Author Archive | Andy Boal

Lord Mayor’s dinner: but who was graceless?

Disclosure:  I’m a member of the Alliance Party.  I am also a born-again evangelical Christian. The first I heard was Naomi Long citing Matthew 6:5-6 on Facebook, concerning not praying in a manner to be seen by others.  It was later that day that I heard the full story:  Nuala McAllister had decided not to more…

And so the focus shifts…

And we’re back in Belfast with the main parties and their negotiations. The final deadline is Thursday, but substantial agreement is expected today. The DUP have obtained a deal that is extremely good for infrastructure, bringing things into the possible that were recently all but pipe dreams, although you may excuse my cynicism that the money more…

Councilor Paul Reid, William Diver (BAM McCann), Deirdre Mackle (Department for Infrastructure) and Councillor Joan Baird with guests at the opening of the A26 dualling project from Glarryford to Drones Road near the Wee Frosses

So what can we do with £400million for infrastructure projects?

With thanks to my good friend Wesley Johnston, whose inestimable website is the source for any intelligible figure I can find to help me write this article… I was at the official opening of the A26 two weeks ago, and I think that there is definitely an appetite to get York Street Interchange sorted out more…

Tory-DUP deal reached

Very briefly… source for all information is the Guardian as that was the first place I could find with the detailed documents! The agreement The short version is that the DUP will vote with the Government on the Queen’s Speech, the budget, all finance and money bills, supply and appropriation legislation and Estimates. In return, more…

A deal reached: May going to the palace

Just in… from the Guardian We wait for the detail, but it’s a reasonable guess that this is a supply and confidence deal. As I noted this morning, the Conservatives and DUP share 328 seats, which is an effective majority of 3. Sinn Fein abstentionism increases it to 6.

All over bar the shouting…

As I write, the position is as follows:- Party Actual seats Expected final seats 2015-17 parliament Change Vote share Vote share change Conservatives 314 318 330 -12 42.4% +5.6% Labour 261 262 232 +30 40.2% +9.5% SNP 35 35 56 -21 3.0% -1.7% Liberal Democrats 12 12 8 +4 7.1% -0.6% DUP 10 10 8 more…

How our MPs have voted since 1997

I ran the concept past Mick.  “Vote DUP, you get the Tories.  Vote Sinn Fein, you get the Tories anyway.” All because of my impression that the DUP tend to vote with the Conservatives, and Sinn Fein’s absentionism means that the Government of the day enjoys an artificially increased majority – their 4 MPs from more…

The political capital of asking for what you will not get…

Brexit has led to increasing demands for IndyRef2 and an NI border poll, and on principle, the British Government has not exactly been slow to rule them out.  Nicola Sturgeon is making the case that Brexit is changing the opinion of a large number of people in Scotland [A major change of circumstances? – Ed] more…

So what of those 27 trade deals?

Time for a little light relief. Much is made of the 27 countries queuing up to make trade deals with the UK, but as ever the devil is in the detail.  The first observation is that two or three of the countries concerned are not in a position to enter into bilaterals with the United more…

Contradicting Carl’s constitutional conundrum

Picking up on Mick’s post regarding comments by Carl Gardner, I thought it might be helpful to give another perspective, having like Carl read the full judgement, but I don’t think he has quite picked up on some of the most significant points.  This is what I posted yesterday on another site… I’ve read the more…

The NHS prescription: £22 billion of efficiency savings

At what point can an organisation which has undergone many years of reorganisations and “efficiency savings” actually create any more efficiencies and still comply with the regulatory regime? Leave aside the arguments about the £350 million lie of the Leave campaign, because it’s not actually relevant until Brexit is complete.  Even if every penny we more…

City council recommends no free Christmas parking

This is a rare post from myself that is almost entirely from the perspective of being a motorist. As Belfast City Council’s Growth and Regeneration committee recommends that they do not offer free parking after 6pm or on Saturdays coming up to Christmas, my first reaction is that in fact we are only really discussing more…

Interview with Translink CEO Chris Conway

Thursday afternoon in the Europa Buscentre, and knowing I’ve been scooped by the Business Telegraph (the price of blogging), I meet with Chris Conway in the conference room.  We’ve met before, as I happened to be at Stormont for an Autism event on the day Translink launched Train and Bus week, but this chat has more…

Reflections on Johnson and Davis

As we learn that we have a new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (but not, as I write, knowing who), I wanted to reflect on the two most controversial appointments to Theresa May’s cabinet. Either the appointment of Boris Johnson and David Davis as Foreign Secretary and Secretary of State for Brexit respectively is more…

Devolved legislatures and the EU

Devolved legislatures and the EU

Jim Fitzpatrick drew our attention to an interesting possibility the other day: (extract from Chapter 7 of The process of withdrawing from the European Union) The key issue here is the competency of Westminster to amend the Northern Ireland Act 1998, the Scotland Act 1998 and the Government of Wales Act 2006 (and 1998 to more…

So what happens now?

Well, the markets are currently having their say, but I would strongly advise that we look at them in a week and a half and see if they recover from the initial shock. Now for Andy’s predictions on what happens from here. Negotiating our way out The next step is Article 50 notice to leave more…

Farm subsidies post Brexit

What would happen in the event of Brexit depends on who is on the media at that particular time, and I confess to being almost as fed up listening to the remain side telling us how awful things would be in the event of Brexit as I am listening to the relentless optimism of the more…

Perspectives: parking tickets in Belfast

The Belfast Telegraph is creating a fuss about parking tickets on the Lisburn Road.  Fortunately, I happen to have the actual figures in front of me from a request I made last year… First, a little perspective.  The Lisburn Road is two miles long.  There is no comparison to a city centre street at a more…

Adult Autism Family Workshop

As part of World Autism Awareness Week, I attended an Adult Autism Family Workshop on Wednesday 6th April hosted by Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and facilitated by Patricia Reaney. Rodney Morton, Head of Improvement within the Directorate of Social Care and Children’s services in the Health and Social Care board, laid out a more…