A great result for Irish Rugby: Ireland 19 South Africa 16…

football stadium

This was another outstanding performance by the Irish team beating the World Champions and justifying their World No. 1 ranking. It was a tough grinding encounter with a lot of injuries and with the Springboks seeking to make their superior size and bulk up front tell. But Ireland never flinched from the collisions usually double jobbing with one tackler going low and another seeking to stop the momentum or target the ball. South Africa’s kicking game wasn’t up to their …

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A Tale of two Budgets…

Piggy bank

The contrast between how the recent budgets in the UK and Ireland have been received by the markets and the general public couldn’t be greater and tells us much about where the respective economies are currently at. (Let us ignore the distinction that the UK budget was officially dubbed a “Fiscal Event” rather than a formal budget. That euphemism has uncomfortable resonance with the Russian “Special Operation” rather than the invasion of Ukraine). In Britain £45 Billion in unfunded tax …

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Why I think The IRA War was a failure…

Various posts by Mick Fealty and many others, most recently by Brian Walker in “Leave futile arguments about equivalence aside. We all need to come clean about why the Troubles lasted so unforgivably long” have asked us to re-examine culpability for the Troubles and the need to let the healing process proceed through a truth recovery process. Despite their best efforts, the ensuing conversations have always descended into a welter of “whataboutery” and the sins of the other side. The …

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Five ways to scrap the protocol…

The UK has refused to engage with extensive proposals from the EU to introduce an “Express Lane” for goods intended only for consumption in N. Ireland, and to radically reduce the amount of paperwork associated with phytosanitary controls. The Joint EU UK committee to oversee the workings of the protocol hasn’t even met since last February. Instead, the UK has gone for a “maximalist” position, passing legislation in the Commons to give Ministers the power to disapply large parts of an international Treaty, …

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Making the UUP relevant again…

please wait here until you are useful thank you signage on multicolored wall

On the 13th.  of October 2021, the European Commission issued proposals to resolve the impasse around the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol following discussions with political leaders, businesses, civil society, and other stakeholders in Northern Ireland. The proposals seek to differentiate between goods intended to stay in Northern Ireland and those going on to the Republic of Ireland or the EU by providing an “express lane” with an 80% reduction in official checks and vastly simplified procedures for phytosanitary certification. …

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A response to Andy Pollak talk on “The South is not ready for unification”…

At one point, after his talk, Andy was asked: “So has Partition been a success?” to which he replied with a horrified “No, it has been a disaster”. But that does not mean partition has not had major effects. Blogging at the European Tribune and on Slugger O’Toole has taught me that we might as well be on two different planets. There is almost no appreciation of N. Ireland politics in Ireland, never mind Europe, and vice versa, much N. …

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Irish Rugby has a good season but loses out by fine margins…

white, blue, and red football on green grass

Before anybody gets carried away with doom and gloom about Irish Rugby’s lack of Trophies this year, it might be worth recalling the fine margins by which we lost out. Ireland won the Triple Crown and only lost out on a Grand Slam by 30-24 away. Victories in Paris have always been as rare as hens’ teeth. In the European Cup Ulster lost 50-49 to Toulouse on aggregate while in the Quarter Finals, Munster drew with them 24 -24 before …

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Between a Rock and a Hard Place…

Boris Johnson is reported to be delaying the publication of the Bill to over-ride parts of the protocol until such time as the DUP agree to the election of a Speaker in the Assembly. The DUP is refusing to proceed until they see the contents of the Bill and ensure that it directly over-rides the Protocol and doesn’t merely give the power to Ministers to do so at some stage of their choosing. No doubt a compromise will be worked …

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Teflon de Pfeffel Johnson

Waxwork of Boris Johnson on display at Madame Tussauds, Marylebone, London, England.

Theresa May was gone within 6 months of having won a vote of confidence by a greater margin than Boris Johnson (63% vs. 59% support). But under the Tory Party rules, he cannot now be challenged in a vote of confidence for another 12 months, regardless of how badly the Tories do in the meantime. That is, of course, unless the Tories change their rules, something the threatened to do in the case of Theresa May. A large majority, c. …

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Irish Neutrality and military alliances…

nato, flag, compass rose

The Irish Times recently published my letter on Neutrality and military alliances. In this post, I reprint the letter as well as expand on the topic. A chara, – It has often been noted that generals tend to fight the battles of today with the weapons and strategies of the last war. Russia may be finding this out to its cost in Ukraine. Critics of Ireland’s policy of neutrality and relative lack of military capability tend to call for us to …

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The external influences on Northern Ireland’s political future…

globe, map, countries

The debate about the constitutional future of Northern Ireland tends to revolve around internal factors like demographic trends, relative economic advantage, and the dysfunctional state of current political arrangements. But Northern Ireland doesn’t exist in a vacuum and may also be subject to the influence of trends in global, European, British and Irish politics and economics more generally. In this discussion, I want to focus on these external factors, and their influence on Northern Ireland, rather than on the economic, …

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