Archive | August, 2013

NI Assembly Commissioner for Standards: “In these circumstances some might have concerns as to my impartiality to consider your complaint…”

I’m not entirely convinced by the reason given by the Northern Ireland Assembly Commissioner for Standards, Douglas Bain, for his decision to recommend that the NI Assembly Committee on Standards and Privileges appoint an Acting Commissioner to consider the DUP and TUV complaints about Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly’s attendance and speech at the recent more…

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Seamus Heaney: “But what about the river in the trees, boy?”

Seamus Heaney has died at the age of 74.  The Slugger archive has a number of Heaney-related posts, although some links may be defunct.  Among them one of my earliest posts noting Heaney writing on his fellow poet Czeslaw Milosz.  More here, here, here, here, and here.  And here’s a great montage of BBC archive clips more…

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Jobs and Freedom for Northern Ireland

Sponsored by the US Consulate Belfast, the Washington-Ireland Programme and Politics Plus, Chris Lyttle MLA hosted a remembrance event at Parliament Buildings for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, with Martin Luther King Jr’s speech, “I have a dream”. Chris recalled his experience as a participant in the Washington-Ireland more…

Time for another Church/Hall watch thread?

So a device set against the Orange Hall in Newcastle comes days after the latest attack on Clifton Street Orange Hall in what Councillor Lee Reynolds has called “a sectarian hate crime” took place in broad daylight (ie, with the certainty that whoever did it, would not be caught). These attacks are almost always low more…

Twaddell: A Camp Called Malice

Following on from the 12th July loyalist rioting in Belfast, the Orange Order and loyalists conceived of the idea of establishing a “civil rights” camp to keep the pot boiling at the most sensitive of Belfast’s interfaces: the Ardoyne-Twaddell Avenue roundabout. This decision was clearly taken with the support of unionist politicians, who have regularly more…

DUP man criticises poor DARD performance on Bovine TB…

Not trying to add to the giddy zephyrs of pure conjecture, or anything, but I was struck by a presser from Paul Frew yesterday which took the DRD to task for dithering over how to deal with Bovine TB. In it he says: There is no doubt that Bovine TB cannot be attributed to a more…

“that’s why Richard Haass needs proof – right from the start – that the will to construct a deal really does exist”

Having abandoned their first, draconian, attempt to control regulate Public Assemblies, Parades and Protests, Sinn Féin and the DUP may now face a wider variety of emboldened dissenting voices in seeking compromise on the issue.  Alex Kane has some advice for the incoming chair of the new, improved, working group on parades.  From the News Letter article If more…

“giddy zephyrs of the purest conjecture…”

In yesterday’s Irish News Newton Emerson poured cold water on some recent idle speculation – as noted by Alan.  From the Irish News Speculation is mounting that Peter Robinson plans to step down as DUP leader.  It cannot be stressed enough that this is based on giddy zephyrs of the purest conjecture.  An attempt by nationalism more…

More on the trend of reconciliation in the decade of commemoration

  Stephen Collins writes in the Irish Times:   So far the decade of commemoration for the great events spanning the 1912 to 1922 period that led to Irish independence has been marked in a similar spirit or reconciliation and compromise. The tens of thousands of Irish men who fought in the first World War more…

The Maze is part of a shared past

Malachi O’Doherty is magnificently right.  The best result for the Maze project would have been/ still should be  to provide  an unsparing and comprehensive account of the Troubles, murders, conspiracies and weasel politics, including the narratives without which it is a meaningless recitation of horror. Conflict resolution could come in the last gallery just before the more…

Housing Equality Shouldn’t Have To Wait

Yesterday saw yet another housing inequality report, Equality Can’t Wait, published by north Belfast based Participation and the Practice of Rights (PPR) – the organisation which Inez McCormack founded in 2006. PPR’s systematic chronicling of successive failures to take action to eradicate the well documented religious inequality affecting the Catholic community in north Belfast is more…

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DUP illustrate unionist leadership as #RuthPatterson is in court

Yesterday Ruth Patterson attended court for her Facebook post and provided an interesting piece of optics for the television cameras. In a considered move, a variety of DUP ministers and other public representatives, including Edwin Poots, Sammy Wilson, Jonathan Bell and Guy Spence (to name a few), attended the court hearing or accompanied her to more…

Northern Ireland’s Lost Opportunity: The Frustrated Promise of Political Loyalism by Tony Novosel — Book Review

Northern Ireland’s Lost Opportunity: The Frustrated Promise of Political Loyalism, is a book that has received surprisingly little attention since it was published this year (Pluto Press, 2013). Written by American Tony Novosel, a lecturer in History at the University of Pittsburgh, it is a clearly-written and provocative examination of loyalist political development from the more…