Second Republic: The 1937 Bunreacht was designed for a very different society…

Yesterday was the winter festival of Imbolc, or as Gaeilge ‘i mbolg’ or ‘in the belly’, generally of sheep. It’s a time when the potential of things are a great deal more obvious than the shape of their ultimate realisation. That’s not a reckoning of inscrutable goings on in Hillsborough and latterly Stormont by the way. My attention has been fixed more closely to home on the shortcomings of our democratic institutions in Dublin. At this most cheerless point in … Read more

Slugger Abú!

Apologies for the tardiness in the report but Slugger has won best political blog at the Blog Awards, the handsome award accepted magnificently by Belfast Gonzo. Other details to follow as the fog clears. Congratulations to you all! Full list of winners below:Best Blog/Blogger – Sponsored by Twenty Major Best Blog Post – Sponsored by Twenty Major – New York Diary Most Humorous Post – Sponsored by BEECHER.NET Twenty Major – New York Diary Best Photo Blog – … Read more


Supporters and enemies of the Colonel alike will be delighted to note that my good friend Copernicus and colleagues from Fústar have dedicated an excellent set of dispatches recording his daily manoeuvres (and I mean that it the French as well as the military sense). Naoise Nunn

Time to Revisit the Peace Forum?

In today’s Irish Examiner, Noel Whelan reflects on last week’s BBC Two series Facing The Truth and agrees with Mark Durkan’s suggestion that the time has come to re-establish the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation as a venue for victims to express themselves more effectively than in marches on O’Connell Street. Previous Slugger discussion on Facing The Truth here. Naoise Nunn

Only Protestants Sectarian

Newt Emerson reflects on Dermot Ahern’s call for a non-sectarian protocol for politics in typically ascerbic fashion in today’s edition of The Irish Times (sub. req.). Do these protocols have any real value?Re-printed with permission from Newt: In the wake of the Dublin riots, the Minister for Foreign Affairs has asked all political parties in Ireland to sign an anti-sectarianism pledge. Unionists will then refuse to co-operate with the Government initiative, proving that only Protestants are sectarian and restoring the … Read more

Dáil Unanimous on Finucane Inquiry Motion

Below is the full text of the all party Dáil Motion supporting a full public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane, which was carried unanimously by the House tonight. The 20-odd minutes of the debate available here. Update: In his contribution, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin refers to an NIO statement which criticises the motion but interestingly there’s no reference to it that I can find on the NIO website. Recalling the brutal murder of solicitor, Patrick Finucane at his home … Read more

In Cold Blood

PA report – “Newt” Emerson, please take note… Ten crocodiles found in car boot in Co Down Ten crocodiles and other reptiles were recovered from a car during a joint operation last night by police and animal welfare officers near the Border in Co Down. The Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA) and police intercepted the car outside Newry. The USPCA said it believed the reptiles were intended for sale in Northern Ireland. In another operation, … Read more

1916: A “Fascist” Uprising

Lord Laird writes in today’s Irish Times (subs req.) that it was nascent fascist sentiments which drove the leaders of the 1916 Rising. “Far from being a prophet of “equality and social inclusion”, Pearse – and most of the leaders of the Rising – subscribed to a dangerous and proto-fascist melange of messianic Roman Catholicism, mythical Gaelic history and blood sacrifice.” Laid concludes: “The 50th anniversary of the rebellion in 1966 gave rise to a lot of irresponsible talk and … Read more

Big Bird For Belfast

Sean O Driscoll reports from New York in today’s Irish Times (free view) that the Sesame Street Workshops are to get $1 million from the American Ireland Fund to produce 26 shows to teach tolerance to children in Northern Ireland, following on from similar projects in Kosovo, Palestine and Israel. Naoise Nunn

Benedict Says Relax

The Pope has issued his first encyclical on spiritual and erotic love entitled Deus Caritas Est. I wonder if he’s ever watched Shameless on Channel Four? Naoise Nunn

Oireachtas Returns

After a gruelling holiday, Dail and Seanad Eireann resume in plenary session this afternoon to a workmanlike legislative programme and a Government coasting on a healthy economy and respectable opinion polls toward a general election in 16 months’ time. Leaders’ Questions kick off at 3.45pm followed by Questions to the Taoiseach and the Order of Business, which can be viewed live here. Private Members’ Business in the Dail is on the EU Services Directive while the Upper House concerns itself … Read more

The Ulster Hall

There’s a wonderfully evocative piece about the much loved Ulster Hall by Fionnnuala O’Connor in today’s Irish Times (subs req.). I have my own fond memories – as I’m sure do many other Sluggers – many of which, happily, are not fit for publication! Here’s a flavour… “Boxing matches, wrestling, Prof Crocker and his Performing Equine School, the Dalai Lama, the Clancy Brothers: all human life has poured through the hall’s (hitherto) dark doorway. The dying Parnell, crushed by the … Read more

Dáil Debate on Irish Unity

Sinn Féin TDs are using their Technical Group Private Members’ time constructively in the Dáil this evening with a motion on Irish unity. You can watch the debate live here tonight and tomorrow. Naoise Nunn

For F***ks Sake Will You Listen To Us

Irish Times Northern News Editor Dan Keenan talks to ordinary residents of the Shankill’s Woodvale area, including building contractor Sam Robertson and finds a seam of seething and potentially lethal frustration that runs much deeper than the riotous reaction to the recent Parades Commission decision.(Subs req.) Robertson says he has no paramilitary links, is not an Orange man or a member of a Unionist party and has spent years keeping young lads off the streets and on the football pitch … Read more

Two Steps Forward; One Step Back

In today’s Irish Times (subs. req.)Vincent Browne argues that not only is the question of the extradition or imprisonment of the Colombia Three an irrelevance – given that the US Administration could not care less about the issue (or Ireland in general for that matter) as long as the Government continues to make Shannon available to military aircraft and supports the US in UN votes – but also that, contrary to claims from some media quarters, their reappearance in Ireland … Read more

Paisley’s Certain Victory?

In today’s Irish Times, John Waters takes a look at what he describes as the “last battle over the meaning of the Troubles” (subs req.). “The war is over”, he agrgues, “but there remains the matter of settled interpretation.”Waters continues: “Dr Paisley last week restated his case: the IRA must disband before his party will resume powersharing with Sinn Féin. The Taoiseach baulked at the word “disbandment”. Instead, he reiterated, the IRA must cease all criminal and paramilitary activity and … Read more

Qui Custodiet…?

In a caustic stab at the Progressive Democrats in the Dáil last year, Pat Rabbitte ridiculed the party’s perception as a rottweiler in Government guarding against the excesses of Fianna Fáil, instead likening it to a senile old sheepdog lying on the porch unable to tell the difference between a burglar and the postman. In today’s Irish Times (subs. req.), Vincent Browne argues that the South’s media has become such a senile old sheepdog – so reliant on scraps from … Read more

Don’t Mention The War

Martyn Turner’s cartoon in today’s Irish Times (subs. req.)superbly sums up the relative election fortunes of Tony Blair and Sinn Féin. The sidebar reads: In Britain if you were pro-war you lost out – here it seems to be a necessity. Naoise Nunn