“Sinn Fein must stop running away from and dodging the issue”

The DUP’s Ian Paisley Jnr has issued a robust response to Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams earlier statement on policing – “It is up to Sinn Fein to build confidence by their actions and so far they have failed this sincerity test.” From the Press Association report In a hard-hitting response, the North Antrim Assembly member said: “Gerry Adams should hear this message loud and clear. “He is not getting a date for the devolution of policing – period! “He cannot … Read more

Hearts and Minds: steadying the jitters in the DUP…

Even as you are tuning up for our politico’s big UK showpiece tonight, don’t forget Hearts and Minds, where, notably Jim Allister will continue to sing to a tune no longer to be found in the DUP’s official Hymn Book, just as the DUP prepare for tomorrow’s meeting to steady the ship after a week of confusion and dissension. And is “the falling electoral roll is evidence of a growing dissatisfaction with the political process?” Mick FealtyMick is founding editor … Read more

Those pesky victims

The SDLP have a confused idea of who is a victim. Clearly that hasn’t stopped as Alban Maginness is still saying mean things about, by the definition of SDLP policy, a large victims group – the UDA. Michael ShillidayI used to write and get paid, now I read and don’t. Former UUP staffer, currently living in London. @mjshilliday

Orde: I’m ready to talk Gerry…

Hugh Orde tells Gerry Adams that he is ready for face to face talks with Sinn Fein… “My people have got to be able to talk to their people and at every level openly about all the issues that people are concerned about,” the PSNI chief told the Belfast Telegraph. Policing isn’t political. It is about people who need help. “All I ask is that my people are given the opportunity to protect all communities. Don’t judge us by the … Read more

SF backs Guards, but with conditions…

There was a fascinating piece by Martin Kettle in the Guardian last weekend, about the degree to which citizens owe allegience to the state (complex, but well worth reading in with several local contexts in mind). It’s a serious question, that is rarely debated honestly in Northern Ireland, where political agendas of all types abound. It seems that Sinn Fein has belatedly backed An Garda Síochána’s battle against drugs and racketeering, but apparently retaining some interesting caveats. Mick FealtyMick is … Read more

What blogs are good at…

And it’s not always breaking of news. Indeed that may be their least important function. Cato at Liberty with a critical analysis of the loudly trumpeted Stern Report, and in particular the forced manner of its launch. On the day recalls being asked by the press for worthy comment on what had been a heavily embargoed report, but he notes: “it’s hard to say anything intelligent about a 700+ page report that was released only hours earlier”. …the experience demonstrates … Read more

Adams understands DUP has difficulties too…

In an interview in the paper version of An Phoblacht out today (but not yet online), Gerry Adams has congratulated Paisley for his powersharing signal and said he understands the DUP is taking as much heat as Sinn Fein on the ground. He also lays out the clearest terms and conditions on the type of department he wants to see controlling policing and justice, and has repeated the party’s stance on ‘no role for MI5 in civic policing’. He’s also … Read more

Pssstt… NI Pols crib sheet on events outside Northern Ireland…

As thoughts turn to the problem of getting our politicians to think about something other than themselves tomorrow night, here are four things that are happening in places other than Stormont, Conway Mill, and Antrim Borough Council… Please feel free to add your own suggestions…The big one at the moment is the discovery of radio active material on board two British Airways flights. Forty staff at Barnet General Hospital and University College Hospital, where former KGB man Alexander Litvinenko was … Read more

Anti Water privatisation campaign kicks off…

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the water charge controversy is heating up (insert your favourite ‘hot water jokes’ here). The government has denied rumours that it is about to sell off the Water Service, currently part of the Department of the Environment. There are also plans to bring in tough measures against non payers. Tonight a Tap Tax campaign is meeting at the City Hall in Belfast.Speaking on behalf of ICTU, NIPSA General Secretary John Corey will “tell the … Read more

McKee: bringing unrepentant terrorists into government…

More local journalism. That man Jack McKee is making life difficult for the mainstream of the DUP again, in the Larne Gazette. “I would label and dub it a halfway house to a United Ireland. I must repeat : after 35 years of the Troubles what has that been about, the mayhem and murder that followed that? I would have to say we are revisiting the Sunningdale Agreement with Brian Faulkner going into powersharing with Gerry Fitt – a decent … Read more

Revolt in the Antrim ranks…

Often some of the best journalism (like all politics) is extremely local. In fact that Antrim revolt was first reported in the Antrim Guardian yesterday. Here, with kind permission of the paper, is Conor Spackman’s fuller account of the DUP’s little local difficulties there:By Conor Spackman THE six DUP councillors in Antrim are ‘absolutely opposed’ to the current direction being taken by party leader Ian Paisley, a party insider claimed last night. A source close to the councillors said that … Read more

“A safe and valid conclusion”

The Irish Times fills in some of the details[subs req] – also available in this RTÉ report[RealPlayer audio] – from the Irish Court of Criminal Appeal’s dismissal of appeals by two Dublin Sinn Féin members, Niall Binéad, a former secretary of a south Dublin Sinn Féin cumann, and Kenneth Donohoe, against their convictions for IRA membership in 2004. – see also yesterday’s RTÉ reportFrom the Irish Times report Niall Binéad (36), Faughart Road, Crumlin, and Kenneth Donohoe (27), Mountain View, … Read more

Miss 1800 Dave?

Beano asks, do the Conservatives care about Northern Ireland? Does being “pro-union” involve forgetting about the Union then? Michael ShillidayI used to write and get paid, now I read and don’t. Former UUP staffer, currently living in London. @mjshilliday

DUP in Antrim in mini revolt?

Noel McAdam with a report of trouble brewing in Antrim, where the party’s six councillor’s are asking for reassurances that the party will not agree a fixed timetable for the devolution of policing and justice powers to a devolved Assembly. That’s a particularly aggressive move since Gerry Adams has said he is not prepared to go to his party’s Ard Comhairle on Policing unless that is agreed.However there was also some questioning of the Assembly party’s tactics on last Friday. … Read more

Can blogs make money….?

According to the Economist, the answer is yes. As it notes, the blogads model only contributes minorly towards costs rather than generates income. The money making blogs in the States it mentions have signed up to the more targeted kind of ad service that MessageSpace offers. One blogger they talked to was Om Malik: One big reason why his blog works as a small business, says Mr Malik, is that an ecosystem of support is appearing. Like Ms Armstrong, he … Read more

Second best bar in the world

It’s an entirely subjective list, but no less valid for that [Hmmm.. – Ed]. The Guardian’s deputy travel editor, Isabel Choat, lists her favourite bars in the world and vying for the top slot is the other National Trust owned bar in Northern Ireland, Mary McBride’s in Cushendun [pictured in sunnier times – Ed].. Strangely the National Trust website doesn’t seem to list McBride’s..From the Guardian article 2. Mary McBride’s, 2 Main Street, Cushenden, Northern Ireland The Antrim coast is … Read more

Question Time rolls back into Belfast…

Question Time comes to Belfast again. Let’s hope the panel can talk about something other than just Northern Ireland. They are: Peter Hain, Lord Trimble, Mark Durkan, Martin McGuinness and Jeffrey Donaldson. Our Secretary of State has some work to do to push his profile a bit higher in the race for the DPM’s job. 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 … Read more

PSNI tells Adams of death threat…

We’re getting news that the PSNI have informed Gerry Adams of a death threat aimed at him. At this stage it is not clear whether it comes from a dissident Republican group, or from Michael Stone. Update: Here’s the link to the PA Report. 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