Cardinal Brady calls for an independent statutory body in the south

Will Crawley has the full statement from Cardinal Brady outlining why he is staying on in his post and what he proposes to do about child sex abuse within the church. In effect, in Northern Ireland, he is accepting that the state will have the final say: I have asked the Child Safeguarding staff in the Diocese of Armagh to make all necessary preparations for our full participation as a Diocese in the work of the new Independent Safeguarding Authority, … Read more

Ireland: 2012 – We Were Warned!

Not only by the Mayans – Morgan Kelly is back. This time he estimates that banking losses could turn out to be much more severe than predicted during the Nama debates, which will bring our very own Greek tragedy to our shores. Whatever happened to Ireland? Adding these bank losses to its national debt will leave Ireland in 2012 with a debt-GDP ratio of 115%. But if we look at the ratio in terms of GNP, which gives a more … Read more

“..things are what they are and will be what they will be”

The number of people protesting over the conditions republican prisoners face in Magheraberry is growing. Newry Republican has a blog that gives an impression of the crowds that attended Sunday’s rally at the prison. The Pensive Quill covers the speech made by Harry Fitzsimmons‘ sister Maureen at that protest (also on YouTube). More photographs demonstrating the size of the protest appear on the Friends of Colin Duffy website. Sinn Féin previously announced a visit to the prison but as yet … Read more

Republicans and Unionists both need to look at their directions of travel

Guest blogger Mr Crumlin argues it is high time both Republicanism and Unionism stop coasting in the same gear they were in during the conflict. And he asks: “Does unionism genuinely want to work with their fellow countrymen in the north? If so, then it is up to republicanism once again to show leadership and to travel the extra mile for the national good.”

Has the SDLP kissed and made up?

Conall McDevitt is reporting on his facebook: “I have just been given responsibility for developing SDLP policy on a shared, safe society. Do get in touch if you would like to contribute.” Having been granted dominion over one of his leaders core theme’s does this mean earlier reports of her preference for him as the influential Enterprise Committee Chair will not come to pass? Has Alban Maginness been granted a stay of execution or is anyone else lined up? I expect we’ll … Read more

Euro crisis: The Hollow Euro

Twice in the past century Germans have learnt, the hard way, the value of sound money. Between 1921 and 1923 the Weimar Republic, under the strain of massive WW1 reparations, fell into a hyper-inflationary death spiral. The Mark plunged in value, measured against Gold Standard Marks it fell from a ratio of 1:1 to 1:1 trillion in 2 years. After the German defeat in WW2, their economy was in tatters and the Reichsmark once again worthless. In 1948 Ludwig Erhard, … Read more

The ash is back

No-fly zones have been re-imposed over parts of the UK, including Northern Ireland, and some Irish airports are also affected.  The Met Office will be updated its observations of the volcanic ash cloud on a regular basis. Adds The Guardian has more. Including this footage of the culprit, the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, erupting. Pete Baker

Euro crisis: “decision to create a single currency in Europe was an eminently political decision.”

At the Cedar Lounge, WorldbyStorm has a lengthy post detailing his increasing scepticism as a pro-EU[ropean] over the EU Commission’s proposals to “co-ordinate fiscal policy in advance”. But more importantly to me, however pro-EU I am, as noted above I have to admit that I am becoming more and more dubious about the very notion of an EU polity that transcends national divisions. It seems to me that the distinctions between nations within the EU is so great as to … Read more

de Juana Chaos extradition appeal to continue in his absence

Despite having had no contact with their client since he jumped bail in March this year, lawyers acting on behalf of the convicted ETA killer, Jose Ignacio de Juana Chaos, are “continuing with instructions” in the appeal against his extradition to Spain.  Which is nice…  But have they checked his Dublin address yet? Pete Baker

EU Commission: “essential cornerstone of reinforced economic governance is to coordinate fiscal policy in advance”

The EU Commission’s proposals for in-advance peer-review of proposed national budgets has provoked a heated political reaction in the Dáil.  As Miriam Lord wryly notes, the a vice-president of the European People’s Party, Fine Gael’s Enda Kenny is being accused of Euroscepticism. However Taoiseach Brian Cowen doesn’t seem as opposed to the proposals as, say, the Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt. In Germany, despite a difficult week, Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the proposals Chancellor Angela Merkel praised the EU’s attempts to crackdown on irresponsible spending, and said … Read more

Fourth member of Tohill abduction gang re-arrested

An iol report notes that Liam Rainey, formerly of Belfast’s Ballymurphy Road and New Barnsley Crescent, appeared before the High Court in Dublin today following his arrest by gardaí in Bettystown, Co Meath, on Tuesday on foot of a European Arrest Warrant.  Rainey is the fourth member of the Provisional IRA gang to be recaptured after jumping bail in May 2006 while awaiting sentencing for attempting to abduct dissenting republican Bobby Tohill in 2004.  No doubt, “He was just following orders” too… As … Read more

Stephanomics: “That is getting very close to a fiscal union…”

While our focus was on the Prime Ministerial negotiations, the European Commission was moving to shore up the eurozone – agreeing emergency measures worth €750billion ($975bn, £650bn). That’s on top of the earlier € 110billion three-year bail-out package to rescue Greece’s economy agreed with the IMF. Ireland’s contribution to that earlier plan, providing for bilateral loans up to € 1.312 billion from Ireland to Greece, is due to go before the Dáil next week. As, still everyone’s hero, Robert Peston warned … Read more

World Twenty20: “Just play on. Jesus, it’s only rain.”

At the Guardian’s sports blog Dara O’Briain reflects on the outcome of the most important sporting event of the week – the rain-affected World Twenty20 clash between Ireland and England. From the Guardian blog Well, where do we begin? Generations of division; the Dark Burden of History; all this to be finally addressed with the use of willow and ball. Or it would have been, but there was some rain and according to the rules, that meant England went through. Now, … Read more

World Twenty20: Ireland v England

As I mentioned last night, the West Indies rain-assisted win over England provides the slightest glimmer of hope for Ireland to progress to the next stage of the ICC Twenty20 World Cup.  If they can beat England… If the match actually takes place… The rain at Providence, Guyana, has already intervened in the first match of the day.  Which side Duckworth/Lewis will benefit as Ireland take on England is anybody’s guess. Match due to start at 6.30pm.  Ireland win the toss … Read more

Derry Essays 6: So good they’ve named it several times…

Whether it is the Derry Air, the Londonderry Air or Danny Boy you sing, one sure thing is that if you’re from the North West you have a more than reasonable chance to have a fine voice and musical talent – and as a musician born from the musical Cassidy clan from Derry I don’t need to throw the stone too far at all! Of course another feature is the modesty of those in all of the Arts field whose … Read more

The Conservative link and the geopolitics of the United Kingdom

As voters from Lerwick to Penzance prepare to cast their votes on the 6th May they will be afforded the right to do two things that are central to any real democracy. First they will be able to elect a new Parliament from which a new government will be formed to represent them. Secondly, they will pass judgement on the government that has been running the country for the last five years. Yet there is one part of the United … Read more

World Twenty20: Ireland Life-line From Rain Delayed Windies Win

In the second match in Ireland’s group in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup England posted an impressive first innings total of 191 from 20 overs – including a fine 55 from 35 balls by former Ireland batsman Eoin Morgan [*ahem* – Ed].  The Windies openers started strongly, making 30 from 2.2 overs, before rain stopped play. When they resumed, the Duckworth/Lewis calculation deemed that a less-than-challenging target of 60 from 6 overs would be sufficient for victory. Still, it wasn’t until … Read more

A picture worth a thousand words

As the Belfast marathon made its way through the streets of West Belfast it negotiated a white line picket of hundreds protesting over conditions faced by Republican prisoners  in British gaols. At Sevastapol Street there was this striking shot of a PSNI armoured jeep acting barrier between the iconic image of Bobby Sands, at a closed SF HQ, and those that would take to streets on behalf of current Republican prisoners. Mark McGregorBlogging at: http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com

‘No fly zone’ over Ireland tomorrow

RTÉ reports that the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has warned Irish-based airlines that a ‘no fly zone’ may have to be imposed over Ireland tomorrow because of an ash cloud drifting down from Iceland.  From the IAA statement The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has informed Irish-based airlines that it is concerned that Irish Airports may be impacted by the drift south of the volcanic ash cloud caused by the north easterly winds. Current information from the Volcanic Ash Advice Centre … Read more