Remembering the Life of Fr Gerry Reynolds

The island of Ireland lost one of its great ambassadors for peace today with the passing of Fr Gerry Reynolds. Fr Reynolds, a Redemptorist priest based at Clonard Monastery in West Belfast for more than 30 years, is well known for his long and patient work promoting reconciliation among Christians. He was 82. Fr Reynolds’ pioneering work includes the Unity Pilgrims (a group of Catholics who worship at Protestant churches on Sunday mornings); the Clonard-Fitzroy Presbyterian Fellowship, which he developed … Read more

Coalition politics of necessity can make liars of everyone…

Nice story from Noel Whelan pointing out that whatever parties say now about what their position will be after the next election, complicated electoral mathematics will exert its own power when the time comes… Labour spent the first two weeks after the 1992 election teasing out coalition prospects with the other parties. When these efforts did not go well Spring met Reynolds for exploratory talks on December 13th, 1992. On December 14th, the Dáil met for the first time after … Read more

High Court rules NI abortion legislation breaches Article 8 of European Convention on Human Rights

HIGH COURT rules that abortion legislation in Northern Ireland breaches Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights by failing to provide an exception to the prohibition on abortion in cases of a foetal fatal abnormality (at any time during the pregnancy) or where the pregnancy is the result of sexual crime (up to the date when the foetus is capable of existing independently of the mother).

#Brexit Northern Ireland

The debate on EU membership in Northern Ireland has recently kicked off.  On Saturday Northern Ireland born Labour MP Kate Hoey laid out the Vote Leave & Labour Leave case from leaving the EU at the TUV conference at the Hilton Hotel in Templepatrick (UKIP`s Paul Nuttall addressed their conference in 2012 on the same issue). Irish Foreign Minister @CharlieFlanagan recently addressed Queens University Belfast on implications for Northern Ireland of Brexit.  Both Labours Kate Hoey MP & UKIP`s David McNarry … Read more

TUV lay out vision of “voluntary coalition and vibrant opposition as path to durable devolution” #TUV2015

DURABLE DEVOLUTION through voluntary coalition and vibrant opposition was the promise of the TUV’s leader Jim Allister at his party’s annual conference in Templepatrick. 300 delegates lapped up the sharp criticism of other parties and welcomed Henry Reilly to the fold. But is the party’s hard edge and tone of voice holding back their support at the ballot box?

Black taxis = Black Friday chaos

Last Wednesday, Frank Mitchell welcomed David McNarry and two Belfast public hire taxi drivers onto his U105 show, where the story unfolded of how NSL’s traffic attendants are now carrying out enforcement activities around the taxi rank in Donegall Square North. The complaint was that taxi drivers have insufficient space on the taxi rank, and they are being ticketed unfairly for parking outside its bounds.  My comments when I called into the show form the basis of this post, but … Read more

Saturday Labour roundup: Corbyn, Syria, and potential mutiny

On Monday, I said that this would be Jeremy Corbyn’s worst week ever, and it has been, and next week will be worse again. That’s the pattern. It was a week defined by Chairman Mao’s little red book, Livingstone blaming Blair for the 7/7 terror attacks, McDonnell’s endorsement of the IRA’s “ballot, the bullet and the bomb” approach to Irish unification, Syria, a looming by-election, and, no surprise, internecine strife. As the week ended, it was clear, that as it … Read more

A form of political storytelling that comes without delivery is also part of ‘the narrative’…

Saturday morning, so this is just brief and in passing… First this from our own IJP… SF said changed "no one loses out" position after tax credit cuts, which aren't now happening. Are we all just too polite to mention this?! — Ian James Parsley (@ianjamesparsley) November 27, 2015 Well, it gets a mention here, just two minutes in… Note Mike Nesbitt pointing out another telling detail, the fact that the leader of Sinn Fein on Belfast City Council has … Read more

Van Hool vs Wrights

Michelle McIlveen announced the award of the contract for the Belfast Rapid Transit vehicle supplier earlier today, and to the surprise of probably most observers, Wrightbus wasn’t the winner. Let’s go back in history a little. Robert Wright Coachworks Limited was established in 1946.  They first came to my notice in the 1980s, when they broke the near monopoly enjoyed by Walter Alexander & Co (Belfast) and its predecessors Potters and MH Coachworks in supplying bodywork for buses when it … Read more

Four KPMG Belfast partners arrested in tax investigation…

Interesting developments in Belfast this afternoon (H/T Doug)… Disputes between the big accountancy companies and and tax authorities are common enough. But the decision by HM Revenue and Customs to visit the Belfast offices of KPMG on Wednesday and arrest four senior partners there for questioning on suspected tax evasion is a most unusual development and one which creates a serious issue for the firm and, of course, for the individuals themselves. The HM Revenue and Customs has picked high-profile … Read more

Video: Turn that frown upside down. Why most of the world is better off than you think…

The news has been fairly grim of late (isn’t it always). But on the plus side Global Inequality seems to be reducing. Interesting interview with Hans Rosling on Channel 4 News:   Brian O'NeillI help keep the good ship Slugger afloat by managing the business and techy stuff. My day job is creating websites and software. My personal site is: