Can Sinn Fein tell us if the EU protects workers rights or not?

On May Day Sinn Fein were pontificating on workers rights along side their anti Brexit rhetoric,it is worth remembering: In the book Identity in Northern Ireland: Communities, Politics and Change by Cathal McCall, my own MP for Mid Ulster, Francie Molloy, states “We wouldn’t be happy with.. a United States of Europe..Irish identity would be lost” and that “a fully integrated EU would be to the detriment of vital resources of the Irish identity (Mitchell McGlaughlin discounts a fully integrated EU in … Read more

Irish Brexit paper reveals the EU will likely seek to shackle the UK

The Irish government have just published their Brexit paper entitled “Ireland and the negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union – The Government’s Approach”. It makes interesting reading. Notably as predicted – the Common Travel Area will more than likely be retained with the paper stating the CTA is not dependent on EU membership and that there is “no obvious legal barrier” to maintaining the CTA bilaterally. The EU Brexit negotiation guidelines effectively accepting the Common Travel Area will … Read more

WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement particularly relevant to post Brexit NI

  The World Customs Organisation has welcomed the entry into force of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement which may be particularly relevant to post Brexit Northern Ireland along with other customs facilitation agreements like the UNECE eTIR Project / TIR convention TIR Convention (1975) facilitates trans-boundary exchanges between member states. More info: — UNECE (@UNECE) August 9, 2016 The WTO TFA states: ‘Each Member shall ensure that its authorities and agencies responsible for border controls and procedures dealing with … Read more

A United Ireland is not inevitable – here is why

There has been much recent discussion about a border poll & the “inevitable” move towards a United Ireland yet there has been scant detail. Nationalist politicians have cited the economic benefits of an all island economy but looking at the lastest statistics from the Department for the Economy I find that 86% of all Northern Ireland sales are with Northern Ireland & Great Britain. If we exclude internal Northern Ireland trade we find that sales to the rest of the … Read more

Sinn Fein has abandoned the idea of Irish Independence for the EU

The recent blog post of Free Church of Scotland Minister Rev David Robertson ( @theweeflea ) on his conversion from being a Pro SNP Scottish Independence supporter to a person who would now vote “No” in any second Scottish Independence referendum has triggered some fierce debate.  I could not help but see the parallel between the SNP and Sinn Fein. The SNP has exchanged the idea of Scottish Independence for the fantasy of the progressive EU How easily the above … Read more

Brexit will strengthen the Union

Brexit will strengthen the Union, not weaken it. The vast majority of Scottish & Ulster trade is far and away with the rest of the UK. Scottish trade with the EU is down 20% in the last year with the USA being Scotland’s single biggest export country. The Republic of Ireland accounts for only just over 4% of Northern Ireland sales (which is more than Northern Ireland sales to the rest of the EU put together) A report from Barclays … Read more

17 reasons to leave the EU

17 reasons to leave the EU Leaving the European Union would: 1 – Restore UK freedom & sovereignty and disentangle us from `ever closer political union` – politicians have given sovereignty away to undemocratic EU institutions such as the unelected European Commission who are effectively the EU Executive and wield the power. Sovereignty & liberty lies with the people and their ability to elect an alternative government who should have the ability and powers granted to alter the laws of … Read more

The EU does not guarantee workers rights

I must take umbrage with various politicians on the Remain side arguing that leaving the EU threatens workers rights. We currently see trade union strikes in France & Belgium over EU deregulation where train drivers are due to lose rest periods and undermine working conditions. Last night on BBC The View we saw Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson cite a loss of workers rights if we left the EU as a reason to vote Remain, yet her colleague Mary Lou … Read more

Sinn Fein believe the EU is undemocratic, lowers wages and damages Irish fishing and farming

Sinn Fein have launched their Vote Remain campaign because they think the EU is undemocratic, is behind austerity, has decimated Irish fishing, lowers wages, undrmines working conditions and damages family farms: 9 March, 2016 Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada asked “Is austerity ruling the EU BUDG committee as it has been ruling some of our Member States?” February, 2016 Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams “We are critical of the European Union because of the democratic deficit …” 18th February 2016 Sinn Féin … Read more

The Common Travel Area will remain after Brexit

Various politicians are participating in “project fear” over the return of border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.. To the contrary, the border will remain exactly as is including the free flow of trade. Former PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde even rolled out the falsehood that leaving the EU would mean the UK being unable to use Europol.  Although Richard Walton the former head of Counter Terrorism Command at New Scotland Yard has said: We routinely share intelligence across international boundaries … Read more

Somme: May Trench Raid – death of a great great uncle

Tonight is the one hundreth anniversary of the death of my great great uncle during a German bombardment of the trenches after a succesful trench raid by the Ulstermen – a talk was recently held in the Masonic Hall (the old Tamlaght  / St Lukes Church of Ireland Church Hall), Coagh on Private Robert Sands and other men from Coagh who died in the Great War. In this centenary year of the Battle of the Somme the tragic and brutal slaughter of the Great … Read more

#Brexit Northern Ireland

The debate on EU membership in Northern Ireland has recently kicked off.  On Saturday Northern Ireland born Labour MP Kate Hoey laid out the Vote Leave & Labour Leave case from leaving the EU at the TUV conference at the Hilton Hotel in Templepatrick (UKIP`s Paul Nuttall addressed their conference in 2012 on the same issue). Irish Foreign Minister @CharlieFlanagan recently addressed Queens University Belfast on implications for Northern Ireland of Brexit.  Both Labours Kate Hoey MP & UKIP`s David McNarry … Read more

#EURef Leave campaigns at the UKIP Northern Ireland conference #UKIPNI15

UKIP NI: David McNarry challenged the DUP & UUP to come off the fence one way or the other and state their position on the EU referendum. He also called for a victims charter with a proper definition of a victim and criticised the DUP & Sinn Fein – querying what sort of devolved government hands powers back to the Tories in Westminster.

EU adopts bad net neutrality laws

The idea that data should be ferried from place to place as quickly as possible, regardless of what it is, is how most people assume the internet works. That’s the essence of net neutrality. Yesterday the EU voted through a report on the `European single market for electronic communications`.  Most headlines centred on the proposed scrapping of mobile roaming charges including the press release from the DUP. However the future of how the internet works in Europe was also in … Read more

Sinn Fein discombobulated over the European Union

Sinn Fein continues their schizophrenic approach to the EU: Michelle O`Neill has stated that The European Fisheries Fund has made a significant contribution to our commercial fishing and coastal communities… She failed to mention that the UK  has almost 70 per cent of Europe’s fishing grounds but only 13 per cent percent of its fishing quota. The Common Fisheries Policy opened up the UK’s fish to all EU member states. Now we must import fish species such as cod, haddock and … Read more

Federalism – Wherefore The Union?

I have long been of the view that a federal UK would be the eventual outworking of devolution.  Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones, has been calling for a constitutional convention for the last few years. Scottish Conservative Murdo Fraser outlined his thoughts on Slugger earlier this year. Why Murdo Fraser is right to promote UK federalism as a constitutional solution – my latest column in The Scotsman — Brian Monteith (@TheBluetrot) July 1, 2014 UKIP Deputy leader Paul Nuttal … Read more

#Indyref – According to Ashcroft poll, Protestants saved the Union #updated

Interesting post independence referendum poll from Lord Ashcroft (results mirrored actual referendum result). calculated from Ashcroft’s data, makes clear, there does appear to have been a simplistic correlation between religious affiliation and referendum voting patterns. Essentially, the majority of Catholics, non-Christians, and those professing no religion all favoured independence. It was only the votes of Protestants which saved the United Kingdom. The vast majority of these affiliate to the Church of Scotland and may have been influenced by the fact … Read more

#Indyref: An Orangeman on the side of George Galloway

Less than a week and too close to call.  The independence referendum is upon us.  There is no getting away from the fact that the Better Together campaign has allowed the SNP & Yes Scotland to frame the debate and run with the Scotland vs The Tories line. I warned of such the very start.  It is incumbent on Better Together and other `No` groups to counter this narrative.  I understand the need to focus on the `don`t knows` but the resulting … Read more

Edinburgh Orange Order pro Union parade illegal?

Interesting one from `Cybernat` (his term) Craig Murray regarding the proposed Orange Order demo in Edinburgh shortly before the Independence referendum. The proposed Orange for No march appears plainly to be in contravention of the Public Order Act 1936. This act makes it illegal to wear a uniform to promote a political cause: Section 1 (i) Subject as hereinafter provided, any person who in any public place or at any public meeting wears uniform signifying his association with any political organisation or with, the … Read more

Kyle Paisley, Pastor McConnell & Peter Robinson

Kyle Paisley has commented on the recent McConnell / Robinson Islam debate over on the Eamonn Mallie blog. While there are irreconcilable differences between the theology of Biblical Protestantism and the theology of traditional Islam, this is no reason for any man to go out of his way in order to insult another. One has to wonder what Kyle Paisley therefore thinks of Rev Ian Paisley protesting the Pope or Ian Paisley Jnr being ‘repulsed’ by gay people. All Free … Read more