Your Print Off and Keep Guide to Following Tally Information in the Irish Stability Pact Referendum

Voters in the Republic went to the polls for a referendum on EU related issues today for the third time in 4 years. Although polls have just closed, the result will probably not be announced until well into Friday afternoon. However, those involved in the various campaigns will have a sense of how the result is shaping up from mid-morning. With my handy print off and keep guide, you can keep track of how the tallymen’s estimates compare with the … Read more

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 Post-Primary Education in the Derry City Area”.  [Direct link to 9mb pdf file here].   This Discussion Paper explains the opportunities offered in a ‘partnership’ … Read 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 be relieved to hear, that I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. In fact, I’d welcome your own grading of the parties performances with … Read more

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 quirky parallel between Sinn Fein’s ard fheis in Killarney this year and Ian Paisley’s ‘Ulster says NO’ campaign of 1985.   Brian SpencerBrian is a … Read more

#EUref: Great editorials are built on great journalism: Ireland’s desperate choice…

I don’t always see eye to eye with the Guardian newspaper. For one thing, their line between comment and news is often a little too blurred for my tastes [But you run a bloody blog! – Ed] Yes, but, well I’ve come to praise the Grauniad, not to bury it. Those of you who’ve been following Pete’s tight commentary on the Euro crisis, will have noted frequent references to their Eurozone crisis live blog. That blog has done almost exactly … Read 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 arriving, the press is nowhere to be seen, and I just had a really boring crab salad. It’s shaping up to be a vintage Bilderberg. … Read more 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., 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 any period of Belfast’s past. So far, the site has attracted entries from the likes of historian Philip Orr, author of The Road to the … Read 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… 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 … Read more

#EUREF: “But if you want to make a decision you’ll be happy to stand over?”

Uncertainty is the principle by which a lot of politics is conducted. I read an argument somewhere on the FT sites comment zone today as to why people are talking about figures that govern inflation and deflation when it is possible to calculate and mircocalculate down to much finer detail. Regarding the European Referendum Joe Humphries argues that when faced with a question that combines complexity and uncertainty… …people unconsciously substitute it with an easier question and answer that one … Read more

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 streets. Robert said that when he took passengers from Lavery’s bar in Belfast to a nightclub at 00.45 on May 26th; the PSNI were waiting … Read 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 – are among the very few. This came home to me recently when I was doing some research for the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust into … Read more

“Have you ever been to Longford?”

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

Mr Justice Hogan bins Sinn Fein’s entire case against referendum commission…

Last kick of the Referendum campaign was Pearse Doherty’s appeal to the High Court aimed at… …having the Referendum Commission withdraw remarks it made earlier this month concerning Ireland’s veto over the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). In fact, what he argued – and failed to convince the High Court of – was that the Commission was misdirecting the public on their potential to enact a veto over the ESM. Chairperson of the Commission Mr Justice Kevin Feeney on May 3rd … Read 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 referenda has been disputed on here before. Indeed, Minister of State Leo Varadkar suggested that referenda were not democratic at the start of the campaign, as he:  … Read 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 well as in Northern Ireland. Reports at the time that the agreement committed “the two governments to facilitating RTÉ services in Northern Ireland and BBC services … Read more

Plotting school attendance rates in Lisburn and Newry

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

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 in the last school year was 94%. However, our analysis of the department’s figures shows that the attendance levels for at least 20,914 pupils fell … Read 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 that will entrench peace inNorthern Irelandand ensure that we never return to darker days.  Martin McGuinness’ announcement at the Sinn Fein conference  shows that only … Read 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. Táimid mar sin spléach ar aos dlí chun meabhair a bheith a bhaint as – rud a chiallaíonn gur gá do saoránach misniúil éigin dul … Read 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 the time. Are the chattering classes in the village square really up to the job of separating the wheat from the chaff in complex issues? … Read more

“For much of the time, the Stormont Assembly looks more like a talking-shop.”

With the announcement on Girdwood [and any other business? – Ed] as a stark example of the semi-detached polit-bureau back in action, Ed Curran looks ahead The mark of the Stormont Executive has been its ability to take longer than could be imagined to arrive at decisions on many important issues. No agreed legislation means little, or nothing, to debate in the Assembly chamber. MLAs have been hard-pressed to stretch out debates in plenary sessions in recent months. For much of the … Read more