POTD – Marrow seller Iron Market Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Marrow seller  at the newly re opened Iron Market Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Moochin PhotomanPhotographer and visual artist based in Belfast. I have facilitated community based workshops with groups as diverse as visually impaired individuals in Dungannn, Travellers across Northern Ireland, Young Offenders and many community groups across Belfast. My work has exhibited extensively here in Northern Ireland in group and individual shows and has been shown in North America and i had my first solo international exhibition in New Zealand. I … Read more

A year on Peter Robinson’s problems mainly those of success though some dangers lurk

It is only a year since the Iris Robinson affair rocked the DUP; following that there was the row about the £5 land deal. Many expected the meltdown or at least heavy defeat of the DUP. Then in the Westminster election the challenge of both the UUP and TUV was almost completely defeated. Peter Robinson paid a heavy price and as I noted at the time seemed to act as a lightening conductor taking on himself the damage to the … Read more

Truth recovery would benefit from Adams and McGuinness disclosures

What was supposed to be the last ‘Bloody Sunday’ march was held at the weekend in Londonderry. It was an occasion when families of those who died will have a particular outlook and the original event was a tragedy for those who lost their lives but the wider community must never forget the comprehensive attempts being made by many others to re -write the history of the context for the original march. Thankfully no -one was murdered and the deed virtually forgotten before the final bloody … Read more

The Last Bloody Sunday March: Changing How We Remember the Past?

The adjective ‘historic’ gets used far too often in Northern Ireland, but yesterday’s Bloody Sunday March in Derry just might be worthy of the word. In the wake of the Saville Report, the committee of the Bloody Sunday Weekend decided that this would be the last year that the march went ahead. The rationale is that the Saville Report has confirmed the innocence of the victims. It has vindicated not only those who died but also the families and supporters … Read more

So, every Monday that ever comes along, I get up early and sing this little song

With éirígí having declared they will be engaging in electoralism at council level while rejecting it at Stormont (on grounds of ideology, not because they’d get totally tanked) and the IRSP expected to announce a similar return to council level electoralism in the north (also ignoring Stormont for ideological reasons, not fear of getting spanked) and expectations of an independent republican council candidate in Newry and the odd two in Fermanagh – I thought I’d run my eye over the … Read more

“But Sinn Féin is different from the other political parties…”

He has only just moved there, after all…  but RTÉ’s 20 minute interview with the Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead, Gerard Adams, is worth listening to in detail. Mick’s already noted the claimed introduction of a “warm weather payments” in the last (Stormont) budget. The Irish Times notes that… SINN FÉIN president Gerry Adams has said that telling the IMF “to go home and take their money with them” remained his party’s policy. His said his party, … Read more

Niall Blaney bows out of Donegal NE

The one man I thought was certain to take the field  for Fianna Fail was Niall Blaney TD in Donegal North East. After his notification last night that he would not, the man who will take his place is a guy called Charlie McConalogue from Carndonagh (preferred over Senator Cecilia Keaveney). Adds: it may be part of a general cut and run theme. If I were to make an educated guess it may be that the Blaney machine is defecting to … Read more

Why is the Republic’s Health System so poor?

Why is the health system in the Republic of Ireland so poor?  One way to begin to answer this extremely complicated question might be to compare it with the health system in Northern Ireland, which, while being very far from perfect, is widely perceived as superior to its Southern counterpart. Certainly many thousands of people in the Southern border region see it like this, judging by the large numbers of Southerners (many of them with Northern accommodation addresses) who regularly … Read more

Gerry, ‘warm weather payments’, and cleaning up the south’s political act

Sam McBride of the News Letter, has been listening to Gerry Adams on RTE’s This Week programme (interview starts 6.44 in): Quizzed about Sinn Fein implementing cuts in Belfast while opposing them in Dublin, Mr Adams told RTE Radio 1’s This Week programme yesterday afternoon: “Now, what did we establish in the last (Stormont) budget? “For example, we made sure that those who are most vulnerable are protected. We brought in warm weather payments, we brought in a social fund … Read more

“OFMDFM are aware of the issues raised…”

On Friday [evening? – Ed] the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers issued a statement in response to concerns about their appointment of an individual to an ‘independent’ review who “could be perceived as having a conflict of interest.”  In particular, the appointment of Philip Holder to the second layer of the investigation into the role and responsibilities of the NI Regional Development Minister, and the Department, in the NI Water saga. From the OFMDFM statement OFMDFM are aware of the issues raised … Read more

Slugger Awards tickets / Irish Election prediction competition

One of the features of the Slugger Awards night (places limited! Get your tickets now while they last!) is going to be a bit of audience participation – we’re going to see how close the wisdom of the crowd can get to predicting the final outcome of the Irish Election in terms of seats. Details of that will be released on the night (it’ll be a surprise) but in the meantime, we also want a prediction comp to run though … Read more

A Dail reform campaign bigger than Fintan was aborted – why the secrecy?

It turns out that Democracy Now was the label for a full blown campaign to contest the next Dail election, if it had  been called even a month later, according to the Sunday Tribune lead. It was much more than a solo run by Fintan backed by a few friends , which was the impression I’d gained from his Irish Times article. The Tribune reports.. The objective was to win 20-25 seats and be in a position to hold the balance of power … Read more

Latest polls: As you were (for now)…

If the two polls this morning are anything to go by, not a great deal has changed. Micheal Martin’s got a bounce, and possibly quite a significant one given he tops the poll as prefered Taoiseach in the SBP poll. Note this is not the usually, largely meaningless, who’s doing well as party leader question. But the headline figures are not much changed from what we already know: SBP / RedC : FG 33% -1 Lab 21% -2 FF 16% … Read more

After Wikileaks and phone-hacking, who sets the new frontiers of information gathering?

Two important articles have discussed journalism’s role in pushing back the frontiers of information and disclosure in two very different, highly sensitive areas: hacking into the phones of the famous and the mass leaking of government files. Should journalism incite more disclosure or offer greater protection?  The clear message of both pieces  is that journalism in the digital age remains as important as ever. But press self regulation and practice must  raise its game at the vulnerable end of government and public pressure. When … Read more

POTD – Do mates rates apply?

Suggested alternative title/captions welcome Moochin PhotomanPhotographer and visual artist based in Belfast. I have facilitated community based workshops with groups as diverse as visually impaired individuals in Dungannn, Travellers across Northern Ireland, Young Offenders and many community groups across Belfast. My work has exhibited extensively here in Northern Ireland in group and individual shows and has been shown in North America and i had my first solo international exhibition in New Zealand. I have been the recipient of a number … Read more

Six Nations Prediction Contest 2011

I’ll get on to a preview later but this seemed to work quite well last year so let’s have another go. 1 point for a correct home win, 3 points for a correct away win, 7 points for a correct draw. Tie break is the total points scored in championship. Fixtures are: 1. Wales v England 2. France v Scotland 3. Italy v Ireland 4. England v Italy 5. Scotland v Wales 6. Ireland v France 7. England v France … Read more

“as someone who only moved here a week or two ago…”

The Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead, Gerard Adams, has defended his lack of knowledge of “the minutiae” of Ireland’s economic policies.  From the Irish News …last night Mr Adams claimed he should not be expected to know the finer details because of his recent move from West Belfast to contest the Dail election for Louth. “I wouldn’t be expected – as someone who only moved here a week or two ago – to know the minutiae,” … Read more

Putting you money where your mouth is harder than talking about it

 I see that two ” celebrity” commentators with radical reform programmes have ducked out of standing for the Dail at this time of crisis and upheaval. This will be a gift to the cynics who shout “throw the bastards out” at TDs while sneering at anyone outside who believes that something can be done. Economist and stage performer David McWilliams offers his fans a measely two liner. Poor show David.  By contrast, Fintan O’Toole gives a full and frank explanation, … Read more

Denis Donaldson inquest adjourned again – redux – redux

Previously adjourned, for the fifth time, in August last year, the Irish News reports that the inquest into the 2006 death of former senior Sinn Féin figure Denis Donaldson has been adjourned again – a further pre-inquest hearing will be held on May 5.  From the Irish News report It is understood a key witness in the investigation has been taken into protective custody after allegedly revealing where the gun used to kill Mr Donaldson was buried. The coroner told [Garda Superintendent Michael … Read more

A note on commenting and the use of red and yellow cards…

I’m involved in a number of conversations at the moment with people who have been banned. Despite a profound difference in their politics, two of them have pointed to the fact that others have got away with breaking Slugger’s cardinal rule: play the ball, not the man. It’s a pretty lame excuse for poor behaviour. But there is a more constructive point to make about it too. We do not premoderate posts. If we see something that breaks the rules … Read more