Michelle & Arlene: Ulster Says Snow … making political satire out of stasis (Accidental Theatre, 6/7/13 December)

The fourth in the series of Michelle and Arlene satirical plays – Ulster Says Snow! – is due to hit the stage of Accidental Theatre in Belfast’s Shaftesbury Square next week. Running alongside the Human Rights Festival, Rosemary Jenkinson hopes that this new show can explore many different rights, rather than just being a narrow snapshot of local politics.

Michelle O’Neill predicts talks will conclude next week and calls for party cohesion

In her acceptance speech as the incoming vice president of Sinn Féin – Leas Uachtarán Shinn Féin – Michelle O’Neill anticipated that the “[Stprmont] talks will conclude next week” and “the issues which caused the collapse of Stormont can be resolved with political will and mutual respect”. Later she called for “cohesion” in the expanding party.

Michelle O’Neill to become Vice President of Sinn Fein

Sinn Fein’s Northern Leader, Michelle O’Neill is set to become the Vice President of the party under Mary Lou McDonald as President. The new team will take over on February 10th at the special Ard Fheis in Dublin. Her remarks below; “I am honoured to be nominated as the new Leas Uachtarán of Sinn Féin. I look forward after the Special Ard Fheis to work with our new party President Mary Lou McDonald and wider national leadership team. “We are … Read more

Michelle O’Neill, one year on from becoming ‘Leader of the North’…

There is something a bit Game of Thrones about Sinn Fein’s bespoke title for Martin McGuinness’s supposed successor Michelle O’Neill. Yesterday’s retrospective in the Irish News confirms there’s little to be learned from her first year in the “job”. Her decision to address an event in April commemorating the IRA’s ‘Loughgall Martyrs’ drew predictable criticism. Those less exercised saw it as deliberate tactic to ensure the Co Tyrone republican base was kept on board. Appearances at such events have since … Read more

A Year Without Government Series: Part II

This article makes up the second part of a series that takes a satirical look back on the last year and a bit of Northern Irish Politics. The following was written entirely tongue in cheek and none of it should be taken very seriously. Find Part I here. The Assembly Election Debate It is a time honoured tradition of the Assembly election cycle that the BBC and UTV bring representatives from the five largest parties into a room together to shout … Read more

Review: Michelle & Arlene – two game politicians flip flop after staying in close contact over summer

What would it take for a Northern Ireland politician to change their mind on one of any number of intractable issues? A satirical play finds out what might happen if Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill spent time away together and faced up to some of the policy issues that divide their parties and stall political progress. Accidental Theatre produce Rosemary Jenkinson’s Rapid Response play.

Michelle & Arlene – a fine foemance on a satirical trip away (24-26 August)

NEW DRAMA by Rosemary Jenkinson taking a satirical look at the state of local politics. Pantomime, pantyhose, and politics in this fictional imagining of two leaders who keep bumping into each other on Ibiza. “In spite of their initial hostility, it’s almost as if they are fated to be closer than they ever thought possible!” (Accidental Theatre, 24-26 August)

“Arlene, tell me you did not just say that!?”

In today’s Sunday Independent, Arlene Foster is asked to play a word association game and when asked about Michelle O’Neill, her response is “blonde.” That’s what she said about her political equal, the woman she is tasked with developing political agreement with in order to re-establish the Assembly. “Blonde.” I’m scarlet for her. Yes, I realise that expression is a colloquialism, but I truly can’t think of any other way to express how wick I feel for her that she … Read more

The fault lies in ourselves, not just the politicians

Slagging off politicians is so often the default of Slugger comment, sometimes  down to  the level of that useful word “trolling,”   which  for me recalls the fate of the troll in “ The three billy goats gruff,” when the troll richly  deserves to  get crushed to bits. It ought to occur to people by now that life demands a bit more than a bilious attack, a rant or a sprint down a favourite cul de sac. Hand on heart  I … Read more

O’Neill criticises DUP & British Government; warns about another election

The Sinn Fein Leader in the North, Michelle O’Neill gave a bleak assessment today over where we are politically. Taking aim at the DUP and the British government she criticised their approach towards the talks; “We have been here five weeks during which time Sinn Féin has been fully engaged. We believe in the institutions and we have been working to restore them and to rebuild public confidence in them. “However, to date there has been no measurable progress. And at … Read more

“Installing a new-style apparatchik makes perfect sense for an interim period…”

Hard to know what to make of Michelle O’Neill as SF’s ‘leader of the north’ (apart from the fact she’s currently struggling to get a word in past ‘the boss’).  Fionnuala O’Connor has been mulling it over in her Irish News column: Shuffling the performers may be no more than a holding pattern. What was the spirit of the McGuinness legacy? To go by his last act, as much to stay out of Stormont as go back in, as much … Read more

Sinn Féin’s red lines? : “So you had the Irish language act, there was a thing called the bill of rights and there was another issues.”

Launching the Sinn Féin manifesto for the Northern Ireland Assembly election a couple of weeks ago, the party’s appointed ‘leader in the North’, Michelle O’Neill, declared that “You’d be very aware that I won’t be drawing any red line issues…” Since then she has allowed the impression to be created that the one ‘red line’ the party does have is the nomination of the DUP leader, Arlene Foster, as First, or deputy First, Minister before Judge Coughlin’s inquiry into the RHI scheme … Read more

Martin McGuinness (not Michelle O’Neill) describes the DUP as bigots in Mid Ulster

My analysis of Mid Ulster is a little harsher for Sinn Fein than most. But I can’t see much bounce for the new leader since last June since Mid Ulster was the constituency of the previous SF leader, Martin McGuinness. They’re significantly short of three quotas too.  In their favour, they have an election machine second to none. Nor are they afraid to use marked registers to help them figure out who has voted and who hasn’t.  Despite the fact that it’s not, … Read more

“is Gerry the Genius sure he has thought all this through?”

In today’s Irish News, Newton Emerson asks the impertinent question… Remarks by Mike Nesbitt about cross-community voting distracted from what should have been the major story of the week. Northern Sinn Féin leader Michelle O’Neill has said her party will not return to the executive with Arlene Foster as first or deputy first minister until the DUP leader has been cleared by the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) inquiry. O’Neill added this was a red line issue – something Sinn Féin … Read more

UTV Leaders’ Debate #vote17 – squabbling politicians talk in clichés #ae17

If there was a winner of tonight’s debate it was Cliché. Though Lothario might be a close runner up. There were no knock out blows. Few punches caused any leader to wobble towards the ropes. Instead they parried them away with relative ease. While the lack of a studio audience eliminated oohs and ahs and mischievous clapping, it did also mean that the questions could be crisply delivered by Marc Mallett who kept the rough and tumble in the playground as well-behaved as could be expected.

Theresa May is unmoved by Celtic frustrations over her Brexit stance

After Trump and Turkey week for Theresa May but with the aftershocks still shaking the bones,  Brexit week with the Celts must seem like an anti- climax. Despite all the warms words there is no sign that Mrs May is taking the pro-EU positions of two and half of the three devolved administrations even slightly seriously. The briefings before today’s Cardiff meeting could hardly be more underwhelming. We will not agree on everything, but that doesn’t mean we will shy … Read more