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The Irish Language Act: Real costs revealed by Conradh na Gaeilge

It’s finally here, the bill for the proposed Irish Language Act.  This is the estimated cost from Conradh na Gaeilge, the umbrella group for Irish language speakers and organisations advocating for legislation to protect the Irish language from capricious political attacks and to promote it resolutely as per the Good Friday Agreement and The St more…

Who’s afraid of an Irish Language Act?

The publication of a report by a committee of Council of Europe experts into the failure by the Stormont Executive is the main story on the BBC NI News bulletins and website this morning.   Coming on the heels of a ‘brutal’ election campaign during which the Irish language was propelled into the centre of more…

Overseen on automobiles parked by Queens University Belfast, by @SophieLong01

Down for the count…

Something interesting is afoot in Northern Ireland. Voting turnout is up sharply, at 64.78% the highest since 1998 and Good Friday, for yesterday’s second Assembly election in ten months. (This yielding the hash-tag #votetilliboak–the last a local synonym for the act of retching orally). We won’t know until Saturday, but for the DUP this cannot more…

Cavalier attitude to EC State Aid decision on RHI could save the day

The comedy of errors that is the Northern Ireland Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme may be about to take yet another strange twist. And at last there may be some good news for the tax payer. Earlier this week when I tweeted an alert to the EC’s decision on State Aid (SA.34140 (2012/N) for the Northern Ireland more…

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Irish Post Awards – Watch Them Live Here

If you fancy giving the Irish Post’s 2016 Awards a quick gander, there’s an online webcast here. The Irish Post tells us that the late Sir Terry Wogan will be posthumously honoured with a lifetime achievement award.  London’s mayor Sadiq Khan will give the keynote. Other awards will go to Republic of Ireland manager Martin more…

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David Gordon, Nolan Show and Stormont

I first met David Gordon decades ago when he and I were involved in the Campaign for Equal Citizenship (CEC) – the organisation that campaigned for Northern Ireland’s sectarian-based politics to be replaced with the politics of Left and Right. All who were involved in the campaign at that time would have been Labour or more…

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Immigration speech brings back id surfing arena Trump

For a few weeks after Donald J. Trump reshuffled his campaign team, it looked like he was going to try to run a more traditional campaign. Although some thought that the ascension of Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon would give Trump licence to be Trump, he seemed to be more under the sway of veteran Republican more…

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Apple-EU tax bill open thread…

So the European Commission has ruled that Apple must pay Ireland €13bn in unpaid taxes, which Dublin will appeal and likely will have broader consequences for Irish-EU relations. I’d be keen for your thoughts. I only have two or three, so far. The fracas between the EU and Ireland over Apple’s tax bill—what we here more…

Queuing to vote in Cape Town's Athlone district in 2011.

South Africa: An Electoral Tremor, Not An Earthquake

In few countries would a governing political party in the throes of internal crisis consider 54% of the vote in mid-term elections to local councils a disappointing result. In South Africa, however, this represents a significant shot across the bows of the ANC 22 years after it took power, a decline of 8% from the more…

William III as a Roman Emperor

“Rumours of its death are greatly exaggerated…”

It is the 11th of July, and tomorrow is not just the 12th; it’s the ‘Twelfth’. And with the Twelfth comes the annual reams of highly predictable media and social media commentary. The world will be told that the entire occasion is a sectarian hate fest. A ‘throw back’. An anachronism whose participants are nothing more…

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Euro 2016: Northern Ireland through to last 16

Despite losing to world champions Germany earlier today, Northern Ireland’s footballers have secured a place in the last 16 of the UEFA European Championship 2016.  There they’ll face either France or Wales. A heroic performance by NI’s freelance keeper, Michael McGovern, kept the ball out of the net on all but one occasion and the more…

We can already see a post-Brexit economy emerging. It’s grim.

Here’s a confusing financial press headline from today: German 10-year sovereign bond yields turn negative for first time. What does that mean in plain English: it means traders are so worried about what the UK economy would look like post-Brexit, they’re pulling their money out of the UK, and actually paying the German government to more…

UPDATED #EURef extention: In NI, it doesn’t exist..

And there’s another digital divide. After last night’s big TV event with Nigel Farage and David Cameron there’s been such a rush to get registered to vote in the 23rd June Referendum that the deadline has been extended until tomorrow night. According to the Telegraph… Of the total 525,000 who registered on Tuesday, 132,000 were more…

The Digital Border and the Euros

As we approach the vote on 23 June to decide whether or not the UK remains in the European Union, an increasing amount of the discussion has focused on the possibility of the erection of border posts along the boundary between Northern Ireland and the 26 counties should Brexit become a reality. However there’s a more…

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Just a day to go to the Big EU Debate from Belfast

Tomorrow evening we’ll be holding our EU Referendum debate featuring some of the leading pro-leave and pro-stay campaigners. We’ll be pitting Owen Paterson MP (a former Secretary of State) against Vernon Coaker MP (the current Shadow Secretary of State). We’ll have Kate Hoey MP against former Conservative MEP, John Stevens. The good news is that more…

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Amazing occurrences: Sun rises in East and Boris backs Brexit

In the most surprising news since the revelation that the sun came up in the east this morning, Boris Johnson has announced that he will support Brexit. The fact that Teresa May has stayed with Cameron means that none of the serious leadership contenders would have supported Brexit had Johnson stayed with Remain. This move more…