The right stuff for Ceann Comhairle?

Julius wonders something I have wondered myself about the temperament of the new Ceann Comhairle in the Dail… 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

Cheltenham sold out of wet wipes…

Yep, it’s true. Even for those not directly affected by the floods in Gloucestershire, the mains water appears to be off over large swathes of the town of Cheltenham, whether directly affect by floods, or not. One ‘refugee’ I know who has temporarily re-located with her sister locally has been out buying supplies of ‘wet wipes’ before she goes back next week because they are sold out in her home town! Apparently there is nothing better available to wash with!! … Read more

Does what’s written on Facebook, stay on the Facebook?

Adam Maguire is not impressed with Facebook… Personally, I love it. The thing that really marks it out for me is the newsfeed which makes it both fun and more useful than the more passive resource of LinkedIn. But if you want to get really paranoid about the former, check out this little number… 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 … Read more

BBC re-education programme victim: the Daily Politics mug…

A bit of tongue-in-cheekery from Andrew Neil and the team…. Apparently new tough guidelines means they can’t give away their promotional mugs any more…but you can use this lovely cut and paste facsimile instead… 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

“Kovacs could film air like nobody I had ever seen”

Cinematographer Lazlo Kovac died this week – the American Society of Cinematographers has an account of his early life – from escaping Hungary in 1956, “carrying some 30,000 ft of film in sacks”, through early biker movies, to classics such as Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, and on to Ghostbusters and more recent, if less acclaimed, films. Guardian obit here. Also at the Guardian Andrew Pulver has been hunting on YouTube and links 10 great clips of the master’s work. … Read more

Bread.. and circuses.

The Derry Journal quotes Sinn Féin’s former[?] Director of Unionist Outreach, Martina Anderson, MLA, in response to suggestions from the 32 County Sovereignty Movement that “marches and pickets” at the doors of alleged drug dealers should be supported “Pickets are an option but I would hope that there are other steps we can take as a community before we get to that point. I am not ruling out that kind of action but other avenues should be explored before this. … Read more

Culture and Politics at the Feile this year…

The West Belfast Feile has finalised some the big literary and political events starting on Sunday week (ie 5th August). You can download the whole programme from here. For more details, you can contact the Feile office directly. Ireland and Slavery – Victims, Heroes or Perpetrators? St Mary’s University College Monday 6th August, 1pm In 1631 hundreds of inhabitants of Baltimore, Co. Cork were captured and brought as slaves to North Africa by Arab pirates. In 1786 radicals in Belfast … Read more

Landlords in NI cream £140 million in benefits…

Or rather other people’s benefits. Sinn Fein MLA Fra McCann has claimed that “people are being forced into the arms of an unregulated private sector”. “The buy-to-let market has grown over this past number of years and the rents set by the private rented sector by far surpass that of the Housing Executive, which is also forcing people into debt. “A review needs to be carried out to look specifically at this sector and how they set their rents.” But, … Read more

On moving further up the value chain..

The First and Deputy First Ministers held their first joint commercial press conference today.. to welcome the Bank of Ireland’s announcement of proposals for 149 jobs in the establishment of “a specialist funds administration business in Belfast” – namely the controversial, or at least the controversial bonuses earned, according to former Secretary of State Peter Hain, by managers of, hedge funds The new venture will service the rapidly growing offshore alternative investment funds market – specifically, the hedge fund segment … Read more

The ever expanding constitutional question…

Though it is generally true that Northern Irish Unionists don’t pay a huge amount of attention to affairs across the water, one at least is developing a strong reputation in Britain for narrating the changing tensions within the British constitutional debate. Ulsterman Arthur Aughey now blogs at Campaign for an English Parliament. Tom Griffin picks up his recent remarks on Gordon Brown’s early constitutional moves. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of … Read more

Let’s vote on it

Back in the early days of the DUP’s electoral victories, they thought that it would be strong, positive leadership of Unionism, to run away from fundamental questions. O’Neill reckons that it might be a good idea to put separatist ideas down with the weight of public opinion. Michael ShillidayI used to write and get paid, now I read and don’t. Former UUP staffer, currently living in London. @mjshilliday

Ulster troop’s websites a “bloody disgrace”…

Robert Carry writing in today’s Metro Eireann (ie the Dublin edition of the paper) follows the story of some of the Bebo photos dug up on Aughavey’s thread on the satirical march in Basra by members of the Irish Guards. A lot of what was displayed there went well beyond the bounds of satire.By Robert Carry BRITISH soldiers from Northern Ireland currently serving in Iraq have been using the internet social networking service Bebo to display a host of shocking … Read more

Irish Language Act: fulfillment of past promise or future concensus?

As noted previously, the parties seem short of concrete arguments on the merits and de-merits of the proposed Irish Language Act. Much of the public discussion comes down to: we’re having it; or, you’re not! Gerry Adams’ plans to tell the (currently belaboured) Minister for Culture Edwin Poots that he had already negotiated it separately with the former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. The BBC reports. Mr Poots insists he is not bound by promises made by the Prime Minister. … Read more

The quiet rehabilitation of Sinn Fein…

Sinn Fein’s rise to dominance in Northern Ireland has been anything but quiet. In the Republic however Sam Smyth reckons the Labour Party has quietly removed a psychological barrier between Sinn Fein and the other Dail parties: Sinn Fein’s new status as a born-again political party follows the voting pact between the Labour Party and Sinn Fein that secured a seat in the Seanad for both parties. Labour’s Alex White and Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty are now elected to the … Read more

“Do not get hung up on dates. That is not critical.”

The House of Commons NI Grand Committee met yesterday, for a debate on policing reform which was described by NIO minister Paul Gogins as “excellent”. And in the course of that debate the DUP MP, Jeffrey Donaldson, who is also chair of the sub-committee of the Executive here tasked with assessing whether to request the transfer of powers on policing and justice from Parliament, set out the DUP’s position on that request [scroll down to column 35] – in case … Read more

SDLP looking for new Head of Communications…

Hmmm… this looks like a well paid job, and if the party’s organisational review has some effect (and we hear some mixed messages on that), it could be a good one. But if not, it could be a very hard station indeed… 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

“It doesn’t add up, isn’t that right..”

The Mahon Tribunal doesn’t look like ending anytime soon, and due to a backlog of witnesses to question they’ve delayed the next appearance of Taoiseach Bertie Ahern until after the summer, but there have been some intriguing revelations in the evidence of the last two days from senior officials with AIB. Yesterday, as the Irish Times reported today, Philip Murphy, the assistant manager who dealt personally with Mr Ahern’s affairs at AIB O’Connell Street, “agreed that the bank’s records showed … Read more

More fragments on that Bulgarian stuff…

Here’s a few more snippets on that Bulgarian lead. It’s not clear that this was contained in the original, but it contains more detail than we were able get from Monday’s stuff… Thanks for the heads-up from commenter ‘Colin’ on the original thread… Still not yet a story, but it is certainly building into an interesting set of questions… Update below the fold: According to lawyers, the two Irishmen are clients of Bilbank, as they have for some time been … Read more

“FOI response was in some respects misleading and avoided addressing the question”

As Mick noted below. The BBC’s Mark Devenport points to the Scott Report [pdf file] based on the 67 questions set by Justice Girvan And here are the key paragraphs of his findings – see below – apparently it was all the fault of a misguided civil servant in the OFMDFM.. “in all probability..” Updated below Adds Mark Devenport’s update points to an interesting paragraph on page 14 of the Report 53. On 27 or 28.9.05, Dr Paisley (delivering the … Read more

Ryanair to fly in and out of Belfast?

Good news for O’Leary fans, Ryanair are going to fly from the George Best City airport to Glasgow, Liverpool and the East Midlands. After a shaky start Ryanair has developed more of a reputation for reliability in recent years. They’d be well advised to double check the facilities and the schedules being made available to them. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and … Read more