#AngloTapes: A good week for the Irish MSM..?

On the face of it, it was a good week for the Irish Independent. You might call it cynical, or you might call it strategic, you might even call it both, but the release of sound files on Independent.ie got the website the kind of coverage some bloggers would die for… Questions of course, remain. Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail are both asking how they got these confidential tapes that were previously in the custody of the Garda, and the … Read more

“Lisburn is still firmly stuck in the dark ages as a fiefdom for the DUP and bigotry”

This week’s Ulster Star cover story proclaims: Bigotry ‘alive and well’ on city council ‘Bigotry and discrimination are alive and well on Lisburn City Council’, it has been claimed in the wake of the Council’s Annual General Meeting. Both the Alliance Party and Sinn Fein have hit out after the DUP took the two top posts on Council – with the deputy mayor’s election particularly contentious. Lisburn City Council tends to follow the pattern of allowing this year’s deputy mayor … Read more

“I have no problem with the burning of a tricolour on top of a bonfire”

DUP MLA Paul Girvan (PG below) did an interview with Frank Mitchell (FM) this afternoon where he expounded upon his ideas about bonfires and burning the Irish tricolour. I’ve included a transcript below, rather than comment, other than he may have got this memo, but he didn’t get this one (and he probably burnt the one from Chris).  That first link brings you to the full audio. FM: Ballyduff is only one of many bonfires which may or may not have an effigy, do you … Read more

Chief Constable: “You can’t separate the counter-terrorism efforts from organised crime.”

The PSNI has already warned of the potential consequences of the Northern Ireland Assembly’s restricting of the activities of the UK’s new National Crime Agency here.  Now, as the Belfast Telegraph reports, it’s the turn of the Chief Constable, Matt Baggott, to address the issue. Speaking at the launch of the Organised Crime Task Force’s (OCTF) annual report at Crumlin Road jail yesterday, Mr Baggott said any NCA work carried out in Northern Ireland would be done “with complete transparency”. And he warned … Read more

“a crash doesn’t destroy wealth, it merely reflects the extent to which wealth has already been destroyed”

David McWilliams’ column yesterday showed the value of someone sticking with the long arc of a story, in this case the financial collapse which he tried to warn people in advance. Let us not forget that every bank in Ireland went bust. It didn’t matter whether the banks were locally or foreign run and owned. They all indulged in reckless lending and they were all bailed out. To date there hasn’t really been a satisfactory answer as to how exactly … Read more

SF’s YouTube #fail: The audience also own the frames which surround your ‘social data’…

I was very happy to see John had picked up early on the ‘Minister hit by Jeep’ controversy at the weekend. It facilitated a fascinating conversation, and captured the fact that reader DC’s satirical response to An Phoblacht’s YouTube video of the incident was taken down after a complaint of copyright infringement from An Phoblacht themselves. An Phoblacht’s view count was way off their normal scale. By the end of 24 hours it had had 44k views. A success you … Read more

Exhibition, ‘Belfast Faces and Famous Places’

‘Belfast Faces and Famous Places’ opened at Common Grounds (16-17 University Avenue) on June 7 and runs until mid-July. I studied law and french at university but couldn’t suppress the impulse to draw. Doodling as others transcribed lectures and lessons. The impulse was especially towards converting people and events into line and ink. So there’s a lot of QUB lecturers caught up in my sketchbook. The other outlet was the venerable student newspaper, the Gown. A publication that can count … Read more

A Cross-Border Gun for Hire

So, after nearly 14 years, it is time to say farewell to the Centre for Cross Border Studies – although not to this blog, which is migrating to a new site (see below). We have done some good things in our small centre in Armagh during that time, and I must pay tribute to my colleagues for their huge support and extremely hard work: incoming director Ruth Taillon, particularly for her superb work on impact assessment; deputy director Mairead Hughes, … Read more

Comprehensive Spending Review offers to cut Northern Ireland’s budget by a mere 2%…

Odd things Comprehensive Spending Reviews. They are more a statement of intent, than a finalised corporate plan. Thus it is an entirely political decision as to when they are timed. From the Guardian’s round up of George Osborne’s Review (applicable in the first term of the next government, if the coalition are re-elected), here’s the headline figures for the devolved Assemblies/Parliament: The governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are required to find resource savings of 2%, with a budget … Read more

Australian Labor ditch Barry girl..

Oh well it’s been eventful…but Julia’s out (from the BBC). Wednesday’s leadership test was the third faced by Ms Gillard since she took office in 2010. She herself ousted Mr Rudd as prime minister in 2010. The BBC’s Nick Bryant in Sydney says Mr Rudd has exacted his revenge, after three years of him and his supporters mounting a destabilisation campaign targeted very much at her. Australian politics is a pretty brutal business… Rudd has 100 days to a general election … Read more

After the #AngloTapes revelations, “you cannot put people in jail for stupidity…”

This a great conversation from last night’s Prime Time Special (apologies for cutting out Paul Williams of the Irish Indo who’s scoop is driving most of this renewed and energetic discussion)… Worth highlighting is Colm McCarthy’s point that whilst any Irish citizen can download a 2000 page report of the collapse of Lehmann Brothers, there is virtually no bank by bank explanation as to how every single bank in the country had to be bailed out by either the Irish … Read more

A coherent if one-sided Platform for Change discussion about education

Last night Platform for Change hosted a debate looking at the potential for Northern Ireland to have a coherent education system. Around 65 people attended the two hour event in the Ormeau Avenue Holiday Inn. Initial five minute introductions from the panel of seven were followed by questions from the audience. listen to ‘1/5 First four speakers at @platform4change #p4cedu Education event’ on Audioboo Ciaran Helferty ex-QUB SU President, now with Amnesty/BMA Liam McCusker from Spirit of Enniskillen Bronagh Heatley … Read more

Shane Ross on calls for an Inquiry: “This is already a political battlefield…”

Following up on John’s post, Shane Ross said on RTE this morning that any inquiry into the Anglo Banking mess must be take place outside the political arena. He noted that Labour is already attacking Sinn Fein over their support of the bank guarantee scheme back in 2008. As John has already pointed out this is very delicate politically for Fianna Fail (tune in for Leaders Questions this afternoon for the first installment)… Ross says the courts should be the … Read more

#Anglotapes: If they saw the enormity of it up front, they might decide they have a choice.

Following the release of tapes of Anglo staff discussing how they present their case for support, in the lead up to the bank guarantee, there are more revelations in todays Irish Independent (which has been breaking the story). You can listen to the tapes via the Indo’s website (at the links above), but here are a couple of key quotes, as transcribed by the Journal.ie: Bowe on what the actual monetary requirement could be: That number is seven [billion] but … Read more

OFMdFM uses the new Entreprise Zones to effect another power grab on Planning….

So, the original intention of the planning bill was to transfer it out of Stormont’s control and pass it back to local councils. Except that an amendment to come before Stormont in session that starts at 12 noon (viewable here) will see OFMdFM appropriate control over planning in the Entreprise Zone… The zones would be administered by the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM). In effect, it would mean Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness would be in … Read more

Permanent revolution by facebook is replacing ideology

Why are demos and riots breaking out all over? It’s the economy stupid. But Newsnight’s Paul Mason has a contemporary twist, writing in the Independent to give a taster for his book Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions’ Velocity of information matters as much as action itself. It is striking how badly the incumbent elites in each case totally lose the information war. Whether it’s Greece, Turkey, Egypt or Brazil the unspoken truth is it is hard … Read more


Crikey that Israel bloke on the wing looks tasty…..how we won that I really don’t know….. DewiWelsh Nationalist. Rugby Fan. Know a bit about History and Railways…

UK City of Culture is a success but what does “success” mean? Greater transparency is needed

What is UK City of Culture delivering for Londonderry and Derry for the rest of us?  My fitful browsing and searches in journalism and the written public record doesn’t tell us much. No doubt there’s a buzz about the place with the opening of Ebrington Square and the Peace Bridge. You only need the evidence of your own eyes to see that tourism has become a major  – the major? – source of investment. They are squeezing every last ounce of value … Read more

Sinn Féin Minister hit by PSNI jeep following Tour of the North

According to reports on twitter, Sinn Féin Minister Carál Ní Chuilín was taken to hospital after being hit by a jeep at Carrickhill following the Tour of the North parade on Friday night. Gerry Kelly was also carried on the bonnet of a PSNI jeep. Gerry Adams has given some details: Caral released from hospital.Torn ligaments.Spoke 2 her.She was hit by PSNI jeep.Gerry K carried 50 yds on bonnet of jeep.Area now quiet. — Gerry Adams (@GerryAdamsSF) June 21, 2013 … Read more

Parliamentary Written Question of the Week…

Now that the US President is back home across the pond, it’s probably safe to note the latest candidate in an occasional series.  From the House of Commons written parliamentary questions 20 June. US White House Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether the Government plans to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the burning of the White House, Washington DC, US by the British army on 24 August 1814; and if she … Read more