Archive | November, 2011

belfast city council logo

“bright colours and/or striped materials should not be worn as these may distort the images” … a summons … and a protest … it’s democracy live

Tomorrow could be an interesting day – and night – around Belfast City Hall. A rally is being planned to protest at the Lord Mayor’s actions at Monday night’s Duke of Edinburgh Award ceremony. Facebook suggests: [click on the thumbnail to expand] The people of Belfast will emerge on the City hall tomorrow night at more…

Peter Robinson tactics, strategy and Stranmillis

Mick has a blog on Alex Kane’s latest column looking at Peter Robinson’s conference speech below as has Chris Donnelly. One line in it struck me that Robinson was a master strategist. I have in the past described Robinson as a good tactician but a poor strategist. However, more recently I have begun to think more…

The DUP’s Shared Future- Protestants and the (unidentified) pro-Union Catholics need only apply

Mick has already linked a thread to Alex Kane’s article in the Newsletter regarding Peter Robinson’s Conference speech at the weekend. But the focus of that thread is on Kane’s observation regarding the importance of the DUP’s vocabulary in delivering on their ‘catholic’ project. However, the most significant aspect of the unfolding DUP strategy is more…

Yet more devolved discrimination

Edinburgh and St Andrews Universities, which are the most popular in Scotland with students from the rest of the UK,  have decided to charge  £36,000 for a four-year course- their degree courses will be the most expensive in the nation. The SNP’s Education Secretary  Mike Russell has (bearing in mind his party is the architect of more…

Justice Minister: “grandstanding and chest beating seen in the Chamber” on mandatory sentences call

As the BBC reports, yesterday in the Northern Ireland Assembly, by 44 votes to 41, MLAs called on the NI Justice Minister, Alliance Party leader David Ford, to “introduce legislation to impose mandatory minimum prison sentences for people who are found guilty of violent crimes against older or vulnerable people”. The motion was agreed despite opposition from more…

Death blast lessons

The lengthy excerpt below appeared as an article by Ciaran McKeown in the Irish Press on Monday 6th December 1971 entitled ‘Death blast lesson for the North’. McKeown wrote the piece in the immediate aftermath of the destruction of McGurk’s Bar on the preceding Saturday night, the 4th December, the fortieth anniversary of which falls this weekend. It is worth more…

Memo to BBC: The NI Executive voted these measures through

Why are the BBC busying themselves counting the number of MLAs turning up for work today?  Don’t they know the Northern Ireland Executive voted in favour of the blanket increase of 3.2 per cent in public-sector pension contributions? Admittedly they did so behind closed doors, and didn’t tell anyone at the time. [Some parties don’t seem more…

Why are Irish researchers so uninterested in North-South cooperation?

After more than 12 years of toiling in the field of North-South cooperation in Ireland, one of the real puzzles for me remains the lack of interest shown by our university academics and researchers in this important and innovative aspect of peacemaking and politics, economics and society on this island. In the past two months more…

Europa Hotel, Belfast via Rory Storey Photography on Flickr

Hotels in conflict …

In this morning’s Independent, Jonathan Brown takes a look at infamous conflict hotels. The Rex Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, Hotel des Mille Collines in Kigali, King David Hotel in Jerusalem … and closer to home, the Europa Hotel in Belfast! When work began on the site of the former Great Northern Railway station more…

Osborne defies local expectations with a £200 million boost

Anyone who has watched the twitter feeds from hashtags like #budget2012, will have noted just how over heated people are getting over a terrible budget coming down the track. That suggests to me that the government is trailing a doom it does not quite intend to deliver. Something like the trick played by George Osborne more…

The Right Honourable, the Lord Mayor, Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile…

According to a UTV report, Sinn Féin Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile, Lord Mayor of Belfast, was at Belfast City Hall on Monday evening handing out Northern Ireland Silver Duke of Edinburgh Awards to “over 166 young people”, between the aged of 14 and 24, “from all backgrounds”.  Almost.  From the UTV report During the service at more…

Jeffrey Donaldson MP, Thomas Hennessey, Ian Paisley MP, and Jonathan Bell MLA (Chair), panel discussion "Strengthening Unionism", Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) annual conference, Le Mon Hotel, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Donaldson calls for DUP-led pan-UK unionist movement #dupconf

Beyond the headline of attracting more Catholic unionists in Northern Ireland, Jeffrey Donaldson raised an interesting proposal for the DUP to lead a pro-Union campaign for unionists WITHIN Scotland and Wales… Unexpectedly bumping into my friend Thomas Hennessey, I chose to stay at the DUP annual conference and attend a discussion panel that he was more…

News International being investigated over allegations of hacking into NIO computers

The Guardian has a fascinating breaking story… Metropolitan police that they are investigating evidence that his computer, and those of senior Northern Ireland civil servants and intelligence agents, may have been hacked by private detectives working for News International. Tom Watson notes: Phone hacking is one thing, but targeting the computers of ministers with high-security more…

IBRC: “Today’s Commercial Court judgment gives clear, unambiguous recognition to the legal obligations of Mr Quinn…”

Following last week’s order to repay loans of almost €417 million that Sean Quinn had personally guaranteed, today the Dublin Commercial Court added additional loans worth over €1.6 billion to the bill. The ruling was made at the Commerical Court in Dublin. The total involves 1.52bn euros, $589m and 13 billion Japanese yen. Mr Quinn did not attend more…

“When this is all over, ordinary priests and regular RTÉ journalists will have something in common?”

Hard to deny Jude Collins’ observation that there is a “not-too-obvious-but-still-there anti-Catholic Church strand in the Irish media”. It’s not just in the Irish media. There is a wider assumption that the Catholic church and only the Catholic church has questions to answer in relation to child sex abuse. An accurate assay of the extent more…

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Retaining “our shared Christian ethos” in shared education #dupconf

  With Northern Ireland’s Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson MP MLA, providing a warm up act at the DUP annual conference, I attended a panel discussion on “Fixing Education”: Michelle McIlveen MLA (Chair) Rev. Trevor Gribben (Transferors’ Representative Council) Billy Young (President, Association for Quality Education (AQE)) Gerry Lundy (Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS)) Mervyn more…

Robinson: “This speech of Robinson’s seemed bolder…”

There has been a lot comment expressing doubts about Peter Robinson’s sincerity re bringing Catholics into the party. But Gerry Moriarty has the critical factor. It can be read against delivery: There wasn’t much meat on the bones, so to speak, but Robinson definitely set out a broad vision for the party that includes seeking more…