Archive | March, 2010

Have our parents and leaders screwed up the country?

[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] I have just returned from Malawi in southern Africa where I was with a group of Irish and Northern Irish university academics in health, education and ICT more…

Nationalists approach to Hung Parliament

The BBC report on Plaid and the SNPs hung parliament strategy. From Ieuan Wyn: “”In their race for the keys to Number 10, the London parties have forgotten about what really matters to voters in Scotland and Wales, but the SNP and Plaid Cymru have not. With the prospect of a balanced Parliament becoming more more…

Nationalists approach to Hung Parliament

The BBC report on Plaid and the SNP’s hung parliament strategy. From Ieuan Wyn: “”In their race for the keys to Number 10, the London parties have forgotten about what really matters to voters in Scotland and Wales, but the SNP and Plaid Cymru have not. With the prospect of a balanced Parliament becoming more more…

Official contacts are closer than you may think

Good to see that the Cabinet Secretary of Ireland takes part in regular in meetings with his peers of the Westminster tradition ( I was nearly going to say the Commonwealth).. Relations have been close for many years. He will have plenty of lore to share over how to handle coalitions. Significantly, Sir Gus is more…

The MI5 problem is real

The role of MI5 under the catchall of “national security” could be a time bomb. After all the twists and turns of years of the peace process it risks handing an initiative to the dissidents. The Kieran Doherty affair keeps rumbling on. The pattern of events is all too familiar. Man with murky associations is more…

Overheard on the plane out of Belfast…

Overheard this morning: “They [the company] only tried to get me to take a hire car once. That was when I was travelling from Belfast to the Isle of Man. I said to them, ‘Are you sure? Will I not need to get the ferry? You know, its an island in the middle of the more…

Nama: “Fit for purpose? The banks or Biffo’s Government?”

More on the Nama situation later, but for now MIriam Lord caught the atmosphere in the Dail yesterday with a cracking opening to her Parliamentary sketch. Enter the principals: Then we had to endure The Head with Two Brians – not for the faint hearted. The sight of Cowen and Lenihan reassuring a nervous public more…

For the Twitter election, it’s the way they tell them

Well, I only asked. What an answer I got! For the Chancellor’s debate, Channel 4 reports the Twiiter volume as follows… Channel 4 estimates that the debate generated 20,000 Tweets between 8 and 10pm last night – hitting the number one trending topic in the UK and London on Twitter, and number three worldwide. The more…

McFarland leaves UUP

The BBC are reporting that Alan McFarland has left the UUP. Apparently he is unhappy regarding the UUP / Conservative link. He stated: “With the recent confirmation of candidates, including the imposition of a Conservative candidate in my own North Down constituency, it is clear that the party is determined to continue down the Conservative more…

BBC goes on the attack against Robinson tonight…

On Newsline tonight… This is an open thread, but please be careful in your comments not to go any further the facts… UPdate: Here’s the written up article on the BBC site… More is expected tonight on Newsline at 6.30pm on BBC1 NI…

Super Tuesday – NAMA & Live Links

NAMA First Loans 47% discount across the board (1st Tranche). €81bn worth of loans (in total). Cost of NAMA haircut = €38bn (estimate). Update Adding the haircut and the recapitalisation costs together doesn’t make sense, so I’ve removed that calculation. Consensus view seems to be €32-33bn recapitalisation costs. Per Philip Lane at Irish Economy. The more…

“He will be considering a civil action against the secretary of state for this illegal detention.”

The Irish News reports that yesterday “alleged Real IRA leader” Terry McCafferty was released from Maghaberry Prison after the Sentence Review Commissioners ruled his detention illegal on the basis that the case against him was unreliable. McCafferty had been released on licence in November 2008, half-way through a 12-year sentence for possesion of explosives, but, more…

The route to the loot

While it has already been superseded in importance by other news, for which we even have the Sky-like marketing moniker SuperTuesday, RTE report on last night’s agreement between the Government and Public Sector Unions. It outlines how at least some of the pay cuts can be scraped back (the so called ‘route to the loot’) more…

NAMA day at last

What a fateful day for the Republic, as Brian Lenihan bids to draw a line under the financial crisis “ once and for all.” In advance of the Dail statement, the Irish Times confirms that he’s stopping sort of full bank nationalisation. A kind of triumph has been won with an agreed package of no more…

Baggott concentrates minds on Troubles legacy

Chief Constable Matt Baggott chose his moment carefully to announce unilaterally a three year time limit for the work of the Historic Enquiries Team. The window just before a new financial year, a general election and the transfer of Justice powers to the Assembly gives him maximum leverage to put down a big marker. It more…