COLIN BATEMAN’S screenplay for The Journey presents a highly fictionalised account that explores what the early conversations may have been like between Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness as they worked towards agreement at the St Andrews talks.
Author Archive | Alan Meban (Alan in Belfast)
ALLIANCE CONFERENCE quietly celebrated the party’s election results. Party faithful gathered to hear Naomi Long’s first conference speech as leader. Her focus was on leadership and the need for a tolerant and liberal society that attracts young people back to invest in Northern Ireland.
PREVIEWING the non-partisan ‘Imagine! Belfast’ festival with its eclectic mix of talks, comedy, music, film, theatre, workshops, tours and exhibitions to encourage people to discuss and debate. 20-26 March.
TWO DAYS BEFORE POLLING was the zenith of NI21’s meltdown in May 2014. Today, Councillor Jolene Bunting quit the TUV and former DUP MLA David McIlveen offered his electoral support to the UUP candidate in North Antrim.
YANIS VAROUFAKIS – economist and former Greek Finance Minister speaking ahead of this evening’s sold out DiEM25 event in the Crescent Arts Centre – asked about the opportunities for Northern Ireland presented by Brexit, Theresa May’s options, his influence over Sinn Fein’s ‘reverse ferret’ on welfare reform and Northern Ireland’s splintered political left.
NI SCIENCE FESATIVAL combines, space, poetry, optics, theatre, stories, TV, cognitive computing, atomic food safety, astrophysics and quantum biology in a fun-packed programme for everyone.
If there was a winner of tonight’s debate it was Cliché. Though Lothario might be a close runner up. There were no knock out blows. Few punches caused any leader to wobble towards the ropes. Instead they parried them away with relative ease. While the lack of a studio audience eliminated oohs and ahs and more…
ENTITLED – Entitled to benefits? Dignity? Protection? A new play asks how much difference the welfare reform mitigations make on the ground? How fair are the processes? How do politicians square up their talk about equality and adoration of figures like Winifred Carney with the legacy of welfare reform in Northern Ireland? The MAC, SCORE, more…
Programme to address gender equality in the NI workplace launched today with Lean In Belfast in partnership with large IT employer Allstate. “To me, gender equality is simply common sense. Each of us has the right to celebrate our individuality, and go to work feeling confident that our individuality is not discriminated against.”
SEVEN DAYS before institutions collapse; 5 MLAs per constituency means a minimum of 18 MLAs not returning to the Assembly; 30 is still the magic PoC number; £85,000 still the estimated daily cost to the tax payer of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.
PRODUCING SAUSAGE MEAT – This is my favourite item from my mid-December stink looking through government papers that would be released on Friday 30 under the 20 Year Rule. The title could have been referring to a report on the state of the pork industry. The papers could have been an evaluation of how best more…
Hidden amongst the thousand or so government files released on Friday under the 20 Year Rule are some black and white photographs from the 1960s of the M1 motorway and its Sprucefield junction. Long before the days of early morning congestion at Junction 7! If you call into the Public Records Office and ask to more…
RELATIONSHIP COUNSELLING – Reading through two newly released files documenting “Political Developments in NI” from 1989 and 1990, you get a feel for the sheer number of documented conversations between senior SDLP figures and officials in the NIO about the tensions in the leadership around the talks process.
EIGHTEEN MEMBERS were removed from the Assembly Chamber at the behest of the Speaker after anti-Sunningdale members refused to move from the Executive’s front benches and disrupted proceedings. A 1974 letter describing events from the Sergeant-at-Arms to the Clerk of the Assembly has now been released.
BREVITY AND CLARITY – that’s what the head of the NI Civil Service asked of government communications in a ‘Plain English’ memo circulated in May 1988. “It is an important skill to be able to present complex issues in clear and simple ways … Even in simple letters, a good short word is generally to more…
Alan Burnside wrote to Richard Needham in 1990 on behalf of video chain Xtra-vision to ask him to find out whether the security forces were banned from their stores. There wasn’t a ban, just a difficulty in specifying “employer” on the membership form.
TEARS BEFORE BEDTIME could be avoided if NI civil service press officers followed Cabinet Office advice. The size of NI and “the social scene populated by the chattering classes” meant that “official/journalist contact is more frequent than in GB”.
DUP ALL OUT FOR DEVOLUTION says NIO official in his report on the DUP’s 1989 conference. The DUP was seen to be relaunching itself as the main unionist. Analysis suggested the UUP were finding it difficult to maintain their position faced with the twin electoral threats of a resurgent DUP and Conservative growth.
GAA THROWN INTO CONFUSION when British Ambassador to Ireland asked to attend the 1989 Tipperary v Antrim hurling final in Croke Park. The matter was referred up to the Taoiseach. The diplomat’s match report has been released today under the 20 Year Rule.
JUNE 1983 IDB paper release today under 20 Day Rule suggests that Clive Sinclair considered purchasinga controlling interest in Lotus Cars Limited and had tentative plans for the manufacture of cars at Dunmurry commencing in 1985 … perhaps not just the Sinclair C5.