Euro crisis: “this is not a crisis about the euro”

So sayeth the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, writing in the Guardian.  And he should know!  From the Guardian article Astonishingly, since our summit the cost of borrowing has increased again for a number of euro area countries. I say astonishingly, because all macro economic fundamentals point in the opposite direction. It cannot be stressed enough that Greece is in a unique situation, not comparable to that of the other eurozone countries. Italy will generate a primary … Read more

Discussing e-books on BBC Radio Ulster Saturday Magazine

You never know where a blog posting will end up — on the back of my praise for Libraries NI making available e-books for loan via the Overdrive mobile application, I was asked to participate in a discussion on BBC Radio Ulster’s Saturday Magazine programme, presented by John Toal. The panel included Helen Osborn (Director of Service Delivery, Libraries NI), author John Bradbury and yours truly. Helen argued that this service has the potential to increase the number of new … Read more

Ballyclare Riot Arrest & Charge Watch: Day 22

 To Ballyclare journeyed I earlier this week, reviving memories of the summer of ’94, when I spent a few months visiting the bars and clubs of rural Antrim and Down replenishing cigarette vending machines, including in the Ballyclare region. Ballyclare’s loyalists are clearly fond of their flags, and it took little time to mentally tally a total figure of lamp post flags in excess of 100 in the small town. Intriguingly, the five flags fluttering in unison above one of … Read more

Pride

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

Norris goes from hero to zero

Front runner in the Race to the Aras has suffered an effectively fatal blow to his campaign with the news that he wrote  a letter to an Israeli court pleading for clemency for his former partner who was awaiting sentencing having been found guilty of statutory rape of a 15 year old Palestinian boy. The letter was written on Seanad headed note paper. A number of prominent members of his election team have already resigned and the Senator has conceded … Read more

Charges brought in Laois counterfeiting operation

It’s taken a while, but four men have finally been charged in connection with the sophisticated counterfeiting operation and underground bunker uncovered in a joint operation by Europol and gardaí in Ballybrophy, Borris-in-Ossory, County Laois, in May last year.  From the Irish Times report A former leading member of the Provisional IRA and prison escaper was one of four men who appeared at the Special Criminal Court yesterday, charged with possessing equipment to make counterfeit money. Anthony Sloan was arrested last year … Read more

“every discussion of the experience of west Belfast there is going to be blinkered”

In the Belfast Telegraph, Malachi O’Doherty takes a critical look at that “plenty for all” Feile.  From the Belfast Telegraph article The story of what west Belfast experienced through the Troubles is complex and amazing, but it is filtered at the Feile through a determination to defend the reputation of the IRA, the organisation that brought much of that grief upon the people and to write out of history the pain and horror suffered by those – and we know them – … Read more

BLOG: Join the Sluts

Tomorrow sees not just Belfast Pride, but the first SlutWalk in Ireland.  London, New York and Toronto have all had women take to the streets in a 21st century version of Take Back the Night. But Belfast isn’t quite as liberal as those other cities.  Even New Dehli’s SlutWalk is gaining more momentum than Belfast’s. For one, India’s parliament has the critical minority of one third women.  Northern Ireland has around 18%. Women are not quite equals here, and the … Read more

Euro crisis: Just when you thought you were out…

Signs, perhaps, that the markets remain less than convinced about last week’s eurozone leaders’ agreement on debt. Yesterday Italy was forced to pay more to borrow than just one month ago. Credit agency Moody’s has warned it may downgrade Spain’s rating.  All three credit agencies have a negative outlook on the country’s rating as the Spanish prime minister Jose Zapatero calls an early general election. And, in Cyprus, where the credit rating was downgraded by 2 points on Wednesday by Moody’s, … Read more

Babe to brat in 30 seconds flat…

If anyone ever had any doubts that the media is a fickle beast, the latest episode in the continuing saga of ‘Rory mania’ illustrates it well. In the space of effectively a few days, Rory McIlroy has gone from being a media darling with continual headlines proclaiming sainthood, to being labeled a spoilt brat. His offence was to dare to respond to what can only be described as direct personal abuse by a BBC commentator. Using Twitter, Jay Townsend referred … Read more

POTD – Baby at a roadside camp

Port-au-Prince near the ruined Presidential Palace 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 … Read more

Family ownership hindered News Corps’ ability to choose its own destiny, as a company

So James Murdoch is to be retained as head of BSkyB. If you missed Simon Jenkins on the matter on Newsnight last night, try Alison Smith in the FT this morning As for BSkyB, the case for refreshing the board is compelling and goes well beyond the position of James Murdoch, newly bolstered as chairman. It has been for a long time. The enduring thought that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp would buy the outstanding 60.9 per cent stake undoubtedly hindered … Read more

Murdoch’s ‘total victory’ over the press unions may prove his company’s demise…

Now, I am not sure I completely accept the story that Eamonn McCann tells about the demise of the NUJ (it possible, with hindsight at least, to suggest they picked the wrong fight with the wrong man) as an active force within the Murdoch empire, but the washing out of individual conscience of the journalist, certainly at the News of the World, seems to have important factor in the slow undermining of News International’s news product over time: The absence … Read more

Orange ratchet up tension in Portadown with Drumcree march breach

Having introduced a weekly Wednesday night protest march to accompany the pre-existing weekend protest march, Orangemen in Portadown have attempted to ratchet up the tension in Portadown following recent sectarian rioting by breaching a Parades Commission determination and marching to the edge of the Ballyoran estate. Interestingly, Suzanne Breen had noted in the Sunday World a couple of days ago that the Order failed to attempt to march the road on July 3rd, when PSNI officers didn’t show up to … Read more

Back to square one…………

Yesterdays Belfast Telegraph featured comment from David Hagan, a member of a Loyalist Flute band on the Shankill Road, the Regimental Band Association and a Committee member of the Confederation of Ulster Bands. Note: The Confederation of Ulster Bands is an umbrella body for a number of localised band associations from across Northern Ireland, with a membership exceeding 350 bands and over 10’000 people. In the piece he accused the newly appointed Parades Commission members this year of having “put … Read more

POTD – C.COY St

Well ‘themmuns’ have RPG Ave 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 … Read more

London Olympics 2012: the countdown is over for us

My campaign to get some London Olympic 2012 tickets for NI fell  at the first hurdle, see below http://sluggerotoole.com/2011/06/29/pt-brits-required And the last couple of days have seen the beginning of the countdown to London 2012. The BBC being unable to report on any tangible benefits for Norn Iron have rightly asked the question, several months after Slugger, what’s in it for us? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-14310859 The answer is zilch. No visiting teams, no visitors, no capital builds etc Kate Hoey suggests that … Read more

Martin McGuinness: “I have been in contact with the PSNI at the top level to register my dissatisfaction and annoyance…”

In a post yesterday, noting the major search operation across Northern Ireland and the arrest for questioning of 5 men in connection with the murder of PSNI officer Ronan Kerr, I linked to a UTV report quoting “the Deputy First Minister”, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, MP, MLA. “We have to continue to support police in their investigations of any of those actions which taken the lives of any of our citizens – including those members of the police service.” Today, … Read more

#Hackgate: Guido scores a hit, a very palpable hit… on Piers Morgan

Looks to me like Guido’s got one right in the back of the net… Piers Morgan, may not have been quite done in by his own words, but he has some serious questions to answer after Guido dug up this little number from the Daily Mail (who also claim they’ve never hacked anyone) in 2006: “Stories soon emerged that the marriage was in trouble – at one stage I was played a tape of a message Paul had left for … Read more