Author Archive | Mick Fealty

Consultation on hate crime continues…

The Northern Ireland Affairs committee in Westminster continues its formal hearing of evidence from the office of the first and deputy first minister, NIACRO, NICVA and the Community Relations Council in Belfast yesterday. But they are also taking evidence online at tellparliament.net.Responses to hate crime “Many gay people do not report ‘low level’ homophobic attacks more…

Barrett’s guilt is not enough…

Rosie Cowan returns briefly to matters Northern Ireland with words from Pat Finucane’s son Michael, who suggests Ken Barrett’s admission that he killed his father is less his concern than discovering the nature of the command and control mechanism behind the murder.

Living further apart…

The SDLP‘s former Finance Minister, Sean Farren considers one of the problems that remains outside the remit of political negotiations and has been largely left for civil society to consider and worry away at – the polarisation of the two communities in Northern Ireland in both rural and urban areas. Here he draws on his more…

DUP attends in numbers…

The DUP has not stinted on sending manpower, which one of their number suggests is because they feel that Sinn Fein is recognising the Unionist bottom line. Given the need to bring along the party’s wide coalition of interests, it makes sense for them to have as many individuals in close as possible to any more…

Decommissioning and history…

A slightly shaky but interesting parallel is drawn on this morning’s The Long View (sound file). Amongst others Paul Bew and Danny Morrison do battle against a background of the Scottish Jacobite rebellion of the 18th century and in the foreground, Leeds Castle

MLA salaries may be price of failure….

It looks like one of the Governments’ coercive moves to get the political parties to concentrate on arriving at a political deal may be the removal of salaries of the members of the legislative assembly (or MLAs). Not exactly a Plan B, but an incentive to make Plan A work and perhaps a sign that more…

Decomm, or no decomm?

You pays your money and you take your choice. The Irish Independent speculates on a move by the IRA to decommission ahead of the Leeds Castle talks, whilst the Sunday Life says no.Time will tell. But an act of decommissioning now would single a different dynamic in the process, with the IRA being seen as more…

DUP should cut out the middle man…

Alex Kane with what has to be a somewhat tongue-in-cheek suggestion that the DUP should seek to talk directly with the IRA Army Council – and insist upon a direct response to their demands for the Republican movement to recognise and adhere to the state’s monopoly of force rather than going through the Sinn Fein more…

Changing the FM and DFM voting mechanics?

The DUP’s latest proposal for the review is to separate voting for the First and Deputy First Ministers. This would mean that in the event of a deal None of his party would have to vote for Sinn Fein. Without such a change even success on the substantive issues could lead to a Mexican stand more…

DUP professional approach will win through…

David Brewster is a relatively recent convert to the DUP who left David Trimble’s negotiating team before the Belfast Agreement was agreed. Here he argues that the DUP has the capacity and the professionalism will conclude a deal that will satisfy the outstanding unionist concerns with the Belfast Agreement, regardless of the opinions of his more…

GAA to support new stadium…

Support from the GAA for a single multi-code stadium in Northern Ireland has apparently boosted the chances of the 30,000 seater actually being built, with the site of the old Maze prison being favorite out of six candidate sites.

Sinn Fein protest bugging…

Martin McGuinness has suggested that British Security operatives were responsible for planting bugging devices at the home of a woman who works with Gerry Adams.

Blair hints at plan B…

The Telegraph reports the British PM’s broad hint that further failure to make progress in talks he may consider another tack. What that might be depends on who you talk with. Republicans believe it could be a move to joint authority with the Republic. Unionists believe it will be some form of medium to long more…

A Long Peace? – press release

Unionists must focus on a basic goal – a peaceful, economically prosperous and politically stable Northern Ireland, while drawing on a reserve of deeply held values, according to a new report on the future of Unionism. A Long Peace, (download pdf 959KB here or zip 386KB here) published today with support from the Joseph Rowntree more…

Can Unionism adapt to change?

I am not sure where this character has found his figures (particularly the one estimating that 59% of NI Catholics are prepared to vote to stay within the Union); but it’s probably a fair indication of the way some in the British Conservative party are thinking about NI in the wake of the Census results: more…

Unionist opposition to Portadown Mosque

We rarely link to the Times because it requires a subscription or registration but this story seems too extraordinary to omit: “The construction of Northern Ireland’s first purpose-built mosque is being blocked by Unionist politicians who say that residents would be kept awake by ‘wailing’ and that Muslims are plotting to destroy Christianity.” Correpondent David more…

The changing nature of Ulster

Though he may be accused of some disingenuity some of his preceding analysis, Brian Feeney makes an point somehow missed by many others; the census results indicate nothing if not the changed nature of the ‘people of Ulster’. He goes on to identify: “…the sulky silence of unionist leaders who have watched the raison d’etre more…

Census 2001: a summary

In July we argued that the potential for the census results effect a substantial change in the constitutional status of Northern Ireland was limited. But as we got closer to release of the actual figures, and even here at the Letter to Slugger O’Toole the speculation grew feverish at times. Reg Empey counseled caution, whilst more…

Census puts an end to myth?

In the Observer on Sunday Henry McDonald compared the Catholic majority by 2016 that had been the source of some speculation before last Thursday’s announcement of the final census figures, with the myth of Santa Claus: “…the straight-talking statisticians at the census office metaphorically ripped off Santa’s beard last Thursday and exposed the ‘Count the more…