“If SF and the DUP were serious about truly moving society out of segregation…”

friends, trust, friendship

The art of free society consists first in the maintenance of the symbolic code; and secondly in fearlessness of revision, to secure that the code serves those purposes which satisfy an enlightened reason. — Alfred North Whitehead However quote of the week goes to Máiría Cahill writing in the Sunday Independent. It’s an old saw in marketing that “everything communicates” and sometimes in ways people might rather it didn’t. Looking back to her own youth and childhood, she recalls a …

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Slugger Podcast talks about the State of the State

Powered by RedCircle In this episode of the Slugger podcast we speak with Ed Roddis, Head of Public Sector Research and Marie Doyle, Director at Deloitte about the latest State of the State Report. We chatted about attitudes toward the health service, the protocol and confidence in the Executive. The State of the State Report for 2021 has been released by Deloitte. The report examines and attempts to put in context attitudes and opinions of the public, policy-makers and business …

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Sinn Féin’s vision of the future looks remarkably like its one model version of the past

automobiles, henry ford, vintage

Of the recent visits to the USA by politicians with influence on political development in Northern Ireland, Mary Lou McDonald  seems to be the one who has been reported the more fully. Something to so with the nature of the events in which she held centre stage, perhaps. As reported in the Irish Times, Sinn Féin leader and TD, Mary Lou McDonald speaking to the New York Bar Association described Ireland as living in ‘dying days.’ Albeit that she was …

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Kevin Winters reveals how paedophile priest Malachy Finegan tried to groom him…

Writing in today’s Irish News high profile solicitor Kevin Winters reveals how paedophile priest Malachy Finegan tried to groom him when he was a student at St Colman’s College in Newry. And in a weird twist, the priest ended up co-celebrant at his wedding. From the story:  I was married in a joint Presbyterian – Catholic wedding ceremony. The priest who was supposed to co-celebrate had to withdraw at late notice. Back then it wasn’t easy to get a priest …

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The DUP and Sinn Fein block hunting with dogs ban…

fox, nature, animals

Thanks to the DUP and Sinn Fein the private member’s bill to ban hunting with dogs was defeated by 45 votes to 38 in the Assembly on Monday. Animal welfare charity, the USPCA, had backed the bill. It said it was “very disappointed” with the outcome. “This result is contrary to the views of the public, as outlined in the consultation response and in previous public opinion polls,” said USPCA chief executive Brendan Mullan. “Hunting wild mammals with dogs is …

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The Untold Story of Ulster Protestantism…

As part of my unofficial English GCSE curriculum that was set by my teacher, there was a part that consisted of watching the movie “Michael Collins” (1996), studying its themes and some of the subsequent writings and poetry from that era, specifically focusing on the Easter Rising. In my naivety at the time, I asked if we would be studying any movies that would show the Unionist or indeed Protestant perspective? The response was that no such film or TV …

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My battle with BT. The conversation continues…

sadness, phone, sad bear

Hello, BT here. Chapter Two Having asked for help at the end of October Felicity is still unable to access her account with BT. They can take money out of her account each month but she cannot see her bill and what she is paying for. Friday, 12 November 2021. Text: Hello, BT here. Just a quick update on the BT ID fault. We are really sorry about the delay in this repair. The team are currently working on the …

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The childhood Christmases that still hover in my own subconscious at this time of year…

I’m not a big fan of Christmas kicking off in October, or November for that matter. Time enough, for me anyway, the beginning of December. Maybe it’s just an ageing thing as I have, in recent months, rising to the greater heights of becoming a pensioner; but I genuinely don’t think that that’s the case. In truth, I believe it’s more of a memory thing and most likely a rose-tinted memory thing. So, I’ll try not to pontificate too much …

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The mystery of the big line at Lidl…

I would be in Lidl once or twice a week and nearly every time I get to witness the wonder of the big line. What happens is instead of queuing behind each checkout as you are meant to do, a huge line forms around one till. The line is always in the aisle with the cleaning products, never any other aisle. There is no pattern to the big line, it can happen in the morning, the afternoon, when the store …

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What use are Covid protection policies that are not enforced?

face mask, virus, coronavirus

Philip O’Neill is a Slugger reader from Belfast I have just spent 40 mins on a bus journey into Belfast. Since the start of the pandemic, I have not used public transport as I had concerns as to so many people from different ‘bubbles’ being so close together in a very confined space. I soon recognized the bus journey was a small but representative microcosm of our society. Fewer than half the people on the bus were wearing masks, some …

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Ireland, and the need to deal with the learned helplessness of echo chambers and filter bubbles…

wood, wooden, bridge

I watch/listen to a lot of RTÉ. It’s a relic from the ’80s when I moved to the south coast of England, way outside the range of Radio Ulster, and found the NI pickings from the BBC in London very thin. RTÉ Radio One on Long Wave was the thickest newsflow I could access at the time. Almost incidentally and by osmosis I also eavesdropped on some of the big developments in the south. I recall Ian Paisley slamming the …

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The neglect of deep misogyny is exposed in Northern Ireland, not only by the Tweed case

The state of profound misogyny gripping Northern Ireland which survives the  “armed patriarchy”  of the Troubles is well summed up by Susan McKay  in the Guardian. While concentrating on the unionist side and the state,, no comfort is available for nationalists and republicans from the Maria Cahill rape saga, a notably egregious example but hardly an outlier. Susan’s piece begins with the lamentable story  of the monster David (“larger than life “) Tweed a former Irish rugby international,  whose reputation …

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The Commission on Flags, Identity, Culture and Tradition report now available…

Commissions have a formula in Northern Ireland. They gather together the great and the good to analyse a problem in great detail. The commission spends several years and lots of cash engaging with all the key stakeholders, a final report is created and a series of recommendations are given, the report is discussed in-depth on the Nolan Show and Talkback before being ignored by the politicians. A few years go by and some crisis emerges. The solution proposed by politicians …

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The Hatch Regeneris Leaks: Department for the Economy Hoping Against Hope.

demonstration, london, demo

The appearance of the previously unpublished Hatch Regeneris Report into fracking and petroleum exploration by Extinction Rebellion on EcoLeaks raises a number of questions for government in Northern Ireland. Fundamentally, it works to highlight some contradictions between the procedural definition of democracy – where government is about the law and the process of policymaking – and a substantive one – where accountability is measured not just in election results but in the responsiveness of government to pressing needs and injustices. …

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A southern truth and reconciliation process meets with inevitable northern scepticism

A brave attempt to break the deadlock between the British government’s proposal for a Troubles  amnesty and the refusal  of all other parties and groups to contemplate it  received  an airing  in a webinar  last Friday hosted by UCD academics. (TRP) is a group of southern independent great and good.. Their webinar was chaired by an Irish High Court Judge Mr Justice Richard Humphries, so presumably  they have influence . They support the implementation of a ‘Truth Recovery and Reconciliation …

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Time for Queen’s to enable a fuller journey for its dedicated Irish speaking students…

door, toilet door, peace and quiet

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine literally means we live in each other’s shadow. In our shared Gaelic psyche this is how it is meant to be – offering each other fellowship, shelter and protection. We must ensure though that enough light is allowed through for the other to thrive for ar scáth a chéile, in each other’s shadow, to make sense.  Queen’s University Belfast has an excellent reputation as a centre of learning for the Irish language …

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John Kyle has reminded us all that there is zero appetite for a DUP Lite…

In my post last week I stated my view that “of course there’s not a great depth of understanding of the protocol among those most vocally opposing it (just as there’s no great depth of understanding of it among those most vocally endorsing it).” It was encouraging that there was no real effort in the comments section to refute that view. That’s why I was heartened by Dr John Kyle’s contribution to The View on Thursday last. Discussion on the …

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Sunday Business Post poll on attitudes to Irish Unity…

vote, poll, election

Some new polling courtesy of the Sunday Business Post on southern attitudes to the various questions around Irish Unity. Click the image below for a larger version. 60% in favour of Unity. 50/50 on if they are happy to pay more tax to pay for unity. Over 50% are not willing to consider changing the flag and anthem. Red-C poll: Attitudes towards a United Ireland (Sunday Business Post) pic.twitter.com/hrJ9J18uDC — Mike Tomlinson (@MikeTQUB) November 28, 2021 Their polling also shows Sinn …

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We are all going to die (again)…

fear, hug, voltage

Omicron is all over the media, much to the surprise of Angelique Coetzee the South African doctor who first discovered the new strain. South African Dr Angelique Coetzee first raised the alarm over the Omicron variant and says the rest of the world is over-reacting. "Patients I've seen had mild symptoms and recovered. None were admitted and no oxygen was needed. The hype makes no sense to at all."@JuliaHB1 pic.twitter.com/c14pbzveN6 — talkRADIO (@talkRADIO) November 29, 2021 Fear sells and the …

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