The Secret War that Brought the Secret to Peace

George Brock reviews Ed Moloney’s new book Paisley, Steve Bruce’s new book Paisley along with the second edition of Ed Moloney’s Secret History of the IRA while also looking at Kenneth Bloomfield’s A Tragedy of Errors, and concludes the real thanks for peace go to the spooks and spies that made it possible. It’s a fascinating read. By 1987, when Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness were already in secret, deniable communication with London, the securocrats were well enough informed to … Read more

Now about that Irish referendum…

England Expects throws up an interesting anomaly. It seems that in a recent vote to respect the decision of the Republic’s referendum, the two Unionist MEPs (otherwise known Brussels as ‘the two Jims’) found themselves on opposite sides of the vote. Sinn Fein’s Ms de Brún does not seem to have registered in the vote at all, which is strange since, presumably. her decision would have been something of a no brainer. The aye’s included Jim Allister, and the noes, … Read more

“somewhat distorted by political comment and controversy..”

Now that he’s just an ordinary MLA, Ian Paisley Jnr may have more latitude in expressing support for the planning application by Seymour Sweeney for a Causeway Centre.. but I’d suggest there will be some raised eyebrows in the Environment Minister’s office over his comments on the news that Mr Sweeney has requested a hearing at the independent Planning Appeals Commission on the Minister’s ‘notice of opinion to refuse’ that application. From the Belfast Telegraph report Mr Paisley Jnr today … Read more

Ireland’s Cricket World Cup: not hype, just history…

Looks like a must buy: the long awaited: the DVD documentary on the Cricket World cup in the West Indies. It has intrigue, tragedy unexpected success and ultimate failure. The DVD release date for “Breaking Boundaries – Ireland’s Extraordinary Cricket World Cup” is Friday March 7th, with a charity screening at Dublin’s Sugar Club in Lower Leeson Street on Monday 3rd March (and in the Gaiety in Sligo on the 5th). More history, courtesy of Nevin… Mick FealtyMick is founding … Read more

Blogger forces ‘tactical withdrawal’ on British Army?

Beano is annoyed with Matt Drudge for revealing the fact that Prince Harry is out in Afghanistan fighting in a front line situation, when a deal had already clearly been done with the BBC to keep it secret until he was safely shipped home. Drudge seems to have forced a tactical withdrawal on the British Army. The Telegraph calls this guy (a blogger, no less) the most powerful journalist in the world. Would he have done it if it had … Read more

Books: The Telling Year – Belfast 1972

What I remember of 1972 is searching through front page headlines to see who’d been killed the night before, and all but on one occasion being thankful it wasn’t anyone I knew. Even traumatic events like Bloody Sunday quickly faded as Republican and Loyalists took it upon themselves to conduct a particularly nasty game of tit for tat, snuffing out the lives of many ordinary people in the wider population as a kind of macabre tally of success. One Protestant … Read more

“Derry City Council recognises the need to facilitate former property owners..”

Having made the preparations to forcibly evict residents in the vested lands around City of Derry Airport, if necessary, we’ll have to wait to see whether Derry City Council actually use those powers. The deadline for residents to move out is Saturday 1st March but it’s worth highlighting, from the BBC report, that the Department of Environment has yet to decide on the Council’s application to approve interim rental payments – although there is no indication of when that application … Read more

“Whoever, one day, should succeed him, they are bound to continue that work too”

With the apparent growing acceptance, despite Mrs Paisley’s wishes, that Ian Paisley Snr’s leadership of the DUP “is coming to the latter stages” what happens next is now a valid topic for questions to the Republic of Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, and for Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward, who held a bilateral meeting in Dublin today. Mr Ahern said he would like to see Mr Paisley continue in his position for the short-term as he … Read more

Murphy trial edges closer

A short report from yesterday which almost slipped under the radar. The trial of “good republican” Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy in the Special Criminal Court, on charges connected to alleged revenue offences, could begin in late May or early June. Mr Murphy was remanded on continuing bail until April when the case will be mentioned again. Pete Baker

On the anathema of overbearing political consensus…

Our friend in the north was not impressed with last week’s Let’s Talk and reckons it raises questions about the premise on which regional programmes are made. The problem is not the BBC’s per se: …do not look upon it as merely a case of bad TV. BBC Northern Ireland is only reflecting what is going on in the local political arena. Outside of the studio sectarian differences and policy disagreements are, along with questionable finances, getting swept under the … Read more

“a significant change in direction away from Northern Ireland politics..”

With the British Irish Council establishing a permanent secretariat the British Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body could be excused a period of existential angst. The DUP’s Peter Robinson may have made a presentation to the BIIP Body in April 2006, but neither the DUP nor the UUP have taken their seats. The BBC’s Martina Purdy reports that the BIIPB steering committee member, Niall Blaney, TD, is in Belfast this week, meeting the DUP’s Peter Robinson and Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey. … Read more

Northern Ireland Newspeak

Newspeak was the official language of Oceania in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four. One of Oceania’s slogans was “War is Peace.”Currently there are a number of problems facing the Chuckle Coalition up on the hill. The devolution of policing and justice, demanded by SF, but rejected for the moment by Paisley and various other DUPers. The debacle of the Dromore by election and the apparent concern in some DUP circles about the chuckling added to the demise of Paisley junior … Read more

“I cannot prove that, but that is my conviction..”

If you had thought that Sinn Féin disapproved of anyone making allegations without producing solid evidence.. Well, apparently it depends on who’s doing the alleging and, perhaps, what those allegations are. At the launch of his party’s 20th Anniversary Gibraltar/Milltown events porgramme [sic], SF leader Gerry Adams made some allegations of his own. Mr Adams said today: “It is my strong view that the killings in Gibraltar were authorised by Margaret Thatcher, and it is my strong view that the … Read more

“There is a growing acceptance that it is going to happen..”

The Belfast Telegraph reports that Northern Ireland First Minister, Ian Paisley Snr, has received the endorsement, and a clean bill of health, from his wife, Baroness Eileen Paisley – who wants him to continue in the role of First Minister “until he has done what he set out to and that is achieve peace and prosperity and normality.” Nothing too surprising in that. But the report also reveals that “the DUP is to hold an annual conference for the first … Read more

A Bill of Rights: more questions than answers..?

CHRIS Thornton takes a look at the long-running debate over the proposed Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. It’s been trundling along for a decade, but may be coming to a head, as the BoR Forum prepares to report its conclusions. While most would agree that a BoR is a good thing, there’s been relatively little debate about what it might entail – will some have more rights than others, for example, how will they be exercised, what consideration is … Read more

Age of Criminal Responsibility to rise to 18?

Although the Bill of Rights Forum is still in consultative mode, they’ve had their first controversial leak (subs locked), with the news of a proposal to push the age of criminal responsibility from ten up to 16, with a further view of raising it to 18. That would push NI out of line with England ad Wales and the island. According to the Irish News, no child in the Netherlands can be prosecuted for a crime under the age of … Read more

Well, he’s no Charlie McCreevy…

The Minister of Finance in the Republic, Brian Cowen likes a drink and is incurably social… Damien has the pictures… 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

Unity and left politics tops the poll

Following up my previous entry, Dimitris Christofias (AKEL), has been elected President of Cyprus. He has already received congratulations from Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat of Cumhuriyetçi Türk Partisi (Republican Turkish Party) – a left leaning party which has been in negotiations on rapproachement with Christofias’ AKEL for a number of years. Remembering Connolly’s claim that the Irish working class are the only incorruptible inheritors of the Irish freedom struggle, is the Cypriot left going to teach us a lesson … Read more

On Bertie’s last years in power…

Green Senator Dan Boyle has been talking out school it seems. Speaking on Newstalk, he suggested that Bertie Ahern is on the same limited time as his old buddy Tony Blair: “He won’t be putting himself forward as Taoiseach at the next general election. We’re now in a period of time that we have to find out, discover from the Taoiseach himself, when he feels his time for leaving within this period of Government is. We’re probably coming close to … Read more

Kenya: it hasn’t gone away

I have avoided blogging on Kenya for a while. I was hoping to blog some sort of possible solution and analyse it. Thus far, however, none has been forthcoming. There have been a series of negotiations between the President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga. The bones of an agreement seem to be there with power sharing and Mr. Odinga becoming Prime Minister. The failure to agree is complex problem. One problem is that the post of PM does … Read more