Westminster parliament

Has Britain (or indeed Ireland) got Government Talent?

I was struck by the new French President speaking about those to be recruited to his government: I will choose them for their experience, their competence, what they have done and not for what they represent or their political weight… Gosh. There’s a thought. Leaving aside whether you think he is a good or bad thing, more…

Brendan Duddy deserved a Nobel Peace Prize too

Coming soon after  so much painful reappraisal that accompanied the death and burial of Martin McGuinness, a tribute from Peter Taylor to a man who was unambiguously a peacemaker, as reported in the Irish Times.   Broadcaster Peter Taylor – who revealed Mr Duddy’s role as an intermediary between the IRA and the British government more…

Stormont

With little of substance separating SF and the DUP, a war over manners stands proxy for NI politics…

Interesting editorial in the Irish Times musing on the subject of Sinn Fein’s true intentions re the restart of institutions, and concluding that: Although the DUP is showing signs of a willingness to engage, the noises coming from Sinn Féin are less positive and there are doubts about the party’s real intentions. One widely held more…

“So let nobody speak of a progressive or anti-Brexit pact either…”

In Saturday’s Irish News, Newton Emerson with some impertinent points about electoral pacts in the forthcoming General Election on June 8.  From the Irish News Sinn Féin has ordered the SDLP to stand down, although sadly not to dump arms, in North Belfast and Fermanagh and South Tyrone. Let nobody call this a nationalist pact, more…

“A UI will only happen when the unionists in the north recognise that we as a nation have finally matured…”

Just to add to the bizarrely fragile tone of the day that’s in it, this former senior officer in the Irish Defence Forces is getting stick for honouring his English guests at his Donegal holiday centre by flying their national flag. However, he takes a robust and contrary view to that of his many critics… “I think more…

“Arlene, tell me you did not just say that!?”

In today’s Sunday Independent, Arlene Foster is asked to play a word association game and when asked about Michelle O’Neill, her response is “blonde.” That’s what she said about her political equal, the woman she is tasked with developing political agreement with in order to re-establish the Assembly. “Blonde.” I’m scarlet for her. Yes, I more…

Did you hear the one about the blonde crocodile?

Arlene Foster has been slammed for comments she made about Sinn Fein’s northern leader, Michelle O’Neill, in a Sunday Independent article published today. When asked what word she would associate with Mrs O’Neill, Arlene Foster answered, “Blonde!” Here is the excerpt in full from the paper, beginning with the journalist (Niamh Horan) asking what Arlene more…

Dail Eireann full

The inevitable conclusion to the abstention debate.

In 2015 there were numerous news stories and debates about the possibility of Sinn Féin ending its abstentionist policy partly fuelled by a belief that the election might produce a hung parliament. This time around the airing of those arguments have lessened significantly. The polls predict a Tory majority. However the SDLP believe its still more…

Brendan Duddy RIP. A peace maker in real time

It is remarkable, in an age of sophisticated  back channels and espionage  replete with digital  and satellite communications, how a modest domestic background figured so  significantly in the moves which eventually led to the ceasefires – and all the more effectively for it. The problem was how to establish  trust when contacts had to be more…