Cartoonists unite in support of Charlie Hebdo

Cartoonists from around the world have united to produce images in tribute to “cartooning colleagues, their families and loved ones” affected by the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris. Up and coming 18-year-old Northern Ireland cartoonist Michael McBride has produced this striking image: [twitter_follow username=”https://twitter.com/The_Firemen” language=”en”] The Firementwitter.com/The_Firemen

Crisis? What Crisis?

As the NHS goes into meltdown once again both locally and nationally we asked NHS lobbyist and regular thorn in the side of Health Ministers and officials past and present HUGH McCLOY to give us his personal view on the latest crisis in A&E. You can follow Hugh on Twitter here and keep up to date with his campaign for the return of Acute services to the Mid Ulster Hospital here. This Winter Crisis of 2015 is not the same …

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Same sex marriage? No thanks we’re British

As of January 1st 2015 Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom where same sex marriage remains illegal. A new law on gay marriage came into effect in Scotland in December 2014 and the first same sex weddings were held at 00:01 on Hogmanay. A total of 250 couples have converted their civil partnerships to marriage since the new law – the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill – came into effect on 16 December. Same-sex marriage …

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Ownership of leaflet that provided ‘catalyst’ for flag protests confirmed by DUP councillor

Today on BBC Talkback, DUP councillor Lee Reynolds finally publicly confirmed that the DUP and UUP had paid for and distributed leaflets described by authors of the QUB report as having a ‘catalytic effect’ in the run-up to the city hall vote,” The report states “It was this, more than anything else, which inflamed the mood at that point” listen to ‘Ownership of leaflet that provided ‘catalyst’ for flag protests confirmed by DUP councillor’ on audioBoom // The protests as …

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Linda Ervine: “respect the Irish language”

Linda Ervine was at Stormont today to hand in a letter calling for “fair treatment and respect for the Irish language.” Writing on her Facebook page Linda said: This Tuesday 2nd December at 11 am on the steps of Parliament Buildings I will be presenting a letter to representatives of the main parties. The letter calls for fair treatment and respect for the Irish language. It outlines the disappointment and anger caused by divisive and insulting comments about the language …

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The trolling of Ann Travers

The first in a three part series exploring so-called ‘trolling’ and abuse on social media At the beginning of November 2014 it was widely reported that victims campaigner Ann Travers had closed down her Facebook and Twitter accounts following a barrage of online abuse. It’s worth reminding people of the fact that Ann’s sister, Mary, was murdered by the IRA in Belfast in 1984. The target of the ambush was their father, Tom, a resident magistrate. He survived. In 2011 …

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Altered States

Slugger goes through the looking glass where black is white and green is orange. Discuss. [twitter_follow username=”https://twitter.com/The_Firemen” language=”en”] The Firementwitter.com/The_Firemen

Why I no longer wear a poppy

A Scottish Fireman laments… As the annual poppy debate reaches its inevitable crescendo, only to recede for another short year, I read various, diverse accounts explaining who is right, who is wrong, what causes offence, why one commemoration is exclusive  and so on, almost as if the very act of remembrance is a competition of some kind. Every year, the same debate is regurgitated, only the arrangement of the wording seeming to differ.  Every year I feel vindicated in not …

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Sinn Fein continues to flout its own guidelines over disclosure of abuse…

In an interview with Newstalk’s lunchtime show yesterday, Councillor Joe Reilly Sinn Féin’s National Child Protection Officer outlined the party’s guidelines on reporting child abuse: listen to ‘Did Gerry Adams breach Sinn Féin guidelines on reporting child abuse?’ on audioBoom Cllr. Reilly stated that in 2003 the party instigated a policy whereby members who were aware of instances of child abuse should report them to the party chair. The policy “evolved” in 2006 when any such reports should be submitted …

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Smoked eggs and Currie

On October 22nd 2014 Health Minister Jim Wells spoke at a meeting of the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety and was there, as stated by Chairperson Maeve McLaughlin in her introduction, to “to give evidence on the terms of reference for the Committee’s review of the departmental approach to the Budget”. All was going swimmingly with much discussion of priorities for 2015-16, budgetary constraints, ‘Transforming Your Care’, Ebola, revenue generation, efficiencies and potential savings until THAT moment. …

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Maíria Cahill – A statement

The following statement has been given to many news sources including Slugger and we reproduce it here without any commentary. It is very strange to see myself being described as a dissident republican, when I would not even consider myself a republican anymore. The Irish Mail On Sunday story correctly states that I was, involved with a group going by the name “Republican Network for Unity”.  The story however, was inaccurate and slanted.  I was indeed the National Secretary of …

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“Assertion in blog is shameful and cruel” – McDonald

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald has posted a twitter response to a blog circulating on social media which describes Maíria Cahill’s alleged rape ordeal as “a year long sexual liaison”. The blog describes the alleged rapist as a man “whom many a 16-year-old would likely fancy”. The blog prompted a twitter question from  Maíria Cahill to Ms. McDonald who replied two hours later. The anonymous blogger who reportedly resides in West Belfast and calls himself “Ruaidri Ua Conchobai” …

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Madden and Finucane on the ending of the #Cahill court case…

Madden and Finucane Solicitors, acting on behalf of Padraic Wilson, Seamus Finucane, Briege Wright and Maura McCrory have issued a letter stating their opposition to Mairia Cahill‘s version of events: It states that those accused have been subject to a lengthy police investigation and that Cahill has been “afforded every resource the state could offer”. The letter states that Padraic Wilson had previously been a member of the IRA had been dismissed by a court previously and claims that Mairia Cahill, “would …

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Mairia Cahill: Uncomfortable truths for Sinn Fein

Tonight we received this EXCLUSIVE STATEMENT from Maíria Cahill: Let us all remind ourselves of what Sinn Fein’s position was when the party spokesperson Pearse Doherty was asked repeatedly outside Leinster house about Micheal Martin’s assertion that the IRA dealt internally with cases of abuse. “Unfounded and untrue, its as clear as I can make it”. That sounds like a denial to me. On Thursday Dessie Ellis, and again tonight, Gerry Adams confirmed that the IRA did indeed internally investigate …

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Maíria Cahill: “Issue transcends petty politics to put the safety of children first”

Maíria Cahill who claims she was raped as a teenager by a man believed to be a member of the IRA and later “interrogated” by the IRA about the incident, appeared on RTE Six One News last night to further clarify allegations of a cover up by Sinn Féin and suggested sexual abuse was more widespread than she originally feared. She claimed her situation is not an isolated case and appealed on the show for members of Sinn Féin who …

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Gerry Adams’ ‘delinquent’ story on the Cahill case?

UPDATED Alleged ‘abuse’ victim Maíria Cahill took to Twitter to reject a statement issued by Gerry Adams via the Sinn Féin website. Adams was reacting to allegations made on BBC Northern Ireland’s Spotlight: In his statement Adams said: In the Spotlight programme, broadcast last night, Mairia Cahill made an accusation relating to a meeting with myself. I totally refute the allegations Mairia made about our conversation. I met Mairia in good faith, at the behest of her cousin and my …

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2011 Sinn Fein/DUP Speaker Deal

In 2011 during the election of William Hay as speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly it was agreed that Sinn Féin would assume the post in May 2014. First Minister Peter Robinson (DUP) confirmed the deal to the Stormont Assembly.   Following William Hay’s retirement due to ill health the DUP apparently reneged on the deal. [twitter_follow username=”@The_Firemen” language=”en”]   The Firementwitter.com/The_Firemen