Every day we stand still, we fall further behind

Last week we saw the most recent efforts to kick-start talks to restore devolved government here in the North, and again the efforts seemed to have fallen at the first hurdle with the main parties fairly down on the session and chances of progress. We are now over two years without an Executive, local minsters and various associated committees that form the basis of devolved government here.  Many on the street ask “what has changed?”, highlighting that “they didn’t do …

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Driving home for Christmas? Be thankful

As I walked through Belfast City Centre a couple of Fridays ago I passed, scattered among the late-night revellers, five maybe six rough sleepers.  Some were out cold, some awake looking vacantly at the crowds and some taking the opportunity of the passing footfall to ask for spare change. Seeing rough sleepers in Belfast is nothing new, I recall them from my childhood too.  But it remains something that is hard to see and fathom, at this time of year …

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Begging for bog rolls just beggars belief…

‘Pathetic games… a disgrace…it feels Victorian’ These were the words of the Principal of Maghaberry Primary School in describing the education funding system here to the NI Affairs Committee earlier this week. An impassioned Graham Gault sat alongside three other local School principals as he described how his budget had been squeezed so much he now has to ask parents for funding for sundry items such as toilet roll and pritt-stick. The group articulated a range of issues arising from …

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Future Ireland / Economic Inequality: An emerging challenge for a New Ireland

In October last year, I attended a keynote speech delivered by President of Ireland Michael D Higgins to a packed auditorium at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. The speech was anchored around Michael Davitt’s 1896 visit to New Zealand, a visit where Davitt was impressed by the then Crown Colony’s progressive policies on land, tax, pensions and the economy. Subsequently, the founder of the Irish National Land League brought a number of these innovative ideas back to Ireland, to …

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