Archive | October, 2010

NI Justice Minister: “This is exactly the type of news Northern Ireland needs to avoid.”

Army bomb experts have made safe a viable device containing over 40kg of homemade explosive material after a two-day security alert in Lurgan. And a second explosive device has been found inside a vehicle at the long-stay car park at Belfast International airport. Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland said both devices “had the potential to cause more…

The PUP, the UVF and bridges

During and after the last Ice Age it is suggested that mainland GB was not an island but was linked to continental Europe by a vast land bridge called Doggerland. Brian Ervine the recently installed leader of the Progressive Unionist Party has tried to suggest that the link between the PUP and the UVF was more…

“I want to represent their views.”

So said 18-year-old Connor Morgan as he became the first member of Sinn Féin to speak in the House of Commons.  The event was the annual sitting of the UK Youth Parliament in the House of Commons – Mr Morgan being a representative for County Londonderry. Speaking afterwards, Mr Morgan insisted his Sinn Fein membership was more…

Platform calls for rethink on cohesion and promises full programme soon

By the end of the year, a long awaited paper from the pressure group for political renewal and realignment Platform for Change will outline what a proper Programme for Government should look like, with an eye to next year’s assembly election. The paper will refresh the Platform’s core document  which itself  needs updating in the more…

Is it good enough for David Ford only to hold the ring?

The dissident threat and the Newtownabbey riots prompts me to ask: what impact is David Ford making as Minister of Justice? The conclusion would seem to be a modest one, compared to the massive controversy over devolving the justice and policing functions. I can’t help feeling that big issues are being ducked: viz: Are the more…

Lodorice and Imelda

Seeking asylum is not a crime. The human face of detention.

There has been much, often ill-informed, comment on the airwaves over the last couple of days on the proposed immigration (temporary) detention centre planned by the UK Borders Agency in Larne. Much has come from local residents that foreign nationals being held in secure detention might escape, might take people’s jobs, might lower property values more…

Holywood Star

Eamon Nancarrow’s misadventures in Rock…

It’s the quiet ones you have to watch, they say. When I last saw Eamonn Namcarrow, back in the mid 1980s he was a congenial, good-natured and highly sociable young lad. The next time was 26 years later, in Lavery’s Gin Palace in Bradbury Place. He’d just brought out his first book, Holywood Star about more…

“You have to ask yourself – are they (the leadership) the only ones allowed to write books?”

On Thursday the International Representative for west Belfast, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, and his party colleague the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, may have been expressing their concern at a “crisis meeting” about an apparent increasing number of suicides in the area… But they don’t yet seem to have found time to comment on the suicide of a former more…

Friday thread: Remapping the past through archives…

The Belfast Telegraph has a nice little web story about a Belfast filmmaker George Clarke, who ‘thinks’ he discovered an instance of a timetraveller speaking into a mobile phone at the Hollywood Premier of Charlie Chaplin’s 1928 classic, The Circus. It was featured on Chris Wild’s excellent blog a few days ago (with some pretty sceptical more…

If the administration doesn’t like a Shared Future, what then?

Peter Robinson’s attack on the funding of Catholic education was one of the rare examples of deft politicking in that it had a broad appeal to unionist voters from the most hard core to the most liberally minded. What could be more ‘shared future’ than educating all NI’s children in the same schools? Erm, well… more…

Two Dail seats for Sinn Fein in Donegal..?

There’s an analysis piece in the Donegal Democrat that backs some of the soundings I’ve been taking in and around Donegal in recent weeks, ie that Sinn Fein could/should take one and possibly two seats in Donegal in the next southern general election. The figures are an extrapolation from the last Red C poll, and more…

Our deadly version of the pronunciation game

The British library and the Today programme were having a little innocent fun over new trends in pronunciation today.  ‘Haitch’ or ‘aitch’? How do you pronounce ‘H’? We remember with a shudder the local version. Like saacrifice, maass, AA B.C. – Your turn at compulsory Russian roulette…

“The market obviously doesn’t believe the position at the moment”

Andy may fear for the children and idealists, but Taoiseach Brian Cowen’s main concern, as previously acknowledged by his Finance minister, is re-establishing lost international market confidence. And while a national consensus may prove elusive, despite the re-assurances of EU Commissioner Olli Rehn, those markets have given their initial verdict on the Irish Government’s judgement that a more…

Can the DUP advance the cause of mixed schooling like this?

So the DUP ” will not rest” until a single schools system is created, says Mervyn Storey  He suggested four issues would require agreement: Governance — a single body representing all to encourage collaboration in planning; Policy — achieving genuine consensus rather than “whim or ideology”; Structures — meeting needs in a cost-effective way, and more…

David

Photograph of the Day – David

I have seen David around and about, never managing to get his portrait for one reason or another. So when i saw him the other day i asked if i could get a portrait and he said yes……

Queen to receive apology during Dublin visit next year

Breathtaking stuff from Fine Gael’s Michael Ring yesterday during the Dail debate on the economy. Deputy Ring told the Dáil that when Queen Elizabeth II (of England) visits Ireland, possibly next year that she should be handed back control of the country. He also, helpfully, suggested that she receive an apology for the mess that has been made in the country during her absence. His exact words more…

East Belfast Speaks Out leaflet

East Belfast Speaks Out on 10.11.10

If you like your politics face to face and within heckling distance and you’re living in East Belfast, last year’s popular political engagement event is returning to Ashfield Boys School on 10 November 2010. Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start. Mark Devenport is chairing this year’s East Belfast Speaks Out panel which is more…

Tax powers for Stormont, a doubtful proposition

Should the Assembly bid to Westminster to take on tax varying powers and lower corporation tax to the Republic’s level of 12.5%? Local experts appearing before the NI Select Committee were divided.  It was pretty much the magic bullet for lobbyists from the Economic Reform Group, Eamonn Donaghy of KPMG and Victor Hewitt of the Economic Research more…

One rule for ‘ussuns’, another rule for ‘themmuns’?

As Martin McCauley and Stephen Barnes have noted on twitter – after 2 nights of rioting in Rathcoole the PSNI have yet to deploy a single Baton Round or roll out their water cannons. The petrol bombs, vehicle burnings and gunmen mingling within the rioters have been described as ‘different beasts’. Lucky old Rathcoole rioters. more…