Stormont; why did it collapse?

Dennis Murray, the BBC’s senior Northern Ireland correspondent: “Street disturbances and the hugely divisive marching season combined to turn up the temperature on the sectarian front – those tensions being much more evident after the worst of the troubles had gone. There is also a core assumption in the agreement that once in government, trust would build between old political enemies. Not only did that not happen, it got gradually worse.”

What happens to the departments

As the new team of junior minsters fly in to take up their new posts, the Belfast Telegraph have kindly provided a series of short reports on what happens next under the some of the briefs the new team will assume: Finance and Personnel; First and Deputy First Minister; Health; Environment; Agriculture; Education; Social Development.


To Andrew of Dodgeblog for adding the Letter to his list of recommended reading. And to writer Ed Driscoll.

Racism, or poltical maxim?

Interesting discussion following the football story in this comments box.

Agreement remains the framework

Number 10 Downing Street has re-stated its determination that the original Agreement of 1998 is to remain the template for political progress. That should keep most people on board. Including those we have come to understand as anti the Agreement. A careful examination of the DUP’s 2001 manifesto, for instance, shows that amendment rather than abolition of the Agreement was what they campaigned for at the time. As we suggested before, the terms pro- and anti- are no longer adequate … Read more


To Doc Searl’s weblog, what I believe is a Dutch site called HEFTKLAMMERN and BaristaLog

Economics of blogging

It may become more effective at reaching young wealthy audiences than traditional paper media, but as primary activity blogging doesn’t pay. One of the leading lights of the form, Andrew Sullivan: “…we may have, I think, what one Internet writer recently called an air and gold problem. Air is much more vital to human beings than gold; but because there’s so much air out there and all of it is readily available, it’s free. Gold, on the other hand, is … Read more

BBC; suspension report

Lots of interesting background on the crisis and the Loyalist feud.

Business needs delivery now!

An eloquant and politically literate case for getting on with it, from Tom Kelly of DCL Media in the subscription only Irish News: “…each political party seems to be obsessed with the role they think they should have either in a society that is yet to come or a society set in the good old days. The difficulty for those of us in business is that we need them to be playing their roles here and now. “For many Republicans, … Read more

Reid hopes for a short period of suspension

The Secretary of State believes is possible to bring about an agreement fairly swiftly. There is a revealing interview with David Trimble’s election agent, George Savage: “. many of his constituents recognised that they were part of a time of historic change. ‘Farmers have long recognised this change. They have to compete directly with farmers from other European Union countries. The assembly has given them a voice that they would not necessarily have. Milk quotas is a major concern for … Read more

Suspension; eye witness

In the subscription only Irish News Newton Emerson, editor of the satirical website Portadown News was in Stormont on the last day of business. One thing that consistently erks the reasonable middle ground parties is the way that most commentators rarely talk to them: “The Women’s Coalition are first to brave the spotlight. Cruelly, several reporters take this opportunity to make final adjustments to their cameras and microphones. There are no questions. As they leave, the DUP arrives and the … Read more

Securocrats turn tables on Sinn Fein?

Dissident Republican Anthony McIntyre, in the wake of charges against four Sinn Fein members, writes in the last week for Fortnight magazine : “…the real difficulty faced by the party is not one that can be deferred by seeking refuge in sub judice. It is not that in the court of public opinion Donaldson may already unfairly be deemed guilty – legally it is not for the public to decide – but that republicanism is. And unlike lengthy judicial proceedings … Read more

Resident racism at England matches?

“No surrender to the IRA” continues to be a popular chant at English football matches. According to the Daily Telegraph, the English FA doesn’t like it. “Any political or racial chanting, including the well-known ‘No Surrender’, has no place around the England team,” their spokesman, Adrian Bevington, commented. “The FA and pro-active individuals in supporters’ groups have spent the last four years working tirelessly to eradicate this problem.” More opinion at FOOTBALL365.

Ulster crisis blogs

Thanks to Irish in Britain for the kind mention.

The 'cooling off' begins

And suddenly, it was all quiet up at Stomont, despite the front page headline from last night’s Belfast Telegraph. Gerry Moriarty believes that Blair and Ahern are jointly flagging the necessity of the IRA to disarm before the Assembly can re-commence it’s business. There are signs that the broad inconsistency in Unionist condemnation of paramilitaries, has not gone unnoticed in the US. This from yesterday’s Irish News; thanks to Paul Dunne and Newshound. At home, both sides continue to blame … Read more

Suspension; not good for business

Excellent piece in the FT on the likely effects on business. For however long it lasts, NI will return to ‘anomaly’ status. Nigel Smith, economist with Confederation of British Industry, “A month or two is all right. It’s not critical in the short term. But our concern is direct rule ministers will not want to take the difficult decisions.”

Suspension; winners and losers

Malachi O’Doherty is the first one I’ve seen to evaluate the gains and losses made by each of four main parties through the events of the last fortnight. It’s an interesting exercise, but one that may prove misleading in a process that has become more long term, where many expected early closure. Indeed it is these parties that O’Doherty pinpoints as the main losers. The winner, he declares is the DUP, repeating his observation of last Sunday that Peter Robinson … Read more

Sinn Fein getting too easy a ride; a view from Britain

The blogger at British Spin is in a bit of a spin over the easy treatment he believes the British media has given Sinn Fein. He starts: “I’ve always resisted talking about Northern Ireland. It’s too complex, to tough, too mired in historical hatred. It’s also a topic an Englishman ought to avoid if possible. We’re not neutral, and our comments must look like the idiotic commentary of an ill informed landlord. I’ve generally felt that unless you had special … Read more

Why Northern Ireland needs Big Bird

But can Big Bird handle Northern Ireland’s four year olds? Sesame Street is doing its homework before producing a local version of the Award winning children’s programme. “In a recent study, conducted by the University of Ulster, children were shown pictures and objects relating to different communities and asked what they thought of them. Almost two-thirds of three-year-old Catholics preferred the Irish flag, while 59% of Protestants preferred the Union Jack. One four-year-old Catholic girl said: ‘I like the people … Read more