Author Archive | Daithi McKay

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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…

Dail Eireann full

The inevitable conclusion to the abstention debate.

In 2015 there were numerous news stories and debates about the possibility of Sinn Féin ending its abstentionist policy partly fuelled by a belief that the election might produce a hung parliament. This time around the airing of those arguments have lessened significantly. The polls predict a Tory majority. However the SDLP believe its still more…

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Elections becoming a big business for Facebook

Social media is increasingly becoming more important in the fighting of elections. Political parties can post videos or short picture messages with slogans and then, for a price, insert that on the newsfeed of groups according to location, age, gender, etc. If candidates hit the right nerve with the public they can crowd source enough more…

‘The Fearghal McKinney effect’

There obviously won’t be any pact between the SDLP and Sinn Féin anytime soon and the latest comments from Michelle O’Neill and Colum Eastwood reaffirm their party positions. Eastwood is keeping one eye to the unionist voters in Foyle and especially South Down that will be considering voting strategically for his party to keep Sinn more…

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Tory momentum won’t sweep away call for IndyRef2

The results are in and the Local Government outcomes in Scotland, Wales and (much of) England are no great surprise. Beyond Hadrian’s Wall Labour lost their majority on Glasgow City Council after nearly 40 years dominance. Well over 100 Scottish council seats turned Conservative blue, the majority of which were previously rose-red. There are two more…

Presidential voting rights by 2025?

With the recent stepping up of debate about a Border Poll and the constitutional future of the north it is interesting (though I suspect coincidental) timing to see the Taoiseach Enda Kenny announce that a referendum will be held on the right of Irish citizens abroad and in the north to vote in future Presidential elections. The more…