May and Varadkar to come to Belfast

From the BBC… Theresa May and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar are to visit Belfast later for talks with the Stormont parties. It comes amid speculation the DUP and Sinn Féin are close to agreeing a deal to restore devolved government. However, a DUP source has told the BBC a deal “is not likely” to be announced on Monday. Several previous rounds of talks between the two parties have failed to break the deadlock. David McCannDavid McCann holds a PhD … Read more

Belfast City Council passes a 1.89% rate increase.

belfast city council logo

The district rate will see a 1.89% increase for 2018/19. The council says this will mean rate payers will pay on average less than £1 more per month or less than £10 per year. For businesses it will be an average increase of £12 per month or £144 per year. The impact varies by property, a Terraced House will see an increase of around £5.48 per year, were as a 4 Bed Detached House will see an increase of £18.63. … Read more

Varadkar proposes electing people from the North to the Seanad

Some news in today from Leo Varadkar’s first appearance before the Seanad as Taoiseach. The reports; Seanad should be allowed to elect senators from Northern Ireland – from both nationalist and unionist communities – so the Upper House of parliament has an “all-island dimension”. Addressing Seanad members today, Varadkar said having both nationalist and unionist representatives would provide “different voices on issues which concern us all”. The report continues Varadkar made the comment as he announced that a new … Read more

Are we moving towards reform of the Petition of Concern?

The Petition of Concern has been in the news at various times over the past decade. Since 2007, only the DUP had the power to trigger one on their own, whilst Sinn Fein always needed another party to one above the required 30 MLAs. The Irish News reporter, Brendan Hughes has a nice little graphic explaining the various parties positions on this issue The issue came to the fore this week in a meeting between the DUP and the group … Read more

Michelle O’Neill to become Vice President of Sinn Fein

Sinn Fein’s Northern Leader, Michelle O’Neill is set to become the Vice President of the party under Mary Lou McDonald as President. The new team will take over on February 10th at the special Ard Fheis in Dublin. Her remarks below; “I am honoured to be nominated as the new Leas Uachtarán of Sinn Féin. I look forward after the Special Ard Fheis to work with our new party President Mary Lou McDonald and wider national leadership team. “We are … Read more

Martin backs Northern representation in EU Parliament after Brexit

The Fianna Fail Leader Micheál Martin has backed post-Brexit representation for the North after Brexit in an report in the Irish News by John Manley. Manley reports; Speaking during a visit to Belfast yesterday, Mr Martin said he supported the principle of continued representation for the north. “In my view, this whole idea of respecting and ensuring that the European citizenship of people in Northern Ireland is given some manifestation and some reflection in the post-Brexit deal, is very, very … Read more

Should we consider a directly elected Mayor for Belfast?

Watching the Sunday Politics this morning, I listened to Sinn Fein Councillor Deirdre Hargey and DUP MLA, Gary Middleton discuss the benefits of respective City Deals was could be on their way to Belfast and Derry. I wanted to throw this idea out into the public sphere to find out more about the process. David Sweeting has been examining the impact of a directly elected Mayor in Bristol; Here I discuss two findings that are likely to be of interest … Read more

McDonald to become Sinn Fein President on February 10th

This morning Mary Lou McDonald officially became the next President of Sinn Fein, she officially takes over on February 10th. Below are the remarks of her speech today in Belfast; I am proud and honoured to be nominated for Uachtarán Shinn Féin. I look forward to being ratified at our special Ard Fheis on February 10th. “I know I have big shoes to fill taking on the role from Gerry Adams and I know that is impossible but I have … Read more

Barry McElduff resigns as an MP

Barry McElduff has resigned as the MP for West Tyrone; His statement The reason I am doing so is because of the consequences of the Twitter video which has caused such controversy over the last week. “But the deep and unnecessary hurt this video caused the families of the victims of Kingsmill is my greatest regret. “I again offer my profound apology to those families and to the wider victims community. “Had I been conscious of the connection to the … Read more

O’Dowd and Poots demonstrate disagreement doesn’t mean disrespect

It’s not often I have come away from a debate admiring both people taking part, even less often do I ring up asking for the entire thing to be saved.  Last night, John O’Dowd and Edwin Poots conducted a great debate. Politics should be about disagreement, not disrespect, for 20 minutes last night we got a demonstration, not class clown nonsense that seem to have gripped people. David McCannDavid McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. … Read more

One Year On; Can we now have a debate on getting a “Functioning” Executive.

One year ago today, Martin McGuinness brought the curtain down on his time as Deputy First Minister and the near 10 year run of devolution in Northern Ireland. The rest is now history…… We have had two historic election results with awesome consequences. In March, Nationalism finally broke a 6 year trend of seeing their combined vote go down. Sinn Fein surged riding a wave created by the approach of the DUP towards issues such as the Irish Language and … Read more

Sinn Fein suspends Barry McElduff for three months

The West Tyrone Sinn Fein MP, Barry McElduff met with the Sinn Fein leadership today to discuss his social media posts over the weekend. The party have suspended him for three months effective immediately. Speaking after the meeting Michelle O’Neill said; I made it clear to Barry that his tweet was ill-judged, indefensible and caused hurt and pain to the victims of Kingsmill. That it falls far short of the standard expected of Sinn Féin representatives and our members. “Barry … Read more

Foster “A return to Direct Rule would be an inferior alternative but it would be a government.”

Here’s a key bit from Arlene Foster’s New Year message; Many of us will use the New Year to make resolutions. Just as we will personally set ourselves goals as to how we hope to improve our lives, so too we should seek to bring new energy and ambition to our politics. Northern Ireland has in effect been without a government for almost a year. That is unacceptable and simply unsustainable. Every day, we are seeing the impact of having … Read more

Poll records another jump in support for Irish Unity

A new poll out today conducted by Ireland Thinks for the Irish Daily Mail has recorded a jump in support in voters in the South f0r Irish Unity. Ireland Thinks interviewed a random sample of 1,144 adults aged 18+ by telephone between Thursday 14th December and Friday 22nd December 2017. This group carried out a similar poll in March this year. Respondents were asked the following question; If it cost the Irish government €9 billion per annum for Northern Ireland … Read more

Slugger TV; Reviewing the year in politics

My panel this month was Brendan Hughes (Irish News), Kellie Turtle (Feminist Commentator) & our own Alan Meban. We reviewed the year in politics looking at the most over-reported and under reported stories of the year, as well as the politicians to watch. Slugger TV will be returning in January 2018. Our thanks to NVTV who have helped us put this together. David McCannDavid McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on … Read more

Coveney says there is a need to repair relations with the DUP

Government needs to repair relationship with the DUP – Tánaiste @simoncoveney tells #twip — The Week in Politics (@rtetwip) December 17, 2017 This comes after the Fianna Fail Leader, Michael Martin raised some concerns about the Irish governments strategy in an interview with; The problem with, what Martin calls the government’s “megaphone diplomacy” and the “weakening of the back channels between the leaders of Ireland and the UK”, is that the government is playing well at home but … Read more

Lucid Talk poll shows support for special status & strong support for the DUP & Sinn Fein

Lucid Talk released a poll today (commissioned by the GUE/NGL group in the EU Parliament). They have some really interesting findings. Broken down into those who identify as Unionist or Nationalists; Another interesting statistic from the poll is the current levels of party support in Northern Ireland (Good news for the DUP & Sinn Fein); Some Thoughts Obviously it’s one poll and the usual caveats apply about a simple snap shot in time. The level of support for Irish reunification … Read more

“I never could, and still cannot all these months later, get any clarity on how exactly we proposed to take back control”

The MP for North Down, Lady Hermon (the only pro-Remain voice within the Commons chamber from Northern Ireland) delivered a passionate speech today about the Good Friday Agreement and the process of leaving the European Union. There has been some focus on the encounter with Nigel Dodds but some other noteworthy exchanges are here; Let me say ever so loudly and strongly to senior members of the Conservative party that I do not want to hear them or see them … Read more