Author Archive | Soapbox

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Michael Mansfield QC gives the first Gerry Conlon Memorial Lecture

‘You’re doing this for future generations. The next generation of politicians know this – you’re setting a democratic precedent with these inquiries. And if they won’t do it, set up people’s tribunals.’ So advised Michael Mansfield QC, the radical lawyer and defence counsel for the Birmingham Six, to a packed auditorium at St. Mary’s College more…

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Basil McCrea: Fuel, Poverty and Politics

The rising poverty rates in the Western world have been hitting the headlines. Writing for Slugger the NI21 Leader, Basil McCrea writes about what can be down about this issue President Obama has been criticised for plans in his State Of The Union Address aimed at introducing tax benefits for childcare, college education and retirement. more…

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Corr-Johnston: What we need is Robin Hood when all we have is Prince John.

Corporation Tax dominated the headlines in 2014, writing for Slugger the PUP Cllr for Oldpark, Julie Ann Corr-Johnston argues for a rethink of the entire debate Corporation tax will probably go over the heads of many in our community, but it has the potential of bringing 50-60,000 jobs into Northern Ireland over the coming years-Peter more…

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Terminating your care – The £600 million hole in the health budget

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 40 years. He was for 6 years Chair of the Belfast Local Commissioning Group and he more…

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Dan McGinn on #Charlie: Dynasty on the Liffey

Last night the first in a three part mini series on RTE about former Taoiseach Charles Haughey hit the screens. Local film critic, Dan McGinn, reviewed part one for Slugger In 2006 when Charles Haughey passed away, the former Irish Times journalist turned popular broadcaster Henry Kelly went apoplectic in the Daily Telegraph about the more…

#SluggerSoapbox: It’s the environment stupid…

Colum Delaney works for the RSPB in Northern Ireland. He makes the case that shrinking the Department of the Environment exacerbates exposure to large fines from the European Union Court of Justice. He argues that loping off a third of staff will prove to be a false economy in the long run.  For those of us working more…

#SluggerSoapbox: The impact of Stormont’s cuts on young people

Cuts being made at Executive level have not been thought through to community level – and the consequences could be significantly worse than Ministers anticipate argues Paul Smyth, Chief Executive of the youth focused charity Public Achievement. According to DETI, the unemployment figure in Northern Ireland (August to October 2014) was 6.3%. However the youth more…

#SluggerSoapBox: In praise of Bob Purdie 1940 – 2014…

From Stephen Howe who is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Bristol, having previously taught for many years at Ruskin College Oxford and worked at the New Statesman.  Irish writings include the 2000 book Ireland and Empire, and contributions to Irish Political Studies, Irish Historical Studies, and the new Oxford Handbook of Modern more…

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Soapbox – My Arts Journey #13pForTheArts

A ‘Soapbox’ piece from Karen O’Rawe, reposted from her blog. – – – When I was a young single mum living in a small house, struggling to hold down a job and make ends meet, the Arts believed in me and gave me a chance. A job, a life, non-judgmental colleagues and a new view more…

My Battle with Anxiety and How I Beat It

This is a soapbox from a person who wishes to remain anonymous, but wanted to share their story about how they dealt with and recovered from an Anxiety Disorder. This is their story I suffer from an anxiety disorder, there I said it. Anxiety can be a difficult thing to admit to. After all, who more…

#SluggerSoapbox: Who speaks for poor children in Northern Ireland?

Professor Paddy Hillyard occupies the chair in Social Policy at Queens University in Belfast. His most research has focused on poverty, conflict and inequality in Northern Ireland, and the range of the social harms which people experience from the cradle to the grave. A draft budget has been circulated for consultation. The heads of some of our more…

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Dear Mr Prime Minister come to take a walk with me

Writing for the first time on Slugger is recently married PUP Belfast City Cllr Julie-Anne Corr Johnston One of the major local headlines last week was that British Prime Minister David Cameron and Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny had “cleared their diaries” to lend their support to the inter-party talks at Stormont. It seems that no Stormont more…

Is Stormont’s committee system delivering sufficient punch?

All and any organizations will in the end be run by those who stay awake in committee. – Worstall’s Law You don’t often hear people accusing elected officials of working ‘too hard’. Normally, the opposite is alleged, that they are lazy jobsworths that only show up when compelled by whips or to vote on their own more…

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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…