Author Archive | Chris Donnelly

Belfast City Council’s Bonfire Scandal: The Key Questions

The revelation that Belfast City Council is involved in facilitating the storage of pallets (including stolen pallets) to be burnt on loyalist bonfires typically adorned with posters of nationalist politicians, Kill All Taigs-emblazoned Tricolours, Celtic shirts and a statue of the Virgin Mary would be remarkable on its own, but news that the stored pallets more…

Arlene’s Letter, Emma’s Flags: It’s the Others, stupid.

In politics, detail is important. After all, Arlene Foster used that very phrase in a guest blog on this website last October (doesn’t that just seem like a lifetime ago? It is one high-profile- and very costly- scandal, a government collapse and two elections removed….) Arlene Foster is in a spot of bother. Again. The more…

New DUP MP Pengelly faces choice: Stand up for shared housing residents or side with loyalists targeting ‘The Other’

Loyalists have erected flags in a shared housing development in South Belfast in a move which immediately challenges the new DUP MP for the area, Emma Little Pengelly, to condemn those responsible and call on the PSNI to remove the flags- an intriguing proposition, given that the organisation whose name appears on some of the more…

“The LCC particularly warns all unionists and loyalists against voting for Alliance”

Barely a week since the UDA was responsible for killing a man in North Down, the umbrella loyalist organisation, the Loyalist Communities Council (LCC), has issued a statement warning unionists and loyalists against voting for the Alliance Party. Helpfully, the loyalists have offered “guidance” to unionists regarding voting intentions in marginal constituencies. Arlene Foster came more…

The Nation Holds Its Breath

It is hard to believe that 27 years have come and gone since David O’Leary scored the fifth and final penalty to send the Republic of Ireland through to the quarter finals of the World Cup. I have very clear memories of watching the game and penalty shootout with my brother in our living room. I more…

(Yet) Another Jim Wells Election Campaign Moment

Jim Wells is in the headlines again. Betcha that’s a sentence which makes the DUP press team despair…. This time, Mr Wells has made the news for his proclamation that Sinn Fein is “not welcome” in a “unionist town.” Mr Wells made the comments on Twitter in the aftermath of Sinn Fein election workers canvassing more…

South Belfast by Numbers

SDLP DUP ALL SF UUP   Comb Nat Comb Un 2017 A 19.4% 20.8% 17.8% 17.7% 9.0% 37.1% 31.9% 2016 A 20.0% 22.0% 16.4% 14.2% 6.7% 34.2% 34.1% 2015 W 24.5% 22.2% 17.2% 13.9% 9.1% 38.4% 37.7% 2010 W 41.0% 23.7% 15.0% – 17.3% 41.0% 41.0% 2005 W 32.3% 28.4% 7.2% 9.0% 22.7% 41.3% 51.1% more…

On Celebrity Endorsements & Battleground Constituencies

Celebrity endorsements are a feature of political life across the western world. We are well used to prominent figures in the entertainment industry lining up to endorse or criticise political candidates- in the United States, Britain and Ireland. Figures within the sporting world are also known for raising their voices to offer opinions on political more…

Did you hear the one about the blonde crocodile?

Arlene Foster has been slammed for comments she made about Sinn Fein’s northern leader, Michelle O’Neill, in a Sunday Independent article published today. When asked what word she would associate with Mrs O’Neill, Arlene Foster answered, “Blonde!” Here is the excerpt in full from the paper, beginning with the journalist (Niamh Horan) asking what Arlene more…

North Belfast by Numbers: Finucane & Dodds set for battle

There are good reasons to believe that, even with a solitary Unionist candidate in North Belfast, there is a possibility of John Finucane pulling off a shock and taking the seat from the DUP’s Nigel Dodds in next month’s Westminster election. The DUP MP’s vote lead in 2015 over Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly was substantial. more…

A Nationalist/Remain ‘Understanding’ is still possible

Sinn Fein’s surprise move to bring in John Finucane in North Belfast will have succeeded in adding to the pressure on the leaderships of both nationalist parties to secure some form of understanding that will allow the nationalist and pro-Remain constituencies to feel they can maximise representation at the forthcoming Westminster election in the face more…

Sinn Fein running John Finucane in North Belfast

The Westminster contest in North Belfast just got serious. Sinn Fein have announced their intention to run Belfast-based solicitor John Finucane in the constituency at next month’s Westminster election. After nationalists succeeded in taking a majority of seats in the constituency at the Assembly election in March, Sinn Fein are clearly seeking to capitalise on more…

A Brexit Pact is a No-Brainer for Sinn Fein (&, whisper it, not bad for the SDLP & Alliance too)

Both Unionist parties have already signalled their willingness to enter talks to agree the terms for an expected electoral pact, but expect speculation to develop about the prospect of a Brexit pact for the non-unionist parties. Already, Sinn Fein’s Declan Kearney and John O’Dowd have signalled support for such a position, and intriguingly the SDLP more…

A Fistful of Early Thoughts Ahead of Brexit’s GE17

There’s nothing like the scent of a fresh election in this mid-Spring air to get the pulses racing. A few early thoughts for Slugger readers as we embark on yet another election odyssey: This one is all about Brexit, and that suits both of our main parties. For Sinn Fein, it taps into and feeds more…

Irish Govt to hold referendum to give northerners- & citizens abroad- the vote in Presidential elections

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has confirmed that the Irish government will move to hold a referendum to allow Irish citizens living in the north of Ireland and abroad the right to vote in Irish Presidential elections. In a speech delivered at the Famine Memorial in Philadelphia, the Fine Gael leader finally confirmed that the government would more…

Five Thoughts on AE17: The Nationalist Surge & why we’ve all good reason to rejoice at the dawning of the Age of the Minorities

The Nationalist Surge has dramatically altered the composition of the Northern Ireland Assembly, whilst also prompting many questions and challenges to both Nationalists and Unionists. Below I have listed five things which can be taken from the election results. 1.  The surging nationalist turnout, and within that the unprecedented support for Sinn Fein from within more…