Suicide reduction or prevention? Contact NI conference in Belfast

Contact NI’s annual suicide prevention conference will be held on Thursday in Belfast. In a Northern Ireland where government departments and bodies often seem more keen on obfuscation and face-saving than data-sharing and truth-telling, switching from suicide reduction to a zero suicide approach that requires honest sharing and learning seems a large step. But a very worthwhile one in a place which continues to lose lives with the long-lasting ripples of the conflict.

Cross Currents in British & Irish Working Class Life: a day of talks, debate, performance & song #workingclasslife

A research group at the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities at QUB has spent a year organising public-academic engagements posing and interrogating new research questions relating to working class history, politics, culture, literature and music. They’ve been asking … How has working-class life been created in Northern Ireland’s imagined and material worlds? Have the commonalities of class, across sectarian lines, been distorted, or indeed effaced, by the perennial focus on national division in NI politics? How can we … Read more

Chief Constable at #DignityAndRights conference: Delay increases hurt & erodes trust in PSNI’s ability to deal with past

What is Northern Ireland’s vision for progressing and protecting human rights in Northern Ireland in the years ahead? How do the principles of participation, accountability, transparency, dignity and equality underpin human rights? Dignity and Rights: A framework for the future is a two day conference running in the Stormont Hotel in East Belfast, jointly hosted by a variety of organisations who have worked on human rights and equality issues in Northern Ireland for many years: Age NI, CAJ, Children’s Law … Read more

Live Drawing the Green Party conference

  The leader’s speech. Taking a firm line on developers, planners and non-disclosure of party-donations.   Current councillor John Barry (@CllrJohnBarry) and council candidate Clare Bailey (@ClareBaileyGPNI):     Green Party candidate for Balmoral Elli Kontorravdis (@EKontorravdis): And onto Ross Brown and that cartoon: Make sure you read or listen to Ross Brown’s (@voterossbrown) story via Alan. A journey from flag-totting super-Prod to green-fingered, eco-man. Fascinating, relatable-to and relevant. The Chinese proverb says that travelling a 1000 miles does more for the mind than reading … Read more

The Alliance Conference in cartoons

Here’s a selection of cartoons and sketches etched out during the Alliance conference, including some renderings of Alliance’s new generation of politicians.                                        Judith Cochrane MLA (above) introduced a selection of the youthful candidates who will be standing this May. Naomi Long MP said of them:   “They may be young politicians, but they’re politicians, and of some caliber.”   Nuala McAllister (@NualaMcAllister) … Read more

What Women Want: removing barriers to full participation in politics

Labour Party in Northern Ireland

Labour Party NI are holding a women’s policy conference on 22 March in The Pavilion at Stormont. The all-day event – the same day as the Alliance Party conference – is free to attend and open to non-party members and men. Under the title of What Women Want? the organisers want to discuss “real solutions to barriers to full participation in politics”. In Bronagh Hinds’ chapter of Everyday Life After the Irish Conflict: The Impact of Devolution and Cross-Border Cooperation … Read more

John McCallister says Sinn Fein already have a “new Ireland” while Gerry Adams calls for “an entirely new dispensation”

By coincidence, while John McCallister didn’t have the opportunity to speak at the UUP conference today, he did get an invite to address Sinn Fein’s Towards a New Ireland – A new phase of the peace process conference in London this afternoon. He started a little apologetically … If my comments at any time seem unduly harsh or perhaps unfair, be assured that such is not my intention. I am here in good faith to promote political dialogue and debate … Read more

#PSA12 Conference liveblog (Tuesday)

Political Studies Association

The Europa Hotel lobby was busy yesterday with Irish World Dancing Championship participants rubbing shoulders [Ed – and ringlets] and Political Studies Association conference delegates. The former had ringlets, the latter carried conference guides! Prof Paul Carmichael from the University of Ulster is co-convening the conference. listen to ‘In Defence of Politics’ on Audioboo Throughout the conference, a liveblog will capture tweets (hashtag #psa12) and photos and links to what’s happening in the Europa. This morning the main PSA 2012 … Read more

“In defence of politics” – the Political Studies Association conference in Belfast this week #psa12

Political Studies Association

The Political Studies Association annual conference is back in Belfast this week for the first time in 17 years. Hundreds academics from the UK, Ireland, Europe and beyond will congregate in the Europa Hotel for three days of speakers, workshops, dining and visiting Belfast’s sights. They’ll be joined by a smattering of politicians and commentators. The conference’s theme is In Defence of Politics, apt given the questioning of politicians honesty, integrity and leadership over recent years, together with the political … Read more

Margaret Ritchie signs off as leader

Margaret Ritchie outgoing leader speech

Margaret Ritchie addressed the SDLP conference on Saturday afternoon. Ostensibly introducing a panel on Creating Jobs Supporting People, she reflected that she first entered politics to serve people. Outgoing @sdlplive leader Margaret Ritchie addressing SDLP conference (mp3) She pointed to a “return to poverty” and a new phenomenon of “middle income poverty”. She described “the onslaught of Tory Welfare Reform” as “a major money-saving exercise at the expense of those at the bottom”. David Cameron says “We’re all in this … Read more

“two challenges and a serious suggestion” offered to Ulster GAA by Dr Norman Hamilton

It’s hard to predict where a Presbyterian minister will pop up next. The latest nationalist foray was conducted this afternoon by former moderator Dr Norman Hamilton who had accepted an invitation to address the Ulster GAA at their Club and Community Development Conference in Armagh City Hotel (the scene of last week’s UUP conference). Back on 10 January when he was still moderator, Hamilton met with the Ulster GAA in Armagh. The meeting during which the news of Michaela McAreavey’s … Read more

Billy Hutchinson is the new Progressive Unionist Party leader

Billy Hutchinson - newly elected as PUP leader

Billy Hutchinson was the only nomination for leadership and was elected unopposed at this morning’s Progressive Unionist Party conference held in East Belfast. You can watch his first interview as leader and hear his comments on what the PUP stand for, where the party is going and whether the PUP has the energy to go forward. Hutchinson spoke of the continued need to challenge criminality, repeating his mantra: You can’t be a criminal and a loyalist at the same time. … Read more

What’s different about the “Agreement Generation”?

UCD conference - The Agreement Generation: An Opportunity for Change?

There’s an intriguing one-day conference down in the John Hume Institute For Global Irish Studies at UCD on Wednesday 17 November. This conference will look at themes around the opportunity for change in Northern Irish and all Island politics. The peace process, the passage of time and generations with different frames of reference, have all provided space to reframe the political agendas and the various relationships between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. In particular the conference will focus … Read more

SDLP: Minds clouded by SF?

A passing glance at the SDLP party conference caused me to think they had a little too much emphasis on SF. So, I ran their leader’s speech through a word cloud to find out when Sinn Féin appeared on the list of most mentioned phrases. You hit ‘Sinn’ as the 10th most popular word during Margaret Ritchie’s address to the faithful. It beat ‘economy’. Mark McGregorBlogging at: http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com http://heartsofoakandsteel.wordpress.com

PUP to debate cutting paramilitary ties this evening (Update – and didn’t)

PUP interim leader, Dr John Kyle

In today’s Belfast Telegraph, Brian Rowen previews tonight’s meeting of the PUP. Dawn Purvis resigned as leader and member of the PUP in the immediate aftermath of Shankill loyalist Bobby Moffett’s murder in May – “a public execution sanctioned by [UVF] paramilitary leaders”. Dr John Kyle stepped in as interim leader, a bit like a pilot with the aim of stabilising the damaged PUP aeroplane and bringing it down to land in a controlled way at the Harbour Airport, ensuring … Read more

Leadership elections – the Labour way

Strangely, the (Daily) Telegraph seem to be leading the way on converage post-Labour’s leadership election. First they had Ed Miliband’s article in Sunday’s paper, and this morning they printed a behind-the-scenes look at the choreography and emotions of the announcement and aftermath. Brother David was focussed on winning. After a quick discussion, one of the group was chosen to warn David to prepare himself for the worst. Would it not be wise, the aide suggested, for him to think about … Read more