Will this Drag Draghi Down?

Mario Draghi, the President of the European Central Bank, was previously Governor of the Bank of Italy. He served in that role from December 2005 to October 2011. He assumed his role at the ECB in November 2011. During his tenure at the Italian Central Bank he will have been aware of some ‘issues’ at some Italian banks. Indeed the systemic rot that is at the core of Italian banking system now can be traced back to well before the … Read more

“…but I withheld the names. Adams said ‘that’s not the way we operate.’”

I’m in complete admiration for the way Sinn Fein continues to believe in their leader, no matter how implausible the scenario. This week’s implausible scenario features an email Mr A sent to An Garda Siochana just days before February’s general election. Gareth McKeown in the Irish News explains: Mr Adams named a number of senior Sinn Féin figures suspected of the 1983 murder of Brian Stack in an email sent to Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan back in February. Three of … Read more

A response to Sinn Fein’s “Towards a United Ireland” document

Sinn Fein have launched a discussion paper titled “Towards a United Ireland” The document is available in both English and Irish with each translation coming to roughly 28 pages each. If you want to read it for yourself, here is the full version. In this post, I want to highlight some of the key passages and how I feel they could be improved in creating a more coherent offering for a United Ireland that has been lacking within mainstream Nationalism … Read more

Foster prepared to meet the Pope if he comes to Northern Ireland.

A spokesperson for Arlene Foster said today she is prepared to meet the Pope if he visits Northern Ireland in 2018; Any potential visit to Northern Ireland by the Pope is a matter for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London. Were the Pope to visit Northern Ireland in his capacity as Head of State then the First Minister would meet him.   David McCannDavid McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him … Read more

EU Special Status, and ignoring the Northern Ireland Assembly…

As Mick noted this morning, Micheal Martin has joined the list of party leaders calling on the Irish and British Governments to negotiate for EU special status for Northern Ireland post-Brexit. At the recent All-Island Civic Dialogue on Brexit, there was the Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said in his speech that the Government needed to uphold the wishes of the Northern Ireland people and secure a special status for the region. “The overriding and principle … Read more

Castro: “Refusing to decry dictatorship is a self-indulgence: it is helping the enemy…”

I think most of us have seen the back and forth on the legacy of Fidel Castro between friends on his legacy. All in all, he was probably an upgrade on Batista: although that’s not something you can expect many of the 1.5 million Cuban Americans living in Florida to agree with. In the Guardian, Zoe Williams gets to the pointy end of argument for people on the left, starting with Ken Livingstone, who, she notes: …approaches history like a … Read more

Birmingham Bombing Inquests Set the Tone for Future Troubles Investigations

Today sees the re-opening of the inquests into the deaths of 21 people in the Birmingham Pub Bombings on 21st November 1974. The campaign has been led, amongst other, by Julie Hambleton whose sister Maxine was one of those killed on that day. She has said “all we want is truth, justice and accountability.” On 1st June this year, the Coroner for Birmingham and Solihull ruled that inquests in the case are to be reopened because she had serious concerns … Read more

“UK policy is towards a more unilateral approach which carries with it many dangers…”

Interesting speech by Micheal Martin at Queens at the end of last week. Certainly an attempt at providing a grounded analysis, by a senior Irish political leader speaking in a U.K. University which even in the best case scenario is unlikely to do well out of any putative Brexit deal. First, a well aimed dig at ‘Perfidious Albion’ for breaking with the EU: It is simply impossible to look at the referendum debate and the arguments used to promote Leave … Read more

Why we are still mad as hell…but will probably keep on taking it

The scene is one of the most iconic in cinematic history. The ex-newsreader, wearing an overcoat with his pyjamas underneath, walks nonchalantly into a television studio, apparently unaware that he is soaking wet, having walked through a rainstorm to the studio straight from his home. He then calmly sits down, and addresses his eager audience: We know things are bad — worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We … Read more

TUV Conference lifts the DUP/Sinn Féin carpet to see what’s been swept underneath

The TUV’s election results in May were disappointing, but the party took great cheer from the EU Referendum result (and the recent US Presidential election result). Taking credit for long-time lobbying for the creation of an Opposition, Jim Allister encouraged the two opposition parties to make it sustainable and help lobby for a permanent change to voluntary rather than mandatory coalition.

Irish Post Awards – Watch Them Live Here

If you fancy giving the Irish Post’s 2016 Awards a quick gander, there’s an online webcast here. The Irish Post tells us that the late Sir Terry Wogan will be posthumously honoured with a lifetime achievement award.  London’s mayor Sadiq Khan will give the keynote. Other awards will go to Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill (Outstanding Contribution to Sport in Britain), Shane Richie (Entertainment Legend Award), and Leicester City FC CEO Susan Whelan (Outstanding Contribution to Business in Britain … Read more

How the big UK parties utilise technology for canvassing & voter management…

UK political parties and constituencies are going through a period of ‘change-and-upgrade’ in relation to their campaign practices and constituency management. Ever since social media became a must-have for politicians there has been a pressure to manage their public life through digital means. In most respects, the US still leads the way in this type of engagement and there, politicians have now moved to digital organising to manage everything from volunteers to canvassing to donations. Even though politics is different … Read more

Sinn Fein are all over the place in the North. Time for an open debate on new leadership

We are accustomed to thinking of Sinn Fein as master strategists at best or cunning so and sos at worst. But current activity blurs the old image.  It’s only to be expected that playing a half- effective role in government is inconsistent with the stance of a revolutionary movement or even as  the default mouthpieces of the nationalist interest. Most of the time they straddle the two, but the strain is beginning to show. Why have Sinn Fein chosen this … Read more

Politics is not a lifestyle choice or some hippy form of self actualisation: it deals in the business of us, not me

Post truth society? As Ian Parsley notes on his blog this morning, we’ve have had a predilection for it here in Northern Ireland for as far back as anyone can remember. And we’re not alone. In 1956, speaking about writing, Ernest Hemingway noted in interview: Every man should have a built-in automatic crap detector operating inside him. It also should have a manual drill and a crank handle in case the machine breaks down. So, I have few sympathies for the … Read more

Sinn Féin relaunch reconciliation policy: implementation will speak louder than words

This morning Sinn Féin (re)launched a policy document on reconciliation and healing that had been endorsed by their ard fheis in Dublin back in April. You can watch or read the full speech given by Canon David Porter in response to the document, as well as the remarks made by Sinn Féin’s Declan Kearney and Martin McGuinness.

President Trump – Welcome to the post-truth world

 WARNING: the following article may contain elements of truth. The gongs of Big Ben that welcome 2017 will be greeted not but the clinking of glasses and a chorus of Auld Lang Sang, but rather a huge sigh of relief. 2016, the year from hell will finally be behind us. It brought a cull of beloved musicians and artists, Brexit, and now, the rise to power of the Donald. Yes, it’s true, the unthinkable has happened, a man who is … Read more

Photo: A Seat in the Sun…

  The Lagan Towpath bathed in winter sun. Photo by Davymac. 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: Freshideas.ie http://freshideas.ie

NI Affairs Committee deliberations on the border and #Brexit…

It’s on right now, but you can pick it up from just after 9.30 this morning… 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

Join us for the Slugger End of Year Review Show, Wednesday the 14th December 2016

Join us for an evening of debate and entertainment as we look back on the political year in 2016. Our panel of speakers is sure to provide lively conversation and analysis. Never mind the Christmas shopping, this will be far more entertaining. Following the success of last year’s sold out End of Year Review Show we are pleased to bring it back for a third year. Our new venue is The Gallaghers Lounge, upstairs in the Duke of York Bar in the Cathedral … Read more

Arlene & Martin pen their first joint platform piece

In their first platform piece for the newspapers, Arlene Foster & Martin McGuinness have penned their first platform piece on the Executive here. Some key passages I have highlighted but this looks like the continuation of two real alternatives in the government of Northern Ireland. DAY by day, slowly but surely, politics here is changing. And it’s for the better. The focus is increasingly now on policies and delivery – on finding the best ways to make people’s lives better. The … Read more