Author Archive | Soapbox

Contact NI infographic

SOAPBOX: Suicide – the public health crisis of our times

Carrie Montgomery is deputy chief executive at Contact NI. If 90% of Northern Ireland patient deaths by suicide were assessed as no or low risk during their last contact with services, she asks in this post why the Public Health Agency is being constrained to just provide services for people at high risk of suicide?

UTV Vote17 Mike Nesbitt

Nesbitt ” We must learn to resist the agitation of those who simply view equality as a tool to impose their ideology and take ownership of the values that will secure a fair future for all.”

Mike Nesbitt is the former leader of the UUP and is the current MLA for Strangford How do you think you would react if you heard that a unionist leader – Robin Swann, or Arlene Foster, for example – was refusing to deal with the NHS waiting lists, or the funding crisis in our schools, more…

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Demand for legal access to medical cannabis is pushing the debate ahead….

Pearse Donnelly, a musician, activist and medical cannabis patient. Regional co-Chair for United Patients Alliance here demonstrates how Cannabis debate is taking off even in politically becalmed Northern Ireland . Two decades in and almost forty weeks into Stormont’s mobocracy, cannabis becomes a unifying force between all major parties in Northern Ireland. All while our more…

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Is it time to let go of Nationalism?

This Saturday I attended an event organized by representatives from the Irish News and Slugger O’Toole which took place in Killough Youth and Community Hall titled, ‘Six into 32? Finding a place for Northern Ireland in a United Ireland’. This was apparently part of the Killough ‘Lighthouse Summer School’ but with blustery winds outside and more…

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Soapbox: Steven Agnew argues it’s time to look at voluntary coalition

Soapbox: Steven Agnew argues that it’s time to look at voluntary coalition. He says “no party should have the power to tear the devolved institutions down and leave the electorate in Northern Ireland powerless”, adding “that’s why a voluntary coalition can usher in an era of fresh politics and politicians that put people first”.

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What the High Court Decision on Marriage Equality Means

Like many people, my first reaction to the August 17 High Court decision regarding Marriage Equality in Northern Ireland was deep disappointment. I saw many friends’ expressions of frustration and heartbreak given the political impasse at Stormont and the current marginalization of LGBT people throughout Northern Ireland not just in policy but in society as more…

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Until we deal with the REAL reasons for our long hospital waiting lists we are just throwing good money after bad…

The problems in Northern Ireland’s health service (and in particular our constantly lengthening waiting lists) have been a recurrent topic on Slugger. Reference has been made to successive reports recommending transformation and hospital rationalization and the absence of any effective resulting action. As many of those reports have pointed out, the service here gets much more…

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Editing the Past

David Capener is a writer based in Belfast, an Editorial contributor at Archinet and a reporter for World Architecure Community. He blogs at www.futurecrowds.com All history is biography. It is the story we tell ourselves to make sense of the world; our place in it, and, those we share it with. Stories shape our world and more…

“Redeveloping the area for future decay”

David Capener is  a contributing editor for Archinet a global online architecture website/magazine. As fingers point towards the Markets community of Belfast they do so perpetuating a forty year long narrative that began, in the name of ‘regeneration’, with the unpicking of the grid street system, that since the 19th century had knitted the inner more…

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Not enough time to clean. The ambulance services dirty little secret…

It seems such a shame that after the much-anticipated launch of Northern Ireland’s new Air Ambulance this month the service should find itself the subject of yet another negative article in the Irish News, this time regarding the condition of our road ambulances and stations. The article reports on how a surprise visit by the more…

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Beyond a Spin of the Wheel – GPs and mental health care

The crisis facing GP services in Northern Ireland has been well documented, including in previous posts on Slugger O’Toole.  Increasing patient lists, ‘red tape’, underfunding, an ageing workforce and the compounding of health issues in deprived communities due to austerity policies, are only some of the problems faced by the service. The British Medical Association more…