“I don’t have to be a Sinn Féin republican.”

Despite the efforts of the former Sinn Féin MLA for North Antrim, Daithí McKay to reinvent himself [move along now… – Ed], some of his supporters appear not to be prepared to let it lie. Having resigned from the party over its handling of the Jamie Bryson coaching scandal, and its anointing of Daithí McKay’s successor, former Sinn Féin councillor Monica Digney is standing in the Northern Ireland Assembly election in North Antrim as an independent candidate. As Mick noted in August last year One of the 18 to resign, …

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FAPP: The difference between one MLA parties and independents is what exactly?

What’s the difference between Jim Allister & John McCallister? Between Steven Agnew or Basil McCrea & Claire Sugden? The answer is about £25,600. That’s how much the NI Assembly’s ‘Financial Assistance for Political Parties’ scheme values a party at, one with even just 1 MLA. There are currently 18 independent members of Dáil Éireann, 11% of the entire house, often providing starkly liberated representation, generally free from the concerns of party politics. There are 2 independent members of the Northern …

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Paisley: hundreds of millions…that would ease burdens in Northern Ireland (updated with Donaldson’s comments on Daily Politics)

This morning’s Independent [not printed in NI, but article available online] carries an interview by David McKittrick with Ian Paisley Jnr on its front page. The DUP’s shopping list has got longer … On the fifth day of electioneering the DUP said to me: stronger controls on immigration and border security, no more bedroom tax, an EU referendum, two percent of GDP spent on defence, and hundreds of millions to ease the burdens in Northern Ireland. The North Antrim MP …

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Why the Sinn Fein critique needs to evolve beyond attacking Adams

I have been to a few year end review panels over the past month and one thing that I have heard repeated time and again is that Sinn Fein have had a good year. Think about this for a moment, the party President was questioned by the PSNI and there were two very difficult Spotlight programmes for the party to face and the end result is, they are up nearly 4% on average than they were last year. You have …

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Northern Ireland Independent Network seeking support for an independent representatives’ umbrella group

sorting Belfast West assembly votes - May 2011

One of the interventions people frequently call for in Northern Ireland politics is the creation of new parties. It came up again last night as one of the first questions at Platform for Change’s event: “Why can’t the [middle ground] politicians sitting around the table unite and form a new party?” I’m not so convinced that we’re ready for new parties. Even before NI21 launched and fell apart, I’ve longed for a surge of independents to flood the local government …

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First the Independent and now the i withdraws from Ireland, north and south

Exactly thirteen months after The Independent withdrew from the island it will be the turn of its baby sister, the i. The Guardian’s Roy Greenslade reported this afternoon what the Irish News reported earlier: Independent Print has decided to stop distributing copies of The Independent’s little sister, i, in Ireland. Newsagents have been told that the issues of the i on 2 August will be the final ones available for sale in both the north of Ireland and the Republic. …

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Could more independents stand and be elected in council elections?

The majority of councils in Northern Ireland have at least one independent elected councillor. Around half have two or more. Independents received just over 5% of first preference votes in the May 2011 elections, less than Alliance’s 7.4%, but more than the TUV, Green, PUP and UKIP combined. In the last Scottish council elections, independents picked up 10.9% of the votes and over 15% of the seats. Many independent councillors seem to align to parties – often having left them …

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Fisk reminisces.

From the Independent: You can check in any time you want – but you can never leave.: On the Europa Hotel’s message pads, my handwriting records “2 sold VSI RVH” (two soldiers very seriously ill Royal Victoria Hospital), “bomb in SR and VS St” (Sandy Row and Great Victoria Street railway station), “son of judge shot dead”, “policeman ser ill”, “2 Provos arrest, staff officers in 1st Batt, F co”, Europa office bill for 22 May/10 June ’73, £145, day …

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(updated) Not quite Hobson’s choice … running as an under-the-radar independent for council? #bele11 #lg11

Roy Hobson - independent council candidate in Belfast's Victoria ward

If there was ever a time to run as an independent – particularly for council – surely this was the year to get out around the streets and convince people to give new voices a chance – new voices that weren’t wedded to historic party policies, tribal politics and uniformed organisations of one for or another. Disappointingly, although Roy Hobson is running as an independent candidate for Belfast City Council in Victoria Ward, he hasn’t put any literature through the …

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Catching up with Stephen Stewart (18 year old independent) #ae11 #bele11

Stephen Stewart, 18 year old East Belfast independent standing in front of Parliament Buildings

Eighteen year old Stephen Stewart is squeezing in running as an independent candidate for East Belfast in the Assembly elections alongside his A-levels. He’s partially inspired by Martin McAuley who stood as an independent in North Belfast’s Westminster election last year and is having a crack at the Assembly this year. The whole point of me doing this is to complete the Good Friday Agreement and elect the first person from the ‘ceasefire generation’. It’s thirteen years since the signing …

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The 30th Dáil: the end of the affair?

As the lengthy Dáil summer gives way to a new session that is largely a preamble to the next budget on December 7th, there are ominous signs of unease from a government whose electors are gripped by a palpable fear and loathing of what havoc the electorate are going to wreak upon them when finally given the opportunity. The arithmetic of the current Dáil Éireann sees the government supported by 70 FF, 6 Greens and a ramshackle coalition of 8 ‘independents’ largely drawn from the wider FF gene …

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I’ve never been there but I can write the copy boss

In recent years many media outlets have been pulling experienced reporters out of the north of Ireland and closing offices. While Dewi has highlighted today’s focus in the Independent on issues here, he missed a major factor that should colour any opinion on the value of much of the coverage now provided by English based media and their reportage/editorial – it had awful bullshit posing a journalism. Hence a ‘Real’- UFF attack on a Catholic school was given the headline: …

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