No official Fianna Fáil candidate for Irish Presidential election

As recommended by the party’s six member sub-committee on the issue, and with Gay Byrne not accepting the invite [and Micháel Ó Muircheartaigh? – Ed], Fianna Fáil have confirmed they will not be putting forward a candidate in this year’s Irish Presidential election.  But they reserve the option to back someone else.  [If anyone will accept that endorsement? – Ed]  You might very well think that… In the Irish Times Harry McGee adds Speaking at a press conference after the … Read more

Hearts fan convicted of breach of the peace but not assault over Neil Lennon incident

Hearts fan John Wilson has been found guilty of breach of the peace for an incident during the Hearts vs. Celtic match at Hearts’ Tynecastle stadium on 11th May this year. The jury of seven women and eight men deleted the reference to making a sectarian remark from the charge relating to breach of the peace, and that the offence was aggravated by religious prejudice. They returned a not proven verdict for a second charge, which alleged Wilson assaulted Mr … Read more

Internet ‘news’ sourcing out of control…

There have been several prominent incidents of internet activity resulting in prosecution in the last few months. The Facebook threat cases of Gregory Campbell and Neil Lennon are particularly relevant to ‘our wee country’, but there are several others, including Facebook/ Twitter activity during the recent English riots. The incidents in question however seem to have opened a new door for what is seen as genuine news sourcing by several journalists. In the last few days alone there are two … Read more

Long ‘hot’ summer makes little dent in the UK polls…

Not sure I’m convinced by today’s Westminster gossip that David Cameron is getting a poll bounce (albeit a mini one) from Libya or his response to the Libya crisis. If you check out Anthony’s UK Polling Report tracker, you see the only clear pattern is the collapse of the Lib Dems, and the hovering of the Conservatives and Labour between mid thirties and forty. In truth, the changes haven’t really broken out of the three per cent error margin since … Read more

Do Words Matter?: Book Review of Political Discourse and Conflict Resolution – Debating Peace in Northern Ireland

I share many of the concerns of Andy Pollak, whose recent post ‘My Response to the Slugger Begrudgers’ zeroed in on the ‘relentless flow of negativity’ of some Slugger commentators. Pollak’s post was largely concerned with the medium of the blog. Indeed, I think the anonymity of the online world encourages extreme discourse and allows people the perverse satisfaction of ‘speaking out’ without having to take responsibility for their views. Pollak ends his post with a quotation from John Bradley, … Read more

“a special perspective of our role and place in the universe…”

Three weeks into its journey to our friend and lord, Jupiter, Nasa’s Juno spacecraft has taken a look back at its home planet [on the left] and its natural satellite, the Moon.  [Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech] From the Nasa press release “This is a remarkable sight people get to see all too rarely,” said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “This view of our planet shows how Earth looks from the outside, illustrating a special … Read more

Golf shows the way to ‘through-otherness’

Over the past year  three Northern Irish golfers – Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke  – have put our little region firmly on the global sporting map by winning the world’s  two greatest golf tournaments: the US Open (for two years running) and the  British Open. This extraordinary feat is wonderfully cheering for two reasons  that have little to do with golf: firstly because it is great for regional  morale when our sporting, musical and literary heroes make international  … Read more

Despite serious lobbying, Derry loses out to Kerry…

Added Note: Interesting that the company seems to have made up its mind back in March. Despite that both FMand DFM were enlisted in what looks like a desparate rearguard action [after the battle was lost? – Ed]. See also this Derry Journal on SF hopes for a phase 2 switch. Update 2: Thanks to Jthree for today’s report in the kerryman, which raises questions about the value of the proposition (the deal, it seems, involved the IDA lobbying potential … Read more

A poem for the day – The Last Poem

Sooo… August is over, the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness (well, rain) is upon us, and it’s time for this guest blogger to bid you all a fond farewell. Thanks to all who read the poems and took the time to engage with them: it was good to be challenged, interrogated, confirmed, parodied; good to spark debate and set others off on their own trains of thought; and good to have the poems take a place alongside the more … Read more

POTD – Beat Boys

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

Countdown to revelations about planning practices

Today is the deadline for responses to a Friends of the Earth online survey that has attracted over four hundred submissions on local planning practices. Responses from across society and the professions, including a number of revelations from within the developer-planner nexus, promise to make for uncomfortable reading for those charged with the protection of our natural and built environments. Here, the Director of Friends of the Earth, James Orr talks about some of the findings. From the stories about one new … Read more

‘the Irish republican version of the Imperial War Museum’

There’s an interesting article and audio slideshow by Henry McDonald in today’s Guardian about the republican museum in north Armagh. In a garden in a quiet cul-de-sac in north Armagh, a nondescript brown shed contains the Irish republican version of the Imperial War Museum. The private collection contains the toilet-roll holder from the room where IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands died in May 1981, letters from supporters to Sands, an original rebel uniform from the 1916 Easter rising, secret communications … Read more

“We now realise that wasn’t a brilliant idea…”

Newshound transcribes a Sunday World report on the recent removal of a ‘women in struggle’ wall mural at Rockmount Street, Belfast, and its controversial replacement – an advert for Northern Property, a Falls Road-based estate agency.  From the report Tony Donnelly, director of Northern Property, said his office had been inundated with calls about the mural’s removal. He said it had been taken down by Sinn Féin and his company had then erected its ad separately. “We now realise that wasn’t a brilliant idea … Read more

Tories talking up a nationalist storm over ‘broken Kingdom’?

It may be good party politics for the Tories to talk up the transfers from the exchequer to other parts of the UK, even if the numbers are relatively speaking pretty slight. But as noted on Tim Harford’s Radio Four programme the differential is not a significant disincentive to cessesation in the case of Scotland at least. Two points worth mentioning: it is strange that the numbers for London are never quoted in such debates; unnervingly perhaps for constitutional unionists, … Read more

Do normal people care what the Irish presidency is for?

I cannot think of another Head of State’s office where there is sometimes no competitive election, given a popular incumbent. It sort of happens because, like much else in the Irish state, it is in the gift of the country’s political class as to whether it is worth holding an election, or not. This is partly what’s been going on with Fianna Fail’s no show this time round. No chance of winning, no point running. Mary Regan in the Irish … Read more

The British Blundering Corporation strikes once again…

… or something altogether more sinister??! Whatever; licence payers in British Ulster have a right to know why they have been unilaterally handed over to the Republic without so much of a squeek about “consent principles”, “Belfast Agreements”….etc (Hat-tip to the Campaign for an English Parliament)  Update: All now sorted, from a N.Irish point of view anyway: North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds has received a letter from BBC Director General Mark Thompson apologising for the incorrect use of a Republic of Ireland tricolour to … Read more

A poem for the day – Banning Frankenstein

At the height of the Great Depression, with tens of thousands on the broo and the ODR strike on the horizon, Belfast’s city fathers took action – and banned the film ‘Frankenstein’ from picture houses in the town. Banning Frankenstein Belfast, 1932  1. The Wee Yard in the ice age. The slips are concrete glaciers plunged in the Lough. You expect   the oily water to flash-freeze, or boil and rage, but nothing happens. Cranes like laboratory   clamps or … Read more

The ANC, the IRA and the rise of influence of the left within Sinn Fein…

World by Storm has a nice piece up on the IRA’s role in helping MK, the armed wing of the ANC, in the 1980s. In particular he sees a strange alchemy at work there: …if one can think of a clearly legitimate contemporary struggle it was that against apartheid and it is to the credit of all involved in this latest revelation that Irish people and the IRA played a small part in its overthrow. Furthermore I tend to believe … Read more

POTD – Maghery

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

Jean-Claude Juncker: “The Eurogroup is working on a proposal, which I hope all eurozone member states will be happy with”

A quick update from Brussels on the crisis in the euro-zone where Finland’s demand for collateral in return for financial aid to Greece is, as the New York Times reported, threatening the “fragile consensus”.  [Offer them an island or two! – Ed]  I don’t think that would cover it… The BBC reports that European Central Bank (ECB) president, Jean-Claude Trichet, wants European governments to get back to work quickly. “The full and timely implementation of the July 21 agreement between heads … Read more