Author Archive | Daithi McKay

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Spain prevents Catalan independence leaders from taking office

The elections to the Catalan Parliament were just over 3 weeks ago but rather than lead to any settled political outcome in Barcelona problems look set to continue. Pro-independence parties again won an overall majority of seats but will the Spanish establishment permit all of those deputies to take up their seats and fulfil their mandate? more…

irish passport cover

Where do we put Ulster’s Irish passport office?

Holding an Irish passport has become quite the statement. Since the Brexit vote applications have surged for a number of reasons including re-asserting an Irish identity in Britain and the north respectively. Also by Britons that want to hold on to their European Union citizenship. Dagmar Schiek, Professor of Law at Queen’s University Belfast said that more…

Some Predictions for 2018

Presidential Elections There will be more than one hat thrown in the ring along with that of Michael D. One party will break rank and expect the others to follow. Already conversations are taking place within Fianna Fáil about possible candidates. Expect the niceties of ‘we all think Michael D is doing a great job’ more…

Micheal Martin

Time for Fianna Fáil to end its northern election taboo?

The Sunday Business Post reported yesterday that Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin is “delaying his decision on whether to run candidates in the North” amid concerns in the party about the impact of Brexit. It’s nearly four years since the party called for active and serious participating and engagement in the political process in the North more…

Decision time for Dáil Committee on abortion reform

The Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment is set to recommend a straight repeal  of Article 40.3.3 when it considers its final report on Wednesday. The Committee has 21 members and 12 are already on the record as saying that the removal of the clause should be recommended by the group. There might also be more…

Brexit EU

Staring the economic gift-horse in the mouth

As Theresa May placed the British negotiating team into reverse yesterday afternoon many in the business community here in the north realised that what they see as a best case scenario for Brexit is within their grasp. In today’s Belfast Telegraph Seamus Lehany of the Freight Transport Association said that the proposals could “help attract more…

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Sinn Féin moves towards a change in abortion policy

Responding to questioning from journalist Amanda Ferguson yesterday Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has confirmed that he supports women’s right to choose. Sinn Féin’s Vice-President Mary-Lou McDonald has also made it clear that whilst she respects her party’s current policy (Repeal the Eighth Amendment & enact legislation on the grounds of rape, incest, and fatal foetal more…

Dail Eireann full

How would TDs legislate for abortion in cases of rape?

The work of the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment continues apace ahead of their December deadline to complete their work. It has already voted “not to retain the Eighth Amendment in full” but the final outcome from their work remains far from clear. Last week TDs heard from NUI Galway Law Lecturer Tom O’Malley more…

Sadly, we have political prisoners again

Catalans stand on their balconies late into the night banging metal pans with spatulas and wooden spoons snatched from their kitchen drawers. The collective rattle of utensils echoes throughout Barcelona.   Spain has imprisoned two leading Catalan Independence leaders in a move that only serves to deepen and harden the current divisions between Barcelona and more…

Sam McBride Assembly screengrab

Petition of Concern status quo suits the DUP

Back in February – when we were in a different world politically – I looked at the possibility of reforming the petition of concern and whether retaining the mechanism was beneficial for nationalists. The unionist majority in the Assembly disappeared faster than many predicted. From 52% of the 108 outgoing MLAs to 44% of those elected more…

Unionism isn’t ready for a deal anytime soon

Stormont is staring into the political abyss. It already was I hear you say, but over the past week the tone of compromise that gave a faint flicker of hope has all but disappeared. Unionism has marched right into a cul-de-sac nudged along by the current leader of the Orange Order who has about as more…

Barcelona vs Madrid

The Spirit of Franco never really left the Spanish state. Sometimes it is hard to see from the outside world but in the run-up to the Catalan referendum the Spanish Government are clearly trampling over basic human rights in their efforts to prevent the referendum from even taking place. Yesterday some 100,000 pro-independence posters were seized by more…

Stormont

Is it too late to transfer James Brokenshire?

Schools back. There is much talk already about the inevitability of Direct Rule and the fact that the talks are “going nowhere”. Let’s just wait for the parties to get their feet back under the desks and see how the land lies now that the summer is over. Something does need to change though, if more…

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SDLP’s ‘unprecedented’ conversations begin

The Belfast Telegraph today reports on the first of what will presumably be a number of “unprecedented” conversations within the SDLP. The SDLP’s Mid Ulster constituency council will discuss a possible merger with Fianna Fáil at a meeting in Maghera. Local Councillor Martin Kearney said “These are normal discussions which happen after every election, “We’ve more…

Westminster parliament

The End of (Westminster) Nationalism

The Tory Chief Whip was in Belfast this weekend to meet the DUP leadership. It is believed that they were discussing all options for co-operation at Westminster, from coalition to confidence and supply . The outcome is the outline of a Confidence and Supply arrangement. “Who are the DUP?” is being googled on laptops across more…

A Tory landslide may prove bitter-sweet for Unionists

On the eve of what has been a disastrous Westminster election campaign for the Tories it seems that the Conservatives are set to be returned as the main political party in Britain once again. The election here in the north has been somewhat dull, certainly in comparison to the Assembly poll in March  so hopefully we more…

Brexit tremors

The sportswear manufacturer O’Neills has told Radio Foyle this morning that planned investment at its Strabane site has been put on hold until it gets Brexit clarity. It comes the week after the local Derry and Strabane district council passed a motion calling for the North to be granted Special Status. Meanwhile in Lisburn Coca Cola more…

A century since Markievicz MP – are we much further on?

In the lead-up to the Assembly election I looked at the potential gender representation of the cohort returning to the Hill. A record 27 out of 90 Assembly members (30%) were returned. From looking at the 18 constituencies there are 12 seats that will be not be filled by female candidates. This is due, in more…

Where is her cunning?

In the last few months Arlene Foster has developed a habit of surprising us when we least expect it. And now that ‘blonde-gate’, or whatever you want to call ‘that’ interview on the greens of Hillsborough, is fading from the corporate media memory its worth a little further analysis. In response the DUP deployed the more…