NI Executive agrees multi-million pound funding for City of Derry Airport

Announced yesterday was the news that the City of Derry Airport, currently owned by Derry City & Strabane District Council, is in line to received an as yet unspecified sum (although Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said it was a multi-million pound deal, and that it had been signed off). Many will know that the airport runs at a loss to the ratepayers of the council of £2.145 million per year. Ryanair announced recently that they would be cutting their Derry-Stansted … Read more

Assembly Speaker announces that he will step down at the next election

The current Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly Mitchel McLaughlin has announced that he step down as an MLA at the next election. He served as an MLA for Foyle between 1998-2007 and South Antrim since 2007. Announcing his decision to the Assembly today he said; I know it is no secret to many Members but I want to publicly put it on the record today that I will be stepping down as a Member of this Assembly at the … Read more

An uncomfortable conversation* at #Feile15 [*in the sense that a lack of hope leads optimism to wither]

Pulling names out of a hat to decide the order of speaking, Presbyterian Minister and deputy Equality Commissioner Rev Lesley Carroll began by looking through “a dark lens” and delivered a downbeat assessment of the present state of reconciliation in Northern Ireland – we need to “change our tune, change our dance steps, or we’ll burrow a hole in the ground and fall into it”. She was followed by CRC chair Peter Osborne who spoke about continued segregation, relative funding … Read more

Quid pro quo in assembly speaker appointments

The DUP’s Robin Newton was today appointed as the NI assembly’s principal deputy speaker with support from Sinn Féin. The appointment was confirmed minutes after the East Belfast MLA was confirmed as a deputy speaker joining the experienced John Dallat of the SDLP and Roy Beggs of the UUP. Last week the DUP supported the appointment of Sinn Féin’s  Mitchel McLaughlin  as NI assembly speaker and both partys have been accused of a ‘carve-up’ of top positions at Stormont. The … Read more

7 NI political hot potatoes for early 2015

1. Expect Mitchel McLaughlin to be finally elected as Speaker of the NI Assembly. If the Welfare Reform Bill passes its Consideration Stage by the end of February (as the financial package requires), will the DUP withdraw their objection and allow Sinn Féin’s Mitchel McLaughlin to be elected as Speaker? They’ll surely not wait until the Bill receives Royal Assent? Mitchel’s elevation will create a vacancy for a Deputy Speaker. Who will the DUP nominate from within their ranks? Realistically … Read more

And the irreplaceable Willie Hay remains irreplaceable, apparently

The news on Mitchel McLaughlin not getting the seat Peter Robinson once promised him, in two Tweets… One, if Mitchel ain’t getting it, no one is… McLaughlin didn't get the post then as expected? @mickfealty this truly is a farce of a govt — Katie-o (@kateyo) October 13, 2014 Two, some context… Unionists causing a degree of uncertainty and a lack of confidence in the Mitchel McLaughlin community. — Newton Emerson (@NewtonEmerson) October 13, 2014 Fun, innit… Mick … Read more

From the Derry Journal archives…

A short piece of “nostalgia” from the Derry Journal archives, May 19, 1989. “The SDLP leadership has lost its way,” claimed Derry Sinn Fein councillor, Mitchel McLaughlin, commenting yesterday on SDLP Leader John Hume’s invitation to the Unionists to engage in talks without an agenda, but within the context of Northern Ireland. Colr. McLaughlin said the gap between between nationalist demands for peace, unity and independence and the willingness of John Hume, Austin Currie and Eddie McGrady to settle for … Read more

Caption Competition

Alex Kane quoted a Sinn Fein associate in the News Letter: We can always rely on unionist disarray or paranoia to help us out. And then we can remember Mitchel McLaughlin’s “faux pas of the month” back in 2006: … asked to explain exactly what Sinn Féin had achieved for its supporters, media-disaster Mitchel spluttered for a moment before blurting out: “The degree of uncertainty and the lack of confidence in the unionist community!” Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, … 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

Sinn Féin rejects HET findings on Kingsmill massacre

The BBC headline may focus on a different aspect of the statement from Sinn Fein’s Mitchel McLaughlin, but it’s clear from the quotes that Sinn Féin rejects the findings of the Historical Enquiries Team’s (HET) report on the Kingsmill massacre.  Specifically, the party rejects the HET finding that the Provisional IRA carried out the “purely sectarian” and “calculated slaughter” of 10 Protestants in south Armagh in 1976. From the BBC report The Historical Enquiries Team (HET) found the IRA was responsible … Read more

Sinn Fein suffers another memory loss at the PAC?

There’s much to be said about where the PAC’s investigation of NI Water leaves us all. As noted previously there is plenty of material to draw out from the final report. But there’s one wee detail worth noting in passing. Mitchel McLaughlin had this to say on Monday: It was revealed during Ministerial questions in the Assembly today that Mr. McGlone, an SDLP member of the Public Accounts Committee had submitted questions to the Committee investigation into NI Water procurement … Read more

“Hollow nationalist rhetoric will not do.”

In the Belfast Telegraph Sinn Féin MLA Mitchel McLaughlin responds to Ed Curran’s question on the cost of a united Ireland with some hollow nationalist rhetoric, and indulges in some fantasy economics. An analysis of the expenditure by ‘regions’ along with a series of estimates of the revenues from the regions by Oxford Economics shines some light on the actual subvention by the British Exchequer. The main findings demonstrate that total ‘identifiable expenditure’ for the North was £14.1bn in 2004/05. This is … Read more