Rugby Rape Trial: Stop Professing Certainty

As many foresaw and as the judge warned, the rape trial involving the two Ulster and Ireland rugby players has caused a significant backlash on social media. Throughout the trial but especially once the verdict was delivered everyone seemed to become an expert and Facebook and Twitter were filled with people proclaiming to know whether the verdict reached by the jury was or was not correct and what this result should mean. On twitter, the hashtag “Ibelieveher” was taken up … Read more

The Good Friday Agreement: A Milestone, not the Finish Line

Twenty years on since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and it is now being called into question, but not for the right reasons. The agreement’s fitness for purpose has been challenged in recent weeks as it is perceived as standing in the way of the hard Brexit that some desire. Rather than question the agreement because Northern Ireland is currently without an assembly or because even whilst there was an assembly in place its legislative record was pitiful, … Read more

‘Cross Community Projects’ are Outdated in Today’s Northern Ireland

The concept of a polarisation of politics is one often talked about in today’s society, and in Brexit Britain and Trump’s America and so many other cases it is easy to see evidence of this polarisation. People follow different narratives that offer different (or alternative) facts and there is a demonised view of the motives of politicians that you do not agree with. In Northern Ireland polarisation of politics is nothing new to us, and it continues to this day … Read more

A Year Without Government Series: Part III of III

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This article makes up the third part of a series that takes a satirical look back on the last year and a bit of Northern Irish Politics. The following was written entirely tongue in cheek and none of it should be taken very seriously. Find Parts I and II here:  A Year Without Government Series: Part I of III A Year Without Government Series: Part II Talk About Talks About Talks Election over, democracy enacted, job done, time to get … Read more

A Year Without Government Series: Part II

This article makes up the second part of a series that takes a satirical look back on the last year and a bit of Northern Irish Politics. The following was written entirely tongue in cheek and none of it should be taken very seriously. Find Part I here. The Assembly Election Debate It is a time honoured tradition of the Assembly election cycle that the BBC and UTV bring representatives from the five largest parties into a room together to shout … Read more

A Year Without Government Series: Part I of III

This week will mark one year since the suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly and one year without government in Northern Ireland. Over the next few articles from myself on this site I hope to take a satirical and hopefully comical look back on the events of this year and how we managed to find ourselves in the situation. The following was written entirely tongue in cheek and none of it should be taken very seriously. How did we get … Read more

Lord Mayor of Belfast: “I would not stand for an assembly that is not functioning”

The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Nuala McAllister visited an A level Politics class last week to ask students how they viewed Belfast and, in line with her theme for her year as Lord Mayor of ‘Global Belfast’, how the city could be more welcoming. The Alliance Party politician expressed her dismay at the rise of hate crime in Belfast and explained to the students that she believed that sectarian attitudes were still prevalent in Northern Ireland. She drew a contrast between … Read more

Are Council Dragging Their Heels with the Re-opening Blackhead Path or is it an Impossible Situation?

The Path has now entered its fourth year of closure with no sign of immediate change A large section of Blackhead path in Whitehead, County Antrim has been closed since July of 2014 when Carrickfergus Borough Council shut the path for safety reasons regarding rock-fall and erosion from the sea. The move to close the path off entirely to the public was described at the time by the then Mayor of Carrickfergus Charlie Johnson as only a “short-term” measure and … Read more

Could Spanish “Superblocks” make Belfast Greener, Quieter and a Nicer Place to be?

So much of our modern city space is dedicated to cars, the needs of the automobile take priority in almost every city’s layout. This causes pedestrians and cyclists to be pushed to narrow pavements and cycles lanes, both having to navigate through traffic as they go. One alternative to this norm is the “Superblock” scheme currently being implemented across cities in Spain. You take an area of blocks and close off the inside to ‘through’ traffic i.e buses and big … Read more

Will DUP demands be small and parochial or will they look to shape wider government policy?

Theresa May has now stated that she will look to work closely with her “friends and allies” in the DUP, but the terms of this deal are yet to be set out. Many of the smaller parties early on in the campaign were keen to rule out any kind of coalition or deal with either Labour or the Conservatives, having seen the electoral impact on the Liberal Democrats for having made such a bargain in 2010. The DUP however arguably … Read more

Brokenshire threatens to take away the one thing that makes NI parties cooperate

At the launch of the Conservative Party in Northern Ireland manifesto, James Brokenshire gave the parties 21 days after the election to agree a deal before “passing the baton” to the government in Westminster to run Northern Ireland. An extended period of rule from Westminster would remove all responsibility from the DUP and Sinn Fein to moderate and compromise. The practicalities of running a power sharing government has always forced the DUP and Sinn Fein to behave in a much more moderated … Read more