Murphy: blogger gets it right

This guy (or girl) got the appointment bang on, even if it was only about an hour beforehand, it was probably just enough time to run round to the bookies and get a quick bet on.

Calling time on the Armed Struggle?

Anthony McIntrye outlines the reason he believes Blair’s speech gives the IRA a way to wind-down, if not disband the organisation, in last week’s Observer. “Blair has offered them a way out. By calling not for its disbandment but for ‘the continuing existence of the IRA as an active paramilitary organisation’ to cease, he has more…


To Irish in America, for putting the Letter to Slugger O’Toole on the front of its news page.

Political comedy

No, not the latest news from Stormont, but at least the good citizens of NI are getting a chance to laugh on the grand-scale soap opera that is NI politics. Co Antrim playwright Tim Loane’s lastest play is sometimes too close to reality for comfort.

Murphy appointment: more background

According to Ian Parsley, a specialist at the public affairs consultancy Stormont Strategy, there may other, more pressing agendas at work in this appointment: “Murphy’s past as NI security minister and (sometimes outspoken, sometimes tacit) opposition to devolution may indicate that Blair’s Government feels that dealing with the security situation takes precedence to restoring devolution. more…

Murphy appointment: Alliance welcome

David Ford, leader of the Alliance party, has just told the Letter to Slugger O’Toole: “It is surprising that the PM has seen fit to move John Reid at a time of crisis like this. However, it is clear that he feels the need for a ‘safe pair of hands’. In Paul Murphy we have more…

Murphy appointment: to re-build trust

Contrary to Ian Paisley junior’s remarks earlier, Julian Glover reckons the “focus will be on getting rid of direct rule as quickly as possible. Mr Murphy’s first job will be to try to rebuild trust between the two sides before building on that to find a way of restoring the devolved administration.”

Reid's sudden move

John Reid is to move to Labour party chairman, where his strongman credentials will, no doubt, be useful stock-in-trade. His replacement is to be Paul Murphy who was until today the secretary of state for Wales. He is no stranger to Northern Ireland having already spent some time there as a minister and as a more…

Reid turns on Loyalist violence

John Reid tells Loyalists that their ongoing campaign of violence is muddying the waters. Speaking in the NI debate yesterday, he described it as “not only murderous in its intent, but becomes an obstacle for the republicans to reduce their level of activity”.

The future is a tangled web

The recent meeting of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference, means two things according to Brian Feeney: “…chiefly to show that Dublin and London will continue to implement the Good Friday Agreement. And later, “the governments are laying the ground for a long haul. That much was clear before the suspension on October 14 because don’t forget, more…

Unionist backroom: vision trip

So we are back in hiatus territory yet again. John Reid took his first Northern Ireland question time in Westminster since the suspension of the devolved institutions. But all such periods in NI are risky. The essential gambit in Tony Blair’s speech last night was to take pressure off Unionists and place it on the more…

Spin is killing the process

So warns University of Ulster academic, Dr Paul Dixon: “At crucial times throughout the peace process, politicians have manipulated public opinion, trying to lead it towards an accommodation while at the same time maintaining their political popularity. “The fact they are saying one thing in public but doing another in private has become more apparent, more…

Bob McCartney: unionist discontent

Bob McCartney is an anomaly in NI politics. Having been elected with four other UKUP MLAs, he was left on his own after a row early on in the Assembly’s lifespan. He has created and broken alliances with an astounding variety of polticial figures, including the veteran Southern poltician Conor Cruise O’Brien and Ian Paisley. more…

Backgrounder on Ulster

This well written on-line encyclopedia entry is worth perusing if your history of Northern Ireland is rusty.

Bloody Sunday: abductions

Soldier 027 continues to give evidence to Lord Saville. Sarah Brett reports: “Raymond Muldoon and Francis Creagh claimed they were abducted from the Divis Flats area by paras in February 1972. QC for the families of the Bloody Sunday dead, Seamus Treacy, today queried: ‘it would appear Mr Muldoon and Mr Creagh were ill-treated by more…

RIRA to split?

It looks like this is what’s happening.