When does lack of consent become a veto?

ban, traffic signs, objection

The notion that a lack of consent can constitute a veto can be traced back at least to the Petition of Concern, and abuse thereof. Frequently and predominantly, this has been triggered at the hands of the DUP in an effort block various bills and motions through the years with varying success. The wide-ranging substance of which has included, but is not limited to, same-sex marriage and integrated education. Devil’s advocates may well argue that all parties have abused the …

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The Irish Language Act: Purdah, Promises, and Polling Booths…

Letters

I recently made reference to NI Secretary of State Brandon Lewis’ claim, regarding the implementation of cultural [and language] legislation, that it would not be “right or proper to introduce legislation during the election period” – the implication perhaps being that the election period is not the right time for anything politically contentious. Leaving aside the matter of whether or not the cultural and language legislation in question is as contentious as is often claimed, such tacit invocations of ‘purdah’ …

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The Irish Language Act: Why are we waiting?

caricature, painting, silence

It was in October of last year that Brandon Lewis confirmed the UK Government will “take the necessary steps to introduce the legislation through the UK Parliament”. It is therefore greatly disappointing to learn that the British Government “will not…introduce an Irish Language Act for Northern Ireland at this stage” (emphasis added) – ostensibly on the grounds that it would not be “right or proper to introduce legislation during the election period”. However, the Northern Ireland Office Minister Conor Burns, …

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Lord, make us united – but just not yet…

vintage doors, door, historic

“Lord, make us united – but not yet!” So Saint Augustine might have prayed if he was alive today, living in Ireland, an eligible Irish voter of almost any age group, and a participant in last December’s Ipsos MRBI poll – the findings of which were published in last weekend’s edition of the Irish Times. Characterised by its respectable sample size and trustworthy results that fall within a mere 2.8% margin of error in accuracy, it seems to confirm that …

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Dr Niall Comer Interview: “The Language has to have its Place…”

bagan, temple, hot air balloon

On June 26th, a mere fifteen days before Stormont’s Summer recess, we were given a substantial update regarding the New Decade, New Approach Deal (NDNA) from Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey. Not only was a deal to progress language rights finally agreed between the DUP and Sinn Féin, but we also learned that “initial work [had] started on the development of an Irish language strategy and an Ulster Scots language, heritage and culture strategy”. Since then, however, it is unclear what …

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The Evolution of Ambiguity…

smoke, smoky, steam

After an eventful couple of weeks when Colum Eastwood, Dr Brian Hanley and many others besides have been urging us all to “look at what happened” with regard to Partition and Armagh’s recent service of reflection thereof, the historian Cormac Moore takes us on a fascinating – and revealing – trip down memory lane in this week’s Irish News (Oct 27th 2021). In light of burgeoning conversations pertaining to a Border Poll and Irish Unity in recent years, Moore provides …

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What really happened in the act of Partition itself?

tourmakeady, ireland, landscape

“Look at what happened” urged Colum Eastwood, remarking on the service of reflection at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh, adding it was “very clearly no celebration of partition”. Perhaps Eastwood is right, but what do we really mean when we ‘reflect’ on Partition? Several years ago, reflecting on his faith, the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams described it as “silent waiting on the truth, pure sitting and breathing in the presence of the question mark”. Some regarded this as …

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The Way Forward: Boris Johnson having his cake and eating it too?

Earlier this week, the UK Government released its ‘Command Paper’ entitled “Northern Ireland Protocol: The way forward”. One can almost imagine the EU negotiators exhaling an exasperated sigh, rubbing their temples, and remarking: “Really? They’re opening this can of worms again?” as the authors impress upon them (and us) the need for more “urgent talks” to “find a new balance for the Protocol”. In his opening remarks, Boris Johnson laments that “[t]he impact of the Protocol has been profound economically, …

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The Irish Language Act: Once Bitten, Twice Shy…

Readers may recall my recent article in which I speculated on what the initial media frenzy led us to believe was the upcoming ILA. This was written in the immediate aftermath of the initial announcement and was published on Slugger around a day or so afterwards – by which time greater detail had emerged, with certain speculations and predictions having been subsequently laid to rest. The current ILA saga is, of course, ongoing – and will in all probability be …

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The Irish language Act: What to expect?

Blaine McCartney is a Co. Down-based writer William F. Buckley once mused that “A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling ‘Stop!”. Being a conservative of sorts himself, however, he meant that as a compliment – going on to say that the conservative yells ‘Stop!’ at a time “when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.” It does not seem to have occurred him that some conservatives yell …

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Should auld acquaintance be forgot?

Blaine McCartney is a Co. Down-based writer Yesterday, March 23rd 2021, the first anniversary of lockdown, is surely a day of mixed emotions for Nicola Sturgeon. Having yesterday been cleared of breaching the Scottish Ministerial Code, she nevertheless told reporters this morning that she wants to “leave politics to others today”. Scottish Tory Leader Douglas Ross, among others, have been happy to oblige on Twitter and elsewhere, as they proverbially rage, rage against the dying of the light at the …

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