Archive | November, 2008

“this triumvirate of party aristocrats..”

From today’s Politics Show, Jim Fitzpatrick introduces Dublin correspondent Shane Harrison’s regular short report on the political fortunes of Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Fianna Fáil, noting the “triumvirate of party aristocrats” in whose hands power now lies in Ireland.

Magnapinna

“Perdido ROV Visitor, What Is It?”

A different sort of extra-curricular post tonight, rather than looking to the skies this one involves looking into the ocean depths.. a mile and a half down in the Gulf of Mexico, where there still be monsters.. Like this giant elbowed squid, the rarely-seen Magnapinna. This is a still from a short video clip on more…

Labour live streaming from Kilkenny...

Labour live streaming from Kilkenny…

Irish Labour is webcasting its annual conference, so even if you cannot pick up the RTE feed you can get it from their website. They have the same company doing it as the European Commission in Ireland’s blogger’s conference did. So the quality should be good. Nice little snippets too from the party’s Twitter feed more…

Willie Frazer, Conor Murphy and fantasies

The Newsletter is reporting that Willie Frazer claims to have been the victim of an attempted kidnap in South Armagh; his own website also contains details of this episode, including the suggestion that this episode might have been in preparation for the murder of Mr. Frazer. Conor Murphy has described Mr. Frazer as “….a well-known more…

On Parliamentary freedoms and Trojan Horses...

On Parliamentary freedoms and Trojan Horses…

Two critical matters, it seems to me, arise from Tory MP Damian Green’s arrest. The apparent abandonment, by the Speaker, of his critical role protecting parliamentary privilege; for which there is only one logical outcome. And what exactly is going on with the supposedly neutral Civil Service? Several top Ministries now seem to be capable more…

“The Department is therefore under a statutory duty..”

When the Environment Minister, the DUP’s Sammy Wilson, rescinded Lisnaragh’s designation as an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI) a departmental spokesman emerged to claim that – “Given that the decision to confirm or rescind the declaration had to be made by 30 October and that there was insufficient time to discuss the committee’s concerns more…

“I may sound strangely medieval..”

Do our local MPs fully comprehend the implications of this particular controversy?The benchmark for Mr Speaker.. In January 1642, Charles, accompanied by over 300 swordsmen, entered St Stephen’s in a foolhardy attempt to arrest five of his principal opponents in the Commons on a charge of treason. The members, however, had been warned of Charles’s more…

“continue to explore opportunities to draw in additional private-sector finance..”

Having noted the Northern Ireland Executive’s decision to increase funding for the Titanic Signature Project I should, I guess, also note the progression of the bus-based Belfast rapid transport system.. except it’s the same pilot scheme revealed in April, which I noted then – it’s still estimated to cost £150million and the Department of Regional more…

Titanic Signature Project refloated..

Titanic Signature Project refloated..

Pending the [failed] bid for £25million of lottery funding, in May 2007 the Northern Ireland Executive had agreed to provide £32.5million of the then £90million Titanic Quarter Signature Project [pictured above]. But nevermind, the NI Executive have just upped their our contribution to £43.5million of the now £97million cost.. From the BBC report The rest more…

‘why are major variations in professional decision-making being found across Northern Ireland?’

With several high profile child abuse cases drawing attention to standards in child Health and Social Care services in England, Queen’s University, has a timely report from the Institute of Child Care Research, ‘From Care to Where?’. It highlights some inconsistencies and problems across local Care Services. The booklet is the first of three to more…

Northern Ireland winner with Vat cut as shopping war ecalates

Opinion in GB may turn up its collective nose at the Vat cut but the one part of these islands where it really matters is – guess where? In an open letter to Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan and Tánaiste Mary Coughlan yesterday, the (Drogheda) chamber called on them to “act urgently” to assist the more…

“better understanding cultural and historical aspects of parading and protest in Northern Ireland..”

Bizarre short report in the Irish Times on the Northern Ireland Parades Commission and their apparent self-education programme – “Six members of the commission have been on a three-day visit [to Dublin] ending today to sites associated with the Easter Rising in 1916.” Dr [Michael] Boyle [director of programmes and policy at the commission] said more…

Will you be having ‘soup’ for starters?

Sorry, I just could not resist it. Gary‘s picked up what is no doubt a well intentioned, but unfortunately named Presbyterian Youth conference. Spud is an attempt by the Presbyterian church in Ireland to reach out and give its young people a say in Church affairs, which is just the kind of good stuff you’d more…

“Irishness Incompatible With Britishness”

Mary McAleese, President of the Occupied Twenty-Six Counties© (OTSC), today made a historic visit to Brakey Orange Hall at Bailieborough in Co. Cavan. She quoted as being; delighted to be in the presence of “a good Cavan man, a good Irishman and a good Orangeman.” A view disputed by RSF with their statement that as more…

“My attendance proves my commitment to this new political force..”

Now that the “electoral pact” is settled [for now.. – Ed] the Conservative Party leader David Cameron confirms he will attend the postponed UUP conference. From the BBC report “My attendance proves my commitment to this new political force,” [David Cameron] said. The Ulster Unionist leader, Sir Reg Empey, said he was “delighted” that Mr more…

Henry McDonald's Gunsmoke and Mirrors

Henry McDonald’s Gunsmoke and Mirrors

Four years ago (I think) I turned up at St Johns College in Oxford to hear Danny Morrison and Anthony McIntyre speak on the ‘Future of Republicanism’. Inevitably, perhaps, it very quickly turned into a big struggle over the past. Since henry Patterson’s seminal 1989 Politics of Illusion, the air has been thick, it seems, more…