Ian Marshall joins the UUP…

At the time of the last UUP leadership election, I said the best person for the job was Ian Marshall. There were just two minor issues, he was not a politician or even a member of the UUP. That situation has since been rectified, at least the UUP member part. Delighted to join Doug and the UUP. Time for a union of people, embracing inclusivity, diversity and building relationships across an island and between two islands. Thanks to @SuzyJourno & …

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#TheReset – Simon Hamilton on what will Belfast be for?

Simon Hamilton is an ex DUP MLA & Finance Minister. He is currently Chief Executive of Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce. You can follow him on Twitter Back at the beginning of 2020, I wrote a piece that appeared in the local press in which I predicted that “better times were ahead” for Belfast. The rationale for my optimistic outlook was that, with a deal struck on Brexit, a Conservative Government at Westminster with a whopping majority and the …

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‘Citizens’ Assembly could help progress with health reform’, suggests Simon Hamilton

The adoption of a citizens’ assembly could assist with making progress with reform of the health service in Northern Ireland, says Simon Hamilton – a DUP MLA and former health and finance minister.  He was interviewed in the latest ‘Forward Together’ podcast. Speaking about the use of citizens’ assemblies in the Republic of Ireland, Simon explains: “They shouldn’t be dismissed instantly just because you didn’t like what some other jurisdiction was doing with them.”  He adds: “I know from my …

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DUP promise “a balanced deal” at conference that lacked its normal spark #dup17

The religious zeal and fervour normally on show at the November DUP conference was missing from much of today’s proceedings. The banter, jeering and spontaneous bursting into song was muted, actively discouraged (or forbidden). The flags, normally already laid out on seats when the delegates arrive, were only distributed after lunch. It seem that with supposed power in Westminster comes responsibility.

£9 million on a single flight, most of it from Stormont

Without too much fanfare, during the summer recess it was announced that United Airlines had been considering withdrawing the Belfast International – Newark route from service. The airline had previously made a decision to cancel the route from January to March of 2015. Discussions took place between United Airlines, Belfast International Airport officials, the British Government and the NI Executive and the decision was made to retain the route, at least for the next 3 years. As the Irish News reported …

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Ó Muilleoir has a huge opportunity to reshape the economics of Nationalism & Northern Ireland

Mairtín Ó Muilleoir is the first Nationalist MLA to hold an economic brief for 14 years and the first from Sinn Fein. Our new Finance Minister has only been in the Assembly for two years, but now he has a real opportunity to do something for his party and wider nationalism. For years, I have heard on shows from Nolan to Talkback pundits saying Nationalists just don’t really do economics. We have the enthusiasm and the idealism, but not much …

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Simon Hamilton takes aim at smoking in cars with children

BANNING SMOKING IN CARS: Simon Hamilton has proposed an amendment to the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) bill which will aim to ban smoking in cars with children. This proposal has been in effective since 1st October in England. I am not totally sure what the penalties will be if you’re caught, but some analysis from when it came in said

Cartoon – Cartoon – Ruth(less) Resignations

While DUP ministers continue their in-out-in-out, Hokey Cokey resignation-renomination routine, Ruth Patterson has gone all out with a traditional resignation. Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here: http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/ www.brianjohnspencer.com/

Cartoon – Unionist power play…

In the fallout from the murder of Kevin McGuigan and the decision of Nesbitt to play the strong man the DUP have had to tilt the unionist axis back towards Dundela Avenue, deploying the “in-out” routine as part of he “no business as usual” policy. All this means the health minister has been kept away from his position in office. Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here: http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/ www.brianjohnspencer.com/

This set of sensible recommendations subverts any notion that wellbeing might be cast as an abstract, woolly or unobtainable aspiration

20130417 Political Drama IMG_2009

When Health Minister Simon Hamilton and Finance Committee Chair Daithí McKay speak at Carnegie UK Trust’s important wellbeing gathering tomorrow, their appearance will provide further evidence that the holistic agenda continues to boast substantial support across party and department. It has not been proceeding in a vacuum. As the debate around welfare continues its stubborn impasse, wellbeing appears less stricken. Both Hamilton and McKay, co-patrons of Carnegie’s engagement with the political establishment in this regard, have demonstrated a keen interest …

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Post-damage-limitation, challenge for DUP is not whether they choose to change, but how they choose to change

The boil has been lanced. To borrow from Oscar Wilde: “To become the news story once during an election campaign may be regarded as a misfortune; to do it twice in a week over the same issue looks like carelessness.” NI Executive ministers rarely resign. If it hadn’t been in the middle of an election campaign, I doubt that Jim Wells would have had to inform the First Minister of his intention to stand down from his post as Minister …

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Hamilton calls time on Speaking Clock at Stormont

If you don’t follow Sinn Fein’s Phil Flanagan on Twitter you should and for no other reason than he asks the most under the radar assembly questions you can think of. Today he got a response to a question he posed to the Finance Minister, Simon Hamilton a few weeks ago on the cost of Stormont’s talking clock. Yes, this is a clock that you ring up and it tells you the time. Courtesy of Phil, this is how much …

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#OpenGovNI: Why a loose, distributed and eclectic network is vital… [updated with audio and video]

A key irony noted by Tim Hughes of Involve is that conversations about Open Government can very quickly become wonky and technical, and as a consequence begin to close out the ordinary citizen with techno jargon and insider speak. Wednesday’s launch of the Open Government Network Northern Ireland at Malone House in Belfast was moderately successful in broadening their catch beyond ‘the usual suspects’. [Listen back to the speeches and watch the keynotes.] Keynote speaker was Finance Minister, Simon Hamilton admitted there has been a …

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Hamilton: “When faced with tough choices, we have made the right choices and chosen the best interests of the people of Northern Ireland”

Two days ago Finance Minister, Simon Hamilton MLA presented his draft budget. Writing exclusively for Slugger, he argues that in this budget he has done what is right for Northern Ireland Constructing a Budget at any time is always a challenge. There is never enough money to spend on public services to meet all of the demands placed on government. Agreeing a Budget in the circumstances we find ourselves in Northern Ireland is even more difficult. Our Budget has not …

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Kicking the [financial] can down the road, again.

According to the BBC’s Mark Devenport, The Treasury has been asked to supply Stormont with a one-off loan of between £100m and £150m to ease its budgetary crisis, the BBC understands. According to the reports, the proposal was discussed with the UK Treasury by the NI First Minister, the DUP leader Peter Robinson, and the NI Finance Minister, the DUP’s Simon Hamilton.  Whether that occurred before, or after, yesterday’s ‘special’ meeting of the NI Executive isn’t entirely clear.  From the …

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Corporation Tax powers finally set to be devolved?

The Belfast Telegraph has a number of articles about the devolution of control over Corporation Tax: with a timeline here. From the Belfast Telegraph: Finance Minister Simon Hamilton said: “I am optimistic that we will get a positive answer from the Prime Minister. “I think that the Government wants to do this and we have made a very robust case to them.” A senior Tory source concurred with this assessment. However, the cost of cutting the tax is likely to …

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