Feeney supports Orde and decrys Unionists

Brain Feeney has been watching the proceedings of the Policing Board closely, and finds the Unionist performance there wanting: “Watching unionists making such a poor fist of it in public sessions of the board has depressed Protestants and encouraged Catholics who now have more confidence in the board than they have in the PSNI.”

Problems of re-Unification

After a false start here, this discussion is resolving into something very interesting, and worth a read. Though remember this is an unmoderated bulletin board.

Police quota system may be first victim of hiatus

The Belfast Telegraph warns that the 50/50 recruitment rule will be impossible to hold if Sinn Fein approval of the PSNI doesn’t come soon: “The 50-50 rule, adopted as the only means of speedily correcting the imbalance in the PSNI, is proving to be a new obstacle to recruitment problems. When 26 Catholics qualified for civilian jobs, against 260 others, only 52 could be employed.” More detail in the Guardian.

Southern Protestant experience

Steven King turns his attention to a recently published book Untold Stories: Protestants in the Republic of Ireland 1922-2002, which records the experience of a variety of protestants living in the south since partition.

MP shortlisted for award

Looks like Sylvia Hermon has made an impression in her first year in the House of Commons. Channel 4 are considering her for the title of Opposition Politician of the Year. Meanwhile an older NI politician moves down a gear.

DUP still want rid of the Agreement

Whilst restoration of local institutions is the urgent priority of Paul Murphy, NI Secretary of State, MP Iris Robinson of the DUP has warned there will be no progress with the Belfast Agreement still in place.

New money for roads and water

Although Ministers have confirmed that Northern Ireland will have to endure serious rises in its water rates, the news comes with the promise of a huge monetary injection of cash, both directly from the Exchequer and public private partnerships, as well as £400m of local government borrowing. Together with increased investment in the roads infrastructure the injection of cash amounts to £2 billion pounds. In the absence of local democratic institutions, some local politicians were not happy about the lack … Read more

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Courtesy of Newshound, a report on Martin McGuinness’s work, and the promotion of integrated schools.

Loyalists row continues

Looks like the row within the ranks of the UDA is set to continue with a pro-Adair grouping in North Down being ordered to come in under the main command in East Belfast.

Policing drama: high sick levels

Tom Constantine, the man charged with overseeing the implementation of the Patten proposals has expressed concerned over high levels of illness within the PSNI: “Figures for September this year showed that regular officers were missing an average of 23.1 days each year.” More detail from his overall summary here. John McGarry and Brendan O’Leary ask if Murphy has got his finely balanced proposition right.

Tom Barry and Iraq

Mattew Hogan sees parallels between the ignition of violent nationalism, and the current Iraq crisis. He recalls the personal journey of rebel leader Tom Barry who was in Mesopotamia as an NCO in the British Army when he heard of the Easter Rising in Dublin. He later became a crucial element in the War of Independence that led in 1921 to the establishment of the Free State and the partitition of Ireland. Thanks to Chris Bertram at Junius.

Irish sidelined in government bill

Tha Andersonstown News is not happy about the way it believes the latest Communications Bill at Westminster has sidelined the Irish langauge. The Ultach Trust made representations earlier this year during the consultative process, as did the SDLP.

UUP: reaction to closer links to Tories

Not everyone in the UUP is happy about the proposed closer links with the British Tories.

New electoral resource

As a companion to Nick Whyte’s excellent web resource, Phillip McGuinness is putting together a site at the Dundalk Institute of Technology. It is relatively new and uninhabited, but Phillip assures me that the online map resource will be coming shortly. As it’s connected to an on-going programme of research, it may provide a steady flow of new insights.

A tribute to '98?

The Irish News Unionist columnist Roy Garland suggests that those republicans who will settle for the full Agreement are the real successors to the original United Irishmen of the hugely emblematic Rising of 1798 when the rebels where largely lead by a group of Irish Presbyterians.

Dublin and London rule?

A new deal on administering the devolved powers in Stormont appear to have cut out the absolute requirement for them to consult local representatives, with the result that technically all decisions are made by London in consultation with Dublin. The controversy is rooted (subs needed) in a row over a Dublin government amendment to legislation, which: “…allows for decisions of the council in relation to the North-South bodies to be taken by the Irish and British governments pending the restoration … Read more

Robinson’s plan:summary

In conversation with Frank Millar, Peter Robinson outlined the conditions for his party’s willing engagement with the peace process. He outlined what he believes to be fundamental flaws of the current Agreement. He returned to a theme his colleague Sammy Wilson outlined in more detail a few weeks back – the unaccountability of the institutions. He did not rule out working with Sinn Fein, but this would entail (amongst other things) finding a system that would allow all players to … Read more

Robinson’s plan: Consent

And finally, Peter Robinson confirms the need to seek consent within both communities: As a principle for the future, I believe you can only govern through consent and any attempt to govern without consent – and I do refer to that as being consent from both sections of our community – and I’ve argued the case over and over again that past systems have fallen because there was an absence of consent from one section of the community or another. … Read more

Firefighters look for non sectarian support

Davey Carlin reports on a (albeit temporary) opening of the Peaceline between the Shankill and the Falls, planned for next Saturday.

UUP threaten walk-out

The UUP have added some pressure to the interparty talks by suggesting they could walk out if backroom deals are done between the two governments and the IRA.