Archive | August, 2011

Clerical abuse also relied upon the scarcity of “righteous gentiles”

Dermot Keogh examines the diplomatic ramifications of the taoiseach’s speech, not least the wider consequences for both the Vatican and Ireland. But he leaves his sharpest question until the end: In reviewing the history of the past 90 years on this island, why – confronted by such widespread child sexual abuse – were there so more…

Quote of the day: “Isn’t this where you used to meet Gerry Adams?”

From David Hare’s spy drama Page Eight, broadcast tonight on BBC2.  A senior MI5 officer, Johnny Worricker, played by Bill Nighy, is investigating the sudden death of his close friend, and Director General of MI5, Benedict Baron [Michael Gambon].  In the aftermath of the death, a journalist, Rollo Maverley [Ewen Bremner], who is also an MI5 operative paid to release information into the public more…

A poem for the day – guest poem by Howard Wright

This weekend’s guest poem is by Howard Wright, a Portadown poet and artist who has published in journals the wordl over for the past twenty years or so, but whose first full-length collection (the brilliant King of Country) only appeared a year or two back. Howard’s stuff isn’t often as explicit or ‘public-facing’ as this more…

“That is just the sort of old boy’s network…”

Given the latest controversy at the intersection of politics and policing, it’s worth pointing to Liam Clark’s comments on a previous disagreement over operational matters.  From the Belfast Telegraph article In a modern democracy, politicians are expected to allow the police the operational independence to follow up whatever leads come up – even if many of them more…

noose

PSNI badly misjudge their harassment?

It looks increasingly like the PSNI have made a very serious miscalculation during an instance of harassing the family of a non-compliant republican. While it is no surprise they would arrest an ex-prisoner who is the RNU prisons spokesperson, targeting his family could backfire spectacularly. The arrest of lay magistrate Delia Van der Lenden and her more…

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Hurricane Irene: “one scary big storm…”

As Hurricane Irene heads for the North Carolina coast, US President Barack Obama cuts short his family holiday in Martha’s Vineyard, by a day, warning the public that “All indications point to this being a historic hurricane”.  The Guardian report adds that “Obama’s wife and daughters will travel back as planned on Saturday”.  [Image credit: NASA/NOAA more…

castlereagh borough council logo

Castlereagh Borough Council hurriedly accept the Deloitte report’s recommendations (updated)

Three months after the draft Deloitte report was presented to Castlereagh Borough Council on 26 May, the final version was discussed during a private session of the council last night. This morning’s radio bulletins seemed to have gone all West Country with frequent mentions of “luvver” as the reports’ conclusions and political reaction was discussed. more…

A poem for the day – The Lost Apprentice

I spent a lot of time as a child in east Belfast, during what was, in hindsight, the last gasp of its life as an industrial culture. I remember horns and sirens at lunchtimes, an architecture of high red brick walls around factories that even then were probably scaling down production, my grandfather’s pride in more…

GCSE English results

What’s the real story behind today’s GCSE results?

Much of the mainstream media’s reporting around this morning’s GCSE results has focussed on the highest grades. The clipping to the right (from a BBC News online article) is a typical example. Not much mention of any grade below C. Mick’s post from earlier today has already started some discussion. The disparity between male and more…

Row over opening changing rooms in Bushmills

The official opening of new changing rooms at the Dundarave Playing Fields in Bushmills was postponed last night due to a protest by local people. The Chair of Bushmills council, independent (former SF) councillor Padraig McShane, was due to conduct the official opening of the facility. The specific objections to Cllr. McShane seem to be more…

What do the GCSE Results tell us about employment propects?

The truth is, probably not a great deal. The trend in Northern Ireland is pretty established: best top end performances in the UK; and the worst record of students leaving with no qualifications at all. Education Minister John O’Dowd has been questioned several times about a .5% drop in the NI performance; which, to be more…