More economical ‘truth’?

It seems that the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs didn’t say what everyone thought he said – As reported in the Irish Examiner, in the Dáil yesterday, Dermot Ahern claimed “At no stage did I postulate a scenario that Sinn Féin would go into coalition with Fianna Fáil.” – Fine Gael’s foreign affairs spokesperson Bernard Allen responded with “Fianna Fáil… would do a deal with the devil to stay in power.” Pete Baker

A nod and wink is not accountable democracy

In the Irish Times, Fintan O’Toole dissects the hypocrisy of the IRA’s private, and secretive, ‘investigation’ into their murder of 15-year-old Bernard Teggart 30 years ago. He contrasts Sinn Fein’s calls for public inquiries on other murders with their silence on this and concludes that, despite the spinning by the two Aherns: The sickness that allowed the IRA to murder a mentally handicapped child in the name of Irish freedom won’t be cured until the so-called republican movement is willing … Read more

SDLP still seeks “full implementation of the Agreement”

In the Belfast Telegraph, Mark Durkan dampens hopes of an outbreak of pragmatic, rather than optimistic, politics here by calling the speculation that “the SDLP has decided on an opposition role in a restored Assembly” ‘misplaced’. The key words here may be “has decided” – that decision having not yet been taken. But the missing acknowledgement would seem to be that other parties are clearly putting party-political objectives to the fore. Pete Baker

FG take lion’s share of disaffected FF voters

More Fianna Fail voters switched their support to Fine Gael than to Sinn Féin in the last Irish local elections. A report in the Sunday Independent yesterday carried the results of analysis of the voting patterns in the Irish local government elections in June, presented by Trinity College Dublin professor Michael Marsh at a conference in Limerick hosted by the Political Studies Association of Ireland – and those results were revealing. Yet another reason for Sinn Féin activists to decry … Read more

Less Economical, More Truth!

An Irish Examiner report carries what appear to be contradictory briefings by the Irish Government yesterday.We have Taoiseach Bertie Ahern claiming that “he had not been aware that Dermot Ahern was giving last week’s interview and stressed he would have answered the question differently” while, at the same time, the Examiner reports that “The comments last week by the Minister for Foreign Affairs were this weekend described by reliable sources [also reported in the Sunday Independent] as part of an … Read more

A Parity of Intimidation

Following on from his previous article, Intimidation of a Writer, on the UDA campaign against Davy Adams in Lisburn, The Blanket’s Anthony McIntyre revisits the ongoing campaign of intimidation against former Sinn Féin members in the Rathenraw estate in Antrim. The Sunday Life also covers the story, including a response from the junior SF councillor in Antrim, Martin McManus of the Antrim South East ward. Pete Baker

Andytown funding faces legal challenge

An Observer report states that “It is understood senior executives at the Irish News lodged legal papers last week to challenge the British government’s willingness to help fund a rival” – funding which has risen to over £1million since 1999 after “the British Government’s decision to give an extra £450,000 of taxpayers’ money to a west Belfast-based private newspaper group [which, it is claimed,] was linked to talks between Sinn Fein and senior Downing Street negotiators.”The Observer also says, “The … Read more

Mutant four-horned rams for sale

Writer, academic and literary critic Terry Eagleton has been busy. Not only has he a robust defence of the late Jacques Derrida in one section of the Guardian, but, in another, he relates how his quest for a donkey to call his own (“Gullible Sentimental Townie” that he is) left him, bloody and stunned, at a roadside in the mountains of Sligo… waiting for an ambulance. Pete Baker

To whom it may concern

Unlike some blogs, here at Slugger we have always tried to be more constructively critical of the ‘old media’. So we welcome the employees of those better funded organisations who stop by for tips or who pick out succinct turns of phrase such as, for example, “the dullest game of chicken in political history”. But next time, how about a mention of where you got the phrase from? Eh, Mr Thompson? Pete Baker

You ain’t seen me, right?

Spotted in the Guardian Science and Technology jobs section, now there’s a target market, GCHQ are recruiting! Heard but not seen – Careers in British Intelligence – Computer Science, Electronics & Communications Cheltenham. The advert points out that they “prefer on-line applications”.. Really?Where to begin? Well I’m not doing any ‘oxymoron’ jokes for a start. But anyone thinking of submitting an unauthentic application on-line should consider that “GCHQ’s role is to provide intelligence from the interception and exploitation of foreign … Read more

Tangential objectives

As the European Social Forum prepares to get under way in London, and Sinn Féin pay their fees and send a delegation to attend, the Guardian reports on the alternative conference, Beyond ESF, organised by grassroots activists (horizontals) who state that “the ESF has been ‘hijacked by authoritarian organisations’” (verticals).As the Guardian reports “internal splits, between grassroots activists on one side and key players and major sponsors on the other, have now broken into the open” leading to the “rival … Read more

The donkey strategy

While the semaphore continues with increasingly shrill demands of “do deal now!”, as blogged here and here, and what some have argued is a carrot being offered.. there is also the hint, or two, of a stick of sorts. Update (if anyone’s interested) Looks like someone’s recognised that stick. Not once, but twice Pete Baker

Freedom of the press

This opinion piece by Terry Prone, from the Irish Examiner last week, strikes a timely and appropriate note on the culpability of the modern mass media in its own manipulation (viewers and readers don’t get away scot free either). Pete Baker

A belated blog

You may or may not be aware that the philosopher Jacques Derrida died last week. If I’m honest, I didn’t blog this event sooner to avoid unintentionally revealing a lack of comprehension of the subject if my text underwent too thorough an analysis – unlike some other blogs. Thankfully the Guardian has asked a few better known thinkers, and others, for their opinions on the controversial philosopher and his work.Favourite comments from the article: “Derrida defies summary. He investigates the … Read more

Seven years too long

In The Irish Times, Jim Duffy looks back at the “unambiguous stitch-up” that saw Mary McAleese returned ‘unopposed’ as Irish President for a second seven-year term of office and argues convincingly for “a fundamental overhaul” of the nominations procedure and the seven-year term.He is particularly scathing in his criticism of the Green Party’s failure to nominate a candidate – “it is much more difficult to understand the Green’s stance. For running against McAleese would have been a no-lose option for … Read more

“Jaysus, what did you expect?”

Peter Lennon in the Guardian recalls the smothering in Ireland, by “church and state”, of his controversial 1968 film “Rocky Road to Dublin”, now fully restored and to be screened in a double-bill with a ‘making of’ documentary this Saturday at the Cork Film Festival, and contrasts the reaction here to that of the French in the revolutionary ambience of Paris 1968. Pete Baker

Slow slow quick quick…

A cynic would describe it as choreographed. No sooner had the PUP’s David Ervine asserted “We are about to see serious movement by the IRA” than SF’s Martin McGuinness was impatiently insisting of the DUP “why not do this deal now?” before a 31st October ‘deadline’. Pete Baker

Principled in opposition

In the Observer, Henry McDonald argues that Mark Durkan’s suggestion that the SDLP could “enter the Assembly as part of the official opposition to a DUP/Sinn Fein government” would be an inspired move for Northern Irish democracy.It’s an analysis that is, unsurprisingly, far from Brian Feeney’s remarks on the same suggestion – “How stupid can they get?” – and much in line with my own thoughts on the matter, see comments field here Pete Baker

Pete McCarthy 1953-2004

Writer, broadcaster, comedian and popular performer Pete McCarthy has died, aged 51, 8 months after being diagnosed with cancer. The author of the hugely entertaining McCarthy’s Bar, his debut book recounting his search for a, preferably, non-themed Irish bar carrying his family name, and The Road to McCarthy, relating his journey around the Irish communities of the world, will be greatly missed. Pete Baker