Archive | May, 2012

Catholic Post-Primary Education Reform: “I am anxious to try to build consensus on the way forward”

Following on from the Northern Ireland Commission for Catholic Education (NICCE) belated publication of its Post-Primary Review Strategic Regional Report, individual dioceses are bringing forward their suggestions.  The first one out of the blocks appears to concern Catholic maintained schools in Londonderry. The Derry Diocese Administrator, Monsignor Eamon Martin, has published “Together Towards Tomorrow – a discussion paper re more…

Ranking the winners and losers of #EUREF2012?

So before the actual result of the Referendum on the Fiscal Treaty is announced, here’s a run down of  how I think each of the parties have fared. It’s less a beauty line up, and more an attempt to grade them in terms of how they have managed to improve their positioning as a result.  Finally, you’ll more…

fiscal treay

EU Fiscal Compact: picturing a Yes vote

Today Ireland is going to the ballot box to vote Yes or No to centralised budgetary oversight and here’s my cartoon illustrating how things could look with a Yes vote. Your comments and captions are welcomed.   And below you can see a quirky piece I did earlier in the week in which I picked out a more…

Bilderberg 2012: “Are you here for the brunch?”

The Guardian’s Charlie Skelton is in Chantilly, Virginia, ahead of the, whisper it, annual Bilderberg conference – “a small, flexible, informal and off-the-record international forum in which different viewpoints can be expressed and mutual understanding enhanced”.  As he says at the Big G’s US News blog Everything’s set. The hotel is being primped and hoovered, the security is more…

BelfastHistory.org Goes Online

With stories ranging from pubs bottling their own Guinness, to Belfast street games, to making a splash at the Falls Baths, a new local history website has gone online. BelfastHistory.org, created by web developer Brian O’Neill, is a non-profit, community-orientated history website where people are invited to share their own stories, reflections, and articles about more…

Trolling: A view from Stephen Fry…

I think generally we do okay for community standards on Slugger… For the most part, people at least make the effort to engage across opinion groups… Stephen Fry in this short rant against ‘Trolls’ exaggerates their effect on internet based debate… but he does also get some things quite right…

Governing alcohol consumption: Who are the winners?

“Excuse me mate, the only reason you could possibly want to go into this club is to get drunk as a skunk, so get back in the car.” A Belfast taxi man has confidently told me that people in his profession are the most knowledgeable people around when it comes to what’s happening on our more…

Little Community Sector Interest in North-South Cooperation

There aren’t many people who get up every workday morning and say to themselves: “What can I do today to advance practical North-South cooperation in Ireland?”  I sometimes think we in the Centre for Cross Border Studies  – along with our neighbours in the North South Ministerial Council Joint Secretariat down the hill in Armagh more…

Do the govt need a No vote in #euref…

..and, to provide similar political cover, does the No side need a Yes vote? The only thing that is clear from the lead-up to the referendum on Thursday is that neither the changing political and economic context of the Austerity/Stabilitytreaty nor it’s relatively bland content has really generated much energy, despite the ramifications of ratification. The value of more…

“Having the BBC available in the South gives us a clear link with what politicians in the North are doing.”

So opined the then Irish Minister for Communications, Eamon Ryan, in February 2010 when the Irish and UK governments signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) “for continuing co-operation on broadcasting issues on the island of Ireland.” Specifically, on what will happen after the digital switchover in 2012 –  now scheduled for Oct 24 in Ireland as more…

Lisburn and Newry school attendance - using data gathered by The Detail

Plotting school attendance rates in Lisburn and Newry

Over the weekend, The Detail published details about school attendance in Northern Ireland using 2010/11 attendance data for every primary and post-primary school that was released by the Department of Education in response to their Freedom of Information request. Quoting some of The Detail’s findings: The average pupil attendance across all schools in Northern Ireland more…

If you are looking for lemmings buy a Playstation

We inhabit, to quote ATQ Stewart the “narrow ground,” two ideologies opposed to one another from the very beginning always in a state of conflict with one another.  Nationalists are chalk to my cheese, blur to my oasis,romulus to my remus. A shared future concept is something that parties inNorthern Irelandwant.  It is the basis more…

“Ba cheart do bhunreacht a bheith glé, grinn soiléir soléite…”

Tugann Aonghus faoi dheara go riamh ó cuireadh iallach ar an rialtas a ghlacadh gach conradh a rialaíonn caidreamh na hÉireann leis an Aontas Eorpach isteach leis an mBunreacht, d’fhorbair sé ina cúldoras sa Bhunreacht féin (ceann de roinnt acusan): Ba cheart do bhunreacht a bheith glé, grinn soiléir soléite. Bhí tráth. Níl níos mó. more…

Public opinion and the setting (or unsetting) of Irish foreign policy…

Nice letter in the Irish Times today on the wisdom of dictating foreign policy by referenda: Sir, – The use of referendums in the formulation of public policy-making is a well established feature of Irish politics. But is this wise? Public opinion is fickle, ill-informed, contradictory and mainly responsive to the ephemeral issues prevailing at more…