Stormont crisis; no going back to war

In the subscription only Irish News, Martin McGuinness is certain that ‘the war is over’: “Anybody who is a serious student of this process over the course of the last number of years can not come but to any other conclusion that a central strategy of what some unionist paramilitaries is at is to drag the IRA back to war. Now as a republican leader… I am very pleased that the IRA has not fallen into that trap. I think … Read more

Stormont crisis; who's the leader?

Though there has been some confusion previously as to what the current status is of the two DUP ministers is exactly; all appears to be clear now (we think). The front page of last night’s Belfast Telegraph, tells us definatively that the DUP quits the Executive, on Friday. Noel MCAdam reports: Leader Ian Paisley said their pull-out came after David Trimble had rejected a joint initiative. “Amid disgruntlement in the anti-Agreement camp, the DUP changed tack to “maximise pressure” on … Read more

Stormont crisis; the larger picture

The philosopher and Cambridge professor Ludwig Wittgenstein once said: “Don’t get involved in partial problems, but always take flight to where there is a free view over the whole great problem, even if this view is still not a clear one.” In the midst of the chaos that Northern Ireland has been plunged into in the last few weeks it’s especially hard to find such a settled vantage point, but Malachi O’Doherty does come reasonably close. On Monday he gave … Read more

Different views

First from a Fenian, who expresses natural scepticism over the week’s events. And thanks to Emily (and definately not a Fenian) who, womanfully if relunctantly, took on the role of NI pundit of the day! And for the picture at it’s most complex and concise, our man way out west – Kieran Healy.

Stormont crisis; shortening timescales

There are clearly two views on how much time there is to get a short term resolution. Thanks again to Newshound!

Stormont crisis; Unionist releif

Rosie Cowan captures something of the emotional relief of Unionists in this article. Something that is shared by pro and anti agreement alike, possibly based on the moral incongruity of having to work with people whose clear intention is to work as democrats (Sinn Fein), but whose military arsenal has made it increasingly difficult to countenance the shared future that most people in the North of Ireland desperately crave!

Crisis elsewhere

As if echoing the trouble on the hill at Stormont, other stories did no better in lightening the tone of the news from Northern Ireland. Shipbuilding, an industry that once boasted more than 30,000 jobs, is about to leave Belfast for good. Street trouble has broken out in North and East Belfast. And fears that the Loyalist feud could threaten up to 20 families.

Stormont crisis; what happened exactly?

Back at last! James Murray Brown says that suspension of the devolved adminstration is the most likely result of the political flux of the last few weeks. Though the DUP have finally announced that they are pulling out of the executive today, there is not likely to be a definitive outcome until Thursday when Tony Blair meets with Adams. So why all the fuss over the raid on Friday? The documents seized on Friday included the names of all prison … Read more

Stormont crisis; PSNI apologises

Hugh Orde gives a personal apology to Sinn Fein for the raid on Friday.

Stormont crisis; DUP returns

Contrary to our earlier report, the DUP appear to have walked back in again. At 2 O’Clock this afternoon, Peter Robinson of the DUP addressed the Assembly in his official capacity as Minister for Regional Development. Update: Here’s the answer: “DUP leader, Dr Ian Paisley, has pre-empted a move to have assembly business suspended for an emergency debate on recent events by announcing he had lodged a letter with the Speaker of the Assembly, Lord Alderdice. The letter states that … Read more

History of the Belfast Agreement

The BBC has a useful and bang up to the minute timeline of the Belfast Agreement, ominously entitled Northern Ireland: 1998 – 2002.

Save our Stormont

This piece by Anthony McIntyre, was written about a week ago, but raises issues that are very pertainent to the current crisis. He outlines the ‘double stalemate’ situation both communities find themselves in: “…the nationalist electorate want Sinn Fein in government regardless of unionist concerns. And who are the unionists to tell that electorate otherwise? Do they expect a double veto, firstly over the constitutional question – which they have already – and also over the form in which partition … Read more


To a slightly depressed Kieran Healy, mildly exhausted British Spin and time-pressed Shamrockshire Eagle for their mentions of the Letter.

Irish battle for Hollywood

Just to lighten the political fare on offer in reams and reams from Stormon today; a story about Hollywood’s tendency to put non-Irish actors in Irish roles. I particularly liked this line describing Tom Hanks’ inability to take on such a role: “Hanks, who does not seem to have a nasty bone in his body, simply cannot convey the ability of the clannish, vindictive Irish-American male to transform one’s closest friend into one’s worst enemy.” Thanks to Tim Blair for … Read more

Stormont crisis; DUP walks

The DUP has pulled out of the Executive. Presumably this is stage one in the process towards suspension. Tony Blair calls for calm. David Trimble tells Donaldson to be quiet: “Mr Trimble also said his anti-Agreement party colleague, Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson, was not helping and a period of silence from him would be welcome.”

Stormont crisis; Alliance calls for suspension

Looks like the party is all but over. Alliance, one of the most steadfast supporters of the Stormont institutions have come out in favour of suspending them. As there are several possible scenarios to how suspension might be managed, it will be interesting to see how that will pan out.

Stand down the IRA once and for all

Is today’s front page editorial on today’s Irish News. It opens the case succinctly: “Essentially, unionists are concentrating on what they see as the potential threat from the IRA while nationalists have to deal, on practically a daily basis, with the reality of loyalist violence. Although there are clearly radically different perspectives involved, logic firmly suggests that the level of trust between the two traditions necessary to sustain our new political structures is unlikely to be achieved while paramilitary organisations … Read more

Danny Morrison interviews David Ervine

This is a conversation between two men who both share a very direct style of communication. It’s interesting too because it represents countless other conversations that have abounded since the Belfast Agreement. He talks about the proposed exclusion of Sinn Fein from the Executive “When I view the potential for January I’’m saying to myself, ‘”what is it Trimble wants”? How many hoops have people to jump through?’ What I am clear on is what the Republican Movement and loyalists need … Read more

American Irish history

Geoffrety Ward on a new novel, Paradise Alley, set at the time the New York riots of 1863, which followed the imposition of the National Conscription Act.