Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Live Blog: The Three Leader’s Debate…

Tue 22 February 2011, 9:36pm

Three Leaders Debate It’s on RTE’s Prime Time at 9.40. Let’s see what there is to play for… more »

Trench warfare, kamikaze style…

Tue 22 February 2011, 7:46pm

The Northern Ireland Executive’s trench warfare continued today with NI deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, issuing a statement claiming that the UUP and the SDLP ”were lobbying for public money for their parties in talks with the British government in exchange for adopting an oppositional role in the Assembly.” Well, it’s a variation on his [...] more »

A Sister Citys Suffering

Tue 22 February 2011, 6:46pm

Exactly 5 years ago today I had arrived in the city of Christchurch, and immediately loved the city, here is what I recorded in my blog at the time, “Thursday, February 23, 2006 Forever England I know yous are all probably getting fed up with me comparing everywhere i go with home, and much of [...] more »

Blogging Benghazi from Belfast

Tue 22 February 2011, 5:02pm

Malachi O’Doherty has a direct line to Benghazi, interviewing “an activist in Benghazi who was witness to the protests and the progress of the revolution there”. “Last night, for instance, he told me that he was recommending to protesters that they return the weapons they had captured from the army and trust the local commandos [...] more »

Carlow Kilkenny #ge11 RTE roadtrip meetup on Friday afternoon

Tue 22 February 2011, 3:40pm
RTE road trip graphic

Apologies for the multiple posts on this one. We’ve finalised the venue now for the final leg of our roadtrip on Friday. If you’re anywhere near the Lyrath Estate Hotel in Kilkenny, myself and Peter will be there to hear what you’ve got to say. It’s another interesting one because Fianna Fail’s dissenter in chief, [...] more »

“Trench warfare has erupted…”

Tue 22 February 2011, 2:41pm

Via Newshound.  In the Sunday Times Liam Clarke welcomes the “trench warfare” the parties are engaging in over the Northern Ireland Executive’s draft spending plans.   Apparently, it’s better than the sectarian squabbling that went before…  ANYhoo…  From the transcribed Sunday Times article The eruption of public anger and megaphone diplomacy reflects the poisonous atmosphere around [...] more »

We’re in Cavan on Friday morning to start the RTE/Slugger roadtrip #ge11 meetup

Tue 22 February 2011, 12:34pm
RTE road trip graphic

Myself and Peter Geoghegan are doing three RTE Election Meet Ups – polling day events to sample in depth the opinion of local people and to share them online via Twitter and Facebook. The first one of the day will be in Cavan – details here. We’ve chosen it because it could be an interesting [...] more »

Meet us in Roscommon for #GE11…

Tue 22 February 2011, 11:49am
RTE road trip graphic

This just a quick post in passing (as I am about to run out of the door), but if you are around in Roscommon on Friday lunchtime, you can book your free space at the Hannon’s Hotel (the least we can offer is a nice cup of coffee and a sit down)… To see who [...] more »

#RTE #GE11 Election Day Road Trip…

Tue 22 February 2011, 10:31am

On Friday myself and Peter Geoghegan will be driving down through Ireland for polling day, convening a short series of Tweet Ups. We begin in Cavan at the Farnham Arms Hotel first thing in the morning, moving on to Hannon’s Hotel in Roscommon for lunch time and then on to Kilkenny for the final meet [...] more »

The “real question” the election is ducking

Tue 22 February 2011, 9:58am

The Irish election campaign is being fought on  depressingly traditional lines, some breast beating here, a few bribes there,  and tactics all the way. Exciting enough if you like that sort of thing, but new politics, hardly.  In the FT, Michael O’Sullivan,  author of Ireland and the Global Question defines what he says is the [...] more »

Ombudsman’s Report into McGurk’s Bar

Mon 21 February 2011, 9:20pm
McGurk's bar

The report into the McGurk’s bar bombing has finally come out. It did come out previously when Al Hutchinson published his report to a storm of protest from the families. Hutchinson then promptly withdrew the report though bizarrely denied it was embarrassing: “I wouldn’t say it’s an embarrassment, I take it as a learning opportunity [...] more »

Newspaper sales: could the Irish News overtake the Belfast Telegraph in 2012/3?

Mon 21 February 2011, 6:00pm
NI newspaper sales 2004-2010 - Belfast Telegraph, Newsletter, Irish News (and Irish Times for comparison)

To add some longer term data to yesterday’s Tele takes a hiding post by O’Neill, the graph below outlines the performance (using the six monthly Audit Bureau of Circulation figures) of the Belfast Telegraph, Irish News and News Letter. I’ve added in the the Irish Times sales for comparison. The overall trend is one of [...] more »

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
vote

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 »

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