A century since Markievicz MP – are we much further on?

In the lead-up to the Assembly election I looked at the potential gender representation of the cohort returning to the Hill. A record 27 out of 90 Assembly members (30%) were returned. From looking at the 18 constituencies there are 12 seats that will be not be filled by female candidates. This is due, in most cases, to the almost certain re-election of incumbents or that the nearest challenger is another man. Countess Markievicz was of course the first woman … Read more

Michelle Gildernew and Fermanagh/South Tyrone: “I am honoured to have been selected by South Tyrone.”

[But not Fermanagh and South Tyrone? – Ed]  No.  She tried that.  It didn’t work. So the Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle invented a constituency for her. Sinn Féin’s attempts to rewrite the past clearly have no time limit.  Witness the party’s shenanigans over candidate selection in Fermanagh/South Tyrone for this year’s Northern Ireland Assembly election. The Ard Chomhairle was forced to re-run their selection convention in Fermanagh/South Tyrone following allegations of unaccounted-for votes which saw former-MP, former-MLA, and current Ard Chomhairle member, … Read more

Phil Flanangan re-selected in re-run convention, Michelle Gildernew not so much…

David noted the result of the re-run Sinn Féin selection convention for Fermanagh/South Tyrone. But, interestingly, given the allegation of unaccounted-for additional votes for Michelle Gildernew in the first selection convention [see comment zone] which promoted her above Phil Flanagan at the time, that re-run has seen notorious tweeter Phil Flanagan re-selected by the party, along with fellow sitting MLA Sean Lynch, and Councillor Sean Feeley. Neither the renewed candidate Bronwyn McGahan, MLA, nor former MLA, former MP, and current member of the Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle, … Read more

Phil Flanagan returns with Michelle Gildernew losing out

The Fermanagh/South Tyrone branch of Sinn Fein held their second selection convention tonight after the party’s Ard Chomhairle ordered another convention after the first chose, Michelle Gildernew, Sean Lynch and John Feeley. However, in a slight shock, Phil Flanagan has returned with Feeley and Lynch as his running mates. The former MP and minister, Michelle Gildernew lost out along with the current MLA, Bronwyn McGahan. The odd thing about this ticket is that it appears to have no constituency balance … Read more

Second Chance at Re-Selection for Sinn Féin’s Phil Flanagan – Updated

Sinn Féin’s other notorious tweeter, Phil Flanagan, MLA, may be facing a sizeable bill for libelling the UUP’s Tom Elliot, but the party’s central office has given him a second chance at continuing his political career. He was deselected by his party constituency organisation on 13 December last year, but earlier this month the party’s Ard Chomhairle decided to re-run the selection process in Fermanagh/South Tyrone.  On 22 January, The Impartial Reporter noted Mr. Flanagan refused to comment when contacted by this newspaper, … Read more

Fermanagh South Tyrone: one day a unionist will stand on that stage as victor.

As a number of people have noted 5 years ago I did a blog in the aftermath of Rodney Connor’s defeat in Fermanagh South Tyrone. Many unionists (like myself) were disconsolate. Many unionists and nationalists regarded FST as lost to unionism forever. It had in Gildernew a relatively young MP who had just been re elected for the second time; a unionist pact had failed to defeat her and the greening of the west had almost completed, threatening to bring … Read more

John Coyle, Phil Flanagan and the herd mentality

The View held a debate in Fermanagh/South Tyrone last night and the SDLP candidate who is not quite so new to politics as first suspected and was naturally nervous did not have a good night. And, who could blame him? He is running in the most marginal seat in the UK and he is up against two political veterans in Michelle Gildernew and Tom Elliott. Trying to get heard above the din is always going to be difficult but we … Read more

Cartoon – Spencer on Monday

Last week Rodney Edwards hit upon a scoop at a Sinn Fein meeting in Enniskillen. Their leader let it slip that equality was “the trojan horse” that would “break these bastards” [Sinn Fein’s partners in government]. Here’s this week’s cartoon with that in mind. Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here: http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/ http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/

Derrylin to host hunger strike commemoration

The 2014 National Hunger Strike Commemoration has been announced to be in Derrylin Co. Fermanagh this year complete with buses to the event. Diane Woods the niece of local IRA murder victims Thomas and Emily Bullock told the Belfast Telegraph she felt sick at the prospect. From the Belfast Telegraph: A gang of up to six masked men carried out the brutal attack on Mr and Mrs Bullock. They arrived at the isolated farmhouse in Aghalane just outside Derrylin at … Read more

“I am determined to develop a response which fully matches our responsibility under the Habitats Directive…”

With the Northern Ireland Fisheries Minster, Sinn Féin’s Carál Ní Chuilín, displaying Helleresque logic in her efforts to avoid European Commission fines over the Executive’s failure to act to conserve atlantic salmon stocks, BBC NI’s environment correspondent, Mike McKimm, has an update on the NI Executive’s continuing inaction over environmental vandalism at Strangford Lough – a designated Special Area of Conservation, an Area of Special Scientific Interest and a Ramsar (protected wetland) site.  From the BBC report Unless the departments can persuade the European Commission otherwise, they … Read more

“the scheme was poorly planned, badly managed and did not provide good value for money”

We’ve already seen the Northern Ireland Audit Office report criticising the NI Department of Agriculture’s handling of the Farm Nutrient Management Scheme – the largest capital grant scheme ever run by the Department of Agriculture, through which some 4000 farmers received grants worth £121million.  Now the BBC have reported that a draft report from the NI Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee, due to be published in 3 weeks time, will be equally damning.  From the BBC report It is expected to conclude that … Read more

Raymond McCartney: “There is no-one trying to pretend…”

On yesterday’s BBC Radio Ulster’s Talkback, Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney was adamant that he was the author of an opinion piece which appeared, in his name, in the Derry Journal on 19th July.  An opinion piece which re-appeared, word for word, in the Fermanagh Herald on the 20 July, as a letter to the editor from Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew, MP, MLA, and in the Mourne Observer on the 27 July, as a letter to the editor from Sinn Féin’s Willie Clarke, … Read more

“He benefits from formidable references from the very highest echelons of our society.”

Sentenced to 20 years for the attempted murder, in 1981, of now-DUP councillor, Sammy Brush, former Provisional IRA member Gerry McGeough has been refused temporary release on compassionate bail to attend his son’s first holy communion. That’s despite his barrister, Sean Devine’s, claim that his client “benefits from formidable references from the very highest echelons of our society.” [And that would be? – Ed]  The erstwhile Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister, Sinn Fein’s Michelle Gildernew… It cut little ice with the NI Court … Read more

Sammy Brush on McGeough’s conviction

Pete has a blog on McGeough’s conviction for the attempted murder of Samuel Brush below and has also covered the suggestion that Sinn Fein might use its influence to try to help McGeough. Today the Belfast telegraph has a piece about Mr. Brush’s reaction to the trial and conviction. Brush has met Michelle Gildernew and says he was touched by the gesture of her coming to see him and said “I have spoken to her on several occasions since she … Read more

“three extra votes remain unaccounted for” (Michelle Gildernew remains MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone)

At lunchtime, the Lord Chief Justice delivered his judgment on Rodney Connor’s petition and declared that Michelle Gildernew was duly elected as MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone constituency. He found that “there were some issues with how the counts were conducted” and three extra votes remain unaccounted for. However, the Newsletter report Sir Declan Morgan’s view that Even if those votes were introduced in breach of the rules and if they had all been counted in favour of the … Read more

NI Agriculture Minister: “I know that I am not alone in that concern among member states.”

The Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture may have sought £100 million to cover the eventual total disallowance by the EU Commission for the maladministration of EU funds but, as RTÉ reports, the Minister, Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew, has told the Assembly that “the Department is taking the necessary steps today to take a case to the European Court of Justice” challenging that disallowance.  From the Minister’s press release The Minister delivered her statement to set out her Department’s position in regard to … Read more

Judge points to lack of verification of FST’s disputed votes…

Ian Paisley Junior praying for DUP votes in North Antrim at the 2009 European Election verification in the Kings Hall ... or trying to see first preferences

Interesting piece in the Irish News today on the Fermanagh South Tyrone election result, in which Sinn Fein’s Agricultural Minister Michelle Gildernew pipped the Unionist Unity candidate, Rodney Connor by just four votes. Mr Connor will be raising the issue of why six more votes than were issued turned up in the final count was not investigated by the deputy returning officer on the night/day in a petition at a three day hearing in Dungannon next week. The Irish News … Read more

DARD budget to be cut by 18% over four years

A couple of points to note from the BBC report on comments by a Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture senior civil servant to the NI Assembly committee.  The 18% budget cut over the next four years matches the earlier reported cut of 17.2% in the budget of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure.  Then there’s this The department official said no assumptions were being made about where cuts will be made and whether jobs will be lost. He also revealed a … Read more

“there was good news and bad news…”

The still-Northern Ireland Finance Minister, the DUP’s Sammy Wilson, won’t be making a formal statement to the Assembly until September, but he’s written to MLAs to inform them of the NI Executive’s decisions about this year’s additional cuts in departmental budgets.  From the Belfast Telegraph report In a letter penned to MLAs he said: “The main issue facing the Executive in this round was how best to address the £127.8m reduction in funding arising as a consequence of the announcement made by … Read more