Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

AV: Yes, No or Meh? What are we being asked?

Mon 21 February 2011, 4:03pm
Ballot Box

I don’t know about you, but I find the outcome of the AV referendum less interesting than the fact that we’re being asked about voting systems at all. Like everyone else, I’ve got my own prejudices here – I particularly dislike the fact that it’s a question that is subject to a referendum in the [...] more »

“this is significantly exacerbated by the political situation in Northern Ireland”

Mon 21 February 2011, 3:44pm

As well as those briefings by the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, both he and the NI First Minister have been dismissing political criticism of the draft NI Executive spending plans as ‘electioneering’.  No doubt that’s a consideration for some, but it’s not a charge that can be levelled at the Assembly’s Finance Committee. And [...] more »

In Ireland, the parish and the county matter more than ideology

Mon 21 February 2011, 12:01pm

Probably the sharpest comment on the latest polls comes from former Justice Minster Michael McDowell, when he notes that: The latest poll does not indicate any last-minute surge in support one way or the other. But of course, we haven’t reached the “last minute” yet. Labour appears to have come off worst in its scrap [...] more »

More than a whiff of hypocrisy in the southern treatment of Adams…

Mon 21 February 2011, 10:33am

Ed Moloney hitting some hypocritical nails squarely on the head: …when I heard that the new Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin had challenged Gerry Adams to tell the truth about his past membership of the IRA, to “come clean” about his “baggage from the past” as he put it, I have to confess that I laughed [...] more »

Gaddafi to go? But who/what will take his place?

Mon 21 February 2011, 10:23am

It seems the anti regime fever is spreading to Libya where Moammar Gadhafi has sworn to fight the mob calling for his overthrow to the last. According to the latest Al Jazeera report, the east of the country is already under ‘civilian control’. In this context it is worth listening to this interview with Clay [...] more »

Sammy Brush on McGeough’s conviction

Mon 21 February 2011, 10:05am

Pete has a blog on McGeough’s conviction for the attempted murder of Samuel Brush below and has also covered the suggestion that Sinn Fein might use its influence to try to help McGeough. Today the Belfast telegraph has a piece about Mr. Brush’s reaction to the trial and conviction. Brush has met Michelle Gildernew and [...] more »

Tele takes a hiding

Sun 20 February 2011, 6:35pm

 Not good circulation news at any of the local dailies last year but the Belfast Telegraph’s drop is the most dramatic of all: Circulation figures for Northern Ireland newspapers for the period July to December 2010 as published by the Audit Bureau of Circulation today, together with the change year-on-year from the same period in 2009. Belfast Telegraph 58,491 [...] more »

two pennies for your thoughts on the Irish election

Sun 20 February 2011, 5:05pm

Simon McGarr has been publishing short, 1-3 minute long, podcasts each day during the Irish election campaign, summing up his thoughts on the issues and debates (of which he’s not that impressed). For anyone like me with an all too sparse working knowledge of what’s going on, it’s a good listen. And it has been [...] more »

McGeough: “Sinn Féin promised to use its influence…”

Sun 20 February 2011, 3:52pm

Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew, MP, MLA, was quick to offer her support following Gerry McGeough’s conviction on attempted murder charges from 1981, and according to the transcribed Belfast Telegraph report on Newshound it wasn’t the first offer the party made. Gerry McGeough has claimed that Sinn Féin held secret talks with Gerry McGeough in which it [...] more »

Ranking the Sinn Fein Prospects

Sun 20 February 2011, 10:14am

 Five days out from polling day, Sinn Fein leaders have reason to be in good cheer. The latest polls (Sunday Independent and Sunday Business Post)have the party sitting on 12%, a figure which would put the party in serious contention for a number of seats in the mid-teens. Even slippage from this number should still [...] more »

Southern “passivity” is a mistaken analysis of the mood the Republic

Sat 19 February 2011, 8:12pm

I’m grateful to Greenflag below for drawing attention to Dan O’Brien’s historical sweep, Searching for the Source of Perpetual Passivity he’s dashed off for the  Irish Times. The piece should provide readers with many happy hours of historical rumination. But although a fan of Dan’s, I’m less sure what it does for the development of [...] more »

“I have heard it from very good authority…”

Sat 19 February 2011, 1:03pm

When is calling for a properly-funded opposition not a call for a properly-funded opposition? When it’s secret negotiations over compensation for lost ministerial funds… At least, that’s the line the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, has been busily spinning to anyone who will listen. And it comes “from very good authority”… “within the NIO”. [...] more »

Gerry, we missed you on TG4

Sat 19 February 2011, 10:07am

Many many years ago, when I was about to moderate a long forgotten election debate on BBCNI, an eminent Irish speaker rang me up and offered to supply me with a tough question for Gerry Adams in Irish. To have accepted would have been entirely wrong from every point of view.  It would have shown [...] more »

Law making powers for Wales – it’s old hat..

Sat 19 February 2011, 9:50am

To coincide with our referendum the National Library of Wales at Aberystwyth have been digitising their copies of the thousand year old Laws of Hywel Dda. To quote the preamble: “The Laws of Hywel Dda are one of the jewels of Welsh civilization which bare witness to a developed and literate society in early medieval [...] more »

POTD – Where is it?

Sat 19 February 2011, 8:32am

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Irish voters, go gently into political reform

Fri 18 February 2011, 9:17pm

For the first time since the 1880s, electoral reform is a buzz throughout these islands. So far, I’d say,  the case not made in either the UK or the Republic, where in both States it’s more  a matter of a disconnect between the problems and the solutions.  In the UK the perceived problem seems to [...] more »

Gerry McGeough found guilty of 1981 murder bid

Fri 18 February 2011, 4:12pm

The BBC reports the verdict in the trial of Gerry McGeough for the attempted murder of a part-time UDR soldier [who was working as a postman at the time of the attack] in June 1981.  From the BBC report Gerry McGeough, who was arrested in 2007, was convicted of trying to kill Samuel Brush, who is now a [...] more »

“Beards, fries, but no government…”

Fri 18 February 2011, 3:26pm

Crooked Timber’s Ingrid Robeyns ironically congratulates Belgium on setting a new world record without a government.  As, indeed, do the Belgian people…  250 days and counting!  Here’s a short CNN interview with Flemish comedian Geert Hoste And from a Guardian report On Thursday the word in Brussels was there would be fresh elections in April, a ballot likely to [...] more »

Ireland’s Problem: Getting and spending, we laid waste our powers…

Fri 18 February 2011, 2:16pm
Anglo Unfinished - Gavin Sheridan

I was struck by Chris Caldwell’s clever (if predictable) play on the second word in the title of Ireland’s traditional party of government in his article on how Fianna Fail is finished [just like the Canadian Tories, peut-être? - ed]. Not a bad summary of the electoral reality confronting many working class Fianna Fail voters: [...] more »

Brian Wilson running as independent against Green candidate in Bangor West

Fri 18 February 2011, 8:55am
steven agnew brian wilson

A couple of weeks ago, the (Bangor) Spectator ran a story about UUP councillor Roberta Dunlop’s resignation from the party after not being reselected to stand for her Abbey Ward seat. Her husband and fellow North Down councillor Harry Dunlop had defected from the UUP to the DUP in January, But the other half of [...] more »

POTD – They Lie

Fri 18 February 2011, 8:22am
They lie

Temple Bar more »

Looking back at RICS Hustings and talking to Elliott and Ritchie about water charges, budgets, programmes for government and culling departments

Fri 18 February 2011, 12:42am
Panel at RICS economic hustings

The RICS Hustings event wasn’t a damp squid, but there were few surprises. Peter Weir (DUP) shone through as the most economically literate politician on the panel. He related the importance of the husting’s theme and the need for economic stability so that students wouldn’t “wander the world” like many of his peers had done [...] more »

GE11 preview from the south-east: Waterford

Fri 18 February 2011, 12:08am

After Wicklow, Wexford and Carlow-Kilkenny, the last ‘south-east’ constituency that I’m going to preview is Waterford. Unlike the others it is a mere four-seater, although it has been an effective three seater since Martin Cullen’s resignation last year. Fifteen candidates are standing in the election in Waterford this time out. Since the quota in a [...] more »

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