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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Don’t gloat; the DUP’s emotional spasms could spell trouble for all of us

Bogeyman Brendan Gloating over the chaos in the DUP may be understandable and even enjoyable. But it is not a sufficient response to what seems to be going on.  The full gamut of resentment at the state of politics has come to the surface of the DUP and there are dangers in it for everybody. In the present circumstances their cup runneth over. The British government are as much to blame as republicans.   First their betrayal over the protocol , …

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Stormont crisis averted. Until the next crisis…

So to no great surprise to anyone, Sinn Fein and the DUP have agreed to fudge the issue of the Irish Language Act. They have run to colonial daddy to implement the legislation for them at Westminster. BBC News: NI ministerial nominations due as Stormont stand-off ends BBC News – NI ministerial nominations due as Stormont stand-off endshttps://t.co/ybxWhPftU5 A Secretary of State intervenes to save the Assembly at Sinn Fein's behest. Now we've seen it all. — Brian Walker (@bwalker347) …

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In the final report on unification referendums on the island of Ireland, the unionist case goes by default.

   First a critical  assessment of  the Report on Referendums within the island of Ireland by an old colleague with definitive cross border credentials, Andy Pollak,  A brilliantly reasoned but not balanced exploration of future Irish unity referendums….  If a majority opts for unification, then the transfer of sovereignty must occur, whether governing arrangements [for a new united Ireland] can be agreed consensually or not.” This is the report’s central contradiction (as it may be in the 1998 Agreement itself)…  This …

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Why Conor Murphy’s Budget is failing our people

Sinéad McLaughlin is an SDLP MLA for Foyle and is the SDLP spokesperson for the economy For the last 14 years, Northern Ireland has been led by joint first ministers from Sinn Fein and the DUP. This leadership was supposed to deliver prosperity after the peace that was delivered by the leadership of John Hume and the SDLP. But instead of prosperity, the North continues to have some of the worst economic outcomes anywhere in Western Europe. My city of Derry …

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Well, well, well-#AE2022 and that Lucid Talk poll

It’s early days, minds could change later, but the Belfast Telegraph’s latest poll will send shivers down the DUP’s spine. According to Lucid Talk, support for the DUP has dropped to 16%, the same as Alliance. Sinn Fein sits at 25%. Doug Beattie will take comfort from the figure for the UUP, up two points to 14%. A Sinn Fein First Minister has been a possibility since the 2017 Assembly election. Based on these figures,  Sinn Fein will clinch the …

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Martina Anderson and Karen Mullan to step down at the next election.

Empty Waterfront Hall for Sinn Fein Ard Fheis

Confirmation that I do not intend to stand at the next Assembly Election. There is a privilege in being a public representative standing up for people. I will miss not doing that #LoveDerry pic.twitter.com/anRPIAhzod — Martina Anderson MLA (@M_AndersonSF) May 4, 2021 And followed by Karen Mullan just a few minutes later I confirm that I will not be seeking a nomination to stand for @sinnfeinireland at the next Assembly Election. It has been a great privilege to represent and …

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If Edwin Poots tried to crash the Assembly it would open the door to a border poll

Let’s assume Edwin Poots is a shoo-in for the DUP leadership. Comfortable in his minor elder statesman role at Westminster, Jeffrey Donaldson hasn’t the stomach for a contest. He might be willing to accept  it on a plate but that’s not going to happen. With more than a hint of desperation, some of us have been foisting the Nixon goes to China model onto Poots, meaning that the hardliner in politics may be better placed to compromise than the liberal. …

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Sinn Fein continue their Derry shake up

The Irish Examiners political correspondent, Aoife Moore has another scoop on the latest developments in Derry Sinn Fein as she reveals the two sitting MLAs have been asked to consider their positions. Moore reports: Martina Anderson and Karen Mullan were told last week that as part of a long investigation into the Derry Comhairle Ceantair launched before Christmas, that they should reconsider their positions as elected representatives, as the party attempted to “rebuild” in the city. It’s understood both women …

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Behind the Paddy’s Day rituals, how deep is the Stormont crisis?

With so much guff, bluff and ritual about it, St Patrick’s Day is a poor bellwether for judging the state of affairs in Ireland remotely – and perhaps no better on the spot either. One glance at privileged youff crowding Botanic Gardens in defiance of lockdown, you might have groaned with me: “ Not the Holylands again. “ However BBCNI’s news story was encouraging. St Patrick's Day: Police clear crowds at Belfast's Botanic Gardens https://t.co/Fp6LvjTOC8 — Darran Marshall (@DarranMarshall) March …

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“As explained in detail to Sinn Féin and previously…”

News that the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland is to canvass all households this summer, for the first time since 2013 and a year later than planned, in order to update the electoral register  – unlike the rest of the UK which has an annual canvass process – has the Sinn Féin MP for West Belfast, Paul Maskey, reaching for a page from the Donald Trump electioneering playbook.   From the BBC report The canvass is legally required by the UK …

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Real world pressures are complicating neat arguments over unification

I begin with  more inexplicable partitionism from Dublin, as discussed by Newton who has a hawkeye for this subject “Genuine mystery surrounds the Irish Government’s lengthy refusal to share Covid passenger data with Northern Ireland. The Government will not explain it and nobody else can see what the issue might be. There is increasing urgency for a solution as Britain, Ireland and Northern Ireland introduce negative Covid test requirements for travellers, with varying sets of self-isolation periods that cannot be …

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When are the DUP going to ditch the Tories?

“What did we do to members on those benches over there, to be screwed over by this protocol,” Ian Paisley asked in Parliament yesterday, “ask your hearts, what did we do?” Oh Ian. It’s a cliché at this point to quote Edward Carson’s “What a fool I was…” speech. It’s boring. We all know it by now. I prefer the bit after that famous line: “And of all the men in my experience that I think are the most loathsome it …

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Irish unity : going nowhere fast

So how’s the Irish reunification campaign coming along ? According to Sinn Féin President, Mary Lou McDonald, there doesn’t need to be one, because it’s already been won. A few days ago, speaking to Owen Jones, McDonald said of a United Ireland : ‘We’ll do it in the next decade. We’ll do it in this decade, actually.’  This is an example of the nationalist equivalent of the ‘inevitability doctrine’ I wrote about a few months back. In my previous article, …

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Sinn Féin’s historical revisionism has nowhere to hide

Trying to rewrite history is never a good idea. So when Sinn Féin’s official social media account claimed at the weekend that “On this day in 1905 Sinn Féin was founded” and proceeded to say that on that day “we outlined our position”, it naturally raised a few eyebrows within the historian community. The thing is with historians, they are fact-based people, so if you lie about something in history they will ruthlessly expose you for it. The backlash to …

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New Decade, Same Nonsense

With the four-week circuit breaker due to expire on Friday, people across Northern Ireland are looking for certainty. Businesses need to know if they can re-open at the weekend. Workers want to know if they’ll get an income over the next few weeks. All the while, six of Northern Ireland’s hospitals are at full capacity. As of this morning, the Executive still hasn’t agreed a way forward.  Robin Swann proposed a two-week extension of the circuit breaker but this was …

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Elisha McCallion resigns from the Seanad and McDonald apologises.

The Sinn Fein President, Mary-Lou McDonald has accepted the resignations of party officials, the most senior being former Foyle MP and Senator, Elisha McCallion. This is the statement below; “Over the course of Monday and Tuesday of this week, the Sinn Féin leadership established that three party offices incorrectly received lodgements of £10,000 under the Small Business Grant scheme established by the Department of Economy in March 2020. “The payments were not applied for and were automatically received as part …

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What is a shared island?

I am but a mere local political commentator who occasionally gets asked to do TV and radio. Occasionally I regurgitate my annoying opinions in written form. Thanks to my involvement with an upcoming Institute of Irish Studies project, I got the opportunity to ask the Taoiseach about the new Shared Island Unit. There were scenes on Whatsapp when I told my mum what I was doing. “Martin or Wee Higgins?” she texted, getting mixed up. In his speech, Micheál Martin …

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United pressure on Sinn Féin may be needed to break the legacy payments deadlock. Their own will benefit

dFM Michelle O’Neill, Sinn Féin Has Martina Anderson’s outburst distracted attention away from the substantive issue of the legacy payments deadlock, or given a boost to resolving it, following the court case requiring Michelle O’Neill in effect to remove her veto or exercise her option to resign? The scheme covers violence related to the Northern Ireland Troubles between 1966 and 2010, including incidents in Great Britain and Europe.. . People will get between £2,000 and £10,000 a year for the …

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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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