New Years honours

Seems a couple of days early, but the honours list is out. Top of the Northern Ireland list is head of the Civil Service, as he is now Sir Nigel Hamilton. Next is Dame Nuala O’Loan followed by Elieen Bell and Evelyn Collins CBE. Duncan McCausland gets an OBE and UUP MLA Fred Cobain gets an MBE along with Larne DUP Councillor Rachel Rea, boxer Gerry Storey and Portadown boss Ronnie McFall.

Northern Ireland seems to have done rather well, with only Fermanagh lacking a representative on the list. I stand corrected by comment 25.

  • Mick Fealty

    Guys, try making a substantive point, and leave the bile outside the door. I’m missing the Christmas break already.

  • Mark McGregor


    I think pointing out a head of the Equality Commission bending the knee to monarchy for a trinket as laughable is a valid point that doesn’t require deletion.

    Your blog though.

  • kidso

    The Queen of England lives of the people. So much for free speech. Christmas break? Long live censorship!

  • Mick Fealty

    I’m happy to sustain hard hitting political comment. There’s an interesting point buried in there. But one man’s trinket is another’s honour. The terms of abuse in the first three comments, just trivialise the issue and make serious debate impossible.

    Kidso, if you don’t like it you can vent your spleen on your own blog.

  • kidso

    are you referring to what i wrote and you censored as bile Mick? Post it back and let others decide,

  • Mark McGregor


    No offence, it is not buried. A gong for services to equality is a joke. Even the Guardian would spot it.

  • kidso

    ok Mick apologies from me.. I accept its your blog. I want to start a blog. how do I do it? Im not technologically minded.

  • Mick Fealty

    Kidso, is how I started. is what I run on, and is probably where I would start now if I were starting over. It’s ‘open source’ and gives you better ways of organising things further down the line. Having said that, Guido runs the biggest political blog in England from his account. If you want to keep it simple that might be the way to go.

    Good luck with it!

    BTW, I’m not discouraging you from commenting here. Just try and keep the points you make straight and serious.

  • kidso

    Thanks. Ive a lot to say about life here. experienced a lot. have loads of opinions. dont mean to offend . want others to know my viewpoint. never thought what i said would be deleted though. Im no loss to Slugger in your eyes Mick. But I am. I await your knighthood. Slán leat.

  • Mick Fealty

    GRMA, agus oíche mhaith! Tá sé in am orainn araon gabhail inar gcoladh.

  • harry

    were Gerry and Martin not remembered this year? oh dear. Heres me thinking that they would have got some wee something. like a MBE or CBE or Order of the Bended Knee for services to the Policing and Intellignce agencies.

    but faith lads, maybe next year. until then, you will just have to survive on the old government salaries and expense accounts.

    sure someone has to do it

  • lib2016

    Interesting that no-one in the SDLP got anything this year. I was amazed at the genuine anger of people whom I had thought of as fairly rightwing when Kelly accepted his last year and shot a hole through the SDLP’s claims to be a republican party.

    Where was this decided? Did Durkan manage to talk sense to the NIO or is it more widespread throughout the party?

    BTW Congratulations to those who did get decorated, particularly O’Loane who did give huge service to ALL the community.

  • heck

    i asked this before but did’nt get an answer. It there money with these things?

  • Mick Fealty


    I don’t believe there is. Though a lordship has the political implication that that individual can sit in the House of Lords. But check this site out:

  • lib2016

    The only decoration I have any personal knowledge of is the OBE. Some years ago a relative of mine, a very rightwing conservative republican, was asked if he would like one. I’m delighted to report that he turned it down but the point is that they don’t force these things on people and they do know that certain sections of society both here and in Britain want nothing to do with orders of the British Empire.

    Hence my query above about just who decided that there would be none for the SDLP this year.

  • Junior’s father-in-law is a man of steel

  • Bemused

    Hilarious that there are still all sorts of little-englander, class-conscious vulgarians ready and willing to accept these risible bits of tack – genuinely thought O’Loan would have had more style but there you go….

  • Twinbrook resident

    the richest, the most pampered, the most unaccountable, the head of a family of parasites that feeds of the backs of the BRITISH working class and all for free….
    gives out meaningless awards on behalf of HER PM.
    Gongs for the boys, lackies, wannabbe aristocrats and all those rightwing civil servants who get rewarded for doing their highly paid jobs..
    So much for YOUR British would someone walk my corgis!!!

  • DC

    The only one who really deserves an award is Nuala O’Loan.

    Mark as for the EC Chief Exec, are you saying that Royalty is inequitable or the fact that the EC itself operates in inequitable way with gender and religious imbalances making the award weird?

    Just trying to trick out what you mean….

  • joeCanuck

    I’ve no time for Royal families so I tend to look on these honours as “state” things which acknowledge the special things that some people do for the rest of us. People are entitled to accept them without being excoriated by those who have no time for them.
    If you don’t like it, just ignore it.

  • joeCanuck

    Mick, enough already; get rid of that video!

  • J Kelly

    Martin Bradley former SDLP Mayor of Derry got an MBE. Still on the sidelines of the SDLP, a quangoteer since leaving council, Arts Council, Chair of Millenium Forum in Derry. A very loyal member of the empire.

  • Rory

    There are some things in life that simply cannot be ignored, Joe, among them the denial of a knighthood for “services to the music industry” to the late Screaming Lord Sutch, who ought, had there been any justice been known by the title, Screaming Lord, Lord Sutch of Finsbury Park.

    Incidentally, why is it I wonder that Sir Sean Connery is enobled for his “services to the acting profession” while Sir Cliff Richard is awarded merely for services to “the music industry”. It would appear that Sir Sean has been honoured for his acting ability while Sir Cliff is accorded acknowledgement for his contribution to the profits of an industry wherein he labours, much as the tea-lady or toilet-attendant at EMI or the beard-plucker at Virgin. Is there not some slight intended here, I ask myself, that somehow plays down, indeed ignores, Sir Cliff’s immense contribution to music?

    Who among us can truthfully say that when they have accidentally tuned into “Mistletoe and Wine” on the car radio they have not immediately thought to themselves, “Fuck me! I better change over to some music quick !”

  • Truth & Justice

    Why has jack gallagher been left ou for his contribution to football.

  • brian f farry

    In the interests of accuracy as a Fermanagh man I feel it necessary to correct the error that the Erne County is not represented in this year’s list. Sir Patrick Haren is a Fermanagh man having been born in Brookeborough and is a past pupil of St Michael’s College in Enniskillen. Indeed I stand to be corrected but he is probably the first past pupil of that educational establishment to be elevated to what some would see as a distinguished position. However, I know quite a few of his former educators who would be disgusted at his acceptance of the knighthood as it would see itself as a great promoter of all things Irish exclusively and contemptuous of awards from British monarchs

  • Mark McGregor


    I’m saying that a head of the Equality Commission accepting an award from an organisation with an anti-Catholic stance is ridiculous.

  • lámh dearg

    sometimes, they get it right,

    Sr Bridie McLaughlin, Sister in the main medical ward in Altnagelvin Hospital for more years than she or I would care to remember.

    Day and night, 365 days a year, dealing with strokes, haemorrhages, overdoses, fits.

    A generation of patients cared for, a generation of relatives comforted a generation of nurses and doctors educated.


    LURED, Bridie!!

  • Mark, recent statistics demonstrate that the Equality Commission doesn’t lead by example: non-Catholics and males are underrepresented.

  • Mark McGregor

    Maybe the do as I say not as a do attitude from former/current heads is the reason the unemployment differential hasn’t reduced ever?

  • DC

    Ah Mark not at all that is a ‘Genuine Occupational Requirement’, just like no Protestants in teaching in Catholic schools.

    Cuts both ways hey dear boy.

  • Mark McGregor


    That may matter to someone that approves of religious schools. To me it is just a red-herring of no relevance.

    My good fellow (?).

  • Mark McGregor


    Just out of an interest in small facts, the only cases I can recall relating to religious discrimination over teacher employment were taken by Catholic teachers in Lisburn where the school successfully argued it had no case to answer as they were exempted from fair-employment law. Twas either Friends or Wallace iirc.

  • Mark McGregor

    Sorry, twas Laurelhill Community College that successfully argued against any case to answer on the grounds of permitted bias against Catholics.

  • Sir Dubliner KBE

    You know, Mark, it’s easy to be dismissive of the honours system when there is no prospect of ever being on the receiving end of an award. It becomes a tad more difficult as one advances in one’s chosen profession, making contributions here and there, receiving peer recognition, being nominated to this committee and elected to that federation, etc, culminating in the Prime Minister’s office recommending one to Liz… err, Her Majesty for an honour.

    We is most gratified to be among the elite. Yes, yes, I know that grubby jealous, minimum-wage types will attempt to demean the honours system by pointing out that it is not intended to honour the great and the good (those whom are nominated as such by political snakes) but is a means by which the utterly useless (both elected and unelected) seek to bask in reflected glory.

    How let us look at the types of award and their rating from :

    Companion of Honour
    Awarded for a pre-eminent and sustained contribution in the arts, science, medicine, or government.

    Awarded for a pre-eminent contribution in any field of activity, through achievement or service to the community, usually, but not exclusively at national level, or in a capacity which will be recognised by peer groups as inspirational and significant nationally, and which demonstrates sustained commitment.

    Awarded for a prominent national role of a lesser degree, or a conspicuous leading role in regional affairs, through achievement or service to the community, or making a highly distinguished, innovative contribution in his or her area of activity.

    Awarded for a distinguished regional or country-wide role in any field, through achievement or service to the community, including notable practitioners known nationally.

    Awarded for achievement or service in and to the community of a responsible kind which is outstanding in its field; or very local ‘hands-on’ service which stands out as an example to others. In both cases awards illuminate areas of dedicated service which merit public recognition.

    Hmmmm… hang on a second here – I feel thoroughly insulted now. Apparently, my award is not the highest ranked, meaning that my contribution isn’t rated as the greatest. It seems my contribution is deemed “pre-eminent” but not “pre-eminent and sustained.” They are implying that I am fickle and feckless, capable only of sporadic greatness. How dare they rank others higher who may look down on me as I may look down on the scavengers who only merited a CBE, OBE, or a humiliating entry level MBE!

  • DC

    In terms of non-admission to Protestants to teach in Catholic schools in Northern Ireland, it affects more people disproportionally than that of the monarchy situation, because there is more that one chair needing to be filled obviously.

    Whereas just think of the many opportunities refused to Protestants who do do ‘Christianity’ but just not the Catholic way.

    Basically, as said, the reason for this is such that they can be argued for as a ‘genuine occupational requirement’, hence you say save that for an argument over religious faith schooling well, to retort, save your grumble for that of whether a monarch is necessary otherwise put up with the ‘red herrings’ of exclusion from equality standards that give rise to your red herrings.

    If we were to take your concerns further the need to even have these awards should be looked at because of the apparent flaws with the monarchy system, not to put words in your mouth but it is something worthy of consideration as the monarchy has had its day overtaken by democratic ‘governance’.

    To go back to the point made by Nevin, as a Chief Exec there are attainments that the EC hasn’t achieved which would limit, you would think, the thoughts of an award being given while improvements are still to be made in terms of a balanced workforce within the Commission itself.

    The salient issue is the gender imbalance followed by the religious one which isn’t as bad to be fair but both are incongruous with the composition statistics of the working populace in Northern Ireland.

  • DC

    Hasten to add re:

    “the only cases I can recall relating to religious discrimination over teacher employment were taken by Catholic teachers”

    Lucky them, at least they have recourse, Protestants can’t take cases up against CCMS because of that ‘GOR’ which means put up and shut up.

    Ya see the problem all round when faith exclusions apply and it cutting both ways.

  • joeCanuck

    I find the teaching thingie quite amusing.
    I know lots of “Catholic” teachers who are athiests.
    They don’t get promotions of course since they refuse to lick certain bottoms.

  • The Dubliner

    I can’t think of a better way of ensuring that the great and the good support the monarchy than honouring them with its patronage. Once they accept the awards, they must censor future criticism and be supportive of the monarchy or be labelled hypocrites for accepting its benefaction. Since the great and the good are by default influential, it’s hard to see the honours system as anything less sinister than a tool of control.

    DC, you’re missing his point that Catholics can’t be head of state in the United Kingdom. That is institutionalised sectarianism. On one is banned from being a teacher because of his or her religion.

  • DC

    “DC, you’re missing his point that Catholics can’t be head of state in the United Kingdom. That is institutionalised sectarianism. On one is banned from being a teacher because of his or her religion.”

    Dubliner, this is very amusing and it’s not like you to not have your eye on the ball but you arguing in favour of one yet excluding the other on the very same grounds.

    The faith issue is the ‘core’ principle here that cuts both ways.

    I would say the power issue re the State is a concern but really is it any longer, is it not that the people of Parliament set the agenda and the monarch just supplies a royal seal, tokenistic measure perhaps.

    But in terms of a fair and workable economy, the exceptions to CCMS schooling system means people are excluded from drawing a wage by not having equality of opportunity which doesn’t really apply in the role of the monarch given the bloodline linkage from the outset already voids any real concept of equality of opportunity.

    Namely, you can’t go about applying to monarch under fair employment, etc which is what I thought Mark’s concerns where in that monarchy, regardless of its Church allegiance, is generally inequitable and has historically be proven to be at times also iniquitous.

  • Mark McGregor


    Though as we mentioned here before the ‘hidden’ secatrianism of state education in the north is now being exposed:

    Guaranteed places for members of the Protestant churches on the recruiting responsible Boards of Governors via the TRC.

    Guaranteed representation on the Education and Library Boards for Protestant churches through the TRC

    A guaranteed influence over the state teacher training college for Protestant churches through the TRC

    And a proven record of state schools being willing to claim an exemption from Fair Employment legislation when challenged by Catholics.

    They are pretty much different sides of the same coin. Both the Maintained and state sectors utterly religiously biased just like the monarchy.

  • lib2016

    We’re all in a bad mood this morning. It seems to me that the Equality Commission has been reporting about the difficulty it has in recruiting both enough men and enough Protestants for years, something which also effects the rest of the Civil Service.

    I’ve suggested – and been met with utter silence – that we could try positive discrimination. At the very least we should do some research to find out where unionist youth with mid level qualifications are getting work and what it would take to tempt them into applying for the civil service etc.

    Of course to any republican the whole ‘decoration’ lark seems a bit daft and yet…if pushed I just might consider a Legion d’Honor, just for the children, you understand.

    And there’s loads of Catholics with Papal decorations which some might consider to be slightly more presdigious than the tainted relics of a bygone empire.

    Whatever – congratulations to all who succeeded in their chosen fields. It would seem from what emerged above that the Civil Service did their best to avoid doing any harm which is always the great thing.

  • The Serpent

    Was just thinking about setting up my own honours system….The giggles no less.

    I am awarding my first giggle to Lib2016…for making me giggle.

    That is logical and appropriate.

  • The Serpent

    Can I also say that Lib2016 has come up with one of the greatest equivalents to the phrase…Damned by faint praise by way of suggesting that unionist youth with mid level qualifications might just might be tempted to seek high rank in the civil Service.

    I did LOL !!!!

  • lib2016

    The Serpent,

    It’s hard not to find the whole subject of the Honours System fairly ridiculous but some people obviously care and if it keeps them happy why not?.

    On the other subject we know that the Catholic school system has failed the deprived parts of society and that historically they were more interested in brainwashing/educating the ‘future leaders of society’. They seem to be trying to make amends for that behaviour now and that’s good but unfortunately we all know that poverty/deprivation can be a vicious cycle which the parents pass on to their children.

    It’s going to be a long time before we can have equality between the children of the Falls and the children of the Malone Road, and the children of the Shankill are just being forgotten about so we can hang onto a few grammar schoola.

    The State system has been successful in producing large numbers of people with fairly basic qualifications which fit them for jobs as technicans, foreman grade in manufacturing industries and low level security jobs in the police etc.

    It’s those jobs which are disappearing (95% of all the jobs lost in manufacturing last year were held by Protestants). I may have phrased it badly but it is a legitimate question to ask what options are opening up for those people.

  • JG

    Well done Ronnie McFall.

  • Dewi

    “95% of all the jobs lost in manufacturing last year were held by Protestants”

    Where did that come from Lib2016?

  • The Dubliner

    lib2016, the Shinners will make an anti-egalitarian monarchist out of you yet! It is not the business of the state to benchmark its citizens, sorting them into groups of differing status by criterion that is devised by the state.

    DC, I know nothing about NI’s education system, so I will keep out of that debate. It’s not that I won’t talk about issues I have no knowledge of, it’s more a case of being smart enough not to talk about them with folks who do.

    I assume you mean that non-Catholics are excluded from applying for teaching posts in Catholic schools? Are they? I would doubt that. But if they are, is that a problem? It doesn’t stop a non-Catholic from becoming a teacher. If the society wishes its kids to be educated in denominational schools, then that is a product of democratic self-determination. Since the Irish education system is regarded as one of the best in the world, it can’t be argued that the system has failed – nor, I assume, are there hordes of unemployed non-Catholic teachers.

    About the monarchy, its anti-Catholic stance is important because it institutionalises sectarianism – ask yourself why Tony Blair waited until after he left office to announce his conversion to Catholicism. It has nothing to do with fear of being called a “nutter” since no one would be called that if he held the protestant faith. He would be called that as an unsubtle euphemism for being called a Papist.

  • DC

    I have to say on this occasion Dub I don’t agree with what you say for the reason you seem to suggest it’s fair game to exclude one group but for the other, the Monarch, its abhorrent. And
    while you say Head of State the context is wrong because the post is more like figure-head of State all executive powers utterly stripped. But I do agree that it is wrong. No fan of any exclusion at all, nor a fan of exclusive posts.

    Re the Catholic teachers, isn’t it just applying same standards the Monarch is applying except in those schools opportunity opens at various different junctures more often, re availability of positions arising.

    And, in addition, I do know loads of unemployed teachers but they left Northern Ireland and have gone back to Scotland and England in particular to areas close to where they were taught to teach at university or other areas throughout England.

    They are there due to falling rolls here which doesn’t help anyone but in terms of Catholics, you gotta admit in terms of teaching they have more opportunities than Protestants as more doors are open, at least legally in that they are ‘allowed’ to apply for posts via open recruitment in all sectors bar none.

  • The Dubliner

    DC, I can’t debate this with you in any detail. I don’t see any reason why a non-catholic teacher cannot be employed in a catholic school to teach non-religious subjects, and I would be surprised if it is the case that they are excluded. However, even it that is the case, I don’t see how any problem arises, since teachers of a particular denomination will likely be of the same proportion to their denomination, i.e if 90% of kids are catholic and 5% are protestant then each denomination is likely to produce a proportionate number of teachers to fill the need. Unless protestants produce more teachers, proportionally, than catholics, then it all evens out. In NI, the population is roughly 50/50, so you shouldn’t have any problem. There is only one Jewish school in Dublin, Stratford College, so it is teachers from the minority religions who lose out. However, being part of that community, it simply isn’t an issue.

    In principle, I don’t see anything wrong with religious education. It is the choice of the parents how they wish their children to be educated. Again, I don’t see why a teacher of mathematics or geography needs to be catholic, protestant, muslin, etc, and I would be very surprised if that was the case, but if it is then that is the right of the parents/society to determine (unless the EU makes a mockery of the first article of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights again). I don’t think it is anymore discriminatory than specifying that medical examiners who visit schools (if they still do) should be employed by gender, with females examining the girls and males examining the boys. It’s a bit like arguing that the catholic church insisting that only catholic priests deliver communion discriminates against priests of other faiths. Is this a case of inventing a problem where there isn’t one?

    On a related issue, as regards parents of non-catholic children complaining that they are finding it hard to find places for their kids in a catholic country with a catholic school system and demanding that the system be changed to accommodate then: gee, didn’t it ever occur to the dolts to do some basic research about whether a country meets their needs before moving there? The system isn’t broke, so there is no need to fix it. Those that don’t like it can exit the same way they entered.

  • lib2016


    On checking I find that the exact figure is 93% and I took it from a Belfast Telegraph report “Ulster Protestants hardest hit by manufacturing decline” dated Monday December 18th.

    Sorry that I can’t do the link thingie but you will find it in the archive section of Newshound.

  • Jon

    Did anyone see Ronnie McFall being interviewed about his award on NI results on BBC1?

    I assume he meant to say he was humbled by the experience – unfortunately what he actually proclaimed was his severe humiliation at the honour!

  • DC

    Yes Dub I appeciate what you are sayin – so – WHAT? is the problem with the Monarchy.

    If you apply your standards in your comments above it seems that it is ok given the faith arrangements and endorsement of the UK to have a Monarchy in that way in which Catholics have schools for Catholics.

    I don’t understand your argument if there is one against the Monarchy because I understand why you support denominational aspects of Irish life how can you not come to terms with the British Monarchy which operates the same way. Exclusion.

  • DC

    “unfortunately what he actually proclaimed was his severe humiliation at the honour!”

    Nah, to me that’s the best statement made so far about such awards from the Qeen but it probably should have been used by certain other people who have been awarded instead of him – a few come to mind 🙂

  • ulsterfan

    On several occasions you extol the virtues of religious education saying this is what the parents wish to have for their children.
    I cant agree. When did parents ever get a choice?
    No! the church in Ireland assumed this responsibility not acting in the interests of children but to sustain a Catholic ethos in he schools and thus exercise control and influence for its own benefit.
    The State walked away from its responsibility.
    Who in Ireland in the 20 cent had the courage to oppose the Church. The answer no one as the they would have been crushed by the full weight of the Church. I cant think of one dissenting voice.

    Now let us have a debate on the separation of Church and State.

  • Dewi

    That 93% Protrestant job loss figure is astonishing. Thanks Lib.

  • Rory

    “Who in Ireland in the 20 cent had the courage to oppose the Church. The answer no one…I cant think of one dissenting voice.

    Not quite no-one, Ulsterfan. And I can think of at least one dissenting voice – Dr Noel Browne TD famously stood against the might of the Church with the Mother and Child Act, designed to help eradicate the scourge of tuberculosis.It is also true however that as a result he was, politically at least, ” crushed by the full weight of the Church”.

    Dr Browne was not alone, there has always been a strong voice of dissent against Church power. It simply has not been strong enough to withstand that power much less to break it. It took the pitiful whimpers of abused children to achieve that.

  • ulsterfan

    You are right about Dr Browne who took a stand on health/social issues.
    I was thinking of those critics in the field of education and there were very few even when Bishop McQuaid instructed his flock not to attend TCD as it was not the “right type of University”
    On the other hand he was ignored.