Author Archive | Patricia MacBride

When is a Billion quid really worth £30 million?

When it’s the amount of the deal done by the Conservative Party with the DUP, that’s when. Today the parties announced the terms of reference and the financial package that will underpin their confidence and supply agreement. There’s been widespread shock and anger amongst Parliamentarians and the great British public that these upstarts from Ulster more…

“Arlene, tell me you did not just say that!?”

In today’s Sunday Independent, Arlene Foster is asked to play a word association game and when asked about Michelle O’Neill, her response is “blonde.” That’s what she said about her political equal, the woman she is tasked with developing political agreement with in order to re-establish the Assembly. “Blonde.” I’m scarlet for her. Yes, I more…

Fake News and False Balance undermine Victims’ Human Rights

Last weekend was the second anniversary of the rightsinfo.org website. To mark the event, a panel discussion took place during which the site’s founder Adam Wagner stated that “fake news was old news in human rights” and that people “have been convinced by newspapers for years and years that human rights are a villain.” He more…

Irish Government must be Enforcers, not Co-guarantors

The Irish government are fond of reminding us that that they and the British government are co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement. I’ve always understood a guarantor in financial terms as the person responsible for ponying up if the debt isn’t paid. Well, the north is going further and further into the red financially as more…

How Much Does it Cost to Buy an Election?

The Electoral Commission today published the expenditure returns for the Assembly elections in May 2016. They make for interesting reading. Topping the poll in terms of spend was the Ulster Unionist Party with a declared spend of £95,855. Not surprising perhaps that a party led by a former television presenter and PR person would spend more…

State Papers reveal the trouble with Deputies

Over the past few days I have been reading the newly released State papers from both the Irish and British governments. One of the main things that jumped out at me was the position of the deputy leaders of both the SDLP and DUP in the mid 1980’s and indeed their respective political fortunes thereafter. more…

A Little Perspective on the Spat at Stormont

On a day when the front page of most of the newspapers on these islands carried a heart-wrenching photograph of a little boy drowned on a Turkish beach, we really need to catch ourselves on and make sure our politicians do likewise. Like Jude Collins, I heard PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton on the news more…

Just how was Project Eagle Landed?

Since last Thursday when Mick Wallace TD made a statement in Leinster House which set out concerns over the sale of NAMA’s loan book for the north, we’ve seen a steady stream of statements from a number of parties involved. It’s been a slow strip-tease, revealing a little at a time, keeping us on tenterhooks more…

“Yes” campaign may need 70% Dublin turnout to carry referendum

I support Marriage Equality and I’d vote yes in the Referendum this week if I weren’t a disenfranchised Irish citizen simply because I live in the north of the island.  That’s a column for another day though… It’s a safe bet that both the “Yes” and “No” sides in this Friday’s Marriage Referendum will agree more…

It’s resignation Jim, but not as we know it

So Jim Wells has tendered his resignation. There’s something in the back of my mind about Peter Robinson threatening to resign before and withdrawing the threat when the storm had passed. Maybe I’m jumping too far ahead, though… A lot of commentators and journalists are proffering the opinion that the post-dated resignation is to allow more…

1916 Centenary – Cherishing All the Children Equally?

Yesterday we saw the government reveal more detailed plans regarding the official commemoration of the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising. Plans to mark this key event in the history of the state include a major exhibition of 1916 archival material at the National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks and series of commemorative events, more…

Maybe SDLP leadership “got in wrong” Alban?

The SDLP is in a bit of a pickle at the moment with its council members in Newry and Mourne appearing to have refused the party whip over the naming of a park after local man and IRA Hunger Striker Raymond McCreesh. The history of the park, the SDLP’s original support for its naming and more…

Politicians must become Pro-Woman to stop further horrors

I’m not pro-choice. Nor am I pro-life. I reject both of those labels because they’ve been used in such a pejorative way for so long that they have come to denote extreme views on both sides of the debate around the rights of women and the rights of unborn children that to identify as one more…

A modern-day grave robbing

Niall McCracken’s story on The Detail website today exposed a practice at Belfast City Council-owned Roselawn Crematorium where jewellery, gold teeth, metal hips and other metals collected from the ashes of cremated bodies are collected into containers and sent to The Netherlands where the material is sorted, sold for recycling and any profits after costs more…

More hurdles in holding the State to account

The UK government once again has had a go at undermining one of the legal pillars of accountability by seeking to exert control over judicial reviews – a process which allows for legal challenge of the decisions of public bodies. The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill was debated in the House of Lords today and more…

British government claims “We do not own the past.”

In recent submissions to the Council of Europe, the British government suggests that human rights violations in the north of Ireland which occurred under direct rule should be the responsibility of the devolved administration to clean up. A number of cases had been brought to the European Court of Human Rights by families whose loved more…