Casement Park Development: Further allegations at Assembly Committee Hearing

The BBC reports that GAA official, and independent Northern Ireland Policing Board member, Ryan Feeney, has threatened “immediate [legal] action” following further allegations by the chairman of the safety technical group, Sport NI’s Paul Scott, of pressure being exerted to drop concerns about safety at the controversial proposed £70million redevelopment of Casement Park in west Belfast.  Mr Scott was appearing again in front of the NI Assembly Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure. From the BBC report Mr Feeney later issued … Read more

Gerry Kelly: “The letter with the figures said it all because it dealt with anti-sectarianism and that’s the way I am…”

Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly is still squirming on the sectarian hook the party hoisted him on during his failed campaign in North Belfast during the UK parliamentary election. [Petard? – Ed]  Pardon you… After his party colleague, Carál Ní Chuilín, MLA, [Good heavens, you’re the Culture Minister?! – Ed], tried, and failed, to blame the Electoral Commission for Sinn Féin’s use of the 2011 census’ breakdown of the constituency by religion, or religion brought up in, to support the party’s claim that Gerry … Read more

Casement Park STG Chair: “we were being attempted to be coerced, pressurised into signing off something that we were singularly uncomfortable with…”

The BBC reports on the latest wrinkle in the on-going saga of the controversial £70million redevelopment of Casement Park in west Belfast – stalled in December last year when Belfast High Court quashed the decision to grant planning approval for the redevelopment. At the start of April this year, the BBC obtained the minutes of the last meeting of the Casement Park Development Safety Technical Group (STG), in November 2014, under a Freedom of Information request.   The STG is made up of representatives … Read more

Campbell: No apology on remarks but “If they wanted me to repeat it, they went the right way about it”

He’s been in the headlines recently over his comments about the Irish Language during question time in the Assembly and normally it is Sammy Wilson who grabs the headlines at a DUP conference for an interesting speech, but this year Gregory Campbell unbowed continued with his remarks and brought some visual aids to demonstrate his point. Following his comments I was keen to catch up with the DUP MP to just find out, why he made his remarks? Why he … Read more

@CaralNiChuilin on dealing with the past

Everyone is familiar with legacies of the development boom and bust, such as ghost estates or negative equity. A slightly less obvious legacy was raised in the Assembly yesterday when Carál Ní Chuilín answered a question on the preservation of archaeological collections recovered from sites being developed during the boom. Currently a working group is preparing a report on how to deal with this issue for the Environment Minister, Mark Durkan, who has the majority of responsibility in this area. … Read more

“Good heavens! You’re the culture minister..” Redux

Here’s the Culture Minister on the GAA’s new deal… If Sky is worldwide, beaming games worldwide, that’s a good thing, but I don’t want that to be at the detriment of local broadcasting. I also don’t want it to be at the detriment of the people who don’t have Sky or who don’t have digital or satellite television to be prevented from seeing one of the best games ever so while it is a matter for the GAA, I do … Read more

“Residents also protested outside the local Sinn Féin offices…”

As the BBC reports, local residents have continued their protest against the planned £70million redevelopment of Casement Park in west Belfast.  From the UTV report Around 100 residents took part in a demonstration on Saturday afternoon. They say they are now considering taking legal action. One woman said: “The main thing is the height of it, it’s going to be about 129ft and right around the whole outskirts of the houses.” A man said: “It’s an absolute monstrosity. The residents … Read more

“must at the very least include a mechanism that makes the broadcasting companies accountable and answerable to this Assembly…”

Speaking of making the media accountable…  The Northern Ireland Minister for Culture, Sinn Fein’s Carál Ní Chuilín, has declared that she is “considering options such as appointing a panel of experts to review broadcasting in the North and devolution of responsibility locally with a view to bringing proposals forward for cross-party support”.  Here’s a couple of lines from the minister’s press release [NI Culture Minister, Sinn Fein’s Carál Ní Chuilín] “I am considering options such as appointing a panel of experts … Read more

“Two European countries, Ireland and Norway, have already banned all eel fisheries.” – redux

Despite a brief flurry of activity by Sinn Féin in February this year, around the Northern Ireland Executive Minister with responsibility for regulating Eel Fisheries, Sinn Féin’s Carál Ní Chuilín’s sudden “refusal to support European proposals for a unilateral suspension of eel-fishing”, the Minister’s promised Assembly statement on the issue never materialised.  That’s possibly because, at that stage, the proposal was only in a draft report [amendment 8] to the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries by rapporteur, Isabella Lövin, a Swedish MEP. As it was that … Read more

Culture Minister faces down IFA over reappointment of Martin…

Well, I have to say our ministers don’t have a lot of power to act effectively on their own, but Carál Ní Chuilín was adamant yesterday in the Assembly that her department was not going to back down over her refusal to allow funding to the Irish Football Association for the redevelopment of Windsor Park. Why? This piece in the Belfast Telegraph explains: At the centre of the row is one man, David Martin, who was elected deputy president of … Read more

Alex Kane on how Unionism can learn from Sinn Féin

Are we seeing more signposts to the future of unionism today? The Newsletter’s Alex Kane has a piece out on “Unionism can learn from Sinn Féin” while it appears to suggest that, in reality, it is currently trying to learn from Fianna Fáil. Kane trots out the same line about ‘cultural war’ that was raised at the field on the Twelfth  by the Orange Order. Somewhat diminishing the point, the BBC usefully led this story with Edwin Stevenson’s comments at the … Read more

Sinn Féin Minister hit by PSNI jeep following Tour of the North

According to reports on twitter, Sinn Féin Minister Carál Ní Chuilín was taken to hospital after being hit by a jeep at Carrickhill following the Tour of the North parade on Friday night. Gerry Kelly was also carried on the bonnet of a PSNI jeep. Gerry Adams has given some details: Caral released from hospital.Torn ligaments.Spoke 2 her.She was hit by PSNI jeep.Gerry K carried 50 yds on bonnet of jeep.Area now quiet. — Gerry Adams (@GerryAdamsSF) June 21, 2013 … Read more

Ní Chuilín stops (unexplained) HET blocking move on release of inquest documents to relatives

It’s hard to disagree with Brian when he says there is no real serious attempt to deal with the past. On the Republican side, the understanding is that that is not possible until everything is dealt with. But in the meantime some families have been trying to use the mechanisms of the state to try and get closer to the truth of what happened to their loved ones. As John noted here on Slugger, the re-opening of an inquest into … Read more

“Two European countries, Ireland and Norway, have already banned all eel fisheries.”

But not in Northern Ireland.  [Partitionist! – Ed]  Indeed.  Here the regulation of eel fisheries is the responsibility of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure – and the current Minister, Sinn Féin’s Carál Ní Chuilín.  As is salmon fishing… There was a brief flurry of press statements last week as the NI DCAL Minister suddenly threatened to throw the kitchen sink in front of “potential EU proposals to suspend eel-fishing”.  From the first ministerial press release [14 Feb] Responding to a request for DCAL’s position, … Read more

“A spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure said…”

The BBC are reporting that 3 men, believed to be associated with the Jordanian Paralympic squad, have been charged following allegations of sexual assault at Antrim Forum.  From the BBC report The three men, aged 36, 35 and 23 are expected to appear before Coleraine Magistrates Court on Wednesday. The 23-year old-man has been charged with two counts of sexual activity with a child, one count of sexual assault on a woman and voyeurism. The 35-year-old man has been charged … Read more

“or just the re-announcement of the £3.27 million of lottery funding”

As you might expect, the Northern Ireland Sports Minister, Sinn Féin’s Carál Ní Chuilín, has been maximising the PR potential of the Olympic success of athletes from here.  The Prime Minister, David Cameron, is doing likewise.  But eyebrows should have been raised by the NI Sports Minister’s “timely public announcement” of an over £3million investment programme for amateur boxing. As Newton Emerson noted in yesterday’s Irish News Sinn Féin culture minister Caral Ni Chuilin earned a full day of headlines by announcing … 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

“This is part of the culture of Ireland”

Even though a group of 4 gold torcs were discovered near Stirling in 2009, they’re not that common.  According to the BBC report, Dr Greer Ramsey from Armagh County Museum told Belfast coroner, John Leckey, that “10 torcs have been discovered in Ireland and 38 in Britain”. ANYhoo… the coroner has ruled that a [IIRC] 47 37 inch long flange-twisted gold torc, found in a bog in County Fermanagh, is an item of treasure.  And, as we know, “strange things happen in the bog“. From the BBC report It … Read more

Mary McArdle to leave post

The BBC are reporting that the special advisor to Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin, the convicted murderer, Mary McArdle, is to leave her post “soon.” This is apparently as part of normal party policy to rotate staff. Ann Travers the sister of Mary Travers (McArdle’s victim who was murdered whilst leaving church in 1984) has apparently said on Twitter: “Just heard, Mary McArdle has stepped aside and moved to another job for SF, Thrilled, wish she had done it in … Read more