Archive | January, 2014

John Larkin QC

Churches bringing warmth to the public square & Attorney General John Larkin taking exception to Supreme Court judgement against Christian B&B owners

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland organised a conference yesterday looking at the Church in the Public Square. [Ed – not a new idea.] Two to three hundred people attended: ministers (both clerical and political), laity, as well as representatives from many organisations and faiths. Audio of the three keynote speakers is now available on the more…

NI Justice Minister: “I trust that the executive will recognise that it is the right decision, and that I was right to make it”

In the aftermath of the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers/Executive/Assembly/Policing Board members semi-detached polit-bureau’s kerfuffle over the NI Justice Minister’s proposed changes to the criteria for the next Chief Constable, Liam Clarke reveals some significant correspondence on the matter.  Firstly, the Chief Executive of the NI Policing Board, Sam Pollock, tries his hand at herding more…

[Updated] Queens academic taught a hard lesson at the hands of ‘that lot in the DUP’

This is odd. Well intentioned or not, a Queens academic has managed to get himself on the poor end of the argument over Maurice Morrow’s private members bill which contains a maximalist clause that would criminalise prostitution. Rather ill-advisedly Dr Graham Ellison decided to lobby a Swedish witness, Gunilla Ekberg, an ex-special adviser with the more…

Robinson on the Irish Govt “relations have never been better”.

Gregory Campbell just fell off a chair somewhere as Peter Robinson heaped praise on the improving relationship with the Irish government today. He told his audience By focusing on outcomes we have found a way to work together in all of our interests. He continued arguing that what were once controversial issues were now normal more…

Waterfront

The Waterfront Hall: Now you see it…

So here it is. This is what the ‘new’ Waterfront Hall will look like after the £29.5m conference centre is built. The Council is providing £11m, DETI’s European Regional Development Fund is pitching in £14.5m along with £4m from the tourist board.   Here’s the architect’s plan with a view from the river:   Hmmm… more…

Public Meeting on the slashing of cross border funding for NI based language groups

Foras na Gaeilge: centralising resources in Dublin, ending funding for POBAL, Iontaobhas Ultach, Altram and Forbairt Feirste Thursday 30th January 2014 at 7 pm Room RS062, St Mary’s University College, Falls Road POBAL is organising this public meeting to give the Irish speaking community and those who support the language to look at the implications of more…

The Scottish referendum campaign: personal relations are affected as the arguments become keener

Both sides of the independence referendum campaign are busy spinning Bank of England Governor Mark Carney’s warning to Alex Salmond  that “some ceding of national  sovereignty” would be necessary as the price of independent Scotland’s desire  to keep the pound. The Nats are treating it with all  the appearance of calm acceptance;  the No campaign, championed  here more…

Irish Water logo

Irish Water: Just throwing money and comms at it won’t fix the problem.

[Wicked problems are] social problems which are ill formulated, where the information is confusing, where there are many clients and decision-makers with conflicting values, and where the ramifications in the whole system are thoroughly confusing. – C. West Churchman You hardly need a crystal ball to see things are not going well for Irish Water. more…

burns library books

Secrets From Belfast: a definitive guide to the Troubles (troubled?) oral history project

Beth McMurtrie has published an extensive and well-researched article for The Chronicle of Higher Education. It examines how the Belfast Project oral history project at Boston College was established and how it has fallen apart in recent years following the PSNI’s request for access to the archive (two months after the British government had “given more…

NI Justice Minister: “It is important to note that, in setting some minimum standards, I am not prohibiting the Board from adding to these minimum criteria…”

Whilst Brian may regard them as “surely sensible” changes to the criteria for the next Chief Constable, and they may well be, as I mentioned in updates to a previous post, no sooner had the Northern Ireland Justice Minister, the Alliance Party’s David Ford, announced those changes than the NI First and deputy First Ministers more…

Surviving the job hunt part 2

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece about how to survive the job hunt. Luckily for me things in that area have turned around and I am now faced with an exciting new challenge that I cannot wait to get stuck into. I am writing this piece as I think it’s always good to more…

Paisley’s religious legacy

Watching the two hours of the BBC’s documentary on Dr. Paisley brought to mind my blog from six years ago of Paisley and Prospero where at the end of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Prospero turns to the audience and says “Now my charms are all o’erthrown And what strength I have’s mine own.” At times it more…

“Residents also protested outside the local Sinn Féin offices…”

As the BBC reports, local residents have continued their protest against the planned £70million redevelopment of Casement Park in west Belfast.  From the UTV report Around 100 residents took part in a demonstration on Saturday afternoon. They say they are now considering taking legal action. One woman said: “The main thing is the height of more…