“As with the hardest essay questions, there is no right answer but many wrong ones.”

Writing in the Guardian, “former Downing Street Brexit spokesperson”, Matthew O’Toole [no relation – Ed] has some intelligent, and interesting, things to say about “the psychology of imagined identity” here, and the task facing the new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley, as well as the UK Prime Minister in the next phase of the Brexit negotiations. [Definitely no relation! – Ed] From the Guardian article As Bradley will discover, Brexit has unsettled one of the most intangible but …

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“in just the same way that nationalists in Northern Ireland can’t permanently settle for their Irish/nationalist identity being simply recognised and accommodated in part of the United Kingdom…”

In yesterday’s News Letter, Alex Kane, in effect, calls ‘bullshit’ on Sinn Féin’s latest pronoucements on a new united Ireland…  and, perhaps, the political psychosis that underlies their thinking.  That’s without addressing the question of the authority to offer any such constitutional guarantees and/or the willingness, or ability, to deliver them.  [It’s ‘Blue Sky’ thinking! – Ed]  Of course it is…  From the News Letter article I was on a Féile an Phobail panel with Michelle O’Neill last Wednesday evening, …

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EU Standardised Driving Licence, mostly, Trumps Political Psychosis

Sinn Féin TD, Dessie Ellis, has taken umbrage with the Irish National Driver Licence Service for refusing to indulge some nationalists’ political psychosis on the recently standardised EU driving licence.  From the Irish News report Sinn Féin’s Dessie Ellis spoke out after a renewed licence issued to Co Tipperary resident Thomas Murray stated ‘Northern Ireland’ as his place of birth. The 79-year-old Belfast-born driver, who has lived in Co Tipperary since 1973, previously owned a licence that simply had ‘Ireland’ …

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Welcome to Northern Ireland!

With a little local difficulty exposing something of a north/south divide within his own party, Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan has decided to have an argument about road signs.  “Welcome to Northern Ireland” road signs…  Apparently, he’s concerned about the cost. The Fermanagh & South Tyrone MLA said: “The erection of these signs has angered many living in border communities who suffer the negative impact of partition on a daily basis and a large proportion of are completely opposed to the unnatural division …

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“As a British citizen I have always objected to being forced into bankruptcy in a foreign jurisdiction…”

Sean Quinn isn’t the only high-profile individual to have a UK bankruptcy ruling annulled by the courts.  As the BBC report notes The British bankruptcy of Tom McFeely, an IRA hunger striker turned developer, has been annulled by a court in London. Mr McFeely had failed to disclose all relevant details in his application. He is one of Ireland’s most controversial property developers – one of his apartment blocks was so shoddily built its residents had to move out over over …

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“UK courts cannot force the handing over of journalistic material to foreign organizations…”

Just a quick note of the BBC reporting that Garda have failed in their attempt to force the BBC and UTV to hand over unbroadcast video footage of rioting in Dublin during Queen Elizabeth II’s visit last year.  From the BBC report The request which was made through the Home Office failed after Senior Belfast Judge Tom Burgess agreed with the case put by the broadcasters. He found UK courts cannot force the handing over of journalistic material to foreign organizations. Just …

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“are you serious?” – redux

Having taken umbrage previously at the sight of the Union flag on a bit of turkey in his local Asda store, the now Sinn Féin councillor, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, is bemoaning the lack of eggs “produced locally” in Sainsbury’s.  Or so he claims…  [He has photographic evidence! – Ed]  Indeed.  As he says in the Andersonstown News How did I know the eggs weren’t local produce? That was easy: every box had a mini-Union Jack. [In Sainsbury’s!? – Ed]  Of course, “we’re not part …

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“Such arrangements are commonplace in cross-border rail operations across Europe.”

As the BBC reports, Belfast-based freelance journalist Michael Fisher has taken exception to the terms and conditions of an Iarnród Éireann competition “to win an amazing trip for two with a difference to see Ireland’s three group games in Euro 2012 this June”. Well, one condition in particular – “Applicants must be 18 years of age or over, and must be resident in the Republic of Ireland” [added emphasis].  From Michael Fisher’s Border Rambler blog This is a clear case of discrimination, where marketing …

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“This is [partitionist] provocation in the extreme…”

The sensitive souls at the Armagh GAA County Board have, apparently, issued a statement of complaint in the aftermath of Sunday’s defeat to Laois – when their captain was sent-off for allegedly kicking a Laois player during the half-time interval.  The RTÉ report notes A statement from the Armagh County Board has claimed that its players were subjected to “racist and personal abuse” during the Allianz NFL game with Laois on Sunday last. The board are angry that the “partitionist provocation” …

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“and it is all taking place during the 400th anniversary of the city being granted its Royal Charter…”

A UTV report acknowledging the contribution of PSNI Chief Superintendent Stephen Martin in Londonderry’s successful bid, against Sligo, to host the All-Ireland Fleadh during the UK City of Culture year notes another reason for denizens of the city to celebrate in 2013.  From the UTV report The addition of the Fleadh means 2013 is shaping up to be a year to remember for the city. It will coincide with the Derry/Londonderry UK City of Culture – and it is all …

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“I am shocked, totally and utterly shocked.”

After dithering by the Londonderry branches, about being associated with the UK City of Culture, it’s now reported that the Ulster Council of Comhaltas have declined to support the city’s bid to host the All-Ireland Fleadh in 2013.  From the Derry Journal report Moves to bring the 2013 All-Ireland Fleadh will now not proceed after the Ulster Council said it had security fears about bringing the event to the city. The Ulster Council said it was with “deep regret and …

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Londonderry’s bid for All-Ireland Fleadh in 2013 to go ahead

At the second tiime of asking, Londonderry branch delegates of Comhaltas have agreed to bid to host the All-Ireland Fleadh during the UK City of Culture year by 13 votes to 1.  As the BBC report notes Some Comhaltas members, who initially opposed the move because of the UK link in Derry’s City of Culture 2013 title, did not attend. [Lost in traffic? – Ed]  Possibly…  Meanwhile, Sinn Féin’s Martina Anderson has launched her campaign “to neutralise the U.K. prefix…”  …

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“The only way to neutralise the U.K. prefix…”

Nevin pointed at a rare tree of relevance in the comment zone yesterday.  It’s the full statement from the former Sinn Féin “Director of Unionist Engagement“, now “Sinn Féin Junior Minister”, Martina Anderson, on the reluctance of some within Comhaltas to host the all-Ireland Fleadh in Londonderry during the UK City of Culture year.  [That would be the Northern Ireland Executive Junior Minister? – Ed]  Quite.  It’s now being covered, 4 days after being issued, by the Derry Journal.  How …

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“we are a city of culture…”

More symptoms of that political psychosis in evidence in Londonderry. Sinn Féin’s Martina Anderson has informed the BBC that, at a meeting of the Irish music organisation Comhaltas in the city on Wednesday night, members failed to agree on a bid to host the all-Ireland Fleadh in 2013.  From the BBC report “It is deeply disappointing,” [Martina Anderson] said. “My understanding is that County Derry branches are against it and the city branches are for it.” The problem?  According to the report Sinn …

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“not quite Irish enough”

The Irish Times today gives space to a perennial whinge.  Freelance journalist Darach MacDonald complains that, living in Northern Ireland, he is “now deemed by geography to be not quite Irish enough” to vote in the forthcoming Irish presidential election – even though he could stand, and take office if elected. But, rather than extending the franchise, there is a more obvious solution to the apparent contradiction. Introduce a residency requirement for the office of the President of [the Republic …

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