Author Archive | Soapbox

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With DEL cuts of 10.8% NI Executive will be encouraging local talent to leave Northern Ireland

Professor Deirdre Heenan is Pro Vice Chancellor for Communications and Provost of Coleraine and Magee in the Ulster Univerity. She writes here on the long term depressive effect of proposed cuts to the funding of the two major universities in Northern Ireland. Relevant, accessible skills, innovation, new technology and productivity; these are factors that underpin more…

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Driven to the edge? An insider’s view of the Belfast Ambulance service

Due to the ambulance strike today we are republishing this post as it helps explain the background to the strike. We have also kept the original comments – feel free to add new comments. Continuing our series on health, we hear from a paramedic about the challenges the service is facing. As a Paramedic working more…

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Anna Lo: “Sectarian politics gets votes in Northern Ireland, and yet sectarian politics continues to fail Northern Ireland over and over again”

Earlier this year, Alliance party MLA Anna Lo, hit the headlines for some of the racist treatment she had recieved. Writing for Slugger, Anna criticises the progress being made on the Racial Equality Strategy and argues for people to embrace different diffierent cultures in Northern Ireland. Sectarian politics gets votes in Northern Ireland, and yet more…

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McBride: “our clarion call is lucid and compelling: ‘Make It Work’!”

With the threat of Stormont collapsing gaining more headlines in our papers, a group called Make it Work has emerged to pressure civil society into engaging positively with the political process. Writing for Slugger, Peter McBride, Chair of ‘Make It Work’ argues for a positive approach towards our devolved administration. Why would we have to more…

Time to reduce MLA's?Photo by: Dom0803

If we are going to have cuts, let’s start at the top…

We received this letter from a Senior Civil Servant, we are republishing it in full. There has been significant talk over these past few days on the budget cuts and the impact these will have on the public sector. However before we all jump to our usual stereotypical conclusions I would like to present my more…

Has the Equality Commission Gone ‘Baking Mad’?

Peter Lynas is Director of the Evangelical Alliance in Northern Ireland. He writes here protesting against what he sees as “a fundamental attack on political and religious freedom”, arguing that the Equality Commission has lost all sense of perspective on the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion with regard to the Ashers case. more…

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A Solution to Our Emergency Department Crisis – Lock the Doors of A & E

Writing exclusively for Slugger, the respected medic Dr George O’Neill gives his proposal to tackle the crisis in A & E. Dr George O’Neill qualified in 1971 and is a General Practitioner in practice in North & West Belfast for 40h years.He was for 6 years Chair of the Belfast Local Commissioning Group and he also more…

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Hamilton: “When faced with tough choices, we have made the right choices and chosen the best interests of the people of Northern Ireland”

Two days ago Finance Minister, Simon Hamilton MLA presented his draft budget. Writing exclusively for Slugger, he argues that in this budget he has done what is right for Northern Ireland Constructing a Budget at any time is always a challenge. There is never enough money to spend on public services to meet all of more…

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McDonnell: Achieving a tough but fair Budget is not beyond us

Yesterday the Finance Minister, Simon Hamilton proposed his draft budget. Writing for Slugger the Leader of the SDLP, Alasdair McDonnell MP, argues that a tough budget need not be an unfair budget This draft budget is a bad budget – one that puts political expediency above the needs of the people that it is supposed more…

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Jonathan Powell: The Lessons of Northern Ireland

Following the launch of his new book ‘Talking to Terrorists,” former Chief of Staff to Prime Minister, Tony Blair, Jonathan Powell, writes exclusively for Slugger about the lessions he learned from his time working on the Northern Ireland peace process The Northern Ireland negotiations were the most difficult and frustrating challenge I faced in my more…

Crowds thronging the Streets of the Cathedral Quarter on Culture Night 2014

Why cut funding for successful events? #lightsoutni

Writing exclusively for Slugger O’Toole, Culture Night Director Adam Turkington (@AdamTurks) talks about the impact of the NITB funding cuts… Friday afternoon was a bit of a weird one. We were just cracking open a beer with our departing interns and doing that thing where you go ‘God this time two weeks ago Culture Night more…

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Mickey Brady: Why Welfare cuts must be opposed

As the debate continues on over welfare reform, Sinn Fein MLA and Deputy Chairman of the DSD Committee, Mickey Brady, writes for Slugger about why proposed cuts should be opposed. The Tory-led coalition has sought to sell welfare cuts on the false premise of Strivers verses Skivers.  Nothing could be further from the truth. The cuts more…

Murphy: Does continued Partition or Irish unity offer better future

In the aftermath of the Scottish referendum, Sinn Fein have renewed their push for a border poll here. The party’s MP for Newry and Armagh, Conor Muprhy writes for Slugger making the case for holding a poll and Irish unity. On the 18th of September the people of Scotland exercised their democratic voice on the more…

Lisa McElherron: Why Northern Ireland needs a living wage

NICVA has recently published some important research into the benefits of introducing a minimum wage in Northern Ireland. Writing for Slugger O’Toole, NICVA’s Head of Public Affairs, Lisa McElherron makes the case for its introduction Fifteen years ago the New Labour government introduced the National Minimum Wage (NMW). Critics vehemently argued that it would impose more…

.@BlairJenkinsYes : How would an independent Scotland succeed? #indyref

With the Scottish referendum just one week away, we now have a post from the Yes side of the argument. Writing exclusively for Slugger O’Toole, Yes Chief Executive, Blair Jenkins tells us why people should vote Yes next Thursday. In just a few days’ time, the people of Scotland have the opportunity to change their more…

Israeli Ambassador Daniel Taub: A Battle for the Future of Gaza

Writing exclusively for Slugger O’Toole the Israeli Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Daniel Taub writes about his views about the recent conflict in Gaza and the prospects for the future. As I write this article, after a fortnight of quiet, hopes are high that the latest ceasefire between Israel and Hamas has brought two months more…

Wilfred Mitchell: We need to expand Belfast City Airport

A RECENT snap poll conducted by the Federation of Small Businesses for Northern Ireland (FSB NI) has confirmed that the majority of local small businesses would like to see an increase in destination routes, as well as airline providers, from George Best Belfast City Airport, conveying evident support for expansion at the airport. Due to more…

John McTernan: For Labour hope needs to beat fear

Next up in our 2015 general election series is former advisor John McTernan on what Labour needs to do to win next year.   There is no real secret to winning elections. Be united, have popular ideas and connect to the public. As Ronald Reagan used to say, ‘It’s not easy, but it is simple.’ more…