New Sinn Féin MLA Director of Group that Discriminated against Job Applicant because of his Political Opinion

The Irish News today highlights details of the newly-appointed Sinn Féin MLA for Foyle Karen Mullan’s relevant experience for the job, mentioned in Eamonn McCann’s excellent post on the case, that illuminates David’s, somewhat limited, subsequent description of her as a “community worker in the city of Derry”. Karen Mullan is a director of Waterside Neighbourhood Partnership (WNP) Ltd., Sinn Féin and the DUP’s preferred delivery mechanism for community services and funding in the area, who, earlier this year, were ordered to … Read more

Who could be afraid of equality?

The News Letter has an article highlighting a further use / abuse of a Petition of Concern to block equality legislation with somewhat less outrage from the usual quarters. Sandra Overend of the UUP’s attempted to repeal Article 71 of the 1998 Fair Employment and Treatment Order. This is the article which exempts schools from Fair Employment legislation. Ms. Overend’s attempt was defeated by a Petition of Concern by Sinn Fein and the SDLP. On the UUP’s website Ms. Overend … Read more

Ashers verdict: ‘To do otherwise would be to allow a religious belief to dictate what the law is’

The County Court in Belfast has ruled that Ashers Baking Company and its directors discriminated against a gay customer, Gareth Lee, by refusing to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan. The judgment was a resounding vindication of the Equality Commission (response here), which backed Mr Lee’s case. It became the latest in a long list of unsuccessful legal actions against LGBT rights taken or supported by lobby group, the Christian Institute (response here). The case centred on the refusal … Read more

Has the Equality Commission Gone ‘Baking Mad’?

Peter Lynas is Director of the Evangelical Alliance in Northern Ireland. He writes here protesting against what he sees as “a fundamental attack on political and religious freedom”, arguing that the Equality Commission has lost all sense of perspective on the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion with regard to the Ashers case. The Equality Commission has decided to take Asher’s Baking Company to court because it refused to make what has become known as ‘the gay cake’. … Read more

“a claim on behalf of Mr Green against Sinn Féin has been registered with the Fair Employment Tribunal…”

When Sinn Fein’s political director at Stormont, Leo Green, failed to appear at the party’s Ard Fheis in February, both Mr Green, whilst confirming that he was no longer their northern political director, and the party were keen to play down suggestions of a dispute.  As Liam Clarke noted at the time Green said he had renewed his membership of Sinn Fein on January 24 and that he had not left over any single issue. We are none the wiser except that this … Read more

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

A long time ago on the 20th June 1968 Austin Currie began a sit in protest because Dungannon Rural District Council had allocated a council house to Emily Beattie a 19 year old woman who was the secretary of a local unionist politician. Miss Beattie was given the house ahead of others in greater need. Today a High Court judgement found that St. Matthew’s Housing Association acted unlawfully over the allocation of housing in Short Strand. Mr Justice Horner said: … Read more

“I think it is somewhat contemptuous.”

It’s difficult to argue with Jeffrey Dudgeon’s comments on the Office of the Northern Ireland First and Deputy First Minister last minute compliance with an FoI request – 320 days after the application was made, and one day before a judicial review hearing into the delay was due to begin.  From the BBC report Jeffrey Dudgeon had brought legal action over the delay. A judicial review hearing was due on 8 November but the outstanding material was sent to him on 7 … Read more

DARD also appointing more Catholics than Protestants (as well as DCAL and DRD)…

Well, without adding too many caveats to this one, I think Jim Allister is on to something with his posting of the latest employment figures at DARD… It’s a spectacular outcome when you consider “24 Protestants were appointed from 159 applicants and 20 RCs from just 74 applicants”. Now the caveats. We really ought to see what the picture is across all departments. And as one commenter on Slugger’s Facebook page noted: …with Catholics being majority at universities here, they … Read more

For Sinn Fein it’s the show that matters rather than the politics…

Fionnuala O’Connor is well worth reading in the Irish News today yesterday (she was last week too, but we got run off our feet keeping up with the celebrity story of the week, and all that tiocfaidh-ar-lamh-amatazz). She’s one of three women who haved nailed a few home truths about the abiding problem with Sinn Fein’s penchant for self narration… Apparently Martin was back at his old ‘Nelson Mandela’ routine on Miriam O’Callaghan’s new Saturday night sofa gig on RTE… … Read more

Housing Executive: Chair jumps before ministerial statement tomorrow…

Brian Rowntree, chair of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive resigned on Friday, although the news was only released today.  It’s thought to be related to a Ministerial statement that ought to make tomorrow’s Assembly session rather more interesting than normal. It comes on foot of the first of several forensic examinations of the Executive’s books (the Audit Office is due to report later in the year).. For the BBC, Julian O’Neil references an independent report on contracts carried out by … Read more

British monarchy under threat of being opened up to [Roman] Catholics

It looks like we could be in for yet another installment of false rage now the DUP has endorsed a shared (sic) future platform. The Telegraph is reporting that the political and constitutional reform committee have said that: “The scenario does beg the question of whether it remains appropriate for the monarch to be required to be in communion with the Church of England. “The most obvious difficulty in having a Catholic monarch — beyond the purely statutory obstacles — is the crown’s role as supreme governor of the … Read more

One Man One Vote… Err… Not In Belfast

Unionist votes are worth more than Nationalist votes, all thanks to 6 men staring down a hole! Just look at the following distribution though Belfast’s current District Electoral Areas: Victoria has an electorate of 25,814 and has 7 seats Oldpark has an electorate of 22,408 and has 6 seats Upper Falls has an electorate of 20,530 and only has 5 seats Pottinger has an electorate of 19,929 and has 6 seats Castle has an electorate of 19,494 and also has … Read more

Religion in schools. More than just Catholics

Peter Robinson’s comments on education have opened up a discussion that is solely focusing on the role of the Catholic Maintained Sector. While the discussion is worthwhile, having it without addressing other elements of religious involvement across education is dealing with less than half of the issue. As noted in Tony Macaulay’s report on Churches and Christian Ethos in Integrated Schools: The assumption that integrated schools would solve the sectarianism problem in Northern Ireland was a false one, a speaker … Read more