BlogTalk: have we a deal, or not?

Tonight begin the very first instalment of blogtalkradio in Ireland on Slugger O’Toole. Each week it will take the form of a hour long programme looking specifically at the complex world of Northern Irish politics. It goes live at 9pm, but will be archived and ready for download within a half hour of its online broadcast. The first show features Pete Baker, long term slugger blogger and, some say, scourge of the Secretary of State for Wales, etc…(don’t look at … Read more

Orange backs the Catholic church…

Implausible? Not really. Both are socially conservative religious organisations with very similar outlooks on a range of social issues… Not least in their response to Equality legislation as it is to be applied to adoption agencies. Ian Wilson, the Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, last night told The Scotsman that leaders of the Catholic Church had a right to be heard on such moral issues in politics. He spoke after Cormac Murphy O’Connor said: ” If … Read more

Is Paisley ready to say ‘goodbye to all that’?

Peter Taylor has a piece in the Guardian in which he notes the remarkable 5% default rate against the Ard Comhairle’s pro-policing motion. Remarkable indeed, if it were for the haemorrhaging of the unreconstructed anti PSNI element before the vote. However, Taylor notes that some pressure (if only emotional) is bound to come upon the DUP as to whether it is ready to make peace: Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of … Read more

“the chemistry already has changed”

Unconnected to tonight’s BlogTalkRadio discussion, Do we have a deal, or not?, but Vincent Browne has a timely follow-up to his Sunday Business Post article with an appearance today in the Irish Times where, provided there is more than a provisional acceptance of the police, he argues that[subs req] It hardly matters now whether there will be powersharing next March. The key issue was acceptance of the police. His argument might not be fully accepted by Sinn Féin who have … Read more

No odds for a restoration, yet…

Interesting to note that after a few days of offering a market on restoration of the Assembly, Eastwoods have pulled it due to ‘fluctuations in the market’. They assure us they will be offering odds again in the next few days… Nothing from Paddy Power either… 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 … Read more

House of Representatives calls for Finucane Inquiry…

Looks like the McCartney killing is not the only one that’s not going to go away. In case you missed the US House of Representatives last night discussed a motion calling on the UK government to establish a public judicial inquiry to look into the killing of Pat Finucane. in 1988. But as Brian Feeney has noted that is a door the British government seems to have shut tightly two years ago. The Pat Finucane Centre has much more detail… … Read more


With thousands of civil servants, members of the Public and Commercial Services union, taking strike action today in protest against plans to cut more than 100,000 civil service jobs – and with predictions that the Welsh Assembly will close for the day as a result – the question for the Secretary of State for Wales, etc, Peter Hain, is whether he will be crossing any picket lines? Courting the unions has, after all, been a key part of his ongoing, … Read more

Sinn Fein’s new media surge…

Last time we did a proper review of the web output of all our parties, the verdict on Sinn Fein was something along the lines of ‘competent, but dull’… The same pretty still stands for the main site, but they are definitely moving in the right direction elsewhere. You can download Sinn Fein video from YouTube, or get to its youth site on MySpace (she‘s just turned ninety and she’s female, if you are interested!) and BeBo. Oh, there’s the … Read more

The Power of Persuasion

Before: Today’s Newshound links to an Irish Democrat article by Father Joe McVeigh railing against the new MI5 building going up in Holywood. It’s a hot, strong article, claiming, the new base is “literally entrenching the intelligence agency’s position in Ireland”, is a “sinister development on Irish soil”, that “MI5 has shown nothing but contempt for democracy and for the Irish people throughout its history”. He writes, “By giving MI5 primacy in intelligence-gathering next year, the British are ensuring that … Read more

O’Dowd: criminals have no place in Republican communities…

Asked by Seamus McKee if his party would back Catherine McCartney’s call for his party to help find her brother’s killer, John O’Dowd gave an unequivocal yes, saying further that criminals ‘had no place in Republican communities’. However, considering an internal IRA enquiry was convinced it knew enough to offer to have two individuals it held responsible shot, the question is not likely to go away any time soon, if the extraordinary communal silence surrounding his murder continues. Mick FealtyMick … Read more

Orde: Nationalist parties used report as a political football…

John O’Dowd of Sinn Fein on Good Morning Ulster this morning dismissed Hugh Orde’s accusation that Sinn Fein and the SDLP treated Nuala O’Loan’s report as a political football, rather than as a serious document within it’s own terms. Update: David Gordon has fuller detail in the morning edition of the Belfast Telegraph. 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

Slugger Radio begins tomorrow night…

Tomorrow night we kick off a series of broadcast/podcast ‘blog radio’ programmes, each with different themed conversation. Tomorrow, we ask: Do we have a deal, or not? Using BlogTalkRadio, we’ll broadcast the ‘programme’ at 9pm GMT tomorrow and then within fifteen minutes it should be archived and available for download online. Even better, listeners can call in during recording and join in the conversation (though at the moment, the access numbers are US based!). Pete will help us get the … Read more

McCartney is Sinn Fein’s policing litmus…

On the second anniversary of the killing of Robert McCartney, his sister Catherine has argued that the acid test for Sinn Fein’s new found support for the PSNI should be their public encouragement for witnesses to take what they know directly to the police: His sister said Sinn Fein now had no excuse not to assist the police probe. “If it was purely a policing issue for Sinn Fein that has now been removed,” Ms McCartney said. “Sinn Fein members … Read more

Which Juvenal epigram, indeed..

Over at Mick’s other occasional haunt, Comment if Free, novelist Glenn Patterson has been looking at a few potential problem areas for the police as a seemingly irresistable momentum gathers – including a, possibly, provisional definition of what is unacceptable crime, “if there are crimes against the people, against citizens, Sinn Fein will be urging and encouraging victims and citizens to co-operate with the police”, as well as the issue of the ‘good’ UDA I noted recently – in order … Read more

Guido on Hain, bloggers and the media…

Guido Fawkes is guesting on Good Morning Ulster tomorrow morning at about 7.10am. Should be worth a listen. The reason: his publishing of Peter Hain’s strategy document for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party. Since Blair declared he was leaving, the cabinet has become something of a jungle with, some would say, some ministerial minds not entirely on the job in hand… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet … Read more

“suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice”

If you thought Prime Minister Tony Blair looked as if he had other things on his mind as he pushed the provisional starter button for a March election.. you could be right. Guido, gleefully, recalls where he was when he heard the news that Lord Levy had been re-arrested – this time on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice – before being questioned and released on bail. That’s the second arrest on the question of a cover-up … Read more

Sinn Fein support joining PSNI

“If young republicans, or indeed any age of republicans, want to join it that’s their right and we would support them doing that,” Gerry Adams said. Rusty Nail

Blair expected to push election starter button tonight…

Well Sinn Fein have been in their Ard Comhairle huddle (apparently trying to define more narrowly just what kind of policing they are actually going to sign up to). And the taoiseach’s been in Downing Street. Result, we are going to provisionally get an election, we think. Fat lady and British PM have yet to sing. We hope to announce our own provisional arrangements for live blogging the election in the next few days. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of … Read more

Street politics outside the RDS…

Willie Frazer seems to get a rise out of some of the people gathered to go into the Ard Fheis. Mostly it turns into ‘an argument’ over who were the agents of the British government in Ireland… Video here… Newsletter report here… 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: … Read more

“the pace of movement has been too slow.”

Given some recent High Court decisions and the associated threats noted from the ‘good’ mainstream UDA, what the 13th IMC report has to say on that mainstream UDA is worth highlighting.From the IMC report[pdf file] Ulster Defence Association (UDA) 2.24 In our previous report we described the picture of UDA activity as mixed. We believed that people connected with the UDA were likely to have been responsible for one murder, though we had no indication that it was sanctioned. Members … Read more