“No more exceptionally stupid wars” in NI…

WHILE I’m not convinced that the ‘lessons of Northern Ireland’ are directly applicable to other conflicts, there are some lovely turns of phrase in this article in Kenya’s Daily Nation. Here’s one: Essentially, the army in Northern Ireland prevented warmongers and brewers of hatred from annihilating each other. Meanwhile, they became civilised. Hopefully, a relapse to barbarism will remain on vacation. Then the remaining 5,000 British troops can just train and expect no more exceptionally stupid wars. One more: There’s … Read more

UUP and DUP support smaller OFMDFM (unless they’re in it)…

ULSTER Unionist deputy leader Danny Kennedy has been complaining that staffing levels at the Office of the First and Deputy First Ministers are too high – at 415. However, he forgot to mention that when the UUP was in charge of the office, it employed between 417 and 424. Meanwhile, Junior Minister Paisley Junior has (rather feebly) defended the sleekit appointment of two special advisers to him and his Sinn Fein counterpart, Gerry Kelly, by saying it was the Secretary … Read more

Judicial review of school places allocation

This story probably has a few weeks to run but it should be an interesting one. Lord Chief Justice Brian Kerr has granted leave for a judicial review of the withdrawal of offers of school places to two Londonderry girls by St Cecilia’s College The BBC report notes that “The case is being taken against the Board of Governors, the Western Education and Library Board and the Department of Education.” As the various reports record the key element in the … Read more

“Catholic sectarianism does not need to be confronted because it does not exist”

Interesting reworking of a recent Irish Times column by Fintan O’Toole. This time it goes just a bit deeper and cuts into some very dark territory largely hidden by powerful political grand narratives that sheltered many Catholics from the gruesome reality of things that were done in the name of their defence. Accordingly, he argues, Northern Ireland’s Catholics had never had to confront their own sectarian hard wiring, until Darren Graham “had the temerity to punch through the tribal stereotype … Read more

“there is a small number of people intent on dragging us backwards..”

Local Sinn Féin councillor Dessie Ward was reasonably quick to condemn the attack on Seagoe Orange Hall, in Portadown, in the early hours of Thursday morning – one of a number of attacks noted yesterday. So what exactly was a member of Ógra Shinn Féin, the party’s youth wing, doing on the roof of another Orange Hall, in Newcastle Co Down, in the early hours of Friday morning.. Adds It’s not clear from the Newsletter report which date this occured … Read more

BBC taking the urine?

From the BBC NI website That highlighted text in full NI politics blog Mark Devenport takes a urinary track around Belfast And I know that the post being referred to includes the line “Finally, the new extension to the Grand Opera House leaves something to be desired (guide – “it looks like a big urinal”).” but still.. Pete Baker

There may be troubles ahead…

[Cue music] This autumn looks like it will be time for our new found friends to face the music and dance.There are some obvious candidates for causing trouble between the Houses of Ian and Martin, that have already been extensively discussed here on Slugger: Key issues over policing and criminal justice are by no means agreed, despite the target date of next May, and a row is definitely brewing over the introduction of an Irish Language Act. “These and other … Read more

“We are living in an Orwellian state and we need to be aware of that.”

In the ongoing discussion over the Eames/Bradley group’s consultation I’ve been pointing on occasion to a previous post noting Tim Garton Ash’s CiF piece on Poland’s experience – “Delay has its own heavy price. The poison accumulates in the system.” So it shouldn’t be a surprise that, even if the accusations made against Polish prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski and his twin brother Lech, the president, are untrue, this report would interest me.. Note, even if they are false, the accusations … Read more

Castlereagh councillor quits

DUP Castlereagh councillor Charlie Tosh has resigned from the party citing a row with another councillor and dissatisfaction with the public relationship between Paisley and McGuinness. Lee Reynolds

One by one they are leaving Belfast…

Good news for Belfast is that there is much less news than there has been since well before the Troubles kicked off… bad news is that the jobs in journalism (which have been a proving ground for some of the world’s leading journalists local and international) are slowly disappearing. The Guardian did not replace Angelique Christafis with a Belfast based full timer when she left for Paris last year. Now the Sunday Times operation is closing in Belfast and all … Read more

The trouble with ‘foolish consistency’…

Nice Emerson quote from Brian Feeney, who reckons, not unreasonably, that Pat Rabbitte’s over zealous consistency was his political undoing…Feeney reckons that Mullingar was Rabbitte’s undoing: The origins of his failure lie in his incomprehensible decision to push the ill-fated Mullingar Accord through his party in 2004 tying Labour to the right-wing Fine Gael. To the consternation of many Labour TDs Rabbitte then supported Fine Gael spokespersons making a series of announcements on policy documents in the year before the … Read more

“Very small-minded individuals have taken it upon themselves to raise tensions”

Just a quick round-up of the recent spate of apparent arson attempts. A continuation of attacks at Twaddell Avenue in Belfast the other day, to the “suspicious” fire at a building in Lisnaskea County Fermanagh where Sinn Féin MP, and Agriculture Minister, Michelle Gildernew has an office, to the attack on Seagoe Orange Hall in Portadown. And Fair Deal points to this recent attack. A triumph of top-down politics, indeed.. Pete Baker

Sinn Fein’s second defection…

If one defection is unlucky; to lose two is downright careless. This column from the Southern Star almost anticipates the defection of Daniel Callanan, and reports widespread disaffection amongst Sinn Fein councillors with the directions from the top of the party to support Labour candidates in the Seanad elections. Not a disaster, but perhaps an intimation of the limits of ‘democratic centralism’? Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on … Read more

This sporting life?

In the US, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick pleaded guilty last week to federal charges relating to the operation of a dogfighting ring over a month after being indicted. – he faces a possible 6 year sentence. Here the BBC claim to have evidence, to be broadcast tonight, that Tyrone GAA player, and all-Ireland medal winner, Gerard Cavlan, “is a senior figure in a dog fighting operation known as The Bulldog Sanctuary Kennels.” When previously charged with possession of a … Read more

Special advisors for “friendly little piglets”

Thanks to a slow news day, and an archive, I was able to note the BBC’s Martina Purdy’s post on how party political opinions of the positions of junior ministers, to the First and Deputy First Ministers, have changed in a short period of time.. Now it appears that the positions are deemed to be so important, and/or complicated, that the current incumbents need a special advisor each. The key element in the story, along with the new salaries, is … Read more

“the influence that the church used to exert simply by being the churches”

It’s probably evident that I don’t have much time for most supernaturalists.. but the new primate of the Church of Ireland, Archbishop Alan Harper, might just be one I can agree with – at least on the point he makes in this report.From the report, which refers to an interview in the Church of Ireland Gazette. The changing role of the churches in society means that weight of numbers is no longer sufficient to ensure the churches` voices will be … Read more

Cabinet meet to defuse Shannon row..

The first meeting of the Irish Cabinet since the Dáil rose at the start of the summer takes place today and as the RTÉ report says – “The Cabinet is expected to spend a considerable amount of time trying to find ways of defusing the political and economic head of steam in the mid-west.” That would be on this issue. And it’s being reported that the Taoiseach’s inter-departmental group are expected “to conclude that Shannon airport is already well connected … Read more

Is squeezing the lifeblood out of Protestant Londonderry, modern Derry’s quiet disgrace?

Today an existing group of Church of Ireland parishes of “St Peter’s, Culmore and Muff are to be amalgamated with the parish of Christ Church. The move means that one parish will serve an area stretching from Derry city centre right into Co Donegal”. As this University of Ulster report noted between 1971 and 1991 the Protestant population on the Cityside of the river declined by some 83.4%. When Londonderry and Foyle College leaves for the other side of the … Read more

Is Reg speading himself a bit thin..?

SIR Reg Empey must be pleased at Northern Ireland’s low unemployment rate, which stands at 3.7%. It would be even closer to zero if the Employment Minister didn’t have so many jobs for himself! OK, a bit facetious, but as Minister, MLA, UUP leader and councillor, and at a time when his party is in dire need of a massive overhaul and engaged in an internal debate over its role, is Reg spreading himself even thinner than his comb-over? Chris … Read more

Less than perfect drivers

Oh yes! A website to expose the less than perfect parkers and drivers in our midst. Shite drivers.com is the brain child of Niall O’Keefe from County Louth. The site allows people to expose all manner of less than ideal control of the vehicle. I know the subject of poor driving has come up here numerous times in the past, and I have strong feelings about people who wear caps and drive at 10 miles an hour from Hilltown to … Read more