“I hope the people of Ireland will give him a brilliant and wonderful welcome…”

Another post possibly related to the point Mick was making…  As the BBC notes US President Barack Obama will not cross the border into Northern Ireland when he visits the Republic of Ireland, the Irish prime minister has said. From the breakingnews.ie report The Government is gearing up for the historic May visit after President Obama announced on St Patrick’s Day that he wanted to return to his roots in Moneygall, Co Offaly. But the Taoiseach said that under diplomatic rules … Read more

I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum

Newly elected Louth TD Gerry Adams has distributed his party baubles: Mary-Lou is Deputy leader and Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform. Aengus Ó Snodaigh is Spokesperson on Social Protection and Party Whip Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin is Spokesperson on Health and Children. -he used to be Sinn Féin Dáil leader and party spokesperson on the Peace Process and the Six Counties and Health & Children. That is some demotion! Mark McGregorBlogging at: http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com

Planet of the apes?

  After a 30 year absence from electoral politics the IRSP have announced they will be fielding 5 Council candidates. (though one has been running as an independent recently) Unfortunately their greeness seems to have resulted in the same strap line as that of the Conservatives and Ulster Unionists a mere 10 months ago – Vote for Change. They also state: We have deliberately chosen to not contest the Stormont elections as there does not exist an appetite within our … Read more

“It is unacceptable for the Minister and his Department to suggest…”

Possibly related to the point Mick was making…  The former leader of Sinn Féin in the Dáil, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, TD, has taken exception to part of a statement by Irish Health Minister, James Reilly, TD, committing the Irish Government to work in partnership with their Northern Ireland counterparts on the development of a new radiotherapy unit at Altnagelvin.  Although, the same lines were first delivered by Labour TD, Kathleen Lynch, on the Minister’s behalf, in the Dáil on 24th March without … Read more

“the reports will be published after the Assembly elections…”

As the BBC reports, the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Owen Paterson, has announced the dissolution of the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) and the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD). The IICD archive is to be held at Boston College, as Kevin Cullen reports Thomas E. Hachey, executive director of the Center for Irish Programs at Boston College and a professor of history, said getting the archive was a coup for BC. “This is an incredibly valuable collection for future … Read more

“The decision on our island’s future lies with the people, not political parties”

I’m grateful to John at Nuzhound for linking a fascinating piece by John Horgan in the Irish Post. In it he pinpoints a question that has long puzzled many people. Undeniably Sinn Fein played a blinder in March’s Dail election. But as Horgan points out, it was not primarily because of their sound Republican stance on the ‘national question’. More often it was ‘burning bondholders’ or wry mentions of how Argentina escaped its debt problem, than any strong political kinship … Read more

Any good new ideas for cross-border cooperation?

Every two or three years the Centre for Cross Border Studies comes close to running out of money. The begrudgers on the Slugger O’Toole website may not believe it, but a small ‘stand alone’ research and development centre in an innovative but untrendy area like cross-border cooperation is always between 6 and 36 months from closing down. I’m not complaining about this – only stating it as a fact of life. If I were a government department or an EU … Read more

#AE11 Open thread: South Down (#sdo11)…

Okay, we’re going to run a series of open threads on a number of constituencies throughout the campaign. I’ve picked up South Down first partly because of John McCallister’s uncharacteristically undisciplined outburst last week. When you consider there is a boundary change in the north of the constituency that could take 2k Unionist votes out of the equation, it must be a pretty tough hill climb for him  to get over the win line, not least because he was 2k … Read more

…if University education were universally available and availed of, the country would collapse in one generation

The words of Brian O’Nolan, variously Brian Ó Nualláin, Myles na gCopaleen, Myles na Gopaleen and, of course, Flann O’Brien. That O’Nolan was referencing his own dissolute student days at UCD only mildly distracts from the prophetic undertone of his words: I paid no attention whatsoever to books or study and regarded lectures as a joke which, in fact, they were if you discern anything funny in mawkish, obtuse mumblings on subjects any intelligent person could master single-handed in a … Read more

A momentous day for Ireland and the eurozone

Spelling out  the full horror of it,  Robert Peston  describes a crisis even deeper than publicly admitted. The one glimmer  of hope is that the rich States of  the EU  and other major investors  now admit they are intimately implicated. Rather than presenting themselves as strict but magnanimous bailers out of little Ireland, they are gradually being forced to recognise their self-interest in a better system to  protect ther own savers who invested in Ireland in the first place. And yet the final form of that recognition … Read more

Moriarty: Nach scannal mór é?

Michael Lowry held the floor of the Dail for a hour early Tuesday evening, as part of statements on the Moriarty Tribunal.  Much earlier in the day, there was an interesting intervention from poll topping Louth TD Gerry Adams in which he criticising the tribunal for the huge legal cost (with precious little tangible product to show for it) of the whole affair: Recently there was a dispute and much controversy about the cost of the Saville inquiry into the … Read more

POTD – Don’t hold back….say what you think

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 of grants from the … Read more

Duffy – a promising Nefyn folk singer…

Here we go: Duffy singing “Ar lan y môr” from the soundtrack of new Welsh film “Patagonia”. (Coming to the flix soon…) Not bad but Cerys is better – the Bob Dylan treatment…..Cool… Katherine is, like all Clannad… But I still reckon Mine’s the best… Not really – Siân knows how it goes.. For those interested it’s great that everyone sings different words! DewiWelsh Nationalist. Rugby Fan. Know a bit about History and Railways…

“We don’t approve of young children engaging in this type of activity…”

The Belfast Telegraph has an update from the Ti Chulainn Cultural Centre in Mullaghbawn, south Armagh – where children, some of primary school age, were photographed in October wearing balaclavas, combat jackets and trousers, dark glasses and berets, and brandishing replica weapons including AK47s and Armalites.  From the Belfast Telegraph update The Ti Chulainn centre in south Armagh has said that children dressed up as paramilitaries armed with replica weapons on its premises hadn’t “been part of an organised event” in the … Read more

“What will be the end of this sorry saga?”

With tensions rising across Europe, Irish Life and Permanent suspended trading earlier today amid speculation that it would have to sell its profitable pensions and investments business, Irish Life, and its fund management business, Irish Life Investment Managers, after the publication of the bank stress test results tomorrow. That publication is also expected to result in further nationalisation of the Irish banking sector with the banks expected to need “as much as 30bn euros ($42bn; £26bn) in additional capital”. The BBC’s Robert Peston, … Read more

“Is Scappaticci getting to that time of life when he wants to talk about his role in the conflict…”

In the Belfast Telegraph, Alan Murray asks some pertinent questions ahead of the Smithwick Tribunal’s public hearing stage.  From the Belfast Telegraph article What Hurst [‘Martin Ingram’] has told Judge Smithwick so far about Stakeknife’s role along the border and whether it has relevance to his tribunal we are not allowed to know. What we do know is that the Ministry of Defence does not want Hurst to talk about Stakeknife, either publicly or privately, which puts its lawyers on a collision-course … Read more

Introducing Broadsheet.ie (if you’ve not already met them)…

Great fun and often insightful political site keeping a watch on the comings and goings at Leinster House… Stories include: – Michael Lowry’s Facebook page… – Houses that look like TDs… – Meet Adolf Kitler… – Angry Birds Take on the Arab Spring… – Mulley ends the punk awards and more are born… – And one with a bit of bite (and research), Tescogate… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the … Read more

World turns against death penalty

Fifty years ago only ten countries had completely abolished the death penalty. In 1977, the year Amnesty International took up the cause, just 17 countries were death penalty-free. Since then, there has been a sea change.  As documented in Amnesty’s report on Death Sentences and Executions in 2010, published this week, 96 countries have now fully abolished capital punishment, while only 58 actively retain it. Of these, only 23 actually carried out executions in 2010. The remaining 43 nations have … Read more

McNarry apologises for Nolan outburst…

Interesting. Ken Reid reports that even though technically speaking David McNarry was right in suggesting Basil McCrea and John McCallister were unforgiveably breaking ranks on a party line (in suggesting the matter of Martin McGuinness becoming First Minister was not important to them), he has apologised for his outburst on Stephen Nolan’s show last week… Mr McNarry apologised for his contribution to last week’s First Minister’s row and said the party was now united. It might have helped if Basil … Read more

Sinn Fein ‘flip’ from small ‘d’ to big ‘D’ First Minister…

Just putting together that last piece, I belatedly discovered Sinn Fein has resumed the capital D spelling of the Deputy First Minister (compare December and more recently, where Deputy First Minister or generic references to the First Ministers is commonplace. Not sure exactly when it was changed, but it  now applies to official documents and news releases at OFMDFM, whereas it didn’t in early January. Looks like someone’s been rather cleverly getting all their ducks lined up in a row … Read more