Archive | February, 2012

“I am delighted to hear that the people of Northern Ireland are the happiest in the United Kingdom”

Some good news!  [Peter Robinson will be pleased – Ed]  Possibly…  According to the Office of National Statistics’ analysis of experimental subjective well-being data from the Annual Population Survey, April to September 2011, the people of Northern Ireland are the happiest in the United Kingdom.  In fact the, admittedly subjective, data reveals that the people more…

Dev’s grandson steps down as deputy leader of Fianna Fail…

Hmmmm…. Eamon O’Cuiv the Eurosceptic wind of the Fianna Fail party in Eurosceptic west has now gone from his position as Deputy Leader and Communications spokesman, but not from the party, yet. So. No creative ambiguity under Mr Martin?? But, here’s the intriguing thing: Fergal Keane on RTE Drivetime speculating that he is close Sinn more…

“Fianna Fáil does not believe in a two speed Europe”

Statement from Fianna Fail’s Foreign Affairs spokesman Seán Ó Fearghaíl this afternoon in the Dail: Go raibh maith agat a Ceann Comhairle.     At 3 o’clock yesterday the eyes of Europe once more turned towards Ireland. Supported by the enduring strengths of our constitution, the Irish people, despite desperate government efforts to avoid it, more…

A Tribute to Eugene McCabe

Does being a border writer mean that, by definition, you are going to be marginalised?  That would certainly seem to have been the case with Eugene McCabe, the Clones-based writer of at least one great play, one masterpiece of a novel and some of the most powerful short stories to have come out of Ireland more…

Owen Paterson on welfare reform at Queen’s

Owen Paterson used his visit to QUB last night to articulate the government’s position on the Welfare Reform Bill, with much talk of ‘rebalancing the economy’ and injecting ‘dynamism’ by tackling our ‘broken’ welfare system. In a week when the Work Programme and A4E scandals in GB have raised public anger about the exploitation of more…

CRC NI Peace Monitoring Report cover

Poverty, deprivation, identity and voting, a desire for integration, and who funds peace building?

As posted earlier, the Community Relations Council’s first Northern Ireland Peace Monitoring Report was published today. It includes a handy reminder of the main moments since 1974 when ‘the hand of history’ has been on the peace process as well as an overview of the demography of Northern Ireland and a profile of its workforce. more…

Romney,,,,yet another comeback.

It hasn’t been an entirely convincing process but Mitt Romney’s wins in home state Michigan and in Arizona have certainly dented the momentum of the the latest upstart, Rick Santorum. The New York Times has the numbers and observes: His victory over Mr. Santorum here in Michigan was far from commanding, but it was most more…

CRC NI Peace Monitoring Report cover

Painting a picture of the peace process by numbers – CRC’s NI Peace Monitoring Report

Almost £100m a year has been granted for peace-building in Northern Ireland and the six border counties of the Republic since 1987. The number of incidents of paramilitary violence decreased between 2010 and 2011. The PSNI clearance rate for crimes such as paramilitary assaults/punishment beatings in 2011 was only 4%. Northern Ireland has the highest more…

Scotland – Ascherson still not decided on independence…

Always liked the bloke – but at 79 years old I thought he might have made his mind up….. From the New York Times. Even larger questions would loom. Would there still be a place called “Britain”? Would Scottish independence finally force the English to rediscover their own national voice, instead of hiding their problems more…

English Eurosceptics get excited about Ireland’s referendum…

British Eurosceptics are getting very excited about Ireland’s referendum. Seldom, in peacetime, has an announcement in Dail Eireann had such an immediate effect on the business of the Commons: Gov business tomorrow has now been cancelled to accommodate Bills motion. — Nadine Dorries MP (@NadineDorriesMP) February 28, 2012 Of course Bill Cash’s real point of more…

Quote of the day….

Someone in Fianna Fail is traveling much more in hope than expectation, with this motion for the party’s Ard Fheis at the weekend: That those seeking nomination to run for FF sign a pledge that they will not run as an Independent or for any other party if they do not get on the ticket. more…

All set for (another) Irish referendum

The southern Justice Minister Alan Shatter is getting the third degree from Mary Wilson on RTE’s Drivetime programme… Apparently the Attorney General has said it’s complex and the fiscal compact treaty should be put the people (and made part of the constitution of Ireland). There’s an awful lot of spin about what it means. The more…

#CATJRF: Scoil an Droichid and the downside of asset transfer?

In case anyone was under the impression that community asset transfer is being pushed here as a panacea for all ills and all occasions then what Scoil an Droichid are currently going through should serve as a dire warning of some of the risks involved. It’s not that the school is not in general terms more…

“a good test of how Irish culture is changing…”

In the Irish Times, Fintan O’Toole considers a recent discussion document from the GAA’s director general, Páraic Duffy – on “GAA amateur status and payment to team managers” [pdf file].  From the Irish Times article The GAA is arguably closer than any other body to being, for both good and ill, the archetypal Irish organisation. more…

Thoughts on The New Routemaster and Green Transport

The new Routemaster buses by Wrightbus have finally begun to appear in London. These buses have been championed by Boris Johnston to replace the bendy buses brought in by Ken Livingstone when he was mayor. The buses seem to have proved reasonably popular with the public though a protest bus followed the first new Routemaster more…