PSNI: dissent within the ranks

Hugh Orde told the US National Committee on Foreign Policy that support for his leadership is not universal within the ranks of the PSNI

Practicalities of unification

Jude Collins initiates some open-ended probing of the practical questions around any future unification of Ireland, based on correspondence with a protestant reader. As this is an issue that rarely receives much consideration in the media, let us have your comments, criticisms or any links to relevant articles or research by hitting the comments field or by sending them on an e-mail, or indeed to Jude himself. Update: I’ve just established a thread on the unmoderated Friends of Slugger O’Toole … Read more

What chance decommissioning?

The Belfast Telegraph’s editorial re-iterates David Trimble’s message to the IRA yesterday by suggesting that the IRA’s betrays a lack of understanding of what is needed to get the process started again. However there are some optimistic signs after Martin McGuinness praised Tony Blair for listening careful to Sinn Fein’s input at the Downing Street talks yesterday, with Guardian again hinting at the dramatic scenario they thought might take place before Christmas is not completely dead, yet. However this editorial … Read more

Ireland is the most global nation

Not strictly to do with the North, but the Republic has been named as the world’s most open economy for the second year in a row in survey for the US based Foreign Policy magazine.

Trimble dismisses IRA statement

David Trimble only took a few hours to formulate his response to this morning’s direct statement from the IRA. Interestingly he echoes the IRA’s own original statement to suggest it is their resistance to change which has held up progress in reaching a satisfactory conclusion to the process.

IRA blame Unionists

In a seeming confirmation that the current round of talks are unlikely produce any breakthrough, the IRA have gone public in their criticism of anti-agreement Unionists: “Pursuing an agenda dictated by those opposed to change obstructs the creation of the conditions necessary to build a lasting peace.” In particular they highlight the continued and unpredictable actions of Loyalist paramilitary organisations. Gerry Adams adds his comments, with more a detailed analysis from the BBC’s Brian Rowan. Story also carried in the … Read more

Failure of social democratic approach

Though this extract of an editorial by Paul McDonnell from the Open Republic think tank is from early last year, it deserves recycling. This is a view we touched upon in a slightly more oblique way in October 2002. Is it possible that this line of thinking may have been at the root of Steven King’s indistinctly faint praise of the former British Home Secretary, the late Roy Jenkins, in yesterday’s Belfast Telegraph?

Changing nature of British history

This excellent blog comment from Chris Bertram examines the profound shift in the British world view from the early sixties, as seen through his old Ladybird history books, to today. For more just scroll down.

Feeney: renegotiation is inevitable

Brian Feeney looks at the wider scenario and suggests that no matter how elections turn out in May there will be no First and Deputy First Minister or an Executive until the Belfast Agreement is subject to the re-negotiation process required by the current demands of the DUP and the Donaldson faction of the UUP. He believes that the Agreement, as it stands, no longer has any effective support in any of the Unionist parties. Consequently there will be no … Read more

Political vacuum in Loyalist politics

In the Examiner, John Breslin suggests that whatever the political nature of its origins, little that happens nowadays within hardline loyalism has anything much to do with politics.

Durkan against FF move north

In response to remarks made recently by Bertie Ahern, Mark Durkin reacts negatively to the suggestion that Fianna Fail might organise in Northern Ireland: “…the SDLP are going to be a catalyst for any realignment in politics here both in the north and south of the island. We are not going to be a casualty of it.”

And from the distant past

A snippet of history in Co Antrim 1798, from 1169 and Counting. Apparently the body of Henry Joy McCracken was taken to a hostelry on or near the site of the current Morning Star pub, just after his hanging in a vain attempt rouse him back to life. Unfortunately for them, they were unsuccessful, but the pub can still muster a decent pint of stout to this very day.

UUP alleges split in DUP

Michael McGimpsey of the UUP has claimed that the DUP is split in its attitude over how to deal with Sinn Fein, something further echoed by his party colleague Esmond Birnie.

Géarrchéim sa Gaeltacht?

Tuarascail i bhFoinse leis an ainilís Dhonnacha Ó hÉallaithe.

Irish language in decline?

An apparently shocking set of statistics that would have been hard to believe even 10 years ago, claims that less than a quarter of families in the Gaeltacht still speak Irish. Some commentators suggest that this implies extinction of the language within 10 to 20 years, it should be taken with a large pinch of salt. This figure seems to includes areas called Breac Gaeltachtai, where the populations speaking Irish have always been in a minority and areas like North … Read more

Prision segregation rejected

A motion tabled by Belfast Sinn Fein councilor Eoin O’Broin to introduce segregation between Loyalist and Republican prisoners in Maghaberry Prison has been rejected in the Belfast City Council chamber. Meanwhile there have been clashes between two factions of the Real IRA in Port Laoise prison in the Republic.

Mixed news in the talks process

Whilst things appear to be moving in some quarters, David Ervine is unhappy that his consistently pro-agreement party, the PUP, has been unsighted by the recent series of bilateral negotiations and consequently will not be taking part in negotiations at this point.

New flag for Northern Ireland?

Leader of the Alliance Party, David Ford, has called for the creation of a new Northern Ireland flag. It’s part of a wider set of proposals aimed at creating an inclusive Northern Irish identity. The current one is closely associated with the old Stormont regime, and it’s nearest relative, the Ulster flag encompasses three extra counties in Republic and is rarely considered relevant by Unionists, even by fans of the rugby team for that wider region. Here’s a compendium of … Read more

Northern Ireland lucky?

Perhaps there is a silver lining on the horizon for the hard pressed peoples of Northern Ireland. According to a recent survey Dr Richard Wiseman, an academic specialising in psychology who began his working life as a practicing magician, the Northern Irish are the second ‘luckiest’ in the UK, only beaten by the Welsh. The wider significance of the survey is, according to Dr Wiseman, based on 4 working characteristics of the ‘lucky’: – they maximise their opportunities: skilled at … Read more

Loyalist feud: attempt on Adair

Looks like the feud is now escalating with a pipe bomb attack on the lower Shankill home of Johnny Adair and a shooting in Carrickfergus.