POTD -Last minute preparations

for Lap the Lough 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

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 few “righteous gentiles” in church, State or society ready to stand up and speak out in the face of such an unspeakable, pervasive evil? Quite … Read 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 domain, arranges a meeting at an anonymous motorway diner.  The following exchange takes place. [Johnny Worricker]: ” A ‘Road House’?  Rather a come-down isn’t it? … Read more

Electricity prices: differential between GB and NI has worsened since Single Electricity Market

Mick has already done a piece on the rise in electricity prices in Northern Ireland. In May Jim Allister asked a series of questions about electricity pricing here: Question: Mr Jim Allister (TUV – North Antrim) To ask the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment how the average cost of a household electricity bill in Northern Ireland compares to the average bill in Great Britain. Answer: The average household electricity bill in Northern Ireland during 2010 is estimated at £496 … Read more

POTD – New Technology

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

POTD – Reflected

One of the best “to do’s” in Belfast is the Titanic tour around the docks. 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 … Read 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 one, but it felt right for Slugger. The Election Party For T M Plausibility’s the thing. Appearance and reality. Something they like to think they’re … Read more

Celtic myths and legends … will there (shortly) be dragons in Belfast City Hall?

celtic dragon suncatcher by grassymtarts on Etsy

As part of the ongoing work to rebalance the sense of shared space and history at Belfast City Hall, a Celtic-themed stained glass window is being commissioned to “reflect Celtic myths and legends”. The window will be located close to the main reception, and is intended to represent cultural perspectives and promote a “City Hall for all”. Any budding artists and/or stained glass glaziers might want to check out the tender document. Deadline for submissions is noon on Friday 16 … Read 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 turn out to be false. The alternative would be for detectives to ring up senior politicians and to ask which suspects could be vouched for … Read more

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 retired Dutch naval officer husband seems to echo the lazy harassment many nationalists can easily connect with the attitudes of the old RUC. Mrs Van … Read more

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 GOES Project]   The GOES-13 satellite saw Hurricane Irene moving through the Bahamas on August 25, 2011 at 1402 UTC (10:02 a.m. EDT) and far … Read more

Ó Muircheartaigh: “I never said I was interested in being a candidate”

GAA commentator Micháel Ó Muircheartaigh echoes Gay Byrne in ruling himself out of the race for the Áras.  From the Irish Times report Mr Ó Muircheartaigh last night announced that he would not be putting himself forward as a candidate but that he was honoured to be asked to run. Speaking this morning, Mr Ó Muircheartaigh (81) said he had been approached by members of a number of political parties – which he declined to name – but that he … Read more

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. Castlereagh Council curtly answered an FOI in May asking for a copy of the report with wording that was believable (though fell far short of … Read more

Shamrock Rovers hit the jackpot and get through to the European group stages

Last night’s 2-1 away victory over Partizan Belgrade (3-2 on aggregate) means that Shamrock Rovers [their website is under strain this morning!] have made Irish football history to go through to the group stages of the Europa League. The Hoops will find out who else will be in their group when the draw is made in Monaco later today. With a goal from Pat Sullivan and a 112th minute penalty from Stephen O’Donnell, manager Michael O’Neill had much to be … Read 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 the Skyvan wobbling into the air above Ravenscroft Avenue. This poem was written after a train journey to Bangor many years later, when the smell … Read more

POTD – Wood carving

St.Georges Market 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 … Read more

NI Electricity consumers face price hike…

Ironically, no sooner is there some decent competition in the energy market in Northern Ireand, than there is a major price hike… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

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

GCSE English 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 female results is very noticeable in a subject like English. This year 24.5% of girls opened their envelope to discover they had been awarded an … Read 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 due to his recent attempts to twin the council with Gaza and also remarks he is said to have made about the Twelfth in Ballycastle … Read 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 fair to the Minister, is probably neither here nor there. The real problem is that after four years of Education being devolved to Stormont we … Read more