Northern Bank robbery – redux

In an under-reported move on Friday, 63 year-old George Hegarty, of Donnybrook Cottages, Douglas, Cork, pleaded guilty to money laundering at his address in February 2005, knowing or believing that the £66,000 Sterling found at his home represented the proceeds of a robbery at the Northern Bank, Belfast in December 2004, or being reckless as to whether that money was or represented such proceeds.  As yesterday’s Irish News noted Mr Hegarty was originally arrested in February 2005 at the same time as … Read more

Gormley’s Wire Man not “being progressed”

In January last year the Dublin Docklands Authority stated that although they would “not be proceeding” with Antony Gormley’s Wire Man sculpture at that time, “the project will be kept under review and the Docklands Authority will continue working with the artist and others to progress the design at this stage.”  They also confirmed that “the sculpture is an important element of the Docklands Arts Strategy”.  Today’s Sunday Times reports that despite assurances to the artist, and DDA spending more than … Read more

Red C Poll: Labour 7 points up, SF 4 points down

The interesting thing to note from the reports of the Red C poll figures for tomorrow’s Sunday Business Post is that the only statistically significant swings appear to be away from Sinn Féin (down 4 points at 6%) and towards the Irish Labour Party (up 7 points at 24%).  From the RTÉ report The poll found Fianna Fáil support down one point to 23%, leaving the party in third place just days before the second anniversary of Brian Cowen’s election as Taoiseach. Labour … Read more

Sinn Féin’s hidden crisis? *updated*

In the comments on Pete’s entry covering Padraig McShane’s resignation from Sinn Féin I noted the following list (now substantially updated) of Councillors that have resigned recently (this list is confined to those that have left during the current council terms north and south – those that left in previous terms are excluded): Dessie Ward Padraig McShane Briege Meehan Domhnall O’Cobhthaigh Gerry McHugh Bernice Swift Barry Monteith Gerard Foley Michael Tallon Poilin Ui Cathain Killian Ford Christy Burke John Dwyer … Read more

ICC World Twenty20 2010

Ireland’s honourable performance in last year’s tournament may be a dim, and happy, memory but tonight they face this year’s Twenty20 Cricket World Cup host’s, the West Indies, under floodlights at Providence, Guyana – start time 1700 local (2100 GMT/2200 BST). As the BBC preview notes, the opening game will see New Zealand take on Sri Lanka (1800 BST). It’s a return to the scene of Ireland’s breakthrough in world cricket, the 2007 World Cup, and the Guardian has a good article on Ireland’s ambition and the investment … Read more

Gerry Ryan dead

There isn’t much on the mainstream media websites yet, but Twitter is ablaze with rumours that RTÉ broadcaster Gerry Ryan has died. Gary McKeown

What next for our North-South postal and train services?

[This is taken from A Note from the Next Door Neighbours, the monthly e-bulletin of Andy Pollak, Director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh and Dublin] Here is some good news. The postal service between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland works well. A report in February by Consumer Focus Post, the consumer ‘quango’ which looks after the interests of users of the UK postal system, found that nearly four in five Northern Ireland individual users … Read more

Roubini: “In A Few Days Time, There Might Not Be A Eurozone For Us To Discuss”

Via Business Insider – Reuters blogger – Felix Salmon writes up a Nouriel Roubini panel on “The Eurozone: Still One for All and All for One?” Nouriel, of course, takes that kind of thinking to its logical conclusion, and kicked off the panel by announcing that it was just in time: “in a few days,” he said, “there might not be a eurozone for us to discuss.” There’s no way that Greece can implement the 10% spending cut it needs … Read more

Irish Justice Minister cancels appearance at GRA annual conference

Irish Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern cancelled his scheduled appearance at the  Garda Representative Association (GRA) annual conference today after the text of a critical speech to be delivered by the association’s outgoing president, Michael O’Boyce, was circulated.  According to the iol report  In the speech, Mr O’Boyce was intending to say gardaí and other public sector workers had endured an “unrelenting, distasteful and vitriolic attack from the Government and their wealthy cronies” during the past year and a half. “This was distasteful … Read more

Baggott outlines police response to security threat

A BBC report notes the NI Police Federation’s concerns about “insufficient resources” being available to PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott as an emergency meeting of the Policing Board discussed the increasing activities of still-violent republican groups.  UTV has the quotes from Matt Baggott, and others, following the meeting  “We’ll be doing vehicle checkpoints throughout the next couple of weeks and probably beyond that”, Mr Baggott said. “I know they are a huge inconvenience to the public but let’s be very clear the responsibility … Read more

“The Provos are giving the police information non-stop”

A Sunday Times report on efforts to counter the increasing activity of still-violent republican groups begins by noting the recent returning to prison of a man released on licence in 1992.  Pending a legal challenge, no doubt.  From the Sunday Times The Northern Ireland Office is examining intelligence information supplied by MI5 on dissident republicans who were released early under the Good Friday agreement to check if there is evidence to seek their immediate return to prison. Martin Corey, 60, who … Read more

Ireland 1 – Formerly mighty Blighty 0

Hot on the heals of a Henry McDonald article proclaiming the south to be a country on the edge of bankruptcy and a people seething with anger over the greed and profligacy of the nation’s political and financial elite. Marc Coleman dons the cudgels for Ireland and counters that Ireland is on a path to real recovery, while the timing of the British election has meant that the UK economy has become a fools paradise with hard decisions delayed. Whether … Read more

Then and now – Ireland & The Argentine Economic Crisis

Argentina entered recession in 1999 and defaulted on it’s public debt in 2001. According to Wikipedia In the meantime, government spending continued to be high and corruption was rampant. Argentina’s public debt grew enormously during the 1990s, and the country showed no true signs of being able to pay it . Enormously eh? It hit the heady heights of.. Ratio of debt to GDP grows to 41% in 1998, then 47% in 1999. Ratio of debt to GDP grows to … Read more

Derry Essays 2: A city on the border…

Derry is in the UK, true enough, but not only in the UK. The potential ‘UK City of Culture’ now stretches well beyond the boundaries of the state. Housing estates full of Derry commuters have sprung up in recent years on all the roads that stretch north, south and west of the city centre and across the nearby international boundary. Some people jokingly refer to Golan Hill on the outskirts of Buncrana in Co Donegal as ‘Golan Heights’ because there … Read more

Irish 2009 budget deficit goes upwards to 14.3% (past Greece)!

Ireland surges past Greece into first place for 2009 European fiscal deficits. Per the Eurostat report In 2009 the largest government deficits in percentage of GDP were recorded by Ireland (-14.3%), Greece (-13.6%) the United Kingdom (-11.5%), Spain (-11.2%), Portugal (-9.4%), Latvia (-9.0%), Lithuania (-8.9%), Romania (-8.3%), France (-7.5%) and Poland (-7.1%). No Member State registered a government surplus in 2009. The lowest deficits were recorded by Sweden (-0.5%), Luxembourg (-0.7%) and Estonia (-1.7%). In all, 25 Member States recorded … Read more

IMF propose new bankers tax

In a new report to the G20, the IMF recommend that two new special taxes should be levied on banks and bankers to meet the cost of any future financial crises. The two taxes target bankers pay and bank profits. Per the Times report The first tax, a Financial Stability Contribution, would be a levy to fund any future government support. The second would be a Financial Activities Tax on the sum of the profits and remuneration of financial institutions. … Read more

Brian Cowen: “let’s go on a journey and forget about the destination”

As the Irish Times’ Deaglán de Bréadún reports, Taoiseach Brian Cowen, picking up from where Bertie Ahern left off, has been telling  the Journal of Cross-Border Studies in Ireland that the political journey is what is important, not the destination.  And he’s not wrong.  From the Irish Times article “The ultimate destination of any political project is a matter of time working itself out. Therefore the destination is not the thing to be talking about. That will be for other people … Read more

Have our parents and leaders screwed up the country?

[This is taken from A Note from the Next Door Neighbours, the monthly e-bulletin of Andy Pollak, Director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh and Dublin] I have just returned from Malawi in southern Africa where I was with a group of Irish and Northern Irish university academics in health, education and ICT who are working with colleagues in Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda on a training programme to help build their capacity to raise the research performance of … Read more

Unity Won’t Solve Ireland’s Two Major Problems

[This is taken from A Note from the Next Door Neighbours, the monthly e-bulletin of Andy Pollak, Director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh and Dublin] I believe that in the present circumstances of continued deep communal division in Northern Ireland and deep economic crisis in the Republic, Irish unity is not on the political agenda, nor does it make sense to put it on the agenda any time soon.  I have not heard advocates of rapid … Read more

A tribute to the amazing Armagh Rhymers

[This is taken from A Note from the Next Door Neighbours, the monthly e-bulletin of Andy Pollak, Director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh and Dublin] If I ever became Mayor of Armagh, the first thing I would do is to give the freedom of the city to the Vallely family. John B. Vallely is the best known of them, an artist who despite his international reputation has continued to live and work in his home place, … Read more