“If they want a positive response to what they do then they will have to do something”

Liam Clarke, in the Sunday Times, notes the sceptical voices within the DUP, including MP for East Londonderry, Gregory Campbell – “This will not fly by the end of March.”. But the main focus of the piece is the target date for devolving powers on policing and justice which, as I noted yesterday, has already been linked to the conditions on the ground by Peter Hain, “It has always been clear that none of the parties have discounted, providing the … Read more

The power of numbers

With a January Ard Fheis called possibly called the last barrier to 7th March election has may have been removed plus being off gave me the time to do some number crunching. Voters are generally creatures of habit so past elections can give a reliable guide to the likely outcome of the upcoming election. So what does the 2005 Westminster and Local Government elections predict for March 2007?It is good news for the DUP and Sinn Fein with both the … Read more

Paisley main obstacle to settlement in 1976

A document released into the National Archives in Dublin under the 30-year rule records a meeting between an Irish government minister and then Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher. The memo, carrying a note attributing it to Ireland`s Foreign Minister Garret FitzGerald, shows he told senior Tories the political realities meant Mr Paisley was the main obstacle to a settlement in October 1976. It appears from this memo of a meeting with Thatcher and Whitelaw that Paisley refused to attempt to … Read more

US State Department thinks it’s go…

Clearly the US State Department thinks that a policing deal is as good as in the bag… Does it imply an extra dimension to that Irish Times editorial from this morning: There must be an understanding that the latest intensive negotiation has been multilateral, extending beyond Downing Street and Sinn Féin… 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

On the dawning of this next historic moment we are awaiting

A little tongue-in-cheek rebel music: Everybody, sing! The Impartial Police Force If you’re in Andytown or the Creggan we’ll greet you with tiocfaidh ár lá, Oh we’re nice and polite, by day and by night, we’ll answer to “níl agus tá”? Don’t mind the machine guns and pistols we wear them now only for show, And if ever they’re used – Orange men we’ll abuse and we’ll teach them the bigots own lawOh we are the impartial police force, the … Read more

“any necessary steps..”

Several reports pick up on the UUP leader, Reg Empey’s criticism of a letter from the Secretary of State for Wales, etc, Peter Hain, to the transitional assembly’s sub-group on Justice and Policing. While the Belfast Telegraph say they have seen the letter there is only a short paragraph quoted from it. Reg Empey highlights the content of the letter, correctly, as “a complete negation of the democratic process” before focussing his attention on the DUP. But he’d be better … Read more

Decommission the IRA, get a CBE

BBC News reports “two members of Northern Ireland’s arms decommissioning body have been appointed honorary CBEs.” A third man involved in the decommissioning of the IRA has also been awarded. Peter Hain described it as a “fitting recognition”. “Through their integrity, diligence and commitment to peace, they have helped to deliver what many thought would never be delivered – the decommissioning of IRA weapons,” he said. Rusty Nail

Victims of a Big Political Swindle

Patrick Murphy, in today’s Irish News (subs only), writes of the remnants of the war: old soldiers that now must be tidied away. “The remnants of war must now be tidied away, so that a new and sanitised version of the past can underpin their joint achievement of political power. The most obvious of those remnants are the ordinary people who were encouraged to fight that war in the first place.” “Some may say that those who fought did so … Read more

What was the real ‘Plan B’…

One thing we Irish (of all political stripes and none) are good at is myth making. In recent years much time, energy and imagination has been devoted to the myth of ‘Plan B’. For most of the period of the Assembly’s suspension it has been lauded by nationalist commentators as the easy route to joint authority. However, in the accelerated evolutionary time frame since St Andrews it appears Plan B was more prosaic than that: devolve limited power to council … Read more

Sinn Fein’s drafted motion to be robust…

Although we’ve not had sight of the precise wording, Slugger understands that the motion hammered out at yesterday’s marathon meeting provides for acceptance of policing in Northern Ireland in full measure. Indeed, any half measures or perceived wriggle room at this stage are likely to be seen as a willful return to the stasis of two years ago, and indicative of poor leadership. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet … Read more

A fudge now will simply not work…

Today’s editorial in the Irish Times is worth reproducing in full. It seems that this long game of ‘catch up’ (accepting the principle of power sharing in the case of the DUP and full acceptance of the state by Sinn Fein) with the Belfast Agreement of 1998 is drawing to a close. The Irish Times is refusing to count chickens before it hatches. Potentially corrosive side deals, it warns, will not provide the confidence required within the unionist community, nor … Read more

Caption competition…

Just had to post this pic from the front page of the Irish Times this morning. Your captions please! 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

An OBE to ease the pain

Bertha McDougall was awarded an OBE for services to the community. Need I say more, other than congratulations of course? Miss Fitz

“if the DUP respond positively…”

Alex Attwood reckons that Sinn Fein’s Ard Chomhairle’s decision is an unalloyed positive move. But of course there are conditions. The ball, he reckons, is now in the DUP court.From Alex Attwood “The provision of Sinn Fein’s is welcome and brings a sense of relief. It is welcome that having called policing so wrong for so long, Sinn Fein are now moving in the direction of doing the right thing. There is a sense of relief that in the near … Read more

Would that be white smoke I see?

Cheers to Parcifal for spotting this: Sinn Féin edged closer to an historic acceptance of policing in the North by tonight calling a special party conference for January on the issue. Sinn Féin tonight edged closer to an historic acceptance of policing in the North by calling for a special party conference on the issue in January. Party president Gerry Adams got the support for the move from Sinn Féin’s 56 member national executive after a marathon six-hour talk session … Read more

Not quite beyond satire…

Folks on the Hill probably has the current situation as succinctly as anyone else… 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

Don’t worry about a thing

Dermot Ahern, Irish Foreign Minister, seems to be advising everyone to relax. Sinn Fein shouldn’t worry about getting 100% support on policing. Plan B is nothing for Unionists to worry about as most of it is already in place, they haven’t bothered working on it lately and anyway the constitutional question is settled. Although, he reiterates Fianna Fail’s refusal to consider SF as a potential government partner, there seems to be a bit of softening on that. It is not … Read more

No white smoke yet..

Sinn Féin’s ard chomhairle are currently meeting in Dublin, SF statement here, and there’s a lot of coverage of what the hyperbolic Secretary of State for Wales etc, Peter Hain, refers to as – “This move by Gerry Adams is of enormous significance and is of seismic importance.” The Irish Times also has an interview with Gerry Adams[subs req], one of a series he did with various media outlets yesterday, in which he hints at the possibility of further delays.. … Read more

The Price of Shame

Many of the papers carry details of the 1976 state documents now released and several focus on the murder of Christopher Ewart Biggs, the British Ambassador to Ireland who was less than 2 weeks in the job before he was killed along with an aide. The Daily Telegraph reports that Martin Taylor, a PIRA man who was one of 7 to escape the Maidstone Prison ship by swimming across Belfast Lough was the key suspect. He was not convicted as … Read more