Seize the opportunities opened up by the Good Relations strategy. Don’t write it off

Mick’s last post is probably representative of the muted reaction to the long awaited initiative. All the same I’d rather take a more positive approach and – yes!-  begin with accepting it at face value.   So I’m asking: are critics justified in  writing off  already the Cohesion Sharing and Integration statement ( not yet a strategy and not actually labelled CSI)?  Do we pin all the blame for its gaps and evasions on Peter Robinson and the DUP and Martin McGuinness and Sinn …

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Draft CSI document contains yawning gaps. OFMdFM parties fear criticism.

Interesting snippet from Mark Devenport which says an awful lot… The layman might think that the obvious big gesture for Stormont to make would be to publish the long delayed Cohesion Sharing and Integration strategy, a draft of which the BBC obtained back in January. However, publishing the whole document might be fraught with difficulties. As the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness explained at a Stormont Castle news conference at lunchtime, the parties are still nowhere near resolving their differences …

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OFMdFM parties tell Villiers she cannot take their money ball away…

That productivity deal that Theresa Villiers has been talking about putting on the table went down well with OFMdFM, NOT… Noel MacAdam in the BelTel: The controlling parties in the Executive also argued the attempt to use the promised package – believed to include EU Peace cash – as leverage could backfire. Finance Minister Sammy Wilson insisted it was the first time the Government had made the prospective funding conditional. Mr Wilson also described Ms Villiers warning, revealed in the …

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Theresa Villiers: “our economic package will be closely linked to, and conditional on real progress by the executive…”

The Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, was in west Belfast today on the 15th anniversary of the Belfast Agreement.  Here’s a couple of lines from her press statement The Agreement called for ‘reconciliation, tolerance, and mutual trust’ and as I’ve travelled around Northern Ireland, I’ve seen many fantastic initiatives that are bringing different parts of the community together. Forthspring Inter Community Group and the Argyle Business Centre are two great examples of the courage, leadership and tenacity that local …

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OFMDFM: “It is becoming increasingly obvious this trust is in danger of being eroded…”

Yesterday’s Irish News carried an interesting report of the most recent proceedings of the Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister. It seems that the NI First Minister, the DUP’s Peter Robinson, and the then-acting deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s John O’Dowd, are/were not happy.  And they’ve written to the Assembly Speaker, William Hay, to tell him so. First, some background. Back in July 2010, OFMDFM published their “motherhood and apple pie” proposals for the long-awaited Programme for …

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OFMDFM’s ‘non working’ working group on Cohesion, Sharing and Integration…

Interesting piece from David Gordon which amplifies that point about political indolence in Northern Ireland in the last post. David Ford is complaining that despite assurances from the Deputy First Minister on the floor of the Assembly: “If you are looking for a sign of what I hope will be real progress, you should take heart from the fact that, in the meetings that the First Minister and I conducted with party leaders in the aftermath of the re-establishment of …

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Allister fears Maze will become a new Poleglass…

I remember the building of Poleglass, mostly because I was working at NIE at the time the first residents were moving in and the plans for the new developments passed through the offices I was working in. The plans for it were subject to a huge political push back, particularly from Unionist politicians in Lisburn who feared (rightly as it happened) that its proximity to West Belfast would bring in a huge influx of nationalists into the then Borough. So …

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