Author Archive | Soapbox

STEPS 1

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…

Looking at the York Street Interchange

David Capener is  a contributing editor for Archinet a global online architecture website/magazine. On the face of it even the hardest critics of the DUP’s deal with the Conservative party would find it difficult to argue against an extra £1bn investment for Northern Ireland. Even if it is only a small ripple of 0.12% in more…

Grenfell_Tower_fire_(wider_view)

If you want to see how the poor die, come see Grenfell Tower…

It has a tragic few months with the horrendous terror attacks Westminster, Manchester and London. These were shocking terror attacks. We were then all stunned by the images from Grenfell, nearly three weeks ago. – sadly this time a man-made disaster We all watched in horror as the fire engulfed so many families in their homes, we more…

From Mixed Marriage to Same Sex Marriage

When will our Church leaders learn from their past mistakes? I was a teenager in the early 1980s when the fear of the Church leaders was of mixed marriage. As a young Catholic in 1989 in Belfast I fell in love with a Protestant. I knew not to expect support from either my parents or more…

MAP 5 : Infrastructure compared to Westminster election results.

The £400m for Infrastructure in the Conservative-DUP agreement will only exacerbate Northern Ireland’s east-west divide

Northern Ireland’s infrastructure has drawn the prize ticket from the £1bn of new money in the Conservative-DUP deal – securing £400m, or 40% of the entire fund. This has been greeted with criticism elsewhere in the UK, but can be justified on two grounds. Firstly – Northern Ireland arguably has the worst infrastructure of any more…

Steven Agnew

The collapse of the Executive, two Assembly elections, a General Election, a new Taoiseach, Trump and the decimation of the Conservative Commons majority.

Steven Agnew is the Leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland. It’s a year to the day since the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union. It’s been remarkable but often disconcerting. The Green Party campaigned to Remain within the EU with great effort and energy. A year later, we haven’t shifted more…

Leo

For Leo A Week is a Long Time in Politics

Eoin Neylon was President of Ogra Fianna Fail from 2014-2016, he has taken a look at the week in Irish Politics “A week is a long time in politics”. This quote is often attributed to former UK Labour PM Harold Wilson. It’s a quote that was likely ringing in the ears of Leo Varadkar this more…

Logo_brexit_new_size2

Northern Ireland’s complexity is its strength

Katy Hayward is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Queens University, Belfast The difficulty of allowing for the maintenance of the United Kingdom whilst also catering for the varied circumstances of its various parts is an acutely difficult one. Anyone trying to square this circle in the Brexit process must accept that modes of governance more…

matt_carthy_campaign_image_small

Time for unity among those advocating Unity

Matt Carthy is a Sinn Fein MEP for the Ireland Midlands-North West constituency  Something big is happening. Brexit has simply accelerated a debate on Irish Unity that was inevitably going to happen anyway. Irish Unity featured during the recent Westminster election campaign in a way in which it hasn’t in living memory. That is simply more…

vote

Election breakdown – where now for progressive politics?

It can be argued that last week’s General Election marks a turning point: a shift away from neoliberalism and towards – or rather back to – social democracy. There is talk that the age of austerity is over. The initial focus on Brexit was replaced by a genuine policy debate, based around the Labour and more…

dup16-set

‘DUP Facts’: An opportunity for education

Meghan Rice holds an MA in Early Modern History with a specialism in Irish and British History from King’s College London. She is passionate about both Gaelige and Ulster Scots and has worked with various groups and individuals from both communities in Northern Ireland to help foster a better understanding of the peace process among more…

Why now is the time for voting rights outside the Irish state in Presidential Elections

Professor Colin Harvey is professor of human rights at the school of law in Queens University Belfast. Mark Bassett is a barrister in independent practice. They made a joint presentation to the Oireachtas GFA committee on the 18th May 2017. 1. Non-resident voting rights raise important questions concerning equal citizenship. This includes Irish citizens in more…

uk map

Two coffees and a Highland wedding

To my nationalist and republican friends… I think you should reconsider your opposition to the Union, and here’s why… A friend of mine recently threw out a question which stopped me in my tracks. “Do you think there will ever be a united Ireland?” She asked. She knew I was a member of a unionist more…