Barry resignation from Green Party Executive

In news they probably didn’t want public during the Euro Election campaign…………… John Barry, co-chair of the Green Pary NI, has resigned from their party Executive due to disagreements with Downpatrick Cllr Cadogan Enright. A Facebook posting (now deleted), that John has confirmed was meant to be a private message to Lindsay Whitcroft, reveals he left the Executive over Cadogan’s ‘destructiveness’ and ‘capacity to generate negativity within the Executive’. Lindsay, thanks for that. I just couldn’t face another year of … Read more

Unionism needs to get in tune with the zeitgeist of today’s European Union

Eamon McCann’s been reading what sounds like a fascinating book by a man who was a player during the early, and most traumatic years of the Northern Irish troubles… Eamon buys the argument that Unionism could to get itself off the tribal hook, and into an attractive, and fashionable space. He quotes Robert Ramsey here: “To me, the most important aspect of the development of the Ulster Scots identity is that it would take (unionism) out of the internationally damaging … Read more

“All three have since taken up new ‘peace and reconciliation’ roles.”

Ahead of today’s court ruling on the decision to cut public funding of the Conflict Transformation Initiative the Irish News brought news of three of the scheme’s more prominent employees – one of whom can be seen here. From the Irish News [subs req] Meanwhile, it has been revealed that the Conflict Transformation Initiative’s (CTI) three most prominent loyalist employees have all stood down from their posts. Ex-UDA prisoners Billy “Twister” McQuiston and Colin Halliday along with loyalist spokesman and … Read more

A confusing poll on Europe – but does it matter?

The elections for the European Parliament in June will inevitably be regarded a referendum on the performance of governments coping with recession. This is a pity, and will create great confusion over public attitudes on the future of the Europe. Even in the Republic where the EU has a much bigger profile than in the UK and where issues have traditionally been debated on merit, the Euro-vote will be cast as a referendum on the beleaguered government. But the Euro-dimension … Read more

“The error in this case is procedural..”

The BBC report that, after lengthy consideration, Mr Justice Morgan has overturned the decision by NI Social Development Minister, the SDLP’s Margaret Ritchie, to cut public funding to the UDA-linked Conflict Transformation Initiative. Mr Justice Morgan said he was satisfied the issue had come before the Stormont cabinet, with a determination made on how it should proceed. “The error in this case is procedural in that the minister did not act in accordance with that process,” he said. Presumably that’s … Read more

Why are income levels higher in the developed world?

Over at Cafe Hayek they’ve been exploring a question they feel would make an excellent question for a final economics exam. Prompted by another bloggers experience of working in the peace corps in Nepal, the question is – Why does a spectacularly intelligent and resourceful person in Nepal earn spectacularly less than a lazy untalented American?Robert Frank – the author that prompted the question gave this answer Well-paid Americans owe an enormous, if rarely acknowledged, debt to the social investments … Read more

Follow your candidates on the web…

KEITH Anderson has a rather handy guide to how the European candidates are making their presence known on the internet, with links to their blogs, Twitterings, Facebook pages and Flickr accounts. (Just noticed I’m being ‘followed’ by Bairbre de Brun. *glances over shoulder*) Belfast Gonzohttp://sluggerotoole.com

Conservatives lead Labour by 105 seats

For those of you who obsess over elections check out electoral calculus. Should there be a general election tomorrow the Conservatives would be returned with a majority of 18 and a lead of 105 seats over Labour according to the current poll (as of 30th April 2009). It would be interesting to see what the polls are like after the budget (if anyone has seen any please feel free to post). Rumours circulating around Westminster suggest that if Labour doesn’t … Read more

“The situation continues to evolve rapidly.”

According to the BBC report, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised the global pandemic alert to 5 [of 6], noting human-to-human transmission in at least two countries, after officials in Spain confirmed the first case of swine flu in a person who has not travelled to Mexico – WHO swine influenza website currently says level 4.. Now shows level 5. What is still not clear is how severe cases beyond Mexico will be – as noted previously, so far … Read more

“While I had given approval on a range of average fare increases..”

Interesting detail from the latest BBC report on the Translink bus and rail fares increases announced last week – On 4th May NI Railways fares were to increase by an average of 3%, while Ulsterbus and Goldline fares by 2%, and Enterprise cross-border rail tickets were to cost 10% more, coach journeys by 13%. The increases were deferred when the Consumer Council complained about a lack of consultation. Today, Department of Regional Development deputy secretary Doreen Brown told the NI … Read more

Death by 100 cuts – the latest from a kukri knife

The picture looks ominous for Gordon Brown. The two opposition leaders together flanking the victorious Joanna- the shape of politics to come, perhaps? I still think Gordon Brown has a sporting chance of election victory if the turndown turns up quicker than the jeremiahs think, but the odds are lengthening – longer even than 66 to 1 perhaps, as security minister Lord West insisted he didn’t wager. But a very different book may be about to open on the opposite … Read more

Smart Alex

OK, Slugger is about NI politics and culture, I’m from there and this is culture and..damn! the Times has stiffened my resolve and made me stretch a point – (sorry, just can’t help the doubles entendres ) . As the piece says: “ Keeley Hawes’ Eighties detective in Ashes to Ashes is so straightforwardly fabulous that I defy anyone to resist her” Ashes to Ashes, BBC1. Mondays at 9 p.m. You can learn more about lovely Keely right he-eere! And … Read more

An unsung hero of cooperation from East Belfast

[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] George Newell is a community worker in a deprived area of East Belfast. He is also well-known in Drogheda, Monaghan and Donegal for the large numbers of working class Belfast Protestants he has brought across the border to experience life in the once feared and hated Irish Republic. He never appears … Read more

“in relation to matters held sacred by any religion..”

Future Taoiseach spotted this first and noted the suggested amendment by Labour Justice spokesman Pat Rabbitte. The Irish Times reports that the Irish government’s Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern proposes to insert a new section into the Defamation Bill, stating: “A person who publishes or utters blasphemous matter shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €100,000.” And “Blasphemous matter” is defined as matter “that is grossly abusive or … Read more

The recession: more higher skills needed to get out of it, say a major new report

Northern Ireland will need three times the number of highly skilled than low- or un-skilled new workers over the next ten years than it did in the last “golden era, ” but the total number of new workers required is unlikely to match 2008 levels until 2017, says a stark report by Oxford Economics for the Department of Employment and Learning. The report was posted by the lobby form Strategem on the NI Crunchtalk website. The current economic environment could … Read more

How the party’s are using Flickr…

CC Cédric Puisney Okay, it’s only day two, but here’s a wee round up of how our political parties are doing with their Flickr accounts… Not sure what’s going on here with The Greens (whoops, here it is now)… The DUP have been documenting an on-the-road campaign that their candidate Diane Dodds has been on for months now (and they’ve joined Slugger’s Euro Elections Flickr Group on its first day)… Even quicker was Irish Labour, who’ve been continually building up … Read more

“Our people may be British, but our cows are Irish…”

Who would say such an outrageous thing? Ian Paisley, of course… Jonathan Powell has some brief thoughts on the significance of the mutual membership of the EU for Ireland and the UK: The border between Ireland and the UK just came to mean much less once we were both in the EU. This was particularly brought home to me when Ian Paisley, the fire-breathing DUP leader, came to see Tony Blair in the midst of the 2005 Foot and Mouth … Read more

“Our forecasts suggest that Ireland’s economy will contract by around 14 per cent..”

Crooked Timber’s Henry Farrell spotted the Irish Times coverage of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) Quarterly Economic Commentary on the Irish economy. But Cian at Irish Election, who also notes an article bemoaning gloomy forecasts, has the money quote from ESRI economist Dr Alan Barrett. Dr Barrett’s scepticism of the Irish government’s National Asset Management Agency is reported here. And the opposition parties in the Dáil have reacted. That money quote from Irish Election. Dr Alan Barrett also … Read more

Lady Hermon for the sack?

Over on Tory Story NI author Seymour Major is calling for the UUP’s sole MP, Lady Hermons head if she does not fall in line with the new regime. A question being asked by many is: will she stay or will she go? Her absence was once again noticed at the party’s AGM on Saturday past. AndrewLong time political hack

Tesco, Unionism and GAA children

Following on from yesterday’s blog on the 125th anniversary of the GAA, the BBC is reporting that children bag-packers from St Comghall’s GAC were told to remove club shirts at Tesco in Antrim “after a number of very vociferous complaints both in person and on the phone, including one from a political representative regarding the wearing of the GAA shirts while the group were collecting.” My son recently participated in a very successful and trouble free collection at the same … Read more