Author Archive | Pete Baker

“The whole issue has, unfortunately, become party political…”

In the Belfast Telegraph, Conservative MP, Laurence Robertson, who chairs the House of Commons Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs, asks some pertinent questions about the ‘crisis’ over the RHI scheme. What would [Arlene Foster’s] resignation achieve? Who would take over? Would this stabilise the workings of the Assembly and the Executive, or throw it more…

Earth and Moon from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

A bit of perspective…

…with this stunning composite image of the Earth and its moon, courtesy of the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. [Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona] From the associated text This composite image of Earth and its moon, as seen from Mars, combines the best Earth image with the best moon image more…

Irish State Papers: The Anglo-Irish Agreement, Sinn Féin and the Provisional IRA

In part 1 of 2 reports RTÉ’s round-up of the newly released confidential Irish State papers from 1986 includes a couple of items worth highlighting in relation to the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement.  First up is an account of a meeting in Belfast in April 1986 between David Barry, of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Anglo-Irish division, and solicitor PJ McGrory more…

“More important, though, is to never forget the monstrous things that can be done by apparently affable family men, who write poetry and enjoy fishing.”

With former Sinn Féin MLA, Daithí McKay [now a Slugger contributor… – Ed], speculating elsewhere that the, as yet unspecified, illness that caused the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister to pull out of December’s NI Executive Office trip to China at the last minute may force him to step down in 2017, Eilis O’Hanlon takes a pre-emptive more…

German Police Formally Arrest Extradited Suspect in 1996 Provisional IRA Mortar Attack

Rather less widely reported than developments in certain other legacy cases was Dublin High Court recent ordering of the extradition of a suspect in the Provisional IRA mortar attack on a British army barracks near Osnabrück, Germany, in June 1996. James Anthony Oliver Albert Corry, from north Belfast, was arrested in Killorglin, Co Kerry, in October 2015, on more…

NI Executive’s £80m Social Investment Fund projected to cost extra £13.1m

Another day, another leaked Northern Ireland Executive memo…  That’s quite a budget over-run, btw.  And the Fund is to run for 4/5 years longer than anticipated.  The leak was to BBC NI Spotlight.  As the BBC report notes The Stormont executive’s controversial Social Investment Fund (SIF) requires an extra £13m of taxpayer money, according to a leaked document. more…

“It is not just Stormont that has a Social Investment Fund.”

Newton Emerson in yesterday’s Irish News with some details on the other, less talked about, ‘social investment’ funds out there.  From the Irish News IT is not just Stormont that has a Social Investment Fund. Belfast City Council runs the Belfast Investment Fund and associated Local Investment Fund, with a combined pot of £31 million over three years more…

“by the manipulation of the committee in order that Jamie Bryson’s evidence be received in open session.”

The BBC reports that former Sinn Féin MLA, Daithí McKay [now a Slugger contributor… – Ed],  is being sued for damages by Belfast property developer, Paddy Kearney.  According to the report the writ lodged at Belfast High Court alleges Mr McKay “unlawfully conspired” with Loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson to damage Mr Kearney’s reputation. From the BBC report The more…

“What you should not do is expose Joe Bloggs who might have been buried as a hero but was in fact an informant for the Brits.”

With this attempted distraction in mind, the latest comments by Denis Bradley make even more interesting reading. Bradley also expressed concern about the fate of thousands of one-time informers if there was “full disclosure” of all sensitive Troubles-related security files. “What Robin Eames and I found out in our investigations leading to the Consultative Group more…

NI Attorney General: “Article 50 trigger – will ‘amend not a comma or a full stop of the 1998 Act’.”

As with the Belfast High Court, so with the UK Supreme Court…  NI Attorney General John Larkin has been repeating the argument.  From the BBC text coverage from the Supreme Court Northern Ireland’s attorney general, John Larkin, is continuing to make his case that none of the legislative or constitutional arrangements underpinning devolution should stand more…

“Return to your cumanns and prepare for Irish unification.”

In the Belfast Telegraph, Eilis O’Hanlon comments on the recent flurry of “displacement activity” from Sinn Féin.  From the Belfast Telegraph article So, what better way to distract the republican home crowd than with some conjurer’s cheap tricks? Don’t look at that hand, look at this one. Don’t mention my ineffectiveness on a range of more…

EU Special Status, and ignoring the Northern Ireland Assembly…

As Mick noted this morning, Micheal Martin has joined the list of party leaders calling on the Irish and British Governments to negotiate for EU special status for Northern Ireland post-Brexit. At the recent All-Island Civic Dialogue on Brexit, there was the Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said in his speech more…

“if you do that you are going to see a flood of companies leaving Ireland and Canada and Germany and France and they are going to come back to the United States…”

Here’s something for Taoiseach Enda Kenny, and any one else, to keep in mind when they hear that US President-elect Donald Trump “understands Ireland very well.  He was complimentary about the decisions made about the economy here.”  The Belfast Telegraph reports comments by Stephen Moore, a “senior economic advisor to Mr Trump”, on BBC Radio 4’s more…

“Maybe it’s time to consider whether there’s something about shrill self-righteousness…”

At the Guardian, Thomas Frank offers some home truths to a self-styled liberal media [including bloggers! – Ed] in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s victory.  From the Guardian Comment is Free article How did the journalists’ crusade fail? The fourth estate came together in an unprecedented professional consensus. They chose insulting the other side over more…

Live Rugby: Ireland v New Zealand – Ireland Win!

Half time score at Soldier Field, Chicago, was Ireland 25 New Zealand 8.  Second half has just gotten under way.  BBC text commentary here.  Or watch live.  Audio is a bit ropey. But it could be history… Update Ireland win!  For the first time ever, in 111 years of trying, Ireland have beaten the All more…

EU Standardised Driving Licence, mostly, Trumps Political Psychosis

Sinn Féin TD, Dessie Ellis, has taken umbrage with the Irish National Driver Licence Service for refusing to indulge some nationalists’ political psychosis on the recently standardised EU driving licence.  From the Irish News report Sinn Féin’s Dessie Ellis spoke out after a renewed licence issued to Co Tipperary resident Thomas Murray stated ‘Northern Ireland’ more…

“I’m trying not to take The Fall personally.”

Guardian TV critic Stuart Heritage with a nail on head review of the “dead dog of a show” that The Fall became.  From the Guardian review Even by most recent standards, The Fall was dire this year. Now that it’s done, and Paul Spector is dead and Stella Gibson is back enigmatically muttering like a more…

Battle lines re-drawn over new Casement Park stadium plan

The BBC reports that the Mooreland and Owenvarragh Residents Association (MORA) has said it opposes the recently unveiled revised GAA plan for a new stadium at Casement Park.  MORA campaigned successfully against the original proposal.  From the BBC report In a statement, the residents group said it supported a “suitable-sized redevelopment” that was safe, did not host concerts and more…