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.

DUP will do business with Sinn Fein

Or so says Derry MLA, William Hay, a senior member of the party. Perhaps a first public confirmation of what seemed to be brewing through the Autumn. His remarks were immediately welcomed by Sinn Fein party chairman Mitchell McLaughlin.

Labour to organise in Ulster?

Henry McDonald reports on the pressures building on the British Labour party to organise in Northern Ireland. Thanks to Nicholas Whyte for the link.

Re-start of talks?

David Trimble has been called to talk to Tony Blair at No 10 today with Gerry Adams coming in tomorrow.

American Gaelic?

Fascinating account of the origin of some of the slang words resurrected in Martin Scorsese’s recently released epic Gangs of New York.

Murder rate down in 2002

Although Loyalist paramilitaries were responsible for the vast majority of the 22 murders in NI in the last 12 months, there is an overall decline in the trend. Meanwhile in 2002 the Republic saw a record 62 murders.

Holy Cross bomb: dirty trick?

The bomb found at Holy Cross school yesterday morning. PUP MLA Billy Hutchinson has suggested that the timing, just before the first part of controversial two part documentary looking at two interface conflicts, may indicate that it may have been planted by someone outside the local Loyalist community.

Expansion of faith school sector?

George Dawson of the Orange Order makes a case for the funding of explicitly Protestant schools.

Timeline for the new year

James Murray Brown outlines the likely timetable for restoration of the local institutions in Northern Ireland: “Under existing legislation, Paul Murphy, the Northern Ireland secretary, will have to dissolve the assembly by March 21 to provide six weeks for campaigning. If the assembly is to be restored in time for elections, a deal will have to be struck by early March. Soon afterwards, party leaders depart for the US to participate in the annual St Patrick’s day festivities on March … Read more

First Minister Paisley?

Rosie Cowan weighs up the current electoral strengths of the Unionist parties and asks: “Is there a chance of an electoral revolution bringing together first minister Ian Paisley, and deputy first minister Gerry Adams or Martin McGuinness?”


Many thanks to top US blogger Rittenhouse Review for ranking the Letter to Slugger O’Toole in his recent list of Better Bloggers!

Persuasion is the way forward

In light of the likely demographic stalemate, Fianna Fail Senator, Martin Masergh outlines the seachange in the politics of Northern Ireland. Echoing the Downing Street Declaration of nearly ten years ago, he suggests: “…it is up to those who want a united Ireland to persuade those who don’t, and the same goes for those who prefer the status quo.”

Cuntas grinn o 2002

Chan moran anseo faoin Tuaiscirt, ach go leor faoin domhain go leir sa 2002. Scealta aoirtha tri a shúil nimhe o Bhalor.

Torthaí dhaonáireamh: sólás

Measann Robert McMillen go bhfuil sólás áirithe le fáil ag náisiúnaithe agus ag poblachtánaigh ó na torthaí.

The changing nature of Ulster

Though he may be accused of some disingenuity some of his preceding analysis, Brian Feeney makes an point somehow missed by many others; the census results indicate nothing if not the changed nature of the ‘people of Ulster’. He goes on to identify: “…the sulky silence of unionist leaders who have watched the raison d’etre of their wee six vanishing has left their voters bewildered and frightened for the future. As a result, they have been congregating in self-designated ghettos … Read more

A changing future

According to some Unionists this speculative piece by Jude Collins on the recalibration of politics north and south is indicative of a more open ended and optimistic nationalist approach towards unionists.

Loyalist feud: Adair drops deputy

Johnny Adair falls out with another deputy, apparently this time over the means and distribution of profits from cocaine trafficing.