Northern Ireland High Court rejects Brexit Challenges

As the BBC report notes, the High Court in Belfast has dismissed two judicial review challenges to the way the UK Government intends to invoke Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union to trigger withdrawal from the EU. One of the legal challenges, by victims’ campaigner Raymond McCord relied on legal aid.  The other, involving Sinn Féin, the SDLP, the Green Party and Alliance MLA David Ford, has been funded, directly or indirectly, as the News Letter reported, by US billionaire Chuck Feeney … Read more

Sammy Wilson … Reason 254 why local politicians need Atlantic Philanthropies’ money & initiatives like PoliticsPlus

A little over an hour ago and about half way through a response to the rhetorical question “What has new or social media ever done for the peace process?” I suggested to the Critical Approaches to the Northern Ireland Peace Process symposium in Liverpool’s Edge Hill University that it has made it harder for politicians to recover their balance when they slip on banana skins. You can follow conference updates on the #CritAppEH hashtag. And then I spotted a Facebook … Read more

Atlantic Philanthropies “will complete grantmaking by the end of 2016”

The Irish Times reports Chuck Feeney’s Atlantic Philanthropies statement of intent to end the largesse.  From the Irish Times report CHUCK FEENEY, the reclusive Irish-American billionaire who has given more than €1.25 billion to projects on both sides of the Border, is winding up his charitable operations. Atlantic Philanthropies, which was founded by Mr Feeney in 1982, is to complete grant-making by the end of 2016 and cease operations in 2020, its board decided last week. The decision is being … Read more

Masterplan for Girdwood: “back to the sectarian drawing board…”

The Northern Ireland First and deputy First Minsters recently announced the second round of funding, £1.5million, available from the Executive and Atlantic Philanthropies’ ‘Contested Spaces’ Programme, although I’m still not entirely clear where the other £2.5million went… The announcement, in the absence of a “Cohesion, Sharing and Integration” strategy, rebranded, and “watered down” to the “lowest commmon denominator“, or otherwise, coincides with the reveal of a new contested space the masterplan for the regeneration of the Girdwood Park former military base.  [And the Crumlin … Read more

Contested Space Programme: “What’s strange is that we haven’t heard anything about this until now…”

On 22 January, after the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) announced their £2million Peace Walls Programme, I asked about the absence of OFMdFM’s £4million Contested Space Programme – announced in March last year. On 27 January the Northern Ireland Executive Junior Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martina Anderson, launched the Early Years Faces and Spaces – Children’s Shared Spaces project – “funded jointly by OFMDFM and Atlantic Philanthropies Contested Spaces programme.” The Junior Minister’s statement is somewhat short on detail, but the ‘notes … Read more

OFMDFM’s Contested Space Programme

No, not that sort of space programme…  Maybe more like this sort of ‘space‘. ANYhoo…  Late on a Friday afternoon seems an odd time for the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers to be announcing a 3-year £4million scheme which targets just “six pilot areas”.  That works out at around £220,000 per ‘pilot area’, per year.  You can build a lot of fences for that sort of money… Although, they don’t appear to have defined those ‘pilot areas’. The timing is even odder … Read more

“It is believed overall goals include producing better informed elected Stormont representatives…”

The NIO vetoed the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission’s further access to US-based charity Atlantic Philanthropies’ largesse – which may have contributed to the Chief Commissioner’s announced early departure. Meanwhile, according to a Belfast Telegraph report, the NI Assembly is in advanced talks with Atlantic Philanthropies to fund a “political leadership” skills programme for NI Assembly members. From the Belfast Telegraph report According to Stormont sources, in the region of £1m could be provided for the MLA programme, which would run over … Read more

The Detail will launch in January…

The Guardian informs us that Bob Geldof’s media company Ten Alps will launch The Detail [added link], a Belfast-based news and current affairs website, in January. From The Guardian report The Detail will launch in January and is backed by £750,000 in grants from two bodies, Atlantic Philanthropies and Norther[n] Ireland Screen. This money is budgeted to fund the project for two years. Trevor Birney, managing director of Belfast-based independent producer Below the Radar, is to be head of The Detail. Below the … Read more

“Leading Sinn Féin members had been arguing that its justice programme was a “viable alternative” to conventional policing and justice systems.”

I’ll be reviewing political scientist Mary-Alice Clancy‘s new book, Peace Without Consensus – Power Sharing Politics in Northern Ireland, in due course.  But, for now, The Guardian‘s Henry McDonald has highlighted some of the content White House staff and Irish officials were exasperated that Blair and his Downing Street chief-of-staff, Jonathan Powell, were prepared to allow Sinn Féin to run community restorative justice programmes and effectively establish a parallel justice system, according to a new book on Bush and the … Read more