist violence, and their own perceived ambivalence towards it, is pushing another generation of young Catholics into the waiting arms of Sinn Féin. You could sense that as you stood among the silent young people on the Floral Road at Tuesday night’s vigil, the wind sighing through the fir trees where UDA … Read more

Lighter side..

I don’t normally post on a Saturday, but as the Belfast Telegraph doesn’t generally update it’s Friday stories till late in the day, I thought I’d just have to post Gerry Anderson‘s column to lighten the atmosphere round here. Elsewhere: After the failure of the DUP’s long running campaign to have the appointments of First and Deputy First Ministers rescinded, questions are being asked about how much it has cost the public purse. With the talk of collapsing institutions, some … Read more

Ulster Scots

Interesting overview of the history and position of Ulster Scots, by Lord John Laird arguing that Ireland is nowhere less an island than in the North East, where there is only 13 miles of open sea between it and Scotland. There are several useful Ulster Scots sites: educational; information and mailing list; and the statutary language bodies. adminA slightly inhuman presence that bans bad comments and works late at night to remove the wrinkles in Slugger’s technical carpet. You will … Read more

Headline politics

The funeral of Gerard Lawlor took place yesterday. Meanwhile the pressure on Trimble is palpably coming from all sides of the UUP, thought it is clear no final action will be taken until the Party meets in September. The Belfast Telegraph tries to add a longer term perspective on the security situation at least: “Nerves are still on edge, heightened by the weekend’s shooting spree, but the government has provided some much-needed guidelines for the future, which the paramilitaries will … Read more

Challenge denied

The House of Lords has rejected Peter Robinson’s challenge to the legal status of the First and Deputy First Ministers. The appeal claimed that John Reid should have called fresh assembly elections last November because a time limit of six weeks had expired before Trimble and Durkan were re-appointed. Lord Bingham in defence of the decision: “I can see no reason why, in introducing that time limit, it should have been intended to constrain the assembly’s power to elect otherwise … Read more

Aftermath

As Nigel Dodds was welcomed to the home of Gerard Lawlor, Denis Bradley called for greater protection of Catholic areas. Suzanne Breen asks if anyone cares about the fate of any of the working class of North Belfast – Catholic or Protestant. adminA slightly inhuman presence that bans bad comments and works late at night to remove the wrinkles in Slugger’s technical carpet. You will need to know about the comments policy to stay off the fightin’ side of me … Read more

Not Northern Ireland…

Phillip Murphy has a new definition of political opposites. According to his post on 13th July, we are either shaken or stirred! adminA slightly inhuman presence that bans bad comments and works late at night to remove the wrinkles in Slugger’s technical carpet. You will need to know about the comments policy to stay off the fightin’ side of me and there is a bit of background about me here. You can email me using this spam-proof link if you … Read more

More on the Commons statement

David Trimble leads the comment on the Government state with his own article in the Daily Telegraph this morning. He suggests that Reid’s words are a hint of positive action, but that it falls short of specific action to be taken against breaches of the various ceasefires. Towards the end he questions Sinn Fein’s commitment to the Belfast Agreement: “Sinn Fein has committed itself only to an abstract version of the agreement. It refuses to address the responsibilities of making … Read more

From other Irish weblogs

Thanks to fellow blogger Brendan O’Neill for featuring the Letter at the top of his short piece on Irish weblogs. Our stats software has packed up for the rest of the week apparently, so I have no idea how many are reading it just now. If you have any comments, please send them in. Terry McMenamin tries to get to grips with what is really driving the DUP‘s political agenda. In truth it is hard to get to the bottom … Read more

Mixed reactions

There is some cautious optimism that today’s statement by Tony Blair will have the desired effect, though Jeffrey Donaldson holds on to the hard bottom line: “Anything that falls short of an effective exclusion mechanism is not worth the paper it’s written on,” he insisted. “Equally, the idea that we can draw a line under Colombia, Castlereagh and the violence on the streets of Belfast is a non starter. Republicans must be held to account for what they have done, … Read more