ICLVR: “The results positively indicate that the remains are those of Mr Gerard Evans”

The BBC reports that the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains [ICLVR] have confirmed that the body found after a targeted search of bogland in County Louth in October is that of Gerard Evans, who was abducted, murdered and secretly buried in 1979.  No organisation has admitted responsibility for his murder.  But some have unreliable memories… Louth is, of course, the constituency where the [soon-to-be] former International Representative for west Belfast is hoping to be elected. Pete Baker

Ireland can’t afford to bail out European banks

I think this point is worth highlighting more clearly. Below – Simon Johnson ex-CEO of the IMF – on who is owed money by the Irish banks German banks are owed $139 billion, which is 4.2 percent of German G.D.P. British banks are owed $131 billion, or about 5 percent of Britain’s G.D.P. French banks are owed $43.5 billion, which is approaching 2 percent of French G.D.P. But the eye-catching numbers are for Belgium, which is owed $29 billion – … Read more

vote early, check how it was counted often

Continuing on from a post on 1 November about “faith-based” e-voting. Some interesting ideas from David Bismark at TEDGlobal 2010 about e-voting that tries to simultaneously increases transparency and reduces fraud. One of the main objections to e-voting is that it’s difficult for each voter to know that her vote was recorded accurately and counted correctly, while she remains anonymous. In the system designed by David Bismark and his colleagues, each voter gets a takeaway slip that serves as a … Read more

Sovereignty is less Ireland’s issue than not knowing what to do with it…

A fair amount of rubbish is talked about Irish sovereignty. Despite what some have said, it is not like virginity (ie, once it is gone, it is gone forever). But then again, like sex, it is not something that Ireland likes to talk about in public either. In our Lisbon essays (scroll down) it formed the base of some of our liveliest contributions. I was particularly struck by Ben Tonra’s suggestion that the country was too timid to make any … Read more

A Castle Built on Sand

Six months ago I wrote in this column about the very generous welfare payments being paid in the Republic of Ireland, sometimes two or nearly three times the equivalent levels paid in the North(1). As the Republic now plumbs new depths of national indebtedness and near-bankruptcy, it is clear that this attempt at a welfare state was constructed on the flimsiest of foundations, a real castle built on sand. During the weeks of Ireland’s financial ‘bail-out’ crisis this month, the … Read more

Fintan’s Enough is Enough petition is a better start for reform

Although no fan of Fintan O’Toole’s spasm of direct action, his headline political reforms are admirable. Once he’s won some support, he surely needs to transform the petition into a collective enterprise. Political reform is no solo run or quick fix. He will also realise he needs support from among those he has  been slagging off or he’ll not get very far.   For Irish reform, old ghosts should not inhibit a comparative analysis with the British experience. Ireland like Britain … Read more

“what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Termonfeckin to be born?”

Well, there’s one for the record. Dermot Ahern quits ahead of the election (and it could be 28th December if Lowry and Healy stick to their rebellious murmurerings of last week). Who’d have thunk it? Well Brian Feeney for a start (H/T Kate!). He may not have suggested Ahern would so spectacularly have quit the field, but he hinted darkly at his imminent defeat few others in the southern space thought likely. Already the Twitterverse is waxing lyrical on the … Read more

SF: More lessons on not making a clear statement

It is increasingly bizarre that is was DUP MLA Robin Newton who announced major changes on SF’s team at Belfast City Council while Cllr Tom Hartley declared any changes would merely be about phasing out dual madates: Sinn Féin is replacing a number of Councillors at City Hall in line with our party’s policy of phasing out dual-mandates With Deirdre Hargey, previously suspended from SF and dropped as a council candidate in 2005 over her actions during/following the murder of … Read more

A debt unpayable without mass migration?

And another from Henry whilst we’re there (and he’s thinking of his forlorn homeland), he makes an important point about the unreal nature of expectations in Dublin. In particular he takes Stephen Collins to task for taking: …as a given that Ireland’s growth rate from the mid 1990’s through 2008 or so reflected “normal economic and political conditions.” They didn’t. Ireland was playing catch-up with the developed industrial democracies – and during catch-up, one can hope for very high growth … Read more

Euro crisis: “This might be the last chance to bring stability back to the European’s financial system…”

The day after the details of Ireland’s bail-out were revealed, the BBC notes the markets’ reaction On Sunday, ministers reached agreement over a bail-out worth about 85bn euros ($113bn; £72bn). On Monday, the euro fell 0.8% to $1.3136, its lowest since 21 September. And Irish, Spanish and Portuguese bond yields remained stubbornly high, indicating the market is not convinced European debt problems have gone away. Meanwhile, major European markets were also lower in midday trade. The euro also fell against … Read more

A prediction of the banking crisis (from 1998)…

Courtesy of Tom Prendeville… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

The Irish people should not be teased with false choices

“The best under the circumstances”, says Cowen or “almost unaffordable” according to Noonan? The battle lines for the general election are drawn up immediately. But the contest won’t be about real alternatives. It’ll be about how the Irish people respond to a settlement they have to work through whoever is in power, give or take a tweak or two. This poses a big challenge for Michael Noonan, Joan Bruton and the rest of the government in waiting.  They have to change … Read more

Details of Ireland’s €85 billion bail-out agreed

As RTÉ reports, European Union finance ministers have agreed the €85 billion bail-out for Ireland. Of the total package €35bn is to be used to support the banking system. Of that €10bn will be used immediately to inject fresh capital as a buffer against expected loan losses. The remaining €25bn will be made available as a contingency fund, effectively a massive overdraft facility, to be drawn down by the banks as and when required. And the other €50billion?  The Irish … Read more

Donegal South West: Emergence of Sinn Fein Nua?

Now whilst Donegal is not Ireland, for Sinn Fein this byelection victory has the potential to become a game-changing moment. They now have one of those two predicted Donegal seats.  In fact, Aidan Kavanagh’s Red C extrapolations underestimated Sinn Fein’s appeal to the Donegal South West electorate and exaggerated the strength of the mainstream parties. Pearse Doherty grabbed 40% of all first preferences, and 60% of all first and second preferences, something that’s previously been unheard of in the politics of the … Read more

The All Blacks can’t play in the snow..

I hope… The New Zealand Herald think it’s a done deal… Graham Henry wants to smash Wales -that’s not nice.. Stringer is back – Argentina ain’t a rollover… DewiWelsh Nationalist. Rugby Fan. Know a bit about History and Railways…

Setting the unionist cat amongst the cultural pigeons: Nelson McCausland on why unionists ignore culture at their peril

Nelson McCausland speaking at his session at 2010 DUP Conference on Why unionists ignore culture at their peril

The Gransha Suite at La Mon Hotel had obviously been packed with DUP Conference delegates for the previous session on Challenges in Policing when I eventually arrived earlier this evening. PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott was still giving a few interviews to the press while a Lambeg Drum was being set up on the other side of the stage. Nelson McCausland was up next, addressing DUP delegates as a dedicated follower of culture and MLA, rather than as Minister for … Read more

Who is doing their own thing?

We start easy: Now it gets political: ‘One of these things is not like the others, One of these things just doesn’t belong’ Can you spot the odd one out? Mark McGregorBlogging at: http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com

Will Donegal create the bounce for Ireland’s Green Tea Party?

Mark  is entitled to be pleased. But Donegal is only the sparring match. The stakes have now raised to a critical high for the main bout.  If Sinn Fein can’t win big in the general election, they never will.  The Donegal sideshow was in some respects, a gift.  A blatant gerrymander in delaying the by election by 17 months, the appeal of the “burn the bondholders ”  populist shout, a personable well-gelled young candidate with a good community record, I understand all … Read more

SF win at a canter: Senator Pearse Doherty now Pearse Doherty TD

The Liveblog is still running but Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty has now been declared TD for Donegal South West. In a stunning performance he was elected slightly under quota as the two remaining candidates were unable to catch him. Perhaps the most encouraging factor for SF is Doherty was collecting transfers at high levels throughout all counts? Interestingly his final tally of 16,897, on a reduced turnout, isn’t far off the 20K that would have seen two TDs elected in … Read more