Michelle & Arlene: Ulster Says Snow … making political satire out of stasis (Accidental Theatre, 6/7/13 December)

The fourth in the series of Michelle and Arlene satirical plays – Ulster Says Snow! – is due to hit the stage of Accidental Theatre in Belfast’s Shaftesbury Square next week. Running alongside the Human Rights Festival, Rosemary Jenkinson hopes that this new show can explore many different rights, rather than just being a narrow snapshot of local politics.

The DUP are waking up to the idea that Fortress Ulster has no future. They should be encouraged, not abused

They are still talking in euphemisms.  They are desperate to avoid finding themselves suddenly on the losing side without any notion of the outcome. Goodness knows what Theresa May can offer to sell the withdrawal agreement when she visits Northern Ireland  on her nationwide tour. Experience of local negotiations argues strongly against side deals and the arguments have been so well rehearsed already. Entirely wisely, the DUP are for once hinting at a solution to the backstop conundrum other than … Read more

Why would the DUP NOT support a soft Brexit for the final deal that would get rid of border problems?

With the cabinet splitting every which way in all directions, Theresa May comes into her own as the ace stonewaller to every burning hypothetical question. As the fateful moment of signing the withdrawal agreement arrived in Brussels this morning, the prime minister was still insisting to the massed ranks of sceptics back home: “This isn’t about me. It’s not the case that there is another negotiation to be done. This is the deal that’s been agreed, it’s the only deal … Read more

Foster expresses deep regret for party’s mistakes over RHI while Boris imagines ‘UKNI’ dystopia but fails to excite DUP activists #DUP18

Read back key sections and listen to speeches from today’s DUP Conference. Arlene Foster apologised for the party’s mistakes over RHI, hinted at a ‘cultural deal’ and expressed her wish for devolution to be restored. Boris Johnson spoke about buses, Brexit and light sabres …

Arlene Foster should suspend judgement until the outcome of the negotiations

After Jo Johnson’s resignation from the government, the main focus today is the hardening view that Theresa May will fail to win a majority for any deal she negotiates with the EU.  This is in spite of claims that the UK and the EU are on the verge of agreement. It could be all- change next week. The DUP are an essential part of the calculations, but not the only part, as Mrs May is now assailed from both wings … Read more

The backstop with a good deal for GB can give Northern Ireland the best of both worlds

While Arlene is stuck in the grove of her blood red hard line, the local business community has found their own voice independent of politicians and have talked  to Peter Foster, Europe editor of the Daily Telegraph   700 miles away in Belfast, where the business community is trying to prepare the best it can for Brexit, despite all the uncertainty, the tone was markedly less apocalyptic ( than Arlene’s, stuck in a grove of red lines) . Declan Billington, … Read more

C’mon Arlene – Be a stateswoman. Let’s all jump together

As the Brexit negotiations approach some sort of climax it’s unwise to take any public statement entirely at face value.  Indeed any statement may have the opposite significance to the words usually mean. Thus when Juncker imitates the Dancing Queen and  tells the world: “The rapprochement potential between both sides has increased in recent days, the Dancing Queen  interprets the optimism as pressure on her to give more concessions on the backstop. So she threatens to refuse to sign a … Read more

The UK and Ireland are closing in on a border solution

The FT hopefully leads:  “Ireland backs Theresa May’s plan for all-UK customs union with the UK”. The story is jointly by-lined by their political editor at Conservative party conference in Birmingham and their Ireland correspondent. She will offer to meet the EU half way on the vexed issue of the Irish backstop, agreeing to Brussels’ demands that Northern Ireland stay part of the single market regulatory area of the bloc. But, in return, she wants the EU to concede to … Read more

Don’t let Arlene cause panic. The GFA isn’t dead, only sleeping and will acquire new life

When Arlene Foster said the GFA wasn’t  “sacrosanct” was she deliberately provoking a fit of the jitters? What did she mean? The Irish Times had no doubts:        The apparent attempt by Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster to undermine the Belfast Agreement in pursuit of a hardline strategy on Brexit is ill-considered and dangerous. It would appear that the DUP is actively pursuing a policy designed to ensure the restoration of the hardest possible border on the island regardless of the consequences for living … Read more

May’s team claim to find flexibility in DUP demand for legal guarantees for no checks ever in the Irish Sea

This is a running story .. Latest at 22.53 The FT leads with  DUP puts May on notice over Brexit backstop Arlene Foster tweeted defiantly: Meeting with Prime Minister just ended. NO border in the Irish Sea will ever be acceptable to unionists throughout the UK . . . regulatory or otherwise. Government sources claim there must be just enough wriggle room created by new time limits. But are they deceiving themselves  once again? From the FT story For some months, Mrs May’s team … Read more

Despite the PM’s steadfast support for the Union, Arlene Foster choses this moment to distance the DUP from Theresa May

The Daily Telegraph claims Arlene Foster has given “a major boost” to Boris Johnson’s leadership ambitions in an interview with the paper on the eve of Boris’ appearance at a Conservative fringe meeting.  In comments which fail to back the Chequers plan, she has also kept her distance from Theresa May personally. In a major boost for Mr Johnson’s leadership ambitions, Mrs Foster endorsed the “belief” and “spirit” contained in his blueprint for Brexit. One her biggest disappointments  is the failure … Read more

C’mon Arlene – Take action and start the journey of reconciliation with our community

Malachái O’Hara is the Green party rep for north Belfast, and LGBTQ activist. He was the vice chair of the equal marriage campaign and sits on the board of a suicide prevention charity.  On Monday 18th June, the Belfast Telegraph carried a front page headline that Former First Minister and current DUP leader Arlene Foster would attend an LGBT event. Despite repeated years of invitations by local LGBTQ groups, Arlene, as part of her continuing charm offensive (a well received visit … Read more

Arlene Foster attends GAA Ulster Final

DUP leader Arlene Foster stood for the Irish national anthem as Fermanagh took on Donegal at the GAA Ulster final in Clones. #UlsterGAA @FermanaghGAA @officialdonegal https://t.co/TwzX0n6JEe pic.twitter.com/wIZCtjL9E2 — BBC News NI (@BBCNewsNI) June 24, 2018 Here attendance was welcomed by the Sinn Fein Vice President, Michelle O’Neill; I very much welcome the attendance of DUP Leader Arlene Foster MLA at today’s Ulster GAA final. “I along with other Sinn Féin leaders met recently with Prince Charles in order to demonstrate … Read more

Arlene Foster;Unionism stands for pluralism and multi-culturism. We are inclusive and welcome all.

Some of the DUP Leader, Arlene Foster’s remarks in London today; And as a unionist I see no logic or rationale for a hard border being created between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. Indeed we do not want to see that at all. The only people stirring up myths of border checkpoints are those who are committed to unpicking the Union. They seek to use such imagery to advance and build support for their long-term political objective. They will … Read more

If you were the EU’s chief negotiator, what would you say to Arlene Foster to make her happier?

Not exactly an unbiased report in the Daily Telegraph Michel Barnier has denied trying to split up the United Kingdom after strongly backing plans that would create a new border between Britain and Northern Ireland after Brexit. In an inflammatory address in Dundalk, Ireland on Monday, Mr Barnier denied there was a secret EU plan to pressure Britain into reversing Brexit by insisting on a backstop clause that would keep Northern Ireland in the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union. Arlene … Read more

A united Ireland remains an uncertain unknown. If it happens, the country will need strong leaders who can lead the country into a better future

A united Ireland is such a huge issue in Northern Irish politics that it’s hard to believe Tom Elliott hasn’t really thought about it. Ulster unionism’s raison d’être is to maintain the Union, Northern Ireland and avoid a thirty two country Republic. The prospect of a united Ireland drives and haunts unionists. It is never acknowledged as a possibility, but it is always there. During Patrick Kielty’s excellent programme, ‘My Da, the Peace Deal, and me,’ Arlene Foster said that … Read more

Mrs Foster is in the car but it’s being driven by Nigel Dodds

Interesting analysis piece from the Irish News Political Correspondent, John Manley Even though the consensus suggests the so-called accommodation was a poor deal for republicans, the level of resistance from within the DUP and broader unionism to what was in the proposals appears to have surprised Mrs Foster and her advisors. Since the talks collapsed, the Fermanagh-South Tyrone MLA has met the DUP’s ruling executive and she says they have backed her leadership. Arguably that confidence is justified – Mrs … Read more

Arlene’s Valentines Day Massacre

Today could not have turned out any bigger a mess for the incumbent DUP Leader and would-be First Minister. If sources are to be believed the Fermanagh MLA was ready to sign off on a deal which would have seen 3 Bills introduced : An Irish Language Bill An Ulster Scots Bill A Joint Respect Bill What has happened since the weekend to put the Stormont train off the rails? A DUP Group meeting on Monday morning, 3 days of … Read more