‘If we tell people the cost of segregation, they will support greater integration’

If people are told the financial cost of segregation and service duplication, there will be much greater support for social integration, says community worker Maureen Hetherington.  Maureen is director of The Junction community and peace-building centre in Derry-Londonderry and was interviewed in the latest ‘Forward Together’ podcast. “I have no doubt that integrated education is absolutely fundamental to getting people to know each other, to engage with each other,” stresses Maureen. “The difficulty there is that we don’t have the …

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‘Strengthen and value civil society’

“Civil society needs to be strengthened to do more than just provide services,” argues Avila Kilmurray, one of the founders of the Women’s Coalition.  “Civil society in many ways was the backbone of society in the 70s, 80s, 90s in Northern Ireland, whenever we were in the midst of The Troubles.” The call for a strong civic society was made in the third interview in the series of more than 30 Forward Together podcasts.  These were recorded with leading figures …

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Open Government Partnership: How to start the ball rolling…

After Tuesday’s #DigitalLunch on Open Government Partnership and ahead of Friday’s event in Belfast, for those of you thinking of how you might roll up your sleeves and get involved in making government smarter and more open, here’s your Survival Guide to OGP in Six Memos: Paul Braithwaite sets the scene on where we are… Fred Logue  on what OGP is and what it isn’t… Davy Sims on the critical importance of participation… John Kellden on collaborative sense-making… Matilda Murday on how to do it… If you are keen …

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Is Northern Ireland’s government funded tail wagging the media dog?

Newton Emerson from last Thursday’s Hearts and Minds argues that complaints from the First Minister ring a little hollow, not least because very little in the media originates in the media but in the vast bank of Press officers in Stormont, and a closed loop between government funded civil society and Stormont MLAs: As the resulting tide of hysterical press releases floods out an increasingly hard pressed media simply repeats them. Peter Robinson should know how that balance of power …

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“Reconfiguring the relationship between the church and wider society”

Norman Hamilton going down the stairs

Speaking on Friday afternoon, Dr Norman Hamilton – the outgoing moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland – called for “the reconfiguring of the proper relationship between the church and wider society”, while the moderator designate Dr Ivan Patterson said he “would welcome” the invitation of Cardinal Brady to the opening night of the General Assembly. After twelve months in the role, Norman Hamilton has seen a lot of church and state: chairing boards and committees; acting as the denomination’s …

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Loyalist paramilitaries and “civilianisation”

Last month UTV covered the issue of ex-prisoners having difficulties obtaining secure employment. A number of months ago, shortly before Christmas, a conference was held on the issue of “civilianising” the UVF. If this sounds familiar it is because every few months there is another announcement of the “civilianisation” of the UVF. This process of “civilianisation” is what others might call “stopping breaking the law.” Not the UVF but the UDA’s leader (how exactly McDonald can be named by all …

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Shared future: The ‘popular’ option (almost) no one votes for…

Fascinating response from Alex Kane to Norman Hamilton’s presentation at our post election breakfast. It’s feisty and combative and he takes on the idea that government should take on the task of creating a shared future that remains deeply unpopular at the polls: What Mr Hamilton, along with a veritable army of heavily funded, self-justifying community workers and peace activists have failed to notice, is that the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland have already agreed upon a ‘community …

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Slugger Stratagem Election Breakfast – what they’re talking about this morning

David Ford watching Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg speaking on BBC News election programme

This morning, Stratagem and Slugger hosted a post-election breakfast in Belfast’s Europa Hotel. I’ve tidied up the proceedings and added a couple of brief voxpops with contributors. Passages in “direct quotes” are cleaned up verbatim comments, the rest captures the gist of their points. 0825 Mick Fealty kicks off and welcomes people. 0828 Brendan McMenamin (Derry~Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013) – “New [political] stories are emerging this morning” … and that’s the story of the City of Culture bid …

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