Author Archive | John Ó Néill

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#Trump v #Redacted: The Donald attacks The Denis

As if the never-ending US Presidential election campaign was not surreal enough, yesterday Donald Trump issued a statement attacking Hillary Clinton, entitled: Follow The Money: Denis O’Brien – Another Corrupt Clinton Friend. And it’s only ‘semi-exact‘ to call it a statement. It’s actually a set of news clippings all studiously referenced and hyperlinked back to their original more…

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‘Collusion’ was RUC strategy, not RUC failing: #Loughinisland

State collusion was a ‘significant feature’ in a loyalist gun attack in Loughinisland in June 1994, according to the latest report published today by the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland. You can read some commentary over at The Detail here, while the publication of the full report is awaited (it is now published here). The timeline more…

Entitlement to participation in the ‘official opposition’

Interesting sidebar to the issue of an ‘official opposition’. The proposed scheme is set out in Appendix F4 on page 55 of the “A Fresh Start: The Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan” document (although it still requires some administrative mechanism to formalise it). The first section clearly states that: (i) “Those parties which would be entitled more…

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@davidmcw games one #Brexit outcome…

“Let’s go.” “We can’t.” “Why not?” “We’re waiting for Godot.” Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot Interesting piece from David McWilliams on an unintended consequence of the Brexit vote. The title – ‘A nation once again? Don’t write it off’ –  neatly encapsulates his argument and commits the obvious sin of deviating from a pro-unionist consensus. The more…

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Declan Kearney on reconciliation: a longer term project than #AE16

One of the benefits of an election campaign is that the political parties issue written statements reflecting where their thinking currently sits. What is revealing about the current crop is that there is still such a huge contrast in the language around peace and reconciliation from Sinn Féin and the two main unionist parties. Specifically, more…

The Oireachtas by-elections: #Seanad, #DSW, #RSL

The end of this week sees three Oireachtas by-elections being completed, two for the Dáil seats vacated when Brian Hayes (FG) and Luke Flanagan (Ind) were elected as MEPs, and, the third a Seanad seat vacated by Deirdre Clune (FG), after she too was elected as an MEP. Given that the two Dáil seats are in constituencies more…

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#uniref: what are mechanics of a border poll?

In today’s Belfast Telegraph, Liam Clarke is reporting on an opinion poll that says that a majority of people want a referendum on a border called. David has already sketched out some ideas of what a Yes campaign might look like, but what are the actual mechanics of holding such a referendum? The calling of more…

…this long rumoured Assembly collapse…

Over in New York, Gerry Adams has just issued a statement on the current impasse over welfare cuts in the Assembly (as reported by Liam Clarke). According to the report, Sinn Féin will let the Assembly fall and trigger an election rather than implement the cuts and Gerry Adams said: “It isn’t that we want more…

Lessons from #Indyref?

Ok, before the inevitable predictions poll, results debate and recriminations, what lessons can be taken from the totality of the Scottish independence referendum? Here’s a couple of suggestions. 1. The neverendum? A long campaign, or certainly what feels like a long campaign, has pros and cons. The emergence of what seemed to be widespread public more…

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#Indyref and the Orange demonstration: some quick notes

With the actual poll looming, this weekend sees the Orange Order make its on-street intervention into the #Indyref debate in Scotland. What will add an extra dimension to this is keeping an eye on how the media deal with events on the day, since, as Kilsally points out, #Indyref has created some unusual bedfellows. The last more…

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Get a wash, boys: @paddyb_ireland and the #MNDicebucketchallenge

The latest thing to go viral on social media is the ice bucket challenge, where you post a video of yourself being drenched by a bucket of ice cold water. You also nominate someone else to complete the challenge and they have to complete it within 24 hours. While it may look like just another idiotic online more…

Are unionists ‘…committed to drastically lowering people’s standards of living’?

This is a quick companion piece to Mick’s on welfare reform cuts. Gerry Adams issued a longish statement last week on the issue, which presumably can be taken as the current Sinn Féin position. These are a few relevant extracts: The DUP has repeatedly demonstrated an unwillingness to participate positively in any of the institutions. Instead more…

Shelling UN schools and media soundbites in #Gaza

Last night yet another UN school was hit by Israeli shells, reportedly adding a further 16 dead to the ever growing number of fatalities in Gaza. That death toll has now more or less doubled since the Irish and UK governments abstained from the UN vote on Gaza last week. In the absurd media war that more…

EU statement on abstention from #UNHRC #Gaza vote

Even with no immediate end in sight to the violent Israeli assault on Gaza, one dimension of the post-ceasefire landscape is already clear. Despite the global connectivity offered by social media and the public platitudes of political ‘leaders’ it is clear (and has been for a very long time) that the international diplomatic architecture is more…

#OTRs: a ready made exit strategy?

So the review of the OTR scheme by a British judge has found it to be ‘not unlawful’ and not secret (pretty much how Dominic Grieve, British Attorney General, had described it before the review). Earlier on today Secretary of State Theresa Villiers made an oral statement to the House of Commons to coincide with more…

#Bonfires 2014

As has been blogged on here already, for good and bad, bonfires have been attracting a lot of attention over the last few years. This appears to be, in part, due to combination of the ubiquity of social media and cameras. While a number of high profile news stories are giving a significantly negative impression of bonfires more…

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#GazaUnderAttack and the myth of proportionality

Spare a thought for the 1.8m people who live in the Gaza strip and are currently being subjected to air strikes by the Israeli Defence Forces (e.g. see Haaretz for regular updates). If you want an idea of what conditions in Gaza are like, you can get a grasp of population density if you can imagine more…

Robinsons withdraw legal challenge to report on day of Unionist walkout: Coincidence? Discuss…

Yesterday we had that walkout of Unionists from the current talks, choreographed to coincide, almost to the second, with the release of the Parades Commission determination for the Ardoyne return leg on the Twelfth. The assembled Unionists had an agreed statement already prepared about ‘graduated responses’ and made a call for no unlawful protests (ahem). more…