Policing drama

Looks like the new straight-talking Chief Constable is earning some new friends in un-expected places, even as the Garda Siochana come under increasing criticism. Still Sinn Fein are resisting the recent call from Professor Des Rea to join the new regional Partnership Boards, and even producing evidence that police were inactive against Loyalists during attacks on Catholics in East Belfast. Then again it is possible that the Minister for Education could find himself in court facing a civil action brought … Read more

Castlereagh affair

Something’s cooking! American Larry Zaitschek, chef at Castlereagh on the day of the robbery is under investigation. Though he’s now in the US police are seeking his extradition, whilst his ex-wife is being held under guard. Brian Rowan gives a broad outline of the case.

Policing drama

McQuillan’s statement, since condemned by Reg Empey for lack of balance, encourages McGuinness to attack anti-agreement Unionists. Meanwhile, the long term corrosion in civil society continues, David Gordon asks, ‘Who’s in charge?’. A Police Federation spokesman warns of the longer term consequences. John Reid states, there is no alternative to continuing Police reform. Update: Crime wave in Derry continues.

The world and Northern Ireland

Fair play to David Trimble. As Eammon McCann points out in his column in last night’s Belfast Telegraph: “To adapt an ancient remark – Typical! Given the choice between saving the planet and saving the Ulster Unionist Party, Trimble takes the easy option…” Just across the North Channel, the whole event was seen in vastly different terms. Yes, there was a healthy dose of scepticism, but right from the beginning both media politicians were much more willing to engage intelligently … Read more

New mayor's new flag

Alex Maskey’s been re-decorating his parlour in City Hall (more).

Unionist backroom

David Trimble enjoys an unpressured meeting with Cyril Ramaphosa before coming back to the hothouse that is Northern Ireland. More speculation on the upcoming meeting of the UUC here and here.

Interface

As a relative calm comes back to the interface areas, the weighing up of an impossible summer for residents on both sides of the peace wall. John Reid gets a rough ride after seeing both sides at Short Strand, as David Ford called here. He calls for people to rise above the blame game, though Orde believes that Loyalists are behind the majority of the violence.

Shaken or stirred?

I linked back to a great idea on Phil Murphy’s site some time ago. All manner of politicians and institutions can be grouped into one of two categories – Shaken or Stirred? As a starter, he produces his own list: Stirred…………………………………………..Shaken Tony Blair…………………………………………Neil KinnockRonald Reagan……………………………………Lyndon JohnsonMartin Luther King……………………………..Jesse JacksonMalcolm X………………………………………….Louis FarrakanJudaism…………………………………………….IslamVirgin Atlantic……………………………………..SwissairThomas the Tank Engine……………………….TeletubbiesRolling Stones…………………………………….BeatlesLinux………………………………………………..WindowsBritain……………………………………………….EuropeThe Jackson 5…………………………………….Michael JacksonLesley Gore……………………………………….Gore VidalThe Blogesphere…………………………………The Guardian It would be interesting to hear how you might see this within a Northern Ireland context. For … Read more

10 good things about Dublin

Some of this could also be said about Belfast, but as the author hails from Armagh originally, I guess he had his reasons for heading for the southern metropolis instead of the big smoke of the North.

Election talk

Unionists continue with the mutual bashing contest. Trimble gets suport from nationalists – here and here.

Colombian three

David Trimble made use of his visit to the Earth Summit to hold consultation talks with the Colombian Foreign Minister. On weblogs try Terry McMenamin, who commented on this issue last week. To whom, thanks for the plug.

Policing drama

Belfast votes to join local partnership board. Orde sets out his policies.

Did you know?

The Prince of Orange is not just a principle character of Irish history, he’s also champion of water at the Summit in Jo’burg.

As kids go back to school

There may be enough of a break in the interface areas of Belfast to restore claim. Holy Cross went back today without any trouble arising. Loyalists have been calling for claim all round, with Archbishop Eames lending his support.

Paisley bid fails

An attempt by Ian Paisley to dissolve the Assembly today end in failure whn the UUP refused to co-sign the motion.

Trimble attacks Mugabe

He stresses economic development over sustainable development today at the Jo’burg summit. However the continuing wrangling over the Assembly can have done little to help Northern Ireland to adequately prepare for any of the given issues being tackled at the Summit – particularly compared to the much contributions from Scotland and which appears to have brought much more to the ‘party’ than Northern Ireland. Check out the Scotsman’s site for serious local coverage of this global event. Update: He plugs … Read more

Real anti-agreement Unionists please stand up?

You might be forgiven for thinking that the author of this ‘letter’ was entirely obsessed with Unionist politics. It is simply that this is where all the interesting stories are happening. The nationalists have made most of their basic decisions on the agreement, and consequently there is rarely anything of substance to comment upon. What does remain of the Nationalist agenda to be completed, eg the decommissioning of the IRA, or coming on to the Policng Board, seems unlikely to … Read more

Rumours of Loyalist split

Is there, or isn’t there? Tempers are reportedly getting thin inside the UDA. Meanwhile Johnny Adair has called off the planned protest at Holy Cross planned for this week.

Policing drama

No doubt we will become very familiar with the face voice and name of the new Chief Constable, Hugh Orde. He is now installed at the head of the PSNI, and the papers are full of it, here, here, here, and here (registration needed). I heard him on BBC Radio 4 this morning, and his line that ‘Paramilitaries are no different to gangsters, seemed reminiscent of the hard line taken by Roy Mason, and subsequently taken up by Tories in … Read more

More on the priesthood crisis

After the news of another seminary closure, Nicola Byrne’s well researched article highlights a serious crisis on the ground with country parishes in particular having to fight to keep churches open.