Arlene Foster seems to know what is already in an Irish Language Act

Arlene Foster spoke today at the 5 Leaders, 5 Days event, and covered a bit of controversial ground on the Irish Language. John Manley of the Irish News captured this interesting little back-pedal from the DUP leader, failing to remember that she accepted some of the blame for the perception that she was anti nationalist or anti republican (from her Irish News article published only four days previous). Mrs. Foster turned the question from John around to reference the Irish … Read more

Maírtín, quick to lay into Bell – not so quick for Foster

Just a curious observation following Finance Minister Maírtín Ó Muilleoir commenting yesterday on the ongoing RHI situation, where he refused to say if he retained confidence in the DUP leader. Quite a stark contrast to when the Finance Minister appeared before the Finance Committee to answer questions raised over the Daithí McKay/Jamie Bryson deep throat situation. When Jonathan Bell began to give Ó Muilleoir a hard time in the witness seat, the Finance Minister was irascible in his replies. Ó … Read more

DUP won’t intervene on employment matters, except when they will

Arlene Foster refused to echo Martin McGuinness’s call for Dee Stitt to reconsider his role as Chief Executive with Charter NI. The organisation and indeed the Executive is facing greatly increased pressure over the ongoing Charter NI debacle and the Social Investment Fund as a whole. Arlene Foster said, “This man is an employee of Charter NI and they have to deal with him as they see fit, it would be wrong for me to intervene in all of the … Read more

Sinn Feín MLA considers 13-17 year olds “British Army”

Not necessarily a surprising one, more a case of here we go again. On a par with Jude Collins comparing the Boys Brigade to children taking part in dissident republican marches. The PSNI Chief Inspector was at Loreto Grammar School, speaking about careers and gave an answer to a question by mentioning the Air Cadets. Barry McElduff MLA posted the following tweet, Following on from this, Pat Sheehan MLA, McElDuff’s party colleague, took up the cause today in a BBC Talkback … Read more

NI Executive agrees multi-million pound funding for City of Derry Airport

Announced yesterday was the news that the City of Derry Airport, currently owned by Derry City & Strabane District Council, is in line to received an as yet unspecified sum (although Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said it was a multi-million pound deal, and that it had been signed off). Many will know that the airport runs at a loss to the ratepayers of the council of £2.145 million per year. Ryanair announced recently that they would be cutting their Derry-Stansted … Read more

£9 million on a single flight, most of it from Stormont

Without too much fanfare, during the summer recess it was announced that United Airlines had been considering withdrawing the Belfast International – Newark route from service. The airline had previously made a decision to cancel the route from January to March of 2015. Discussions took place between United Airlines, Belfast International Airport officials, the British Government and the NI Executive and the decision was made to retain the route, at least for the next 3 years. As the Irish News reported … Read more

This Island’s Godwin: Teorann’s Law

Godwin’s Law: The longer and more heated a debate or discussion becomes, the more likely it is that Hitler or Nazism will be used as a comparison. Teorann’s Law: No matter the original subject area, it is possible to make any argument become about the partition/division of Ireland. I’ve noticed over the years that there is no predicting a discussion about anything in Slugger’s below-the-line comments. The most tenuous links can bring a discussion right around to who took what from … Read more

SDLP – One Woman Party or Just the Nature of the Beast?

When the SDLP require a representative for a media appearance, who are they going to call? Claire Hanna. It’s become obvious over the last number of months that as and when the SDLP need to present their party position to the electorate, if at all possible they will turn to just one person – time after time. Claire Hanna has been ever-present in the press for most of 2016, even more so in the run up to the Assembly election, … Read more

A modern fable: Goldilocks and the three Labour leaders

Nobody expected Jeremy Corbyn to win the leadership contest in 2015, I’m not sure even he expected it. Actually, nobody expected Jeremy Corbyn to even be part of the leadership contest in 2015 – he was put on the ballot, as history now tells us, to widen the discussion, to broaden the range of candidates on offer. Well that worked out well. It may however have served a purpose in the long run. “Once upon a time, there was a Parliamentary … Read more

Orange Order rates relief: £8.12m. (Twaddell policing costs: £24m, and counting… )

At the NI Assembly on Monday, Christopher Stalford received an answer to an assembly question directed at Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, the Finance Minister, as to the rates relief statistics for Orange Halls. The response tells us that since April 2006, the Orange institution has saved an estimated £8.12 million by being exempt from paying rates. During this time, of course, the DUP used the much criticised ‘Petition of Concern’ mechanism to block a Sínn Fein bill which would have enabled amateur sports clubs (such … Read more

The benefits of an official Opposition and the rush to claim the title.

Following the 2016 Assembly Election, there is now an opposition in Stormont (or sorts). But why should a party take it, as the UUP have stepped forward to do. For the last number of years, the opposition to the executive, such as it is, has been unofficial, disparate and unruly. The naughty corner at Stormont, with John McCallister, Steven Agnew, Basil McCrea, Jim Allister, David McNarry & Claire Sugden (interestingly, 3 of those were elected to that last Assembly as … Read more

FAPP: The difference between one MLA parties and independents is what exactly?

What’s the difference between Jim Allister & John McCallister? Between Steven Agnew or Basil McCrea & Claire Sugden? The answer is about £25,600. That’s how much the NI Assembly’s ‘Financial Assistance for Political Parties’ scheme values a party at, one with even just 1 MLA. There are currently 18 independent members of Dáil Éireann, 11% of the entire house, often providing starkly liberated representation, generally free from the concerns of party politics. There are 2 independent members of the Northern … Read more

DUP/TUV Motion Demanding an Apology for SF Councillor’s Tweet

An interesting piece of politicking is taking place in Mid and East Antrim Council meeting. A motion proposed by Alderman Gregg McKeen (DUP) and seconded by Councillor Timothy Gaston (TUV) states: That this council demands a public apology and states that we have no confidence in Cllr. Hardy as Vice Chair of the Community Planning Committee, after her recent derogatory publications on social media about Her Majesty the Queen. This is in response to Councillor Patrice Hardy (Sinn Fein) posting the following … Read more

Schrödinger’s Ireland – The current state of Unity, is it alive or dead?

“A United Ireland is Inevitable: Discuss” I went to a debate in Omagh on this topic, hosted by Sinn Féin’s Barry McElduff, with an open mind, willing to be challenged and frankly, looking for a way to understand the rationale behind the United Ireland cause. Most of what I know about partition, the Easter Rising and that era came from a trip to Kilmainham Jail a couple of years ago.  What I do know though is that this happened a long … Read more

Nigel Dodds Calls For The Truth Over Shankill Bombing

In a statement regarding Allison Morris’s Irish News story of prior police knowledge and inaction of the Shankill bombing, Nigel Dodds MP, DUP deputy leader, said: “The mass sectarian murder of the Shankill Bomb was one of the most heinous acts perpetrated by the Provisional IRA. It was a premeditated slaughter of innocents, an event that stands out amongst the PIRA’s more than 1800 bloody murders. Recent newspaper claims have refocused attention on this horrific act. Some of what has … Read more

Is The Local Cynicism of ‘Question Time’ Fair?

On Thursday night David Dimbleby and the Question Time Carnival rolled into Titanic Belfast… and it seems the natives expected the worst and received it. To begin with, I’m a big fan of Question Time – I think it’s a great format to engage people nationwide in issues that many people are already talking about, and with the political machinery that exists within *most* parties, they give us, the voters, a good indication of party lines without having to go into … Read more

Quiz Time! Who Did They Beat In A General Election?

Who did this person unseat in a UK General Election? Let us know how many you got in the comments below. Also, the adverts underneath the quiz are hosted by the quiz plugin, not Slugger. Kris Nixon (Belfast Barman)Kris tweets ferociously as @belfastbarman and runs an associated site, www.belfastbarman.com where he occasionally opines his views. He lived abroad for a while and as such, feels he will never really ‘get’ this place. Formerly a barman, he regularly broke the cardinal … Read more

Quiz time! Do you know these co-opted MLAs?

Let us know how many you got in the comments below. Kris Nixon (Belfast Barman)Kris tweets ferociously as @belfastbarman and runs an associated site, www.belfastbarman.com where he occasionally opines his views. He lived abroad for a while and as such, feels he will never really ‘get’ this place. Formerly a barman, he regularly broke the cardinal rules of, “No politics or religion in the pub,” as such, he turned to writing. Previously a stand up comedian and an animal crematorium … Read more