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


Kris tweets ferociously as @belfastbarman and runs an associated site, www.belfastbarman.com where he occasionally opines his views. He lived abroad for a while and as such, feels he will never really ‘get’ this place. Formerly a barman, he regularly broke the cardinal rules of, “No politics or religion in the pub,” as such, he turned to writing. Previously a stand up comedian and an animal crematorium assistant, now works in marketing and is a recently joined member of the Alliance Party.