Politics In The Pub – Inaugural Event

Politics in the Pub

This is something that Mick Fealty “encouraged” me to do, and I think it’s a great concept so I’ve picked it up and ran with it.

I hope for it to become a regular event but for now, let’s just get the first one out of the way

Wednesday 4th February


Hudson Bar – Gresham Street, Belfast. (In the “Heel Bar” which is out the back to the beer garden then a door on the right)

Open Government Network – NI

On Monday 2nd February the draft plan for the network will be launched for a brief consultation with interested parties, to be submitted on the 6th of Feb, this is an opportunity for people with an interest in either the network or politics in general to come along and take part in a discussion about the action plan. If you’re not fully aware of what it’s all about, I’ve lifted this from the Open Gov NI Website.

This network is a loose alliance of individual citizens and representatives of voluntary/community organisations aiming to engage in dialogue with the NI Executive to lobby for a more open form of government. We want government to be more transparent, participatory and accountable to the people it serves.

We aim to use the international Open Government Partnership as a vehicle to achieve this objective and are making links with similar civil society networks in the UK and Ireland.

Over the next few months the network will be deciding its priorities and strategy and trying to grow its membership. The more people who join and the greater diversity of the membership the better, so please join in and encourage others to join by sharing the link to this page.

We’re also trying to crowdsource an Open Government Manifesto to use as a lobbying tool with politicians in the run-up to Westminster and NI Assembly elections – add any ideas you have, even if they’re totally undeveloped, here: http://www.opengovmanifesto.org.uk/uk-open-government-manifesto-northern-ireland




The Open Government Partnership

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a global effort to make governments better by promoting transparency, empowering citizens, fighting corruption, and harnessing new technologies to strengthen governance. OGP was launched in 2011 in New York by eight governments, and overseen by a steering committee of governments and civil society organizations.

The OGP is based around five OGP grand challenges. These are:

  1. Improving Public Services
  2. Increasing Public Integrity
  3. More Effectively Managing Public Resources
  4. Creating Safer Communities
  5. Increasing Corporate Accountability

Transparency + Participation = Accountability, Effectiveness, Efficiency


In future I would like to host an event like this to discuss any number of issues, just as a casual opportunity to workshop problems and solutions in a casual environment and to take the positive contributions from twitter to the real world, where things really can happen.


The aim of the event will be to share around copies of the draft plan for discussion and depending how many attend, in groups have a look through it and have a frank appraisal of its suitability. This may sound a bit heavy but to be honest, it really isn’t. You can help contribute to what the priorities are for the future, if you think that Northern Irish politics and government departments should make more date open freely for society to use at it’s discretion, brilliant. If you think community planning needs to be more integrated within the community and not just appointed bodies, this is for you. Some discussion points have been for crowdsourcing proposed laws, participatory budgeting, enabling an e-petition system, more public accessibility to councils and council meetings…just some food for thought.

If you’d like to come then by all means rsvp to me at belfastbarmanager@gmail.com but you don’t have to, you can just show up on the night and get stuck in… we want to build a network, come and see if you’d like to be part of it and help us make government more open to society


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  • Stravage

    Bravo Sir, Bravo.

  • Practically_Family

    This would be a lot easier to take seriously if it had a slightly less pretentious name…

    The Political Bloggers Club is nicely descriptive.

  • carl marks

    busy that night or i would try to get to this sound’s like it could be fun, I mean mixing politics and beer what can go wrong! 😉

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    Grab the next one sure! 2 rules of the pub….no politics and no religion. Luckily in Northern Ireland, nobody is sure what the difference is…

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    Pretentious? PRETENTIOUS?? It’s blooming basic! Is soap on a road pretentious? Boil in the bag? Couldn’t call it a bloggers club because it’s nothing to do with blogging. But sure in e spirit of open government I’ll consider putting the name of this even out to public consultation then through a committee process, then in the spirit of normal government, I’ll ignore all (your) suggestions and just go with what I wanted to. Tyranny is alive.

  • Chris McCracken

    Hey sounds great. I’ll try to make it. We had a similar idea with the Royal Society of Arts and have organised a “Future Politics” event at QUB Council Chamber on Thursday 5 Feb @ 5.30pm with William Crawley, Mairtin O Muilleoir and Naomi Long (book at https://rsairelandfuturepolitics.eventbrite.co.uk ) and are following this with a “Future Politics: Civic Conversation” chaired by Quintin Oliver at Common Grounds Café on the 19th Feb book at: http://futurepoliticscivicconversation.eventbrite.co.uk

  • Practically_Family

    Not to worry, I’m sure some citizen journalists will cover the findings on their new media news networks.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Probably still snowed in up here on the Antrim Plateau on Monday, BB, so keep the dates posted, and will try and do the next one to share my hoary wisdom and undimmed radicalism with anyone interested.

    And hey, open governmemt, its not going to happen here, too many skeletons in far too many closets, but we can embarress them about that anyway!!!!!!