“Spending serious southern money in the North is a signpost few will miss.”

It’s worth sharing some of the detail from this excellent piece from Newton Emerson in the Irish Times on why (and how) the Shared Island Fund is a muscular declaration of tangible politics, rather than more the ‘painless waffle’ of promises that never get delivered… The Shared Island initiative has been allocated €500 million over five years, an apparently trivial sum compared to Stormont’s £13.8 billion annual budget. However, the funding is mainly for capital projects and is equivalent to …

Read more…“Spending serious southern money in the North is a signpost few will miss.”

#TheReset: NI’s opportunity lies in attracting new people as well as new jobs

Today I spoke with my old friend and Lagan College alumnus Shane Greer, who now owns and publishes Campaigns and Elections Magazine and lives and works in Washington DC about whether in order for Northern Ireland to get a good reset we need to think more globally, not to mention bigly. The main impetus for the start of the discussion was his recent Reset essay on what he sees as a live opportunity to exploit the new home working arrangements …

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Whether from Poots or Sinn Féin simplifying populism is useless in fight against Covid…

On Thursday I’ll be part of a panel hosted by the Clinton Centre at UCD, which will be looking at Populism in the US and Europe. Quite aside from the considerable wooliness of the term, it will be an opportunity to look at what it means in contemporary use and what it probably doesn’t. Register here for our upcoming webinar in collaboration w/ @_PiAP: https://t.co/ibLYEGnXqU Speakers:@mickfealty @ScottLucas_EA @DrAlbertazziUK @halikiopoulou @ProfTimBale pic.twitter.com/VKj27LfqCb — Clinton InstituteUCD (@Clinton_InstUCD) October 13, 2020 In Northern …

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RIP Austerity?

It is the intellectual debate which has defined our times; indeed, it has defined a greater part of my life on this planet. It isn’t the moral maze of non-platforming or any other culture war battleground we all have opinions on. No, it’s that old chestnut of ‘austerity.’ On this island, David McWilliams proudly proclaimed a RIP to austerity this week on his podcast. He is a part of the Irish austerity story, spotting early on the problems in the …

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Boris says to prepare for a no deal Brexit….

From Sky News: Boris Johnson says it’s time to “get ready” for the prospect of no free trade deal with the EU on 1 January. The prime minister claimed Brussels had “abandoned” the ambition but insisted “we always knew there would be change” next year once the tradition period ends “whatever type of relationship we had”. Speaking from Downing Street after an EU summit both sides said was the deadline for hammering out a trade deal, Mr Johnson said it …

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#SluggerTV – Our New Economic Normal #TheReset

Events are moving pretty fast this week as we try to work out how to deal with surging case numbers and rising hospital admissions. Another grim set of statistics are the rising numbers of unemployed people, particularly under the age of 35, as we deal with the recession brought on by the pandemic. Times are uncertain and in this fourth episode of  Slugger TV to tie in with The Reset series, we turn our focus to the economics of the …

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Can Martin’s coalition show what purposeful bridge building can offer the island?

I see Jay has beaten me to the punch on today’s announcement in the Republic’s budget of a Shared Island fund. I generally agree with his headline that north-south cooperation finally has a budget, but I would also point out it has a lot of bases to cover. However, the point is to use this money to foster new investment and development opportunities on a North/South basis. And the Belfast Agreement (more observed in the breach than followed) is to …

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North/South Cooperation now has a budget…

This week the Irish government unveiled their budget with an emphasis on housing and all of the social issues with flow from that most basic social need. What peeked my own interest was a commitment to providing €500 million to cross-border projects. The ‘Shared Island Initiative’ is a much publicised personal project of the Taoiseach Michael Martin. RTE are reporting that the new unit within his department will be overseeing this expenditure. In terms of the overall Irish budget this …

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Surviving Covid has to be done together

As cases of Covid rise, the Northern Ireland Executive meets today, reportedly to consider a circuit breaker to reduce community transmission, as concerns continue to be raised about the effect of lockdowns and shielding on mental health and jobs. We know that mental health is seriously affected by lockdown, businesses with fewer customers are likely to fail or at least require redundancies to survive, and the prioritisation of Covid has had a serious effect on elective Health Service treatments.  Yet, …

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#SluggerTV – The future of Belfast City Centre #TheReset

How can Belfast City Centre adapt to these changed times and thrive? Colin Neill (chief executive of Hospitality Ulster), Glyn Roberts (chief executive of Retail NI) and Suzanne Wylie (chief executive of Belfast City Council) joined David McCann in the latest episode of Slugger TV.

Covid has unleashed a vast global economic experiment, #CargoOfBricks…

In today’s Cargo of Bricks, we take our first look at how the southern economy is coping with the shocks to the labour market in particular. With my guest Dan O’Brien, chief economist at the IIEA in Dublin we cover… Powered by RedCircle It is absolutely impossible to read too far into the success or failure of what amounts to ‘the biggest social policy or political experiment in decades’. Government is able to hold to it’s massive intervention in the …

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#SluggerTV – The Role of Tourism #TheReset

Our latest episode of Slugger TV looks at how the local tourism industry can be reset. Brona Moffett (National Museums NI) and Michael Stewart (hospitality consultant) joined David McCann to discuss the sector which is worth 4.9% of Northern Ireland’s GDP, sustains over 40,000 jobs, and has taken a real battering since March.

#TheReset -We need to talk about debt…

Richard Ramsey, Chief Economist, NI, Ulster Bank During the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, one of the legacies was over-indebtedness that created zombie companies which weighed on growth as the economy sought to recover. These businesses were mostly larger and within certain sectors. The excessive debt was largely linked directly or indirectly to property. This time is different. It’s different because the banks are well-capitalised and stable. There is no credit crunch – where the cost of borrowing rises …

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#TheReset: Incredible opportunity to bring well-heeled consumers into the Northern Ireland economy

As more companies move to downsize their office space and shift workers permanently to work-from-home status, an opportunity exists for Northern Ireland to take the lead in the post-COVID economy. In mid-April this year, my business partner and I took the decision to close our offices in Washington DC. Permanently. Only a handful of weeks after issuing a mandatory work-from-home order for all staff it became clear that remote work had not undermined productivity at all. If anything, productivity was …

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“Build Back Better” – how do we turn soundbites into a successful reset and recovery?

Sinead McLaughlin is the SDLP’s economy spokesperson, deputy chair of the Assembly’s economy committee and a Foyle MLA. Covid-19 will continue to damage our collective health and our economy for a long time to come. Many businesses will fail and, even more sadly, many more people will die from coronavirus.  Yet it should not be too early to consider recovery. The SDLP has put together four principles for that recovery – a new deal for young people; a new localism; new connectivity; …

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#TheReset Podcast – Steve Bradley on the future of Derry…

Steve Bradley is a regeneration consultant, you can follow him on Twitter. Steve is a very popular writer on Slugger with some of his posts getting over 40k readers, you can view an archive of his posts here. In this podcast, we discuss the future of Derry and the Northwest. In particular, we discuss: The future of Ulster University in Derry or lack thereof The potential for an independent University How Covid-19 will affect Derry, in particular, fewer people having …

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Mallon’s decision on the interconnector ought to be the thin edge of a positive #Reset wedge

Interesting development earlier this week as Nichola Mallon approved the new North-South interconnector from Tyrone to Meath, not least because of the cacophony of noise arising not just from rivals but even from within her own party. The BBC reports… The approval is for the building of a single circuit 400kV electricity line consisting of 102 towers over 34.1kms in length from Moy in County Tyrone to Crossreagh in County Armagh. The first application was lodged on 15th December 2009. …

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#SluggerTV – The role of the Third Sector #TheReset

David McCann was joined by guests Gráinne Walsh (Stratagem) and Jacinta Linden (SPACE NI) to examine how the third sector sector was the bedrock of our response to the pandemic. Remember all of those charities who stepped up while revenues were falling and did extraordinary things to help the most vulnerable in our society? In this episode, we hear about the resilience of this sector, from making headlines for innovative ideas such as Kindness Kits and new ways of working. can help provide a reset for the local economy and our society in the years ahead and what is needed from local policy-makers to help make it all happen.

With the opening of a new 575 space car park in Belfast City Centre can we remove 575 on street car parking spaces and replace them with bike lanes?

2020 has not been a good year for the McCausland family. Firstly they own Value Cabs, which has been hit hard by COVID, then they open up a new car park just as the city has record low levels of commuters. I am sure all of you working from home really miss having to pay £20 a day to park in Belfast. Still, they have been in business over 100 years so I imagine this too shall pass for them. …

Read more…With the opening of a new 575 space car park in Belfast City Centre can we remove 575 on street car parking spaces and replace them with bike lanes?

#TheReset – It’s an Employers Market… Is it not?

In the wake of Coronavirus, business owners are looking for silver linings in the rubble around them. A key shift would seem to be in the employment market where, for some time now, employees have ruled the roost.  At the beginning of the year, companies scrambled to impress current and prospective talent, trying to convince them of the ‘why us’ component of their employment offer. They invested in Employer Branding and Employee Experience as a priority for their budget and …

Read more…#TheReset – It’s an Employers Market… Is it not?