DUP in cross-community power-sharing shocker…

IT went largely unnoticed that while the new DUP Lord Mayor of Belfast, Wallace Browne, was indeed elected with cross-community support, it was (I am pretty sure) the first time ever that both a Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor were elected with cross-community support. This was testing new waters for the DUP and SDLP, as they supported each other’s candidate – and there were some rather nervous councillors who voted last week in a way they never had before. … Read more

Back again….

The strange comings and goings of Slugger have no doubt been as disturbing for you as they have been for me. Our bandwidth levels rose exponentially as our readership increased in the period up to and after the general election – more than 5,500 unique visitors on the day the Westminster votes were counted. We outstripped our original limits by quite a way. Touch wood, we have upgraded from 30 to 45 gig monthly bandwidth limit, which should give us … Read more

What next for EU Constitutional Treaty?

French voters have rejected the proposed Constitutional Treaty for the EU, by what is being interpreted as a firm No.. 55% to 45%. Richard Delevan has some interesting thoughts on what happens next and suggests that the opportunity exists for a meaningful conversation [beyond the bureaucrats] on a question that the EU in Northern Ireland blog will probably be interested in – “What is the end-state of the European project?”.. and, according to RTE, President of the European Commission José … Read more

Northern Catholic women over three times as likely to be unemployed

Catholic women in the North are three and a half times more likely to be unemployed than Protestant women, according to new British government statistics. This follows the release of “deprivation” statistics by the NISRA which show that three of the four areas of highest unemployment in the North are in mainly nationalist areas.Local Government District Percentage of population living in most deprived areas in Northern Ireland by parliamentary constituency: 1 Belfast West 79% 2 Belfast North 60% 3 Foyle … Read more

Bertie’s full of “hope”..

Speaking at University College, Dublin a couple of days ago, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, seemingly ignoring history, had this to say on awaiting the result of the internal consultation of the Provisional Movement – “I hope it is positive, I hope it is conclusive and I hope there is no ambiguity about it”. Hmmm.. Bertie still seems to think there will be a point when, as Seamus Heaney put it, “hope and history rhyme”.. Pete Baker

Safest way, sarge

The DUP’s Peter Robinson adopts the Corporal Nobbs approach to party politics and kicks the UUP when they’re down – “Why would I concern myself with whether the Ulster Unionist Party take a reject from the Westminster election or somebody who is so unelectable that they were appointed to the House of Lords?”.. Hmm.. How is that campaign for the first DUP peer coming along anyway? Pete Baker

DUP: no faith Sinn Fein is serious about a deal

There’s an interesting article in this week’s edition of The Village by Anton McCabe, which notes the change in tone of the DUP’s stance in the run up to the failed ‘comprehensive agreement’ and the harder public stance now. He quotes a DUP spokesman on their reasons for the change in the wake of that failure: Subsequently it became clear that while negotiations were onging between Republicans and the two governments the Northern Bank robbery was being planned. Consequently there … Read more

NI banks to be forced into competitive change

In an apparent culmination of an issue that’s been ongoing for some time, the big four banks in Northern Ireland are to face a probe by the Competition Commission. This is not a trivial action. Eleanor Gill, chief executive of the Consumer Council: “A referral to the Competition Commission is the most serious action that the OFT can take against the banks. Clearly unwilling to change voluntarily, the big four will now be forced to change.” Thanks to Tim for … Read more

Apologies for our enforced hiatus..

I’m sorry for the outage on Slugger from Thursday night until last night. It seems to have been a misunderstanding between us and our US server hosts. The advantage of hosting the site in the states is cost and quality of customer service. Th obvious problem is that when the site goes down in the day time over here, it can take a while to get their customer service to act. The problem was that last month we thought we’d … Read more

Bertie's full of "hope"..

Speaking at University College, Dublin a couple of days ago, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, seemingly ignoring history, had this to say on awaiting the result of the internal consultation of the Provisional Movement – “I hope it is positive, I hope it is conclusive and I hope there is no ambiguity about it”. Hmmm.. Bertie still seems to think there will be a point when, as Seamus Heaney put it, “hope and history rhyme”.. adminA slightly inhuman presence that bans bad … Read more

Apologies for our enforced hiatus..

I’m sorry for the outage on Slugger from Thursday night until last night. It seems to have been a misunderstanding between us and our US server hosts. The advantage of hosting the site in the states is cost and quality of customer service. Th obvious problem is that when the site goes down in the day time over here, it can take a while to get their customer service to act. The problem was that last month we thought we’d … Read more

Interview with Peter Hain tonight!

Hearts and Minds tonight has an interview with the new Secretary of State (and former anti apartheid agitator Peter Hain – and it seems he’s still upbeat! There’s a short film piece on the relationship between the DUP and the Free Presbyterian Church, which asks who rules the roost? And was this month’s election result a victory for the extremes, or a cry for help from an alienated electorate? Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers … Read more

Devolution is the name of the game…

Tom Griffin of the London-based Irish World looks at the current state of devolved politics in Britain and Northern Ireland and argues that ” Today, devolution is the only real integration, because ironically, Britain itself is becoming more nationalist and less unionist”Devolution is the only real integration now by Tom Griffin, 27 May 2005 edition   Do unionists want Northern Ireland to be run from Westminster or from Stormont? The choice between devolution or integration is an old dilemma. In … Read more

Titantic to beef NI’s tourist offering?

Despite a huge increase in the inbound traffic from Britain, Northern Ireland Tourist Board chief executive Alan Clarke believes that more needs to be done.One suggestion is to emphasise the Titantic’s Belfast origin: 2012 offers a convenient target to aim for. That marks the centenary of the Titanic being launched from Belfast for its brief career as the world’s most famous ocean liner before being sunk on its maiden voyage by an iceberg. Eager to cash in on the box … Read more

Unionists walk out on d’Hondt

Unionist councillors walked out after Limavady Council officially adopted the d’Hondt mechanism for choosing who sits in the senior offices year on year. 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 Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

A year’s delay after IRA move?

Brian Feeney reckons that whatever happens, the DUP will not be going into power with Sinn Fein until a good year after the expected statement from the IRA accepting Adams’ initiative outlining a politics only way forward to the whole Republican movement. He also points out that whatever Republicans make of the IMC (even the DUP was lukewarm on it at the time of it’s establishment), they will have to get through a year of positive reporting before anything moves. … Read more

Afraid to put their case?

Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has accused Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael of running away from debate on the proposed European Constitution by failing to provide speakers for a conference. (conference details attached) Usually impeccable sources tell me that the conference minus FF and FG may be blogged live by a Slugger regular.16 Speakers from across the EU examine content and implications of EU Constitution Sinn Féin and our partners in the European Parliament, European United Left/Nordic Green Left, … Read more

Northern Ireland stands firm

European football’s governing body, UEFA, has commended the Irish Football Association (IFA) in Northern Ireland, pointing to it as “a fine example of the work being undertaken” by national associations to eliminate racism, discrimination and intolerance from football. George

Afraid to put their case?

Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has accused Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael of running away from debate on the proposed European Constitution by failing to provide speakers for a conference. (conference details attached) Usually impeccable sources tell me that the conference minus FF and FG may be blogged live by a Slugger regular. 16 Speakers from across the EU examine content and implications of EU Constitution Sinn Féin and our partners in the European Parliament, European United Left/Nordic Green … Read more

A year's delay after IRA move?

Brian Feeney reckons that whatever happens, the DUP will not be going into power with Sinn Fein until a good year after the expected statement from the IRA accepting Adams’ initiative outlining a politics only way forward to the whole Republican movement. He also points out that whatever Republicans make of the IMC (even the DUP was lukewarm on it at the time of it’s establishment), they will have to get through a year of positive reporting before anything moves. … Read more