Archive | September, 2008

Save with Ireland

The BBC’s personal finance department says: “The emergency decision by the Irish government to guarantee the safety of all deposits in six of its main savings institutions for two years may give UK savers a great opportunity. If you want somewhere secure to put your cash during the current financial crisis, then opening an account more…

“Substantial amounts of money on consultants..”

BBC NI’s Martina Purdy has been examining the detailed list of MLAs’ Office Costs Alllowances for last year. And she’s noted that a significant number of Sinn Féin MLAs have claimed over £20,000 for, presumably, external “advice and consultancy fees”. The highest use of consultants appears to be by SF MLA Cathal Boylan.. with a more…

“it has never been about a merger..”

At the Our Kingdom blog, Tom Griffin rounds-up the sceptical voices on the proposed UUP/Conservative Party link-up – much as fair deal did. Meanwhile, UUP leader Reg Empey was on Stormont Live today from the Conservative Party Conference and, whilst he was keen to emphasise a positive meeting with David Cameron, he was also stressing more…

Welcome to the Slugger Awards 2008...

Welcome to the Slugger Awards 2008…

We had a great readers’ panel meeting on Saturday night, which significantly over ran the allotted and was very productive. Yesterday we were working with WIMPS up at Stormont grabbing video voxpops from politicians, lobbyists and political insiders. Winners’ night is next Tuesday in the Atrium of W5 at the Odyssey in Belfast, and is more…

Gurkhas win test case

Gurkhas win test case

Gurkhas have won their test case against the government. They challenged immigration rules which blocked many of them from settling in the UK.

Two classes of Irish in deposit guarantee gamble

Commentators have woken up to the scale of what the Irish government is doing – already noted by shrewd Sugger contributors – of more than doubling its GDP to offer up to 400 billion euros to all bank deposits, liabilities including retail, commercial and interbank deposits in Irish-owned banks, to take effect immediately and expiring more…

“to reap what are currently unquantifiable, long-term benefits..”

Sir George Bain’s report on the review of policy on location of public sector jobs has been received by the Finance Minister. Brief BBC report here and you can get the full report here. 27 recommendations in total. But there is a caution included in the report’s conclusion. 9.6 We also need to manage expectations. more…

Irish government throws pebble into the stream

It’s beyond general comment so I won’t even try. But can anybody tell me why in this turmoil the US Congress has to rise for the two days of the Jewish New Year? Irish government guarantees for deposits seems to have lifted stocks in Dublin for the moment but it can only be a pebble more…

Sunrise on Mars

“as in cirrus clouds on Earth..”

Just as the Jules Verne burns up in our atmosphere there are more wondrous images from the NASA Mars Phoenix lander. Beginning with sunrise on the lander’s 101st day on Mars – where the snow may well be general too.. They’ve also photographed some clouds on Sept. 18, 2008, during early afternoon hours of the more…

Devil in the detail?

Devil in the detail?

David Cameron has admitted that there are some difficulties in established the future UUP/Tory relationship. Devenport seems to focus upon where Sylvia Hermon stands. Lord Trimble’s intervention seems to have contributed to some electoral and relationship concerns. The subtext seems to be the Conservatives looking for a full merger with Ulster Unionists happier with what more…

“Destroying our immune system..”

DUP MLA, Iris Robinson, who chairs the Assembly’s Health Committee, appeared on Stormont Live today only to talk about the Health Minister’s announcement on prescription charges. But the notable part of the interview was her interesting, if un-scientific, view of the problems caused by the over-proscribing of antibiotics [1min 40secs in] “We’re not handing out more…

Ex prisoner on ‘Breakout’…

For a programme with very little political content the Breakout programme has generated a fair amount of controversy. Fair Deal’s dealt with Ann Marie Hourihane’s piece in today’s Irish Times. But Grassy Noel points in that thread to an excellent piece from ex Republican prisoner Anthony McIntyre who provides some ‘insider’ context on the main more…

“We don’t go in for political knee-cappings..”

SDLP MLA, and European candidate, Alban Magennis, with a valiant defence of the comments after the Fermanagh by-election by his party colleague, and political assistant, Cllr Niall Kelly aka blogger The Belfast Stoop. Of course, the party faces other problems. There’s also an interesting, if brief, point made about blogging and political discussion [approx 3mins more…

“…violence as a cheery caper”

Ann Marie Hourihane reviews the Breakout programme. She concludes that: “But viewers of Breakout were left asking if there is no spectacle the Protestant people of Northern Ireland will not have to endure to make republicans feel better about themselves. Is there no victory dance, be it ever so puerile, that they are not going more…

Northern Ireland sitting on its public sector cushion, isn’t immune unfortunately…

The financial crisis has exposed a big area of weakness in Northern Ireland’s post-Troubles’ resources-strapped journalism (except for the BBC)– economic coverage, unless it’s about business handouts or purely about the impact on people’s pockets. This mean fears and anxieties can be inflated and people can be caught unprepared. Less scrappy reporting and more consistent more…