Government recalcitrance over refugee resettlement in early 1990s #20YearRule

Between 1989 and 1992, local civil servants responded to two requests for Northern Ireland to offer accommodation for refugees from two regions of the world: Vietnam and the former Yugoslavia. In the second instance, the internal response lacked enthusiasm with officials unwilling to state publicly that they were willing to accept in families to NI as part of the UK-wide programme.

@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

Lough Neagh Working Group: “This report may never see the light of day.”

As the Belfast Telegraph reports, having set up a inter-departmental Working Group by September last year, “to explore and pursue actively the potential for a cross-departmental approach to bring Lough Neagh back into public ownership”, the Northern Ireland Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill has lost the group’s report down the back of the sofa told the DUP MLA Paul Frew that the report “is [still] going through due process”.  [It’s not for sale! – Ed]  “but if the assembly … Read more

UNESCO pitches golf ball into Runkerry bunker

It took a long time to work through the planning process, but in February 2012 the Bushmills Dunes Golf Resort and Spa finally received planning permission. A year later in February 2013, the National Trust lost its judicial review of the decision and have not appealed. Minister of the Environment Alex Attwood invited Unesco to visit the Giant’s Causeway and the Causeway Coast. Quotes from their inspection report have been released and will be considered by Unesco’s World Heritage Committee … Read more

Northern Ireland’s roads remain safe: possibly not at 111mph

Some good news was published by both the BBC and News Letter yesterday. There were 59 deaths on the roads in Northern Ireland last year, a rise from 55 the year before, but still vastly lower than in the past. Prior to 2010 the lowest number of deaths was in 2008 at 107. As the News Letter notes it is sometimes seen as distasteful to celebrate a reduction in deaths when people are still being killed but the reality is … Read more

UK road deaths

The BBC has a fascinating feature at the moment on is web site covering every death on the UK’s roads (it says GB but we are included too – please do not side track this one). A number of interesting things come too light from looking at Northern Ireland’s fatal accidents. Our motorways are extremely safe. Considering that the M1 and M2 are amongst the most heavily used roads in Northern Ireland there are remarkably few deaths. This of course … Read more

“If the [EU] Commission asks what progress has been made… the departments will be exposed”

BBC NI’s Mike McKimm reports on five years of failure to act by the Northern Ireland Departments of the Environment, and Agriculture, following a formal written warning from the EU Commission in 2005 over the plight of [protected species] horse mussel beds in Strangford Lough [added link].  A Freedom of Information request was involved. The ministers concerned did manage to summon the press for a photo-opportunity on the issue in January 2009.  But that’s about the only activity we’ve seen.  From the BBC report Again … Read more