SDLP must take a moral lead

Malachi O’Doherty argues that the people we can least afford to listen to after the apparent failure of the peace process are those individuals that pursuaded the bulk of the population that the Belfast Agreement would bring the IRA in from the cold. Indeed he believes that key players, like John Hume and Albert Reynolds have too much invested in the past, to be trusted to rise above their own narrow political interests.The ball he believes is with the SDLP. … Read more

‘Spectactular’: it’s a book and a film!

Aha, Hollywood lurks in the wings waiting to ‘cash in’ on the story around the Northern job. Author Cliff Goodwin may have his work cut out to create a plot that’s ‘acceptable to all sides’ of the debate around whodunnit, by the time set for its due publication date next summer. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and … Read more

Daily Ireland causing stir in media…

AS Daily Ireland – the latest pro-republican newspaper from the Andytown News stable – launches this week, the Guardian takes a look at the crowded local market and sees worried competition. The most direct competition is the Irish News, set to go tabloid, as is the Belfast Telegraph with a new morning edition. The News Letter‘s layout has also changed dramatically recently. A busy time for subs desks all round…MediaGuardian reports: It is no coincidence that this hardline paper is … Read more

Unionists must end Sinn Fein’s carte blanche

Alex Kane argues that the British government has engineered most of the outworkings of the Belfast Agreement on the basis that Unionists have no breaking point. As a result it has focused all efforts in billateral negotiation with Sinn Fein and the IRA, to the exclusion of all other players. He argues it is time for Unionism to call the governments’ bluff.By Alex Kane Speaking in the Dail on Wednesday afternoon, Bertie Ahern said; “What I find really offensive…is that … Read more

Where do we go from here?

In today’s Belfast Telegraph, Robert McCartney, UKUP, asks the question that the Irish and British Governments are currently contemplating – “Where do we go from here?”. He has some radical ideas of his own, but, as he acknowledges, “It is not suggested that these proposals are any more than a possible, somewhat bare, framework and a tentative answer to the question“. Few though could argue with his starting position – “The answer [to that question] depends on who you are, … Read more

Slow blogging…

Sorry for the slow blogging today. I’m in Belfast but otherwise committed. Hope the others can keep you entertained. Don’t forget to vote for Slugger at the Satin Pajama Awards – where we’re still in contention for two categories: Best Political Blog; and the Best UK based blog. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across … Read more

TV campaign against bigotry…

THE One Small Step campaign steps up a gear with the launch of an advertising campaign aimed at breaking down racist and sectarian attitudes in Northern Ireland. Featuring the voice of Belfast-born actor Kenneth Branagh, the TV campaign will run throughout February.One Small Step chairman Trevor Ringland said: “The One Small Step campaign believes that Northern Ireland’s future must be a shared one and that the only way to achieve this is if we all try to overcome the many … Read more

Ahern shakes IA confidence in Sinn Fein?

Niall O’Dowd believes that Ahern’s attack on Sinn Fein is problematic for the party, especially in Irish America: The reason Sinn Féin is worried is clear. Bertie Ahern is the only figure who comes near in stature to Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams among Irish American leaders, so when he speaks in such critical terms it has a major impact on the dynamic. Ahern’s dedicated work over the years on the peace process and his ‘get along manner’ have ensured … Read more

Union of a different kind annoys Paisley Jr…

CONGRATULATIONS to Ulster Unionist adviser Steven King, who recently married his partner in Canada, according to the Mirror (no link). In the same story, the DUP’s Ian Paisley Jr has strongly criticised the whole concept of a civil partnership – something King defended on the BBC’s Hearts & Minds not so long ago.Paisley Sr was so incensed by the idea of legislation on ‘gay marriage’ being extended to Northern Ireland that he demanded and got a postponement of the vote … Read more

Plus ça change…

President de Valera rebukes the IRA THE Irish Republican Army was rebuked by Mr Eamon de Valera, president of the Free State Executive, in an address in Dublin last night. After stating that the government had been very patient during the last three years, he said their hopes that common sense would prevail had apparently been misplaced. The use of violence against the forces of the government and individual citizens had continued. Recently the life of a citizen was taken … Read more

Peace drowning in ‘moral quagmire’…

ANTHONY McIntyre asks why the IRA would consider going away when it is clear that there is more to gain by sticking around. What Seamus Mallon described the other week in the Commons as a “moral quagmire” has led some commentators to ask fundamental questions about the nature of the peace process, and how it is time to ditch the ‘creative ambiguity’ that allows such radically different interpretations of what was agreed to persist.McIntyre writes: Throughout the peace process a … Read more

Moving on…

THE Sunday Times reports that the Irish President is “pleased and relieved at “the generous reaction” to her apology, which was generally accepted by unionists“. Following her apology, a “delighted” Orange Order is now to reschedule a meeting with McAleese, which it had cancelled immediately after her comments.While one Sindo columnist said Mary McAleese spoke for him in her initial comments, the News Letter leader says that despite the apology, the damage has been done. Ruth Dudley Edwards suggests that … Read more

Co-ordinated approach by governments

There is a growing sense of unity between the Irish and British Governments as they assess the current situation, and the way ahead. Evidence of that increasingly co-ordinated approach is the planned meeting in Downing Street on Tuesday – as the Irish Examiner reports, both the PSNI Chief Constable, Hugh Orde, and Garda Commissioner, Noel Conroy, will brief both Governments before Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Prime Minister Tony Blair compare notes on last week’s meetings. Pete Baker

Where do we go from here?

In today’s Belfast Telegraph, Robert McCartney, UKUP, asks the question that the Irish and British Governments are currently contemplating – “Where do we go from here?”. He has some radical ideas of his own, but, as he acknowledges, “It is not suggested that these proposals are any more than a possible, somewhat bare, framework and a tentative answer to the question“. Few though could argue with his starting position – “The answer [to that question] depends on who you are, … Read more

Unionists must end Sinn Fein's carte blanche

Alex Kane argues that the British government has engineered most of the outworkings of the Belfast Agreement on the basis that Unionists have no breaking point. As a result it has focused all efforts in billateral negotiation with Sinn Fein and the IRA, to the exclusion of all other players. He argues it is time for Unionism to call the governments’ bluff. By Alex Kane Speaking in the Dail on Wednesday afternoon, Bertie Ahern said; “What I find really offensive…is … Read more

Union of a different kind annoys Paisley Jr…

CONGRATULATIONS to Ulster Unionist adviser Steven King, who recently married his partner in Canada, according to the Mirror (no link). In the same story, the DUP’s Ian Paisley Jr has strongly criticised the whole concept of a civil partnership – something King defended on the BBC’s Hearts & Minds not so long ago. Paisley Sr was so incensed by the idea of legislation on ‘gay marriage’ being extended to Northern Ireland that he demanded and got a postponement of the … Read more

TV campaign against bigotry…

THE One Small Step campaign steps up a gear with the launch of an advertising campaign aimed at breaking down racist and sectarian attitudes in Northern Ireland. Featuring the voice of Belfast-born actor Kenneth Branagh, the TV campaign will run throughout February. One Small Step chairman Trevor Ringland said: “The One Small Step campaign believes that Northern Ireland’s future must be a shared one and that the only way to achieve this is if we all try to overcome the … Read more

Time to address Catholic prejudice?

Ruth Dudley Edwards argues that the controversy over Mary McAleese’s comments and her subsequent acceptance that in Northern Ireland hatred was inculcated in Catholics as well as Protestants may have unearthed an opportunity for Northern Ireland’s nationalists to finally recognise their own prejudices against Prods (sorry, that should obviously read: Protestants). As an aside, I note that the reading at Mass yesterday was from Matthew 5:1-12, otherwise known as the beatitudes. adminA slightly inhuman presence that bans bad comments and … Read more

'Spectactular': it's a book and a film!

Aha, Hollywood lurks in the wings waiting to ‘cash in’ on the story around the Northern job. Author Cliff Goodwin may have his work cut out to create a plot that’s ‘acceptable to all sides’ of the debate around whodunnit, by the time set for its due publication date next summer. 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 … Read more

Slow blogging…

Sorry for the slow blogging today. I’m in Belfast but otherwise committed. Hope the others can keep you entertained. Don’t forget to vote for Slugger at the Satin Pajama Awards – where we’re still in contention for two categories: Best Political Blog; and the Best UK based blog. 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 … Read more