WALL COMES TUMBLING DOWN

The final episode of ‘Rebellion’ on RTE1 was not surprisingly a mournful affair as characters awaited execution, languished in Kilmainham Jail or tried to avoid capture. At the start of the episode, Steve Wall – best known to my generation as the lead singer of The Stunning – burst through the doors of the home of Niamh Cusack’s Nelly Cosgrave and almost caught Sarah Greene’s May Lacy and Ruth Bradley’s IRB operative Frances O’Flaherty hiding in an attic. Over the … Read more

Phil Flanagan returns with Michelle Gildernew losing out

The Fermanagh/South Tyrone branch of Sinn Fein held their second selection convention tonight after the party’s Ard Chomhairle ordered another convention after the first chose, Michelle Gildernew, Sean Lynch and John Feeley. However, in a slight shock, Phil Flanagan has returned with Feeley and Lynch as his running mates. The former MP and minister, Michelle Gildernew lost out along with the current MLA, Bronwyn McGahan. The odd thing about this ticket is that it appears to have no constituency balance … Read more

Terry Wogan made ordinary life special

If there was another Irish broadcaster who forced me to sit in the car park  and make me late for work it was Gay Byrne. Gay had a similar subversive streak and a light touch with a sting in the tail. But he did not  travel so well across the Irish Sea, nor did he aspire to.  Terry Wogan gave comfort  to millions by spreading the  word that  the struggles of daily life are shared far more widely than we … Read more

Second Chance at Re-Selection for Sinn Féin’s Phil Flanagan – Updated

Sinn Féin’s other notorious tweeter, Phil Flanagan, MLA, may be facing a sizeable bill for libelling the UUP’s Tom Elliot, but the party’s central office has given him a second chance at continuing his political career. He was deselected by his party constituency organisation on 13 December last year, but earlier this month the party’s Ard Chomhairle decided to re-run the selection process in Fermanagh/South Tyrone.  On 22 January, The Impartial Reporter noted Mr. Flanagan refused to comment when contacted by this newspaper, … Read more

What will be the followup to new police move on the Birmingham bombings?

(Kieran) Conway, who is a now a solicitor in Dublin specialising in criminal defence,, voluntarily spoke to detectives in connection with his memoir of life inside the IRA “South Side Provisional”. In the book, Conway revealed certain details about the Birmingham pub bombings to which the IRA has never officially admitted. No one has ever been convicted in relation to the atrocity in England’s second city… For decades the IRA never publicly admitted they carried out the atrocity but Conway … Read more

It’s time for an alternative food and farming vision that is fair to all — there is life beyond the commodities markets

Tuesday was the industry launch of the 2016 Year of Food – an exercise in marketing that showcases the hard-working small farmers across NI and the great local products they give us, from grassfed beef to wheaten bread. In timing that only the cynical media gods could have arranged, on the very same day two other reports were released that presented a far less rosy picture of the food chain here and on the mainland. First, the UK media widely … Read more

[Cough] This is what politics really looks like when you’ve stripped out all the meaningful content…

Would you Adam and Eve it?Peter Serafinowicz gives Donald Trump a cockney makeover.No words were changed. Posted by Slugger O'Toole on Friday, 29 January 2016 And here’s one person’s reasoning as to why populists like Trump always win… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

None of the MLAs elected in S.Belfast in 2011 will re-contest this year.

South Belfast has had a turbulent time when it comes to their MLAs. Since 2011, four of the elected MLAs have stepped down and the other two (Anna lo and Michael McGimpsey) have confirmed that they will not contest this election. I think this is the first time in our devolved history where none of the MLAs elected at the previous election are re-contesting. This makes the Unionist race all the more interesting as the DUP aim to take two … Read more

Is it time to ban election posters?

Sinn Fein posters mounted on top of other party posters in East Antrim

The UUP chairman, Lord Empey has written to other parties seeking to ban election posters on lampposts. Here is what he had to say; Dear Chair,   As we approach the third election cycle in as many years in May, I have felt for some time that this might be a time to revisit how we all campaign at such elections. We all put up thousands of posters around our towns, cities and rural areas. Many people believe these to be … Read more

Back to the future – the only possible headline

  Even now it’s hard to believe it ever happened. Remember the famous gull wings of the pride of Dumurry? And its big sell as the saviour of Northern Ireland with Protestant workers using one door of the factory and Catholics another? As it was written so it must be true, in the era of the hunger strike. It was one hell of a diversion from the Troubles and won us a different sort of headline for a while before … Read more

The Executive goes on the road….to Arlene and Martin’s hometowns.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: It was announced today that the new Executive is set to go on the road for the first time and meet outside of Belfast. First up on the Executive’s road show is Fermanagh (home of the First Minister) and Derry (home of the Deputy First Minister).
These type of things happen in the UK, where the cabinet takes trips outside of London to see the other regions of the UK, yet I am not totally sure what is really achieved by doing this.

UUP: Can the party get off the mat in 2016?

The story of the Ulster Unionist Party in the 21st century has not been a happy one. With the huge success of the DUP and the emergence of other unionist parties, it could be argued that the party of Edward Carson and James Craig may be well and truly past its glory days, especially when examining their electoral record since the Assembly first came into being in 1998. Current leader Mike Nesbitt believes that the party could yet regain its … Read more

The biggest losers in failing to come clean on the past is the reputation and authority of the state and its servants.

You don’t have to be a transitional justice zealot or a Provie fellow traveller to recognise that the heat is on the British government, the police and security authorities over dealing with the past. You can be a judge like Lord Justice Weir blasting the police and indirectly the government for  the inordinate delays in producing inquest evidence, now that high court judges have taken over the coroner’s service. You only need to be a supporter the DUP or TUV, … Read more

#GE16 Guide to Limerick County: Little time for any “new-fangled” kind of politics…

Limerick County   Current TDs Patrick O’Donovan TD (Fine Gael), Niall Collins TD (Fianna Fáil), Dan Neville TD (Fine Gael) Total seats in 2016 General Election: 3 Main Areas: Newcastle West, population – 6,327 Abbeyfeale, population – 2,007 Kilmallock, population – 1,635 Rathkeale, population – 1,550 Askeaton, population – 1,149 Adare, population – 1,106 The recent constituency redraw has returned over 13,000 people from around Abbeyfeale in the west of the county who had been exiled to the North Kerry constituency in … Read more

Nigel Dodds Calls For The Truth Over Shankill Bombing

In a statement regarding Allison Morris’s Irish News story of prior police knowledge and inaction of the Shankill bombing, Nigel Dodds MP, DUP deputy leader, said: “The mass sectarian murder of the Shankill Bomb was one of the most heinous acts perpetrated by the Provisional IRA. It was a premeditated slaughter of innocents, an event that stands out amongst the PIRA’s more than 1800 bloody murders. Recent newspaper claims have refocused attention on this horrific act. Some of what has … Read more

“Almost a year ago, there was an effort to push this information into the public domain.”

So, this is intriguing. Brian Rowan has some interesting background detail on the big Irish News front page spread earlier in the week… On Monday, there was another development when The Irish News correspondent Allison Morris reported that the IRA commander behind the 1993 Shankill bombing was a police informant – ‘Agent AA’ – who had told his handlers of the plan. It is reported that he was identified when the IRA decoded the stolen Castlereagh documents. Almost a year ago, there … Read more