Van Rompuy: “We’re in a survival crisis”

The Irish Minister for European Affairs, Dick Roche, tells European finance ministers not to “panic“… as the EU President, Herman Van Rompuy, panics? A Guardian report indicates the extent of the concern “The Irish problem is spreading, but it could get more volatile,” said Ashok Shah, chief investment officer at London Capital, a fund management firm. “They have to get this bailout, they have a period of time before it gets impossible, before nasty things happen. The longer they leave it, … Read more

Guardian poll supports British help for Ireland

 Is this genuine, generous solidarity, the like of which would not be extended to any other country or a cunning Irish write-in? Ireland bailout: should Britain foot the bill? 59.2% Yes 40.8% No Bearing in mind…  Ireland bailout: UK taxpayers could face £7bn bill But the Wall St Journal plays down the threat to sterling… Debt stresses in nearby Ireland therefore are unlikely to derail the pound’s outlook for now at least. In fact, they are “something of a small positive … Read more

Irish showdown likely in Brussels tonight

“The creditors say please take the money, and the debtor says ‘we don’t want it’. It’s very odd..” says one observer of the Irish financial crisis. Dublin is resisting an ECB-inspired bailout because it fears the likely terms will damage their holy grail, the prospects for future growth, by imposing virtually insupportable terms like ending 12.5% company tax. On the other hand, you might think it’s just as peculiar for the ECB to insist on Ireland taking the money when … Read more

“Sinn Féin just haven’t made any impact at all.”

When Gerry Adams announced his intention to leave west Belfast for a bid to hold onto a seat in Louth, to be vacated by Arthur Morgan, the Sinn Féin president was keen to paint the move as his duty “in this time of crisis in our country“.  Or, as Martin McGuinness would have us believe, “to play a central role in the battle for Ireland’s economic recovery”. As the Irish Times noted Sinn Féin sources insisted last night that Mr Adams’s decision to … Read more

Adams to apply to the Crown for ‘job’ in the Chilterns?

Kudos to David at Politics.ie, for spotting a deliciously cruel (not to mention trivial) technicality for the abstentionist MP for West Belfast. Michael Crick (who likes his politicians served up on toast), tricks out the Republican dilemma: The traditional route is a procedural device whereby the resigning MP applies either to be Steward of the Chiltern Hundreds of Buckinghamshire, or of the Manor of Northstead. Both are deemed to be “offices of profit under the Crown” and holding either post … Read more

Economic crisis blogburst 1: Government in denial of bailout

The sovereign/bank debt story has moved on over the weekend, with the Government denying it was talking about triggering a bailout, and everybody else talking about the likihood that they would. So, with little or no attempt to editorialise, here’s some of the best commentary of the day: – Dan O’Brien suggests this is no longer a domestic only issue. The question of a bail out for Ireland may be secondary to a larger crisis in the Eurozone… – As … Read more

Latest- Pressure coming from ECB.. EU about to make an offer Ireland can’t refuse?

3 pm . While RTE reports only the Commission saying ” it isn’t us” The Irish Times reports that the pressure for a bailout is coming from the European Central Bank in order to ease pressure on Irish banks rather than the State directly.. European Central Bank vice president Vitor Constancio said Ireland could use the European Financial Stability Facility to help prop up its banking system to restore investor confidence. “The problems of the Irish banking sector are not … Read more

A profound shock to unionism – a necessary step along the road to final agreement

The Anglo-Irish Agreement whose 25th anniversary falls today immediately exposed the limitations of a unionist veto on all political progress. But its equally significant and unintended result over time was to demonstrate the impossibility of reaching full agreement without participation by all sides, Sinn Fein as well as unionists. Understandably perhaps, retired mandarins of Iveagh House like Sean Donlon stress the check to unionism. Essentially the elements of the 1985 Agreement remain the default position should the GFA and St … Read more

The one thing worse than being talked about?

Interesting to see the responses to Gerry Adams’ hypothetical candidacy in Louth during the next, as yet uncalled, General Election. While all politics may be local, and the Donegal SW by-election will ultimately be decided by various local issues, Gerry Adams’ announcement managed to catapult Sinn Féin onto the front pages in the penultimate weekend of the campaign. Whether long-planned choreography, beginning with Arthur Morgan’s resignation, was unpacked by Pearse Doherty’s successful High Court action, is not likely to be admitted in the short term. In reality, … Read more

Margaret Ritchie is offering real leadership

   While one nationalist leader may be fading out from the northern scene, another is exhibiting real poise and growing self confidence. This image and this underrated leader’s speech deserve an imaginative, constructive and magnanimous response.  SDLP Progressive nationalism is more confident, more optimistic, and more ready to engage wholeheartedly across the divide. We are not afraid to say ‘Northern Ireland’ or to encounter a member of the British Royal family at a function. How ridiculous was it for Martin … Read more

The new comments system is here

We’ve just added our new comments system to the site. Have a look? The thinking behind it can be seen on this post from a few months ago. It will help us do the following things: Help readers find the best comments quickly. We often have 100+ comments on a thread. You will now be able to highlight the points that you agree with and that you think are original or well-made points. See who you regularly agree / disagree … Read more

International Representative for west Belfast to contest Irish seat?

Apparently the rumours are true…  We’ll see.  The BBC reports that the International Representative for west Belfast, Gerry Adams, MP, MLA, is “expected to announce later that he intends running for the Irish parliament in the next election.” For Louth? As Gerry Adams said himself, “I think there is an issue that I do not stand for election in the south and I have a constituency in another jurisdiction.” Indeed. Update  From the updated BBC report Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams is … Read more

shhh…you didn’t hear it here first

Image by Brian mór - original on the Pensive Quill

You heard it here. With Arthur Morgan leaving behind socialism for business (a first for SF?) the field is open for a new SF face in Louth. Will Gerry Adams be declaring his hand at Edentubber? The good people of Louth would of course want this handy loyal supporter’s guide to Adams as a representative if he did step up to the plate. Mark McGregorBlogging at: http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com

Reuters: “Talks are ongoing and European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) money will be used”

Despite the apparent ‘good news’ yesterday, it appears the pessimists may be right after all.  The BBC picks up on a Reuters report quoting “euro zone” sources Euro zone sources told Reuters that aid discussions were under way, however. One official said it was “very likely” that Ireland would get financial assistance from the EU facility set up after Greece obtained a 110 billion euro bailout in May. “Talks are ongoing and European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) money will be … Read more

Pressure on Ireland eases as jeremiah Kelly attacked for feeding gloom

 Good news. The forces of light are fighting back!  Pressures on Dublin have eased slightly after the EU Finance Ministers’ reassure bond holders that burden sharing doesn’t start until 2013. Did all those hot shots not know that? Biffo is doing his best to cool persistent rumours of an imminent bailout. Meanwhile arch jeremiah Morgan Kelly is taken to task by Davy strategist Donal O’Mahoney for spreading contagion, identifying a phoney ” mortgage war” and (as I read it) taking delight … Read more

Matching vote and belief? (we love our graphs)

I’m not sure which topic suggestions for the unconference I’ll be supporting or attending – I’m considering removing the idea I have near the top of the list and promoting my lower rated one. That’s the joy of the format, what happens will only become clear on the day and will be defined by those that decide to attend. As part of getting in the mood and seeing if a discussion could form around it I thought I’d return to … Read more

Cross-border shoppers spent €418m in Northern Ireland over the last year

That’s the figure given in the Irish Central Statistics Office (CSO) quarterly national household survey on cross-border shopping [pdf file].  According to the iol report The figures showed a 2% drop in cross border shoppers in the 12 months compared to the previous year, when an estimated €435m was spent. The CSO said: “While there was a decline in the proportions of households making shopping trips to Northern Ireland, this was offset by the fact that households who were making trips were doing … Read more

Financial crisis widens gap between north and south

Wars , famine and internal government crises were meat and drink to my generation of journalists as we were growing up. Sure enough, we vaguely registered ” the gnomes of Zurich ” who had to be appeased moments before yet another devolution of sterling crashed over us. But the end of “Bretton Woods” and the birth of ” the snake” were all arcana from the pink pages we could safely leave to the better-dressed money people as we coped with … Read more

What’s different about the “Agreement Generation”?

UCD conference - The Agreement Generation: An Opportunity for Change?

There’s an intriguing one-day conference down in the John Hume Institute For Global Irish Studies at UCD on Wednesday 17 November. This conference will look at themes around the opportunity for change in Northern Irish and all Island politics. The peace process, the passage of time and generations with different frames of reference, have all provided space to reframe the political agendas and the various relationships between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. In particular the conference will focus … Read more

“This is perhaps a good week to pause and remember them and the long and lonely war that they waged.”

Military historian David Murphy has an interesting article in today’s Irish Times on the Irish men and women who joined the French Resistance during World War II.  From the Irish Times article While the Irish contingent within the Resistance was extremely small, it can be shown that a number of them came to the attention of the authorities. It is known that 10 were arrested, tried and later sent to prison, a labour camp or a concentration camp. Four Irish … Read more