History resource

Interesting educational resource on a little recollected event of the 19th Century; the Fenian invasion of Canada. Thanks to Smoke Signals.

Spying comment

Paul Dunne at the Shamrockshire Eagle blog has a review of two articles on the Stormont spy story.

Murphy: twin track is coming to an end

Paul Murphy was reported in fairly direct terms in today’s FT: “The time is up in many ways. The transition period is over where you can get a situation where the democratic political parties work in a system and at the same time having paramilitary activity accompany it.”

UUP: the Orange link

The Belfast Telegraph has a slew of letters from various Unionists on the vexed subject of the Orange Order’s block vote with the ruling council of David Trimble’s UUP. This discussion has been in play for some time now. Indeed a seminar on the subject is to take place shortly. Three are pro- breaking the link. Young Unionist, Newry suggests that it harks back to a golden age of Unionism that cannot be part of the future. MJ Wilson points … Read more

IRA army council shake up

There have been major changes in the IRA’s controlling body for the first time in five years.

Parade Commission review

The report on the Parades Commission chaired by Sir George Quigley has just been published.

Moloney sacked

Journalist of the moment, Ed Moloney, has been sacked from his job on the Sunday Tribune newspaper, so reports the subscription only Irish News: “Mr Maloney, who has reported for the paper for 16 years, said he was “shocked” when a letter from the paper’s outgoing editor Matt Cooper, terminating his contract, was delivered to his New York home. Speaking to the Irish News from New York, Mr Maloney last night said “basic natural justice” had been ignored and that … Read more

David Ervine: biography

IN review of the book in this month’s Fortnight magazine, Newton Emerson of the Portadown News, says of his subject : “David Ervine played a key role in delivering the loyalist ceasefire. He negotiated directly with Albert Reynolds to secure promises essential in securing the Good Friday Agreement promises which have been kept. He humanised unionism before the American political establishment. He stopped Mo Mowlam undermining the consent principle. He did all this under fire from mainstream unionism and under … Read more

Business: collapse unwelcome

500 chief executives of NI companies were polled for BBC by PriceWaterhouseCoopers. It confirms the impression that business people are amongst the strongest supporters of the devolved institutions: “…almost 80% saying an assembly was the best option for running the economy – while two thirds also favour closer ties to the Republic of Ireland’s economy.”

Stormont crisis: another suspect on spy charge

Another, as yet unnamed, suspect has just been arrested. This case first claimed media attention as a result of the PSNI raid, which kicked off the current political crisis. Update: Apparently the person concerned worked in the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister. From Reuters.

Murphy: an end to paramilitaries

In his first substantial interview as Secretary of State, Paul Murphy tells Chris Thornton that we are at the stage when paramilitaries must be taken out of political life: “We’ve seen no end to the violence amongst paramilitary groups. I mean, this crucifixion (of 23-year-old Harry McCartan in Dunmurry) is such an obvious example of savagery and brutality that everybody must see this as being something which really has now to stop. That of course was on the loyalist side. … Read more

Denoralised prods: update

Newshound has now made Brian Feeney’s article available.

Decommissioning shortcomings

Stephen King asks whether the decommissioning body has credibility without powers of sanction. “…why have they been so unsuccessful? De Chastelain gives the answer: ‘We are in a somewhat difficult position because we have no means of coercion.’”

News from Portadown

This week’s edition of the Portadown News.

Pay cut for MLAs

Assembly members to lose £10,000 from their salary.

Frankenstein: fictionalisation of conflict

Carrie Twomey highlights the literary and political seriousness underlying a seemingly humorous remark.

Policing drama: branch changes

A new set of changes are being proposed for the intelligence branch of the PSNI.

Demoralised prods: a response

In the subscription-only Irish News, Brian Feeney picks out Chris McGimpsey’s assertions over the electoral politics in North Belfast in Richard Kelly’s article in Prospect magazine for a detailed rebuttal: “The most depressing aspect of McGimpsey’s tendentious contribution is this: Commentators criticise middle-class unionists for opting out of the political process and leaving it to the yahoos. Yet, when a middle-class unionist like McGimpsey, admittedly one who masquerades for political purposes as a ‘mawn of the peepull’, does engage in … Read more

RIRA moving into the North

Sharon O’Neill in the subscription only Irish News reports: “The successful crackdown on Real IRA activity in the Republic has led the organisation to shift its power base to Northern Ireland, the latest security assessments have revealed. Evidence from Derry city points to it being the only area of the north where the Real IRA seems to have established a base from which to launch regular attacks. Suspicions that the Real IRA was now being led by members based in … Read more