Archive | August, 2002

Crime levels

One fifth of households in Nothern Ireland experienced crime last year, according to an official government report.

Unionist backroom

The Irish Times reports (subscription needed) on the talks in Fermanagh conclude, the Ulster Unionists hope they have an agreement for the Unionist Council meeting on the 21st September. Clearly they will be keeping the detail under wraps until the meeting itself: “‘We are determined as an officer team to make sure that the meeting more…

Waning priesthood

Even though there is still a high attendence level at Catholic churches in Ireland, there is certainly a serious crisis looming in terms of recruiting preists with many serving through illness and extreme old age. There are only two seminaries left in Ireland – in Maynooth and St Malachy’s in Belfast with a handful of more…

Unionist backroom

Now we know the DUP election campaign’s begun in earnest! Courtesy of a previous article written by Steven King (reported here), Peter Robinson finally breaks cover and reveals some of the internal thinking of the DUP. He finishes by asking: “The question for others – pro-Agreement unionists and nationalists – is whether they are going more…

The Agreement and demography

Newton Emerson freshens up the debate, on the agreement with a vigourous moral defence of the Belfast agreement against the purist line take by both Republicans and Unionists. The dreaded 2001 census figures are expected come in a month behind schedule. Some believe the proportion of Catholics will have risen to 46/47%. However, as mentioned more…

Police drama continues.

The outgoing acting Chief Constable claims the PSNI stopped another attempt at a major bombing on the anniversary of Omagh. More on Fred Cobain’s threat to leave the Policing Board.

Unionist backroom

Peter Weir is hitting the campaign trail earlier than most. Last week he was spotted on the streets of Holywood with a number of young DUP worthies preparing to leaflet unsuspecting constituents of a key area in the relatively affluent North Down constituency. Today he is turning his attention to his former UUP colleagues, Burnside more…

A few improvements

Thanks to my friend and colleague Abi, we have a couple of improvements.. The archives are up and working – at last! Just go to the archive and click on a date. For instance if you want to know want the letter was saying around the 12th of July, click on the week beginning 7 more…

Fair play to the boy

Ulster jockey Tony McCoy has spent the last 7 years breaking all time records on the UK horse racing circuit, with very few of us taking much notice. And he’s only 28!

Minister's not for turning?

David Trimble, presumably refreshed from holidays, has fed a media hungry for ‘real’ stories with plenty of copy. He is categorically not quitting, according to Alan Erwin. And according to Chris Thornton: “The heart seems to have gone out of the No struggle. Several of the most passionate anti-Agreement members have left for pastures oranger, more…

Police drama

After yesterday’s statement on policing, Mitchel McLaughlin turns his attention to the Mark Durkan speech in Co Cork, while in turn Unionist Fred Cobain threatens to walk out if Sinn Fein try ‘to ‘creep in the back door’. Durkan’s speech gets a more sympathetic hearing from Eric Waugh.

Spain and Ireland

Since the Spanish government banned Batasuna, there has been a lot of coverage in British newspapers. The line taken by the Daily Telegraph (also taken says that that Blair should follow Aznar. However Unionist commentator Stephen King, suggests caution to hardliners, pointing to the fact that in the whilst the left in Spain is behind more…

Trimble's back

The First Minister is due to meet police chiefs today – the first sign that he is back from Europe and back the saddle. The question is, for how long? Update: For those who thought he might give up with a whimper, it looks like he’s not planning to go just yet.

Sa Ghaeilge i mi Lunasa

Aincheist mhorálta do Trimble, ‘s do chach. Loiteadh cuid de thaispeántas i Learpholl agus creidtear gur dílseoirí a rinne an damáiste. Chomdháil dhomhanda ar chúrsaí timpeallachta i Johannesburg in Afraic Theas.

NI's 'green' agenda non-existent

The First Minister will attend the Earth Summit at Johannesburg for the last three days of the Summit. Mark Devenport compares Northern Ireland’s performance on the environment with Scotland and the Republic; and finds it badly wanting.

Crisis in Unionism…

Although David Trimble’s warning of a nightmare for Ulster has yet to come to fruition, David Burnside is one senior party member has backed the calling of another meeting of the Ulster Unionist Council, effectively the only decision making body within the UUP. There is some speculation within Unionist circles that Burnside may first in more…

Sinn Fein coming in?

Perhaps in an attempt to cool the waters before the crisis within Unionism recommences this Autumn, Mitchel McLaughlan told Radio Ulster this morning that Sinn Fein will join the policing board, when Tony Blair implements promised changes to current legislation. The policing board has been the subject of controversy ever since the publication of the more…

Transcending sectarianism?

Despite all the coverage of recent weeks, it is hard to find anyone willing to sort out where the basic ground lies. There’s an interesting offering in the pipeline from the Cheif Rabbi, Jonathan Sachs, Jonathan Freedland reports in the Guardian. “The latest challenge is to construct a way for different cultures to get along more…


Jude Collins refutes the idea that everyone within the context of NI is per se a bigot.

Political mergers?

Ciaran Irvine weighs up the prospects of a Fianna Fail /SDLP merger, but asks what will happen to Social Democracy in any new situation arising?