Author Archive | Soapbox

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Christians on The Left take food poverty debate beyond the foodbank

This is a report by Jonny Currie, a Community Development Worker in East Belfast and a member of Christians on the left, who held their inaugural event this week. Over forty activists gathered in a lecture theatre at QUB on Thursday evening for Christians on the Left’s (COTL) inaugural Northern Ireland event. Titled “Beyond the more…

Councillor John Kyle (PUP)

Immigration and the Inequality Agenda

Belfast PUP Councillor Dr John Kyle writes exclusively for Slugger on the issue of immigration  Loyalist communities could be forgiven for feeling rather confused these days. The Conservative and Labour parties are outdoing one another in their proposals to control immigration. Both are saying that they failed to recognise the problems created by uncontrolled immigration, more…

Andrew McCracken: “Equality is not the preserve of any political party”

Writing exclusively for Slugger O’Toole, the Chief Executive of Community Foundation Northern Ireland gets up on our soapbox to talk about equality and how we should focus on this important issue For those of us trying to make steps forward for our community, it takes us many steps back when politicians poison the very words more…

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Adams: The Taoiseach should now show the courage of his convictions by resigning, calling a General Election and letting the people decide.

Following the Irish Water saga there is mounting speculation that Ireland might be heading to the polls in 2015. Writing for Slugger, Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams TD argues that it’s time for the Taoiseach to go the country and let the people decide the future economic direction of the country. The Fine Gael/Labour coalition more…

Griffin on engagement with Unionism and finding common ground

Recently one of the Vice President’s of Fianna Fáil, Arthur Griffin, spoke to the youth wing of the Ulster Unionists. Writing for Slugger he recalls his experience and what he took from it. The jokes about going into the “Lion’s Den” were obvious in advance of the meeting. I was travelling with three friends from more…

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Roisin McDonough: The Arts: Small size, big value

The debate over cuts to arts funding have been in the headlines in recent days, writing for Slugger, the Arts Council’s Chief Executive, Roisin McDonough argues against cutting arts funding Supporting the campaign for ‘No more cuts to the arts’, actor James Nesbitt observed wryly that “without the arts we’re just left with politics, and more…

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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…