Rove stirs Irish Americans

According to Ray O’Hanlon of the US based Irish Echo Karl Rove’s comments spurred the prompting of Irish American lobbyists to highlight the efforts of George Bush to find a solution in Northern Ireland. However it seems to have stirred a controversy that Democrat Irish American lobbyists are happy to exploit.

Settlement needs to end ambiguity…

The Newsletter editorialises on the prospects of success of the current round of negotiations, and insists that whatever is agreed must be clearly and commonly understood by all parties – and leave no major issues outstanding afterwards.

Sinn Fein on consistent course to peace…

Dissident Republican Tommy McKearney believes that Gerry Adams’ advice to the IRA should not be dismissed. He argues that it is consistent with the long term direction his party has been taken since he became leader 20 years ago.

Parallels with Bush's 'war on terror'?

Belfast Telegraph’s journalist of the year Mary Fitzgerald is on secondment to the newsroom at the Washington Post. She was at the US Republican National Convention to get David Trimble’s reaction to Karl Rove’s view that the war against terrorism was exactly comparible to that fought by the British against the IRA during the troubles. On a lighter note, Slugger has word from one New York reader that DT attended the convention in the company of a rather dapperly dressed … Read more

Unionists cannot share power

Returning to an old theme of his, Brian Feeney argues that Unionists are politically incapable of sharing power with nationalists and looks forward to the day that London and Dublin run Northern Ireland directly.

UUP: lacking in ideas

Just in case you thought intra tribal rivalry had taken a back seat for the negotiations – Jeffrey Donaldson has been teasing his former colleagues on what he claims is their lack of new ideas.

Paisley: stable settlement will take time

The leader of the DUP has said there is no rush for a settlement. Just how long is a matter for lengthy conjecture. In fact there is nothing in any negotiations timetable to prevent things dragging on until past the next general election (expected in early summer next year. That would then give the two main protagonists another two years before facing any further democratic tests. Just the kind of space we might expect to see radical developments.

Slugger away from home for another while

Getting Slugger transfered back to its home is likely to take a bit longer than we’d hoped – probably not until next Tuesday, when I hope to be blogging from Northern Ireland. We’ll keep you posted here of further progress as we have it.

IRA: Standing down better than decomm?

Two articles from Chris Thornton and Gary Kelly foreground the inclusion of an IRA stand down in the upcoming negotiations between NI’s elected representatives. This potentially represents an important new strand to the current process. Previous emphasis upon the decommissioning of IRA weapons has arguably had disastrous consequences for all of its political advocates. Retaining it as an essential objective is likely to lead to similar difficulties, though the DUP has clearly covered this possibility with its corporate assembly model … Read more

Media: the new moral sherriff?

My own review of John Lloyd’s essay on Politics and the Media is due to be published next weekend. The man himself had an interesting line the cult of the journalist as celebrity in last week’s FT Magazine, after attending a film festival in Locarno recently: The “Trust me, I’m a reporter” line would probably always have raised a laugh, and still would in many quarters… Jump forward the decades to the polementaries and the moral force of the reporter … Read more

Blogging politics US style…

There has been from time to time fierce discussion here and on other NI blogs about what makes a blog and what doesn’t. Elsewhere this kind of discussion as taken second place to what individual bloggers can actually do. This week as the US Republican convention is being blogged just like the Democrats. Like last time, even the BBC is getting involved! Reason has substantially supplemented its blog team from last time out. The New Republic magazine’s blog is there … Read more

Policing: local reserve might attract Republicans?

George Kerevan notes the continuation of recruitment of IRA volunteers has continued long past the two ceasefires and the Belfast Agreement. But a successful conclusion to current negotiations, he believes, might see Sinn Fein recognising the PSNI and local youngsters who might previously have joined the IRA being recruited into a part-time local PSNI reserve.

Ceasefires: ten years on…

RTE this morning marked the anniversary of the first IRA ceasefire with a retrospective from Belfast academics Paul Bew and Eammon Phoenix, and a report from their Northern editor Tommy Gorman highlighting the one consistent success story since that time – the tourist industry.

Cullybacky woman in with medal chance?

Jessica Kuerten, (nee Chesney) has just jumped a clear round to tie with Britain’s Nick Skelton in Athens. At the very least it puts her in with a shout of winning a medal of some discription in tonight’s final. Irish representatives in both national teams have turned in some good performances, but have thus far struggled to make an impact in the final stages.

On a short hiatus…

Slugger finally got too big and cumbersome for our UK server yesterday. It is going to take a number of days to effect the transfer, especially given that we are going into a long weekend and our tech genious from River Path Abi is currently on holidays somewhere in Co Antrim. So in the meantime there will be no more blogging here until next Tuesday. We hope to be restored to our former home soon after that. Have a good … Read more

Guinness ice cream anyone?

Mmmm…. Or maybe not! This little piece of frivolity was thanks to Smoke Signals.

Negotiations: police and arm(ie)s are key

Barrister Noel Whelan is one of the more erudite commentators on Northern Irish affairs in the Republic. This week he his column in the Examiner covers the potential sticking point between the DUP and Sinn Fein of policing and decommissioning. He summarises Jeffrey Donaldson at the Parnell School last week: “…the DUP is seeking the following: full decommissioning of IRA weapons to be dealt with ‘conclusively’; the IRA and the associated ‘architecture’ of paramilitary violence to be disbanded; Sinn Féin … Read more

NI dominates Ahern's 'reshuffle'?

Brian Feeney looks at the what may turn out to be the longest Cabinet re-shuffle in Irish political history and reckons it may the thought of moving Brian Cowen from his key brief at Foreign Affairs and the need for his party to parry the Sinn Fein challenge in the south that is staying his hand. Feeney tips Louthman Dermot Ahern to succeed Cowen, if and when it finally happens.

Education: a future political battleground?

David Vance will no doubt be pleased that the outstanding performance of Northern Irish GCSE candidates have made it into the leader of the Daily Telegraph this morning. Martin McGuinness’s plans to abolish the 11+ will be executed by a Labour government in 2008, if 1) there is no change in the UK government in the elections widely expected to take place next year, and/or 2) a nationalist MLA manages to negotiate the Education post in any reconvened local Executive. … Read more