Region Archives: Northern Ireland

Brexit EU

#Brexit: the DUP and the Risks of Not Passing Go

The DUP torpedoed today’s sensible UK-EU compromise deal on the border because, according to an Arlene Foster tweet, the party could not accept any deal which separates Northern Ireland politically from the rest of the UK. This will come as a great surprise to campaigners for marriage equality, liberalisation of the abortion laws, and comprehensive more…

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Can the DUP square all its circles before time runs out?

In the aftermath of the DUP’s slick, on message conference last month, Arlene Foster’s comments on the border and customs union were – unsurprisingly – headline news. This week, after a chaotic round of statements, leaks and interviews from the Irish and British governments, the DUP and the EU, they bear reexamining. On the border, more…

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Foster sets out the DUP view of a “Sensible Brexit”

The DUP Leader, Arlene Foster has set out her stall to members of the Lagan Valley DUP Association last night as to what she views as a “sensible Brexit.” I have highlighted some of the key passages; Some time ago I set out our Party’s desire to see not a hard Brexit or a soft more…

The DUP are barking up the wrong tree

The DUP’s kneejerk reaction to the Times story that the Brexit sherpas are working on a plan to “avoid divergence” of regulations and standards on our island proves how insecure they feel the Union really is. According to the ancient rule of our politics that the insecure pay more attention to their opponents than their more…

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Relationships: The Bridge between Principles & Practicalities

“We are committed to partnership, equality and mutual respect as the basis of relationships within Northern Ireland, between North and South and between these islands” – Belfast / Good Friday Agreement 1998 Last month, I had the immense honour of speaking at the international youth conference One Young World: 1500 young leaders from 196 countries more…

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“For me to refuse to talk about these things when I’m asked a straight question almost suggests I’m ashamed to be a nationalist – and I’m not”

The Irish News Political Correspondent, John Manley has a really interesting interview with the Foreign Affairs Minister, Simon Coveney which outlines his views on a border poll and a United Ireland. In the interview he says; “I would like to see a united Ireland in my lifetime – if possible, in my political lifetime,” Manley more…

Diarmaid Ferriter on Gerry Adams: “Many political careers end in failure; some just end in irony.”

It’s worth quoting at length from historian Diarmaid Ferriter in Saturday’s Irish Times on the ironic legacy Gerry Adams leaves for Sinn Féin. Fianna Fáil continued to invoke its republican “heritage” while determinedly staying the revisionist course; the same conclusions are likely to be reached about Sinn Féin under Adams. One of the reasons for more…

Local Environmental & Planning Governance Under Scrutiny (Somewhat)

On the heels of another damning report on failures relating to compliance with environmental and planning rules, Northern Ireland will be subject to international scrutiny December under the aegis of the authoritative United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s (UNECE) Aarhus Convention. The Convention – named after the Danish city where it was adopted in 1998 – more…

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EXCLUSIVE POLL: Unionist supporters content with East West post #Brexit border controls…

The dilemma facing Brexit negotiators on the ‘Irish border’ question is how to retain an invisible, frictionless, ‘soft’ North-South border in Ireland and somehow avoid the seemingly inevitable reality of the emergence of a ‘hard’ border if the UK leaves the single market and the customs union. Squaring this circle is a little tricky. It’s more…

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DUP promise “a balanced deal” at conference that lacked its normal spark #dup17

The religious zeal and fervour normally on show at the November DUP conference was missing from much of today’s proceedings. The banter, jeering and spontaneous bursting into song was muted, actively discouraged (or forbidden). The flags, normally already laid out on seats when the delegates arrive, were only distributed after lunch. It seem that with more…

Ireland and the border has emerged as the current acid test. In their own interests, Leo Varadkar and Micheal Martin should give Theresa May space to pass it

The current British position is admirably described by James Forsyth in the Brexit leaning, Conservative supporting Spectator. I can do no better than to quote it at length. It covers a viewpoint that cannot be dismissed by ardent Remainers like me.  Whatever the mood music, it will be taken seriously in the chancelleries of Europe. more…

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Take Back Control – of our Ulster-Scots histories

A friend of mine was sacked from the civil service for saying that Ulster-Scots was a made up language. Unfortunately he said it in the newspaper. But lots of us have said it in private, right? LOLed at the dafties whilst railing against the DUP. Or for unionists, awkwardly pushed it forward as a political more…

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Six Things We Learned From Ireland’s Failed Rugby World Cup Bid…

Last week’s surprise decision to grant the 2023 Rugby World Cup (RWC) to France was a huge disappointment for the Irish, who had been bookies’ favourite throughout the process. As the dust finally settles on the five-year effort to bring one of the world’s largest sporting events to these shores, here are six key lessons more…

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Previewing this weekend’s DUP conference #dup17

Tomorrow’s DUP conference is a big moment for the DUP and one that they’ll want to steer away from the evangelical zeal (and language) of some previous conferences to look modern and trustworthy as the eyes of the world’s press fall on their demeanour as much as their message.

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Continuity between Adams’ failed war and failing peace is to ‘establish the conflict as eternal and perpetual’

A powerful piece from Newton Emerson, in yesterday’s Irish Times… The first person the IRA murdered after Gerry Adams was elected Sinn Féin president was Charles Armstrong, the Ulster Unionist chair of Armagh City and District Council. Adams became president on Sunday, November 13th, 1983. The following evening, a bomb exploded under Armstrong’s car as he left a council meeting. An more…

Domestic political turmoil renders the Brexit negotiations even more unpredictable. This time it’s not London’s fault

Compared with some other key leaders, Theresa May’s position is  looking remarkably stable for a change  as she flies into Brussels today for what’s being billed in London as crucial meetings with EU leaders including Council president Donald  Tusk. The Westminster lobby is reporting that she’ll be taking soundings over whether a British offer of more…

Another leak against the Brits, but Theresa’s not for budging

Another leak to RTE, another bout of Irish pressure, accompanied by Irish Times columnist Stephen Collins joining a chorus of “ contempt” for British tactics and urging his government to stand firm. The (British position that the) Border issue should be dealt with in phase two of the Brexit negotiations dealing with future trade rather more…