Visiting Slugger’s past [1]

Due to a crash in summer 2004 Slugger limps along without much memory of its earlier years. But here’s a sneak review of Slugger as it was just over three years ago. Much fewer comments. 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

Let the public have a go

The French Finance Minister has announced an online game for the public to write, balance and pass the national budget. Here, the public demand the continuation of high public expenditure levels but show no desire to increase their own contribution. Maybe an Ulster version would help tackle these inconsistent views and address unrealistic expectations of a future executive in the minds of some. Lee Reynolds

Moral relativism in action

The moral relativism of our age was in full view today, everyone is to blame so no one is responsible. Charles Clarke and the Home Office allowed over a 1000 foreign criminals back on to British streets. They discovered the problem in July 2005 but didn’t tell anyone until this week. After the difficulties were discovered, a further 288 prisoners were released without the option of deportation examined. The Prime Minister believes it is not a resignation issue. Neither are … Read more

active, violent, ruthless.. and out on bail?

In their report today, the IMC stated they were unchanged in their analysis of the activity of the UVF, saying “We do not therefore change our overall assessment that the organisation is active, violent and ruthless”. Today, as the BBC report, 6 men who admitted being members of the UVF, after initially denying membership, have been “released on bail pending completion of pre-sentence reports in June when they will be sentenced”.From the 10th IMC report – on the UVF – … Read more

The policing paradox

I mentioned this previously, prior to the actual publication of the 10th IMC report, but there’s a real paradox in Peter Hain’s welcoming of the Provisional IRA, and in his view Sinn Féin, “stamping out criminality” while at the same time encouraging Sinn Féin to support the police – NI Questions in the Commons today Mr. Hain: On the hon. Gentleman’s point about criminality, it is now clear that the Provisional IRA – and, therefore, its political link, Sinn Fein … Read more

Robinson: progress, but more to do..

Peter Robinson has just said in the Commons, (precise quotes below): Everyone will welcome progress. Indeed [refers to mortality rate of one year in the early 70s] only a fool would say anything other than there has been very significant progress. But there is still progress to be made. It’s no good picking up on the parts of the IMC report where there has been progress, and focusing on that. There are grey areas that need to be dealt with. … Read more

How we vote… with its own vote calculator. 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

Liddington: what purpose the IRA?

David Liddington, Tory shadow Secretary of State for NI has just asked in the Commons debate. After voicing concerns at the dissonance between the IRA’s state of health, and it’s current illegal status, he asked: “…if for Sinn Fein and the IRA the war is over what purpose does this army now serve?” 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 … Read more

one of his most ambitious works

Via TCAL. A late addition to the Beckett Centenary celebrations.. at The Onion According to literary critic Eric Matheson, who praised the work for “the bare-bones structure and bleak repetition of what can only be described as ‘nothingness,’” the play represents somewhat of a departure from the works of Beckett’s “middle period.” But, he said, it “might as well be Samuel Beckett at his finest.” “It does feature certain classic Beckett elements, such as sparse stage directions, a mysterious quality … Read more

Queens Radio on IMC…

One off beat point in the media spectrum is Queen’s Radio McCaffrey programme this afternoon at 4pm They have a round table discussion with Alban Mcguinness(SDLP), Michael Ferguson(SF), Mark Dunn (UUP) and they are hoping to have someone from the DUP – the party who’s reaction is no doubt most sought after today. They also have a feature on Nepal, when Sarah talks to some Youth Workers from CMS Ireland back from their time in Nepal. If you are local, … Read more

Pru leaving Belfast…

Bad news on the job front. Globalising pressures have led the Prudential to shift its Belfast business to Mumbai in India. It underlines the urgency facing NI business to hike the value base of its own local industry. There is no silver bullet to this. As the ESRI points out in its quarterly analysis, even the Republic is struggling to keep up its past phenomenal growth rate in exports. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers … Read more

“the long-term exploitation of discreetly laundered assets”

Mick previously mentioned the long war against criminality narrative in the IMC report, and a main area of focus of the report is what has previously been clarified, by NIO Security Minister Shaun Woodward, as the complex assessments of distinguishing between criminality by individual members for their own gain and criminality carried out by members which is authorised by the organisation. With those assessments in mind, the section relating to the current activity, of PIRA, is worth looking at more … Read more

Turning it on and off?

One of the characteristics of this IMC report, which differs substantially with its past output is its notable reliance on narrative, rather than detailed analysis. But there are a couple of graphs beatings and shootings (darn – links not working) on the record of Loyalist and Republican (not simply IRA) paramilitaries over its term in office which are worth examining in detail. Given the headline analysis is focused on the very near past, this is detail that Unionist sceptics will … Read more

Sinn Fein launch ‘regional integration’ strategy

Donegal is likely to offer Sinn Fein some rich pickings in the next general election in the Republic, especially with Jim McDaid stepping down in somewhat inglorious circumstances. No coincidence that Sinn Fein is launching its Integrated Regional Future document in Derry today. 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. … Read more

Two scoops for the price of one…

It looks like we had two scoops last night. The IMC report, which is still being talked about speculatively on RTE and BBC radio. The Belfast Telegraph, however, carries our scoop on the front page of its early print versions. RTE also carries the story we broke late last night, ie that Colm O’Gorman is to run in Wexford for the PDs – press conference later today. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the … Read more

The blame game; yesterday’s winners and losers…

ONE of the recurring themes on Slugger yesterday was how far an organisation is to blame for the actions of individual members – whether they’re Provos robbing banks or Orangemen murdering Catholics. Are there any reasons why a group will cop the flak for one person’s actions in some instances, but not others? It might be worth comparing the IMC’s reporting on IRA activity, which was largely positive, and the Kennaway extract on Orange Order activity – largely negative – … Read more

Two interesting cases…

As Pete pointed out to me, the following is noted in the footnotes to the table on page 20: The case is still under investigation and nothing we say must prejudice possible legal proceedings. A member or former member of PIRA may have been involved in the killing of Joseph Rafferty in Dublin in April 2005. We have no reason to believe that the murder was carried out on behalf of PIRA. However we believe that members of both Sinn … Read more

Long war against criminality…

The report notes several times that ‘money is a strategic asset’ within the organisation. It strongly suggests that the leadership of the IRA is trying to stop criminal activity by trying to stop members from engaging in it, whilst accepting that some criminal activities are “deeply embedded in the culture of a number of communities”. 4.7 Money lies at the heart of much paramilitary criminal activity. It is a prime motive of the paramilitary criminals, whether for the benefit of … Read more

That little confusion with the IICD

A little clarification over the arms that weren’t decommissioned: We referred in our Eighth Report to our having received reports that not all PIRA’s weapons and ammunition had been handed over for decommissioning in September 2005. We did not say three months ago that the PIRA leadership had in any way given instructions to retain arms. Indeed, our present assessment is that such of the arms as were reported to us as having been retained, would have been withheld under … Read more

On the invisibility of exiling…

One noteable aspect of the report is the relatively different way it treats Loyalist paramilitaries and Republicans, particularly the IRA. It notes in the preamble that parts of Northern Ireland remain far removed from a culture of lawfulness. It also stresses the importance of “individual and collective human rights” to this lawfulness. This goes to the heart of the problem of exiling, a practice common to both sides, but which now (in terms of reported cases at least) largely a … Read more