“We are in a new era in education..”

The INTO seem intent on continuing their campaign against academic selection [It’s a human rights violation! – Ed] Yeah, right. Oh, and here are some statistics to play with. Meanwhile, with “deadlock and stasis” evident, the Northern Ireland Education Minister, Sinn Féin’s Caitriona Ruane, still in that trench, proves willing to ignore ideology in some circumstances by welcoming the signing of a £45.5million capital contract, to provide for four Catholic maintained schools. A contract which also covers building maintenance and … Read more

Curran the Conqueror in Slugger’s Fantasy League

Congrats to Slugger’s Fantasy Football league winner Conor Curran, who held off George McClelland, George Burns and others in a tight finish. Fourteen teams exceeded the 1900 points mark, with Curran’s Suffolk’n’Close side triumphing with 1976 points, earning him 33,501st place in a field of just under two million. Final table below the fold. See y’all next season… Team Manager GW Total 1 Suffolk ‘n’ Close FC Conor Curran 38 1976 2 Buckfast Buccaneers George McClelland 42 1969 3 26+6=? … Read more

Loyalists pack court as first charges brought over Coleraine murder

As nine individuals appeared in court today facing charges in relation with the murder of Kevin McDaid in Coleraine, the BBC has reported that “70 loyalists” packed the court, with many captured entering the courthouse with scarves and hoods shielding their faces [though we have been ‘assured’ by Assistant Chief Constable, Alistair Finlay, that loyalists were not involved in the murder- awful big turnout for a ‘maverick’ crowd…] Meanwhile, the news that the loyalist Pride of the Bann flute band … Read more

Is the worm turning?

Is the cure becoming as bad as the disease? Blogger Iain Dale, a Conservative but a very fair minded one has come out in sympathy with yummy mummy Julie Kirkbride (Moran may be another story). Julie Kirkbride quit, at least in part, over her child minding arrangements. She wanted her brother to be a child minder rather than a stranger. Who wouldn’t? It didn’t cost the taxpayer a penny, and yet she’s been made out to look as if she … Read more

Accenture to incorporate in Ireland

The Irish Times are reporting that many companies incorporated in Carribean tax havens such as Bermuda and the Caymen islands are considering moving their headquarters to Europe as the USA tightens it’s tax regulations. They report that Accenture, one of the first to move, is to incorporate in Ireland. William Green CEO of Accenture said “A member of the European Union, Ireland offers a sophisticated, well-developed corporate, legal and regulatory environment,” So far President Obama’s tax changes are working to … Read more

Cameron drives last nail in the coffin of a separate Human Rights Bill

David Cameron has driven another nail in the coffin of a Northern Ireland Bill of Human Rights. The Newsletter has got a statement from him saying he would not enact any Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland as envisaged by the Human Rights Commission. “It is important the rights of everyone in our society are protected,” he said. But Conservatives and Unionists do not want to take power away on issues such as social and economic policy from democratically-elected representatives … Read more

Call a spade a bloody shovel, Diane!

I’m confused about what Diane Dodds is saying here exactly at the DUP Euro manifesto launch. Now I do get the first bit… “If unionists stay at home on 4th June there is a real danger that Sinn Fein will top the poll and two nationalist candidates will be elected from Northern Ireland. Just imagine what message that would send out to the world. After all the progress that has been made in recent years it would be a disaster … Read more

“Our task is to mobilize support at home and internationally..”

The International Representative for west Belfast, Gerry Adams, MP, MLA, has released more details of his World Tour. He’ll be appearing, for one night only, at the Hilton Hotel in New York on June 13th. Support by, amongst others, the Ancient Order of Hibernians – “United Ireland – How do we get there” [Well, I wouldn’t start from here.. – Ed] Indeed. Pete Baker

President: “they remain amenable for those crimes”

All the debate around the abuse cases in the south and the attempts to mediate the financial burden of blame onto the state obscures a point made painfully obvious by Michael O’Brien’s intervention on Q&A on Monday night… But Mary McAleese has stated this morning, that the perpetrators should all be prosecuted… “In so far as the Ryan report catalogues acts of criminal neglect or violence that were perpetrated by people who are still alive I think we have to … Read more

An Conradh is an Toghchán

Tá toghchán ag teacht agus tá Conradh na Gaeilge ag iarraidh orainn smaoineamh ar an Ghaeilge agus sinn ag caitheamh ár vótaí. Is féidir na freagraí a thug na hiarrthóirí sa toghchán Eorpach a léamh anseo. Tugaim an tacaíocht don chineál obair seo agus d’obair an Chonartha i gcoitinne. An tráth seo, mothaím go bhfuil cuid mhór Gaeil a bhfuil aithne agam orthu ag maíomh go bródúil go bhfuil siad chun vótaí s’acu a scriosadh. Bíodh acu, tá an cheart … Read more

New Deputy Chief Constable appointed

No word yet on the successor to Hugh Orde, but the new Deputy Chief Constable has been appointed, apparently, by the Policing Board – former Assistant Chief Constable Judith Gillespie. The police will require an estimated £76million to counter continued republican paramilitary activity over the next two years.. That’s in addition to the MI5 spend.. Adds Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward, MP, welcomes the appointment. Pete Baker

Media briefings and no chance of a fair ‘trial’?

Pete has provided a detailed blog on some of the history of Liam Campbell following his arrest and like the MSM immediately attached the ‘suspected Omagh bomber tag’. Campbell will be facing a non-jury court, so everyone can get away with any claim over fact but will the ‘suspected Omagh bomber’ get a fair diplock style trial on charges that have no relation to old unproven suspicions? Mark McGregorBlogging at: http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com

Lithuania to choose Campbell’s extradition path

At Belfast Recorder’s Court today, Real IRA member and suspected Omagh bomber Liam Campbell was remanded in custody whilst Judge Tom Burgess asks the Lithuanian authorities in which jurisdiction they would prefer to pursue his extradition on a European arrest warrant. Here, in the UK, or in Ireland where Campbell has been remanded on bail with two others since his arrest in January – in connection with an MI5 sting operation which saw Campbell’s brother arrested in Lithuania in January … Read more

Political deadlock led to four victims posts

Michelle Williamson the daughter of two of the victims of the Shankill Fish Shop murders has been challenging the appointment of four victims commissioners. Ms Williamson claims there was no legal authority to create four victims commissioners and that Mr Paisley and Mr McGuinness based their decision on religious beliefs or political opinion rather than merit. Ms Williamson’s barrister Barry Macdonald QC said no records had been kept to explain how Mr Paisley and Mr McGuinness came to their decision. … Read more

Vote Match Europe…

Of all the voter choice thingies online, I like this one… Vote Match looks for your policy choices, and then in Northern Ireland asks you which parties you incline towards and then grades them against the match on actual policy… It’s not long, but you have to ‘think’… Which is a good thing; no? 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 … Read more

Kinahan to succeed Burnside in South Antrim…

I would once have thought South Antrim one of the UCU’s best chances of grabbing back a Westminster seat. Burnside’s not long gone and Willie McCrea’s not been popular with all of the base after dispatching a popular internal rival. Danny Kinahan’s not exactly a game changing candidate, but he sits on the ‘Alliance side’ of the party. Good for transfers from Alliance and soft nationalists you’d think. But it’s unclear to me how well he will appeal to that … Read more

Loyalist paramilitary threat against murder victim’s son in Coleraine

The PSNI have confirmed that they are investigating a threat issued by loyalist paramilitaries against a son of loyalist murder victim, Kevin McDaid. Sinn Fein councillor, Billy Leonard, has asked the PSNI to reveal which loyalist outfit was responsible for the threat. The threat comes less than 24 hours after Assistant Chief Constable, Alistair Finlay, brushed aside allegations that loyalist paramilitaries were involved in the killing. Tension has also risen in the area ahead of a planned loyalist band parade … Read more

PIcamp: a few initial headline thoughts….

Picamp exceeded all my own personal expectations. Though when asked what they were by BBC Breakfast yesterday morning, I have to say I was clear that I had few. Except that I was determined to get a bunch of conversations started about the need to innovate in our political sphere. But not necessarily in the kind of Top Down order many of us have become accustomed to in Northern Ireland. Conall Devitt, the blogger at O’Conall Street who also heads … Read more

Solicitor pleads guilty to incitement to murder

When solicitor Manmohan Sandhu was arrested in 2006, on the basis of covert electronic surveillance carried out by the police of conversations between himself and clients in the Antrim police station, Mick suggested “Here’s one to keep an eye on..” The law lords ruling in March this year, after listening to arguments from a plethora of interested parties, clarified the legal position on such covert surveilance – permitted, but requiring prior authorisation. Sandhu, who had sought to have that evidence … Read more

“quite frankly, the scripts for west Belfast are neither.”

The issue of those elusive truths about the past re-emerged in questions to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Industry yesterday over an apparently expensive podcast for tourists visiting west Belfast. As Mark Devenport notes, “during Assembly question time we had another reminder that whilst the politicians may wish to march towards a bright new future they remain at loggerheads over the past”. [“Deadlock and stasis” – Ed] Mick was on Morning Ireland briefly discussing the dispute over the preferred … Read more