A Pragmatic Approach?

Malachi O’Doherty, in today’s Belfast Telegraph, on the difference between those who can admit to their mistakes and those who are still burdened by responsibility for the consequences of their actions. By way of comparison, in The Blanket, Eoghan O’Suilleabhain, sees some who, rather than admit to those mistakes, would prefer to hide the evidence. Pete Baker

Star of the Sea – The Movie

The Irish Independent carries the news, echoed in the Belfast Telegraph, that Joseph O’Connor has sold the movie rights to his acclaimed novel ‘Star of the Sea’ to “Britain’s biggest movie production company”, Working Title Films.That news will either gladden or dishearten the novel’s many fans, who include certain Slugger regulars. Working Title has produced international successes in recent years but this would appear to be a departure from their usual formula. Time will tell if they can satisfy the …

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All Over by Christmas?

So, it’ll all be over by Christmas. At least that’s what Tony Blair says, and Bertie Ahern, since this was a joint statement, would appear to agree with him – Northern Ireland Talks Falter despite Blair and Ahern Nudges – NY TimesThere remain major problem areas though and while the obvious finger-pointing is, correctly, directed at the DUP’s insistence on the introduction of a de facto party political veto on every decision the Assembly would make, the issue of transparency …

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The Oracle at Derry?

While not exactly proof of Delphic powers, Eamonn McCann’s article in the Belfast Telegraph earlier this week is looking more prescient as the day, and the talks at Leeds Castle, go by.The link between the Agreement of 1998 and the increasing polarization that Eamonn McCann sees and foresees, when there is a case to be made for that polarization being the deliberate policy of certain parties, is, I believe, not quite as clear-cut as he appears to claim. He does …

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Smoke signals or smoke and mirrors?

According to a PA report carried on UTV, the centre parties are dropping heavy hints that there may actually be progress being made at Leeds Castle.SDLP leader Mark Durkan has told the assembled press corps that “”People are running out of arguments they have had on a number of issues for holding back”, while the UUP’s David Trimble is urging the PIRA to make a new and detailed statement on weapons without delay, “the sooner we hear it and the …

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Time is short?

The Guardian runs through some of Ian Paisley Snr’s more famous, and infamous, moments in the spotlight in its profile of the current leader of the DUP today.”The lifelong outsider now leads unionism” according to the Guardian and, echoing Malachi O’Doherty’s Belfast Telegraph piece from a few weeks ago, points out that “any agreement must carry Paisley’s stamp if it is to be sold to the unionist people”. But it’s not all soft-focus for Ian Paisley Snr. The article carries …

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The aim of the game

According to the Irish Times’ Gerry Moriarty’s ‘dependable sources’ “The British and Irish governments want to have the Northern Executive and Assembly back in operation by next January.”As Gerry Moriarty opines “Ambitious or what? Allowing for the New Year, the return to school and getting back into shape after the Christmas festivities, their January deadline could be towards the middle or latter end of that month. That’s not bad: it gives the parties four months to accept, acquiesce to, or …

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Hey Ho Let’s Go!

Not, strictly speaking, within the remit of the site, but allow me a little latitude. Johnny Ramone, real name John Cummings, one of the founder members of the punk of all punk bands, The Ramones, died yesterday after a 5-year battle with prostate cancer. The Guardian leads the tributes. A moment’s silence please, followed by raucous celebration of the life and music of the man with a plan… 1-2-3-4! Pete Baker

Ireland most expensive in Europe

Joe Humphreys in the Irish Times reports on the latest annual statement on prices and costs from the National Competitiveness Council. Consumer price inflation in Ireland has risen at twice the rate of the Euro zone average since 1999 and the average price of Irish goods and services by 22 per cent above the EU average in the same period.Statement and full report can be found here Selected quotes from the Irish Times article “Ireland is now ‘almost on a …

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In gratitude

Seamus Heaney writes on the life and work of his fellow poet Czeslaw Milosz, from last Saturday’s Guardian Review, while threading a simultaneous discourse on the nature and power of poetry.Within characteristically dense but measured prose Heaney pays tribute to Milosz and his “wish that poetry in general should be capable of providing an elevated plane of regard” while the poet should seek to imbue the work with “awareness of the triteness and tribulations of other people’s lives [that is] …

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A Big Con?

A little later than intended but still a useful antidote to the party politics (possibly), a characteristically spiky interview with The Guardian has Roddy Doyle following on from his ‘blasphemous’ view that Joyce “needed a good editor” and kicking hard against the stereotyping, and self-mythologizing, of the Irish people.After all, who, if we’re being honest, isn’t flattered at the notion that we spring from, and into, a culture rich in musical and literary heritage and never mind how many truly …

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