The legacy of the past can still be felt in today’s political relationships, warns O’Neill

Legacy is being discussed at length at present, following the British government’s proposals to abandon prosecutions and investigations related to Troubles’ events. But there is another toxic legacy – the impact of past events on current political relationships. That aspect of legacy is discussed with Sinn Féin Vice President and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill in the latest Holywell Trust Forward Together podcast.  Michelle argues that political leaders must work hard to build trust, to enable the political system here to …

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Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill make televised address over COVID-19

  The First and Deputy First Minister have made a televised address following Boris Johnson. There was nothing new announced from yesterday, it was a restatement of the message they have been giving for the past 24 hours. The new thing was how the form of communication. Looking back through the records (Slugger readers will correct me if I am wrong) this is the first time in nearly 52 years that this has happened. A leader(s) of a devolved administration …

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NI Executive Office acting unlawfully in delaying introduction of victims compensation scheme

Not unexpectedly, given Mr Justice McAlinden’s comments during the two-day hearing, Belfast High Court has ruled that the NI Executive Office is, indeed, acting unlawfully in failing to implement the victims payment scheme.  Or, rather, the NI deputy First Minister is acting unlawfully… From the summary of judgement [pdf file] It is incumbent upon the Executive Office to forthwith designate a Department under paragraph 2(1) of Schedule 1 to the Victims’ Payments Regulations 2020 to exercise the administrative functions of …

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“This decision is directly, but not solely, related to the issues which arose around the Bobby Storey cremation.”

As BBC NI political editor Mark Devenport said a few days ago, there is “No prospect of Stormont falling.”  That doesn’t mean there might not be casualties elsewhere… Having apologised in public for “operational decisions” around the Bobby Storey cremation at Roselawn Cemetery, the Belfast Telegraph reports that Belfast City Council Chief Executive, Suzanne Wylie, and director of city and neighbourhood services, Nigel Grimshaw, have lodged a formal grievance with the city solicitor, and have threatened to resign “if [their] …

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Social Distancing Hasn’t Gone Away, You Know…

The Health Minister comes across as an extremely likeable fellow. Standing atop his podium, like an experienced but weary plumber, the civil and utterly decent Robin Swann is ever ready to plug any leaks in the flow of public compliance and adherence to Covid-19 guidelines. Despite having his feathers ruffled at the beginning of April, Swann took a dignified stance yesterday and opted not to weigh in with his own personal criticism of a certain someone’s attendance at a certain …

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The Foster/O’Neill relationship is one that is important for us all.

SKY News Ireland Correspondent, David Blevins held a joint interview with Arlene Foster and Michele O’Neill which was aired this morning. RTE’s Tommie Gorman has an interesting piece online today about the relationship between the two and some of the previous power-sharing bids in the past which is worth a read.  When devolution returned in January this year, there was no fan fare. On that rainy Saturday standing in the Great Hall, all of us who are nerds were watching …

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Not even a global pandemic can bring Sinn Fein to welcome help from the Brits…

Sinn Fein’s recent criticism of Stormont’s Health Minister Robin Swann was a curious occurrence in even more curious times. The UUP MLA’s decision to utilise the UK military to support logistic functions like distribution of PPE and construction of a NI Nightingale facility, was layered with realism, a sense of urgency and for once, relative political neutrality.  And yet, Michelle O’Neill criticised the decision, based not on the intended use of the UK military, but on the lack of consultation that …

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O’Neill “government is clearly still not listening to fears of the public who are aghast at the pantomime currently playing out in the Westminster parliament”

Sinn Fein Vice President, Michelle O’Neill held a phone conversation with the Secretary of State to discuss the impasse over the Withdrawal Agreement; “I had a frank discussion with the British Secretary of State and I told her that her government is clearly still not listening to fears of the public who are aghast at the pantomime currently playing out in the Westminster parliament. “With each passing day, our business community, our farmers, our community and voluntary sector are growing …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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