No babies for Big Fat Mamas

Unfortunately, the diet didn’t take this year, and I will have to wait until next year for the svelte figure. Mind you, there are some advantages to the ‘traditional build’, like needing your extra tonnage to break out of a H-Block prison cell. The guide diplomatically explained to me that if one of the ‘smaller’ women had gotten locked in , it would have definitely been a Fire and Resuce job. It also comes in handy after a long session … Read more

Labour’s five deadly sins – according to Clarke

In a pre-conference article for the New Stateman, Charles Clarke, has outlined the five key areas of concern for the Labour party. He highlights problems with gpublic sector reform, business, environmental, civil liberties and foreign policy. Lee Reynolds

Lindsay Mason: He did it his way…

NORTHERN Ireland’s most colourful independent politician, Robert Lindsay Mason, was buried today. Mason, an intelligent, affable and very talkative eccentric, was loved and loathed in equal measure, and I think that he will be missed in Larne Borough Council‘s chambers. He was someone who tried to keep politics honest – in his own inimitable style. “While he has been described as an itch that could not be scratched nobody disliked him and he will be missed,” said the DUP’s Bobby … Read more

Loyalist targeting continues in north Antrim

I posted a thread several days ago in relation to threats made against Sinn Fein elected representatives and activists in the north Antrim/ East Derry region. Since then, the threats and attacks have intensified. A petrol bomb attack on a home in Ballymena has been confirmed as a case of mistaken identity, with the intended target being a Sinn Fein activist in the town. Cllr Anita Cavlan has recieved yet another threat from loyalists- as has Billy Leonard (Coleraine), whilst … Read more

Dambusters Mark II

The classic British war film, Dam Busters, is to be re-made next year by Lord of the Rings and King Kong Director Peter Jackson. He promises it will be: “as authentic as possible and as close to the spirit of the original as possible” Will the authenticity extend to the name of the black labrador? Will they keep the theme music? All together now, arms outstretched, Duh Duh…… Lee Reynolds

Firemen disciplined

The nine firemen who refused to hand out leaflets at the Glasgow Gay pride parade have been disciplined. One was demoted with a £5,000 loss of salary. All nine have been ordered to attend diversity training.Further background and debate here. Lee Reynolds

“Provo war is finished”

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph a UVF spokerson has said they accept the PIRA’s war is “finished” . The person denied there is a UVF threat against Raymond McCord senior or any journalist. They also claim that there could be an unexploded bomb in Dublin’s Mansion House, part of a failed attempt to wipe out the republican leadership in 1981. UPDATE A suspicious device has been found and there is also speculation they will re-engage with the Decommissioning … Read more

No quiet on the Leopold Street front

Despite a series of successful and peaceful parades and substantially peaceful counter-demonstrations, not all have enjoyed a good summer. Residents of Leopold Street have suffered a “five week barrage” of metal, concrete, stones and bottles. One attack lasted four hours. The Shankill Mirror reports that in one week four wheelie bins were filled with debris and that despite the work of Ardoyne Fleadh, the attacks intensified that week. Lee Reynolds

Restoration Now..

The BBC NI website has a quick plug for tomorrow’s edition of Restoration Village, which focuses on three properties here.. so I’ll add to the plug by reminding everyone that the Restoration Village Roadshows will be at those properties on Saturday 2nd September. Details below. Also, the Restoration virtual tours are online – The White House, Cushendun Old Church and Gracehill Old SchoolThe Restoration Roadshows The White House Date/time: Saturday 2 September, 10am-5pm Venue: Newtownabbey, Nr Belfast, BT37 9SQ Organiser: … Read more

No show on high profile case…

Another snippet from the Telegraph worth noting is that a case which involved the public raid of UUP MLA’s constituency office at a particularly embarrasing point in last year’s election campaign has now been dropped. Jonathan McCambridge anticipates awkward questions from the Policing Board. 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 … Read more


The Arts Council seems to be in a whole mess of trouble. 52 works, worth £28,000 bought with tax payers money now are nowhere to be found, indeed many others have long since been written off. Negligence seems to be the main import of an Audit Commission report: “In our opinion, the write-offs are indicative of the poor record-keeping and management of the collection.” Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the … Read more

Dissident Republicans need to get a grip…

Brian Feeney turns his derision on the dissident Republicans supposedly behind a ‘significant’ split in Republican ranks. Although he believes the threat emanating from this quarter is derisory, nonetheless he believes further threats of Republican violence only plays into the hands of the DUP ‘hardliners’: If there’s one development the DUP nay-sayers would love it’s a new campaign by IRA dissidents called by any name you like. Republican violence is the great bogeyman DUP politicians use to scare their voters. … Read more

Downturn predicted for garden centres?

Chris Thornton argues that Hain is trying to hit the elusive ‘garden centre prod’ in the wallet as a spur to re-engage them with politics. Despite the Equality Impact Assement showing the proposed rates changes would have an adverse impact upon Protestants, others and some ethnic minorities the Government has pressed on with no objections from the Equality Commission. It has left the issue of a cap on rates bills to a restored Assembly but Thornton does not think it … Read more

Bishops and Union clashes

INTO members are unhappy following a letter from the Bishops instructing prinicpals of maintained schools to hold a “catholic ethos” day as part of staff development.A Scottish bishop recently urged teachers in Catholic schools to be “Catholic to their fingertips” and he considered teachers “among his closest co-workers”. Lee Reynolds

Healing Through Remembering Call for Ideas

Brian Kennedy launched a ‘Call for Ideas’ for the Healing Through Remembering group yesterday in Belfast. A series of workshops have been organised to explore options and ideas for a Living Memorial Museum. HTR is a cross community group that was established to explore ways of emerging from the Troubles that would assist in the healing process. It has focused on 5 key areas: Network, Truth Recovery and Acknowledgement, Day of Reflection, Story Telling and the LMM. The website is … Read more

Another item on the IMC’s to-do list?

As I noted when the consultation on the proposed changes to the taxi regulations was announced, the IMC has a to-do list for the governments regarding paramilitary involvement in certain sectors of the economy. And yesterday the NIO announced movement on another item on that list, according to the BBC report anyway.. new regulation of security firms to remove the possibility of involvement by “unscrupulous operators” [who could they mean? – Ed] – proposals here[pdf file]. Although it’s worth noting … Read more

The Indo on blogs and blogging…

Slugger gets a mention in tomorrow’s Indo… though, it warns its mostly southern readers that we can be a bit of a northern bore… ouch… we really must get out more!! Thanks to Donnacha for the heads up!! 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

Farren: fulfil your obligations, then jump…

This is one of several keynote presentations made by politicians at Glencree Centre for Reconciliation‘s Summer School over the last weekend. Sean Farren re-iterates the centrality of the Belfast Agreement, and argues that the blame for vacuum lies squarely at the feet of paramilitaries. The hiatus has claimed lives and distracted politicians attention from key issues like reflating the local economy.By Sean Farren The greatest political challenge for all of us in public life in the North is to recover … Read more

Punishment beatings a fading horror of the past?

I’ve no idea how old this documentary on punishment beatings actually is. Considering the numbers of incidents has dropped like a stone since the IRA’s decommissioning of arms last September, it’s currency has to be in question. Nevertheless it documents in graphic detail incidents that have been a routine part of some people’s lives for most of the Peace Process. The second part of the segment is here. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on … Read more