Chris Ryder, veteran reporter and specialist on police matters, is given space in the Irish Times to repeat the case for halting all pre- Troubles cases and leaving them to historians. Although he is known as a critical friend of the police, he makes a fair and balanced case which should be considered entirely on its merits. This was an approach I ran with to support Arkiv, a group of historians who wanted to take it on, initially encouraged by the … Read more
As the BBC notes, the Northern Ireland Education Minister, the DUP’s Peter Weir, has reversed the department’s previous position prohibiting the use of academic selection to decide what post-primary school pupils transfer to. That position was set out in 2008 by then NI Education Minister, Sinn Féin’s Caitríona Ruane, and upheld by the subsequent Minister, Sinn Féin’s John O’Dowd. From the BBC report A circular sent to school principals on Wednesday removes any prohibition on using academic selection to decide what post-primary school pupils … Read more
Striking a balance between recognising where local power lies and the aim of bringing paramilitarism to an end is the fiendishly tricky approach of the report to the two governments and the Executive of the three- person panel headed by John Alderdice. In the jargon the strategy is about Demilitarisation, Disbandment and Integration (DDR). The panel set up under Fresh Start was asked to produce a one-off report. It wasn’t a standing body like the International Monitoring Commission (IMC), of which … Read more
HNIW45 from The Detail on Vimeo. Right, so. Great analysis here from both Newton Emerson (and whoever who does his graphics). Under Fresh Start there is now a negotiation period for the new Programme for Government of two weeks, but Arlene Foster admitted in February she’s started working on it already (ie before the election). A two party stitch up. Well, I never? The big fault with all of the Programme for Government negotiations is that they are done in … Read more
Nothing demonstrates the zero gravity of NI politics more than the nationalist reaction to the Evason report. The SDLP who fought a rearguard action on welfare cuts welcomed it even though it contains for the first time, time bound benefits. They reason that she has implemented some of the measures they proposed but were blocked by joint Sinn Fein and DUP action. Sinn Fein on the other hand have said nothing, except to put out this presser (under the bylines of … Read more
Unite protests against Fresh Start: The Unite union holds protests against the ‘Fresh Start’ deal outside offices of the NI parties responsible – DUP and Sinn Féin.
DING DING: Joan Burton with a rolling haymaker at Gerry Adams over his party’s deliberate equivocation over a welfare deal it helped to move and shape. “At the first sign of a major political challenge, Sinn Féin has, at best, simply walked off the pitch. At worst, it is an enormous act of political cowardice.’’
So, no need for that new money to offset the cuts in Universal Tax Credit. George Osborne left it to the last minute and then deemed that the offset cash was not necessary because he wasn’t going to make the cuts anyway (with it goes the illusion of a better Stormont deal)… The Chancellor has said that his previously announced cuts to tax credits will not go ahead. The changes would have meant 121,000 Northern Ireland households losing an average … Read more
MONEY GAME: Most of the new money is dedicated to issues that are Northern Ireland specific.
A total of £188m will be made available for security-related spending. The PSNI will get an unconditional £160m over the next five years to tackle dissident republicans and other paramilitaries.