Author Archive | Chris Donnelly

“In some Unionist areas, it would be tantamount to erecting a Tricolour from a flagpole.”

The root cause of our current political crisis remains political unionism’s opposition to the development of a shared and equal Northern Ireland. Of course, twas ever thus. The Loyal Sons will not be rerouted on their fateful march to Ulster’s precipice in spite of more enlightened pro-Union voices regularly exposing the hypocrisy and instinctively supremacist more…

Tackling Educational Underachievement: Poverty, Selection & Comparative Levels of Attainment for Poorest Boys

Last month, I wrote about the welcome improvement in the number of poorer Protestant boys (Free School Meal Entitled) who have secured 5 ‘good’ GCSEs when compared with the figures from previous years. This formed part of a broader article in which I outlined the need to recognize the existence of two underlining themes if more…

Education & Inequalities: Progress for Working-Class Protestant Boys; No Movement on Greater Catholic Inequality

In June, the Department of Education published the 2015/16 Qualifications and Destinations of NI School Leavers report, which outlines the academic performance of our pupils according to a range of criteria, including school types, gender, relative poverty and religious background of pupils. After the publication of the 2014/15 report 12 months ago, I wrote this more…

Bonfires: A Story of Regulation, Enforcement & Leadership

That ‘The Twelfth’ passed off without any major issues yesterday is a direct consequence of the triumph of those maintaining that regulation and enforcement,  of universally applied principles, held the key to resolving disputes in a bitterly divided society. The last major parade dispute, at Belfast’s Crumlin Road interface, was resolved after loyalists were effectively more…

The Challenge facing Sinn Fein

With the focus having switched from Westminster to Stormont, speculation will continue to grow about the nature and likelihood of any deal to deliver a return of devolved government. Yet many continue to miss one key factor which is likely to mitigate against a quick return to Stormont. The republican leaders now in the spotlight more…

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…