Urban North Belfast – free webinar series today and tomorrow…

Today and tomorrow there are 3 online webinars around improving the urban environment in North Belfast. If you are free they should be an interesting watch. Reconnecting North Belfast to the river Tuesday 2nd March 2-4 pm   The webinar introduces the alternative urban solution evolved for North Belfast and the road interchange.   Tony Fretton – architect London Terri McKeown – Sailortown Regeneration Mary Black – CBE – Public Health professional Michael McGarry – architect Professor QUB Ken Sterrett – retired QUB planner Intro …

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As Unionism across Northern Ireland licks its collective wounds, what next?

As Unionism across Northern Ireland licks its collective wounds after a devastating Westminster election, I wanted to focus on two crucial battlegrounds where political Unionism acted in an unacceptable manner, namely North Belfast and Fermanagh and South Tyrone (FST). Both battles were on paper, good old-fashioned knockdown and drag-out fights involving a single Unionist candidate against the might of the old foe – Sinn Fein. Unionism approached both campaigns in a very different manner but the outcome was the same …

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Could a DUP Victory in North Belfast Paradoxically aid Remain?

Dr Adam Fusco is a Associate Lecturer in Politics at the University of York As the polls stand the result of 2019 general election is predicted to be an overall Conservative majority. However, a hung parliament is not ruled out from the realms of possibility. In such a scenario the Conservative and Labour parties will be attempting to gain as much support from others to form a government. The tacit Remain alliance that has emerged in Northern Ireland in advance …

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#SluggerReport: … and #AE17 South Antrim and North Belfast

Two items this morning, before the profiles. One was largely a reprise of yesterday’s story on the odd position the SF Health Minister now finds herself in, and then the odd news that the Attorney General is considering suing the Dept of the Economy for not (in the first place) bringing the RHI to the Executive table back in 2012, making it, he argues, unlawful. We really are moving through the looking glass here. So, South Antrim: If the DUP is …

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The many faces of North Belfast. A series of talks on Thursday nights At the Duncairn Centre for culture and the arts…

These talks look well worth attending.  The program will run as follows – 28TH April 2016 – Harry Midgely was a maverick in Northern Ireland politics, making a long journey from socialist activist to Minister for Education in the Stormont government. This talk is by the historian, Jim McDermott. 5th May 2016 – Winifred Carney became famous for being James Connolly’s secretary in the Easter Rising but she demonstrated many characteristics of radical women of her era. This talk is …

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North Belfast Christmas Peace Walk

MARCH FOR PEACE: Two days ago more than 400 students from across the divide in North Belfast marched to promote peace as we move into 2016. The students were all from local secondary schools and included all sectors.

Gerry Kelly: “The letter with the figures said it all because it dealt with anti-sectarianism and that’s the way I am…”

Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly is still squirming on the sectarian hook the party hoisted him on during his failed campaign in North Belfast during the UK parliamentary election. [Petard? – Ed]  Pardon you… After his party colleague, Carál Ní Chuilín, MLA, [Good heavens, you’re the Culture Minister?! – Ed], tried, and failed, to blame the Electoral Commission for Sinn Féin’s use of the 2011 census’ breakdown of the constituency by religion, or religion brought up in, to support the party’s claim that Gerry …

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Carál Ní Chuilín: “Electoral commission vetoed using last election figures…” – Update

David may not want to go there, although ‘idealistic’ wasn’t the first word that sprang to mind.  [Was it another word beginning with ‘i’? – Ed]  You might very well think that…  ANYhoo… Gerry Kelly’s Sinn Féin colleague in north Belfast, and the Northern Ireland Culture Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín, MLA, should, perhaps, have other things on her mind.  But, on Thursday, the Minister was on Twitter defending Sinn Féin’s use of the 2011 census’ breakdown of the constituency by religion in support of the party’s …

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In North Belfast forget politics just remember you’re a Catholic…

I guess this is Sinn Fein calling a spade a spade, but in the party’s vision of an Ireland of Equals it seems that Protestants need not  apply…   It’s not that it’s wrong. The toxic nature of north Belfast means that Catholics and Protestants do generally split this way. And FPTP offers an opportunity just to further squeeze SDLP hold outs and a small but growing number of Catholic Alliance voters in North Belfast. But from the only party to have been found …

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Brian Kennaway: “[The Grand Master’s speech] achieved one purpose only: it made Gerry Adams sound good”

Brian Kennaway isn’t someone from whom the Orange Order will appreciate advice. On his blog he’s issued a response to Grand Master Edward Stephenson’s statement at Saturday’s Twaddell Avenue rally: … encourage Orange brethren and our supporters to demonstrate their displeasure at the current situation by holding peaceful and legal protests across Northern Ireland, at times and locations of their choosing, over the coming weeks. (Grand Master Edward Stephenson) The former member of the Parades Commission asks: Have the Grand …

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Unionist Pact still possible

The saga of whether or not there will be a unionist pact continues with Mike Nesbitt suggesting that he may still be open to an agreement. He stated: “Without a deal, without an understanding there is a real prospect there could be no unionist representing the capital city of Northern Ireland in Westminster on the 8th May,” he said. “With a deal, who knows? Maybe three of the four could be unionist but they can’t all be DUP.” The seats …

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Can Sinn Féin win three seats in Belfast?

Last night’s announcement that Strangford MLA Jonathan Bell will be the DUP parliamentary candidate for South Belfast means that it is now looking likely that all of the “big five” parties in Northern Ireland will be running candidates in all constituencies in Belfast. Sinn Féin have been breathing down the necks of the DUP in North Belfast for some time. However, Sinn Féin’s selection of Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, the Lord Mayor of Belfast from 2013-14, has led some to wonder …

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Gerry Kelly running on an aggressively ‘get themuns out’ ticket in North Belfast

  Here’s the front of a leaflet in support of Gerry Kelly’s bid for the Westminster seat of North Belfast. The lack of party logos suggests it’s intended to reach beyond party loyalists to wavering SDLPers and dissidents by rousing sectarian tensions, tribal loyalties, erm, legitimate political grievances against the sitting MP (who just happens to be an Orangemen). Classic old style Defenderist values then, which really don’t go much further than, ‘get themuns out’. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written …

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Theresa Villiers: “It is in the interests of everyone affected… that a way forward is found towards a local resolution.”

As the BBC’s Mark Devenport reports, the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, has proposed that a panel of “experts” be appointed with the objective of mediating “an agreed accommodation between local people in respect of Loyal Order parades in the Twaddell and Ardoyne areas of north Belfast”. The official NIO statement includes the terms of reference, key principles, and the proposed structure of the panel and its timescale. Terms of reference In order to mediate an agreed accommodation between local …

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Where have all the adult politicians once ambitious for Northern Ireland gone?

Meanwhile, the lunatics continue to enjoy their dominance over the asylum… and a Orange Order press officer refers all queries to its own members reference to civil disobedience to the DUP… Alex Kane wants an adult to take control: Oddly enough – and I say oddly because it is, in fact, odd – mainstream unionism seems unwilling to tell them that their present tactics are wrong. Not one single UUP or DUP figure (who between them represent the bulk of …

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After a 5th continuous year of rioting is it time consider the poisoned well of north Belfast’s sectarian geography?

Here’s a sound copy of an interview I did with Seamus Martin of Tipp FM yesterday morning talking about the rioting situation… If you are looking for a shortcut through the whole thing, topics include: The lack of leadership from mainstream politics A combination of poverty, political powerlessness and a dire local legacy from the troubles The poisonous politics of sectarian demography “After all the Good Friday Agreement was a long time ago now…“ “The funny thing about northern politics …

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North Belfast kicks off…

The BBC are reporting that water cannon and baton rounds have been used in north Belfast after a sustained attack on police in the Woodvale area.  Four police officers and one civilian, to date, are reported to have been injured in the disorder.  And there have been a number of clashes between rival loyalist and nationalist groups in the area.  The Guardian is live-blogging events. • The first violent clashes erupted around twenty minutes to eight in the north end of …

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#Flegs: They haven’t gone away you know…

There was a lot of upset Crusaders and Cliftonville supporters on Twitter at the weekend. Apparently flag protesters from other parts of Belfast (let’s call them predominantly Blues and Glens supporters) turned up at the away turnstiles to prevent Cliftonville’s majority Catholic support ingress to the ground. Result: the season’s big game between the two top clubs in the local Premier league gets call off. It hasn’t gone unnoticed elsewhere that the target was Cliftonville (currently sitting on a nice …

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What’s New?

Just an editorial from the Independent.: Riots on the streets of Belfast look alarmingly like a return to the bad old days. Indeed, the sight of an Orange band marching in circles and playing a sectarian tune in front of a Catholic church may prompt claims that nothing has changed. Not so. The symmetry that outsiders tend to see between Northern Ireland’s Protestant and Catholic halves is superficial. The Protestant loyalist working-class community of the past was one where boys …

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PSNI: “The time for posturing on this issue… is now passed.”

After two nights of violence on the streets of north Belfast, during which over 60 officers were injured, 6 baton rounds fired, and 8 arrests made, the PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr has issued a challenge to politicians.  From the Irish Times report Police said the trouble was started by loyalists and that nationalists were also involved. Mr Kerr acknowledged that the trouble has raised concerns about whether a massive Orange Order parade on September 29th will pass off …

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