It was lack of southern Protestants ‘wot lost it’…

Tongue firmly in cheek, Newton Emerson reckons that Sinn Fein ‘bombed’ simply because there weren’t enough Protestants in the Republic to wind up their supporters… (subs needed) Newton’s Optic: Sinn Féin has blamed “a serious shortage of Protestants in the 26 counties” for its poor showing in last week’s election. “Sinn Féin draws its core support from people who can’t be relied on to vote,” explained Dr Pat Answer, Professor of Advanced Shinnerology at Dublin Sunday Business College. “They might … Read more

issues of the past have established a barrier in the road toward re-establishing the trust necessary

The Policing Board are meeting today, with new political members and new independent members present, and after re-electing Desmond Rea and Barry Gilligan as chair and vice-chair they were presented with the final report [pdf file] from the Policing Oversight Commissioner Al Hutchison. NI Security Miinister Paul Goggins MP has already welcomed it, and with 140 of the 175 Patten recommendations implemented in full it looks good for the PSNI.. but there’s an interesting point highlighted in this report – … Read more

Where faith and politics meet

While one local politician has firmly nailed his colours to the mast on the morality of homosexuality, Cardinal Keith O’Brien is demanding Scottish politicians do likewise on the issue of abortion. In a sermon to mark the 40th anniversary of the Abortion Act, he will instruct his members not to vote for pro-abortion politicians and the Church may exclude Roman Catholic politicians from Communion if they vote for pro-abortion measures. The BBC correspondent claims that past Church criticism of the … Read more

Labour’s difficulty, SF’s lost opportunity?

In yesterday’s Irish News Brian Feeney reckoned that the party which came out worst in the Republic’s election (after the PDs) was Labour. Though they stayed steady on 20 seats, they failed to move forward, and renew their team inside the Dail chamber. Today Pat Rabbitte confesses that he probably should have done more and hit harder on the economy. Though, I suspect, that if they were going to rise above the din of detail, one or two ‘big ideas’ … Read more

Harney being wooed by both sides…

Just two out of eight seats left in the Dail, but the PDs are being courted by both major parties. Even so, aryHarney is not giving anything away. And Paddy Power, Betfair, et al don’t get to pay out on the sharpest punters for another while, whilst the internal horsetrading continues. Update: Interesting aside from Trevor Sargent, who clearly thinks Harney’s response will be critical to his own party’s advance. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written … Read more

Ex-PD leader is YouTube star….

THE ‘Rumble in Ranelagh’ between the Greens’ John Gormley and ex-PD leader Michael McDowell has now attracted more combined hits on YouTube than McDowell did in first preference votes. Belfast Gonzo

Sinn Fein’s delay tactics in north cost it bounce in south…

So much of what occured after the Belfast Agreement is so hidden from open scrutiny that it is often a case of paying your money and take your choice of who was responsible for who ultimately collapsed the outworking of that deal. Republicans blame unionists, and vice versa. However, much as it looked as though David Trimble paid the political price at the Assembly election of November 2003, Ed Moloney speculates that last Thursday Sinn Fein may just have antied … Read more

What if, there had been full secular schooling…

Not sure I completely agree that France is the best example of secular schooling, since there is a significant Catholic sector there that does well out of parental dissatisfaction over the way enormous state Lycees and Colleges churn through correspondingly large numbers of students. But Beano believes not only that secular schooling is the way forward, but points out that in its early history, Northern Ireland attempted to roll out just such a project. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of … Read more

Time for the GAA to break out of ‘English’ shires?

Frank McNally in yesterday’s Irish Times (subs needed), reckons the GAA’s English inspired county system is doing his native Monaghan no good. Indeed, he ‘argues’, a bit of flexibility might just open up whole swathes of Gaelic Games to stiffer competition: …consider my own county of Monaghan, formerly part of the ancient territory of Oriel, which also comprised much of current-day Armagh and Louth. It has been noted that, in its shape on the map, Monaghan bears an uncanny resemblance … Read more

What the Wright inquiry won’t see…

Chris Thorton notes in yesterday’s Belfast Telegraph that much of the evidence will be missing for the Wright Inquiry as it begins public hearings about the LVF chief’s murder. And since the head of the Maze at the time, Martin Mogg, died back in 2005, he cannot answer allegations that he destroyed much of the material. Key records from the Maze Prison at the time of the murder are known to have been destroyed, including security files on 800 prisoners … Read more

DUP Minister for Gay Equality voices homosexual hatred…

AFTER one DUP minister spent most of the day lecturing other parties that they were in breach of the ministerial code, another DUP minister appears to be in breach of, um, the ministerial code. Junior Minister, Paisley Junior, says he’s “repulsed” by gays and added: “I think it is wrong. I think that those people harm themselves and – without caring about it – harm society.” As part of his daddy’s office, Junior is partly responsible for delivering equality – … Read more

“Please vote now before the poll closes..”

Following last night’s Newsnight special, with the candidates for deputy Prime Minister leader of the Labour Party, the BBC are holding an online poll to test the audience reaction. You can watch it again here or read it here.. But it seems that it’s not just Sinn Féin failing to get a bounce from that ‘indigenous deal’ at Stormont.. with betting currently at 18-1 against, and the long shot on the list, the Secretary of State for Wales etc’s campaign … Read more

The Committee for Long Tedious Names That Will Probably Make It Impossible To Fit In A Single Hea…

AND the winner of the Most Boringly Longwinded Committee Name in the Known World is the Assembly’s renamed Committee of the Centre – now called the Committee for the Office of the First and Deputy First Ministers. It might do exactly what it says on the tin, but surely they could’ve come up with something snappier? Mark Devenport lists a few alternatives, but I’m sure there are others! Belfast Gonzo

Corporation tax cut ruled out non-shocker…

I THINK most Slugger contributors were canny enough to realise that the review into corporation tax levels in Northern Ireland was a fairly cynical ploy by the Government to fob the parties off and get them into an Executive. And lo, it unsurprisingly came to pass, that Sir David Varney turned out to be a ‘yes’ man after all. A source told the Financial Times that Varney “absolutely dismissed the idea” in meetings with the parties last week. “He discussed … Read more

In praise of selection and educational elites

The Belfast Telegraph is giving away mock 11+ papers each day this week. A reminder, if such were needed, Northern Ireland sits outside the emerging consensus on the undesirability of grammar schools. However, that’s not how the Economist sees it. It argues not simply that selection is good, but that the real problem is that government is not fully harnessing the power of the market ensure resources flow the ‘hard to teach’ kids as well as to the bright poor. … Read more

Fine Gael ‘definately’ not talking to Sinn Fein…

Here’s a thing. Enda Kenny is still trying to make a fight of getting the keys to the Taoiseach’s office. Getting the numbers might be a lot easier if they had Sinn Fein on board. Finian McGrath has alleged they have made an approach to that quarter and now the party is in full official denial mode. Though it hasn’t stopped some of their internet ‘irregulars’ from doing a little speculation of their own. Chris Gaskin does some more plausible … Read more

“and in light of the other budgetary pressures facing the Executive”

The BBC report that Finance Minister Peter Robinson has criticised members of the NI Executive who voted in favour of the Alliance party’s amendment yesterday, and he says those that did broke the ministerial code as the executive had unanimously agreed not to vote for high-spending measures unless all ministers supported them. However, as observer correctly pointed out in the comments zone here last night, the Assembly actually passed the UUP amendment to the motion, after voting on the Alliance … Read more

Dragon’s Den on Northern Ireland’s economic future…

Spotlight have last week’s programme up on line. Beware though, I could only get it to work on Internet Explorer. Good idea, well done. Mike Smyth, it says, has the toughest assignment: arguing that Northern Ireland could become economically independent. Fine start though: “Northern Ireland is the grumbling appendix of the United Kingdom. First of all because it gives the host pain and grief from time to time. Secondly, nobody really knows what its purpose is. And, thirdly, as you … Read more