Archive | March, 2009

“The highlight of the week at Stormont”

On Stormont Live today Jim Fitzpatrick and Mark Devenport had some fun following yesterday’s publication of the Assembly’s Committee on Procedures report of the Inquiry into Assembly questions – summary of recommendations here. The report had been dishonourably leaked last week. And, if you’re puzzled by Jim’s reference to Stormont Live viewers, below the fold more…

“there’s only so much you can do, isn’t there?”

Two other Visteon car component factories are also to close in Basildon and Enfield in England, with 565 out 600 jobs lost, but the workers at the west Belfast factory are staging a sit-in protest after the US-based parent company announced that Visteon UK Ltd was entering into administration. And from the BBC report West more…

Darling needs to be less out of whack in Budget 2009

When Alistair Darling presented his first budget as Chancellor of the Exchequer in March 2008, the US mortgage markets were in meltdown and the credit markets barely functioning. But Darling remained confident that the United Kingdom was well-placed to “maintain stability” through the world economic slowdown. He bullishly predicted that the British economy would “continue more…

“Recent events also demonstrate why the DUP was right..”

As the Irish Times notes, police remain on high alert following yesterday’s hijackings and security alerts – more details here. Meanwhile another Irish Times report notes the Northern Ireland First Minister, the DUP’s Peter Robinson’s comments “One should not underestimate the value of the united community response to the dissident republican terrorists,” said Mr Robinson more…

150 years of Irish Times available

For those interested in doing a spot of research or simply some historical browsing, the entire 150-year archive of the Irish Times is freely available at the moment. The offer ends April 6th, so enjoy it while you can. Feel free to post any gems you find.

Westminster media in garage sale of MP’s secrets…

There is something of an anti democracy frenzy gripping the Westminster village at the moment, which I fully expect to end the moment the Tories take charge of number 10. A Tory friend tells me this is what happened to Major; but then the effects were not quite so destructive of the democratic since the more…

“At the start of Criminal Justice Week..”

One of the more frequently made arguments in favour of the rapid devolution of policing and justice powers is the apparent need for cross-departmental co-operation on certain matters. Interestingly, the NIO have just released a statement from the Northern Ireland Justice Minister, Paul Goggins, MP, and the NI Environment Minster, the DUP’s Sammy Wilson. Government more…

“It’s just get dug into the trench and refuse to move on anything.”

With the Northern Ireland Commission for Catholic Education approving the use of academic selection by Catholic grammar schools, in the absence of a regulated system of post-primary transfer, the NI Education Minister, Sinn Féin’s Cáitríona Ruane, was unusually keen to be first into the Stormont Live studio to point out that the Catholic Church still more…

Jobs created in Antrim

Despite bad news today about job losses at Ulsterbus (Londonderry) and Nortel (Newtownabbey), several hundred jobs have been created at Asda. This appears to have been missed by the media but see here and below. South Antrim Assembly member and Antrim Councillor Trevor Clarke has today welcomed Asda to Antrim. He said that this new more…

“[For Conservatives] this is seen in sort of a UK wide perspective..”

BBC NI’s Stephen Walker’s report on the leaked Conservative Party’s proposals for a merger with the UUP, which after talks between the parties resulted instead in a political alliance, includes comments from former Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party in Northern Ireland, Jeffrey Peel. It’s followed by a short studio discussion between Jim Fitzpatrick and Mark more…

Widespread disruption in Belfast and beyond

The BBC are reporting numerous bomb-alerts, closed roads and disorder across Belfast. I had a lengthy detour to get home, any updates etc add them below or drop me a mail if your aren’t registered.

Standard & Poor’s downgrades Irish government debt

RTE reports that Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services downgraded it’s long term sovereign credit rating for Ireland from ‘AAA’ to ‘AA+’. The downgrade had been well telegraphed and the percieved risk in Irish government debt long priced into the spread paid by the government on Irish treasuries over German government bonds. S&P warn that Ireland more…

The express train which has lost its momentum

[This is taken from A Note from the Next Door Neighbours, the monthly e-bulletin of Andy Pollak, Director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh and Dublin] For the past 10 years I have been travelling on the Dublin-Belfast Enterprise express up to four times every week. It is with genuine relief at more…

“in the absence of a regulated system of transfer..”

On Hearts and Minds last week the Northern Ireland Education Minister, Sinn Féin’s Cáitríona Ruane, assured Noel Thompson that “[The Catholic Church] told me, they were at pains to point out they would not be requesting a test… That they would [not] be requesting a test from the Department.” Today the NI Commission for Catholic more…

Scotland faces a long hard squeeze

Scotland faces a long hard squeeze

Over on Brassneck, Scotland is feeling the sharp end of the collapse in some financial services. But local solutions are not much use if the bigger global picture is not tackled…

Cross community measures cover Sammy’s unscientific knowledge…

Climate change is being subjected to a cross community vote in the Assembly today. But the DUP is going against its own policy to protect an Environment Minister who has taken a stance on climate change that is against it’s own policy. On the Politics Show yesterday, Arlene Foster dismisses the motion her party oppses more…

“The UUP rejected the idea..”

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, but the BBC’s Stephen Walker has gotten his hands on an early discussion paper from the Conservative Party on their proposals for linking up with the UUP . Documents obtained by the BBC reveal that the Conservatives wanted to merge with the Ulster Unionists and set up more…

“But we don’t all have crystal balls.”

No, nothing to do with portraitgate. An iol report refers to an Irish government budget deficit of €16billion. But perhaps that doesn’t take into account some recent Irish economic news.. or, maybe, that’s just part of Charlie McCreevy’s great British conspiracy.. ANYway.. RTÉ reports warning sounds from several Ministers. Mr Cowen added that the model more…

Gardai arrest three in Dublin raid

Not much detail on this yet but two men and a woman, all described as being in their 30s, have been arrested in Dublin by police investigating republican paramilitary activity and are being held under Section 30 of the Republic of Ireland’s Offences Against the State Act. The BBC report notes that, “Police said that more…

Paddy bashing in the Sunday Times?

The Sunday Times ran a piece, entitled Bad Luck of The Irish, covering the impact of the current recession. It poses the question “Could Ireland be the first euro country to go bust?”, without running a comparison. They almost certainly mean Eurozone, but it’s not made explicit. Greece would be our nearest competitors in that more…