Ouch!

Rumour has reached us that one of the assailants in a recent gun attack also managed to put himself into hospital by shooting himself in the ‘privates’ during the get away! For those less familiar with recent events in Belfast, there has been a low level conflict rising between rival Loyalist paramilitaries over the last few weeks. For background, see here. Anyone familiar with the plot line of Colin Bateman’s novel and subsequent film, ‘Divorcing Jack’, or Martin Lynch’s early …

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Short Strand protestants..

Suzanne Breen talks to protestant women in the troubled area in East Belfast, kindly reproduced by Newshound. The three women all live right on the peaceline in the Clandeboye Estate. Jean grew up in the staunchly unionist Newtownards Road area. She has five children and moved into the Short Strand 30 years ago. “Since May our homes have been under sustained attack from loyalists day and night,” she says. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers …

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Politician’s weblog

Interesting weblog by Westminster MP Harry Barnes. This piece is intriguingly titled; IRA plc and Loyalist Limited. Harry is a member of the House of Commons Northern Ireland Select Committee. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

Economics.

James Kelly in the subscription only Irish News, is getting fed up with the seemingly endless series of constitutional crises, and suggests that NI Plc is being seriously neglected in all the furore. Meantime, out in the real world away from the political hothouse, voices are being heard protesting about the political stranglehold which is choking economic growth here. One such voice is that of Jim Berry, a specialist on planning and development at the University of Ulster. He is …

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More on the UUC meeting…

The Guardian editoralises boldly: The immediate villains of the piece are anti-agreement campaigners inside the Ulster Unionists, led by two MPs, Jeffrey Donaldson and David Burnside. They hold out the unacceptable and un realistic prospect of devolution without Sinn Fein. Unionists should recognise that by rejecting Mr Trimble, they would also be rejecting Northern Ireland’s opportunity to run its own affairs. By contrast, Mr Trimble’s record is commendable. He took the bold step of swinging mainstream unionist opinion behind the …

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Adams on Blair’s vision…

In an interview with Andrew Cawthorne, Gerry Adams praises Tony Blair’s vision: The strategic vision, I think, which marked Tony Blair’s involvement in this process some years ago and which was part of bringing about the Good Friday agreement, part of all of the changes which have flowed, has not been reflected in the actions of his Secretary of State over the last 18 months. In the more immediate term, John Reid has announced the formation of an action group …

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Nationalist backroom

The SDLP rarely get a share of the headlines, but Mark Durkan’s visit to the Shankill has certainly bought him plenty of column inches, here, here and here. However he followed up with an attack on Jeffrey Donaldson’s article (see here), saying: If Ulster Unionists give Jeffrey Donaldson a role in Agreement politics, it “would be like trusting Sellafield with environmental safety’ Speaking of the upcoming UUC meeting, he comments: …we do know is that every single strategy that he …

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Unionist backroom

Public insults are part of the stock in trade of all NI political parties, with the possible exception of the SDLP the Alliance party, and the Women’s Coalition. Steven King’s extraordinary headline in last night’s Belfast Telegraph, Scumbaggery feeling squeeze, should be read within that context. In fact the message within the article is much more outreaching than the headline implies. He quotes from a recent book by Henry Patterson, to warn Unionists of the dangers of ‘hoping that the …

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More Catholics than Protestants support the Police

Extraordinary headline, but one borne out by this study for the BBC. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

Adams: let’s hear it for the Union

Gerry Adams calls for dialogue on the advantages of the Union. It’s hard to gauge how well such a proposal has gone down with Unionists themselves, though some have suggested that this is part of a ‘good cop – bad cop’ strategy, with Adams being good and others playing it tough. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and …

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De Klerk speaks at Glencree Summer School

I am just back from a weekend spent at the Glencree Summer School, where a variety of speakers gave presentations to a mixed audience from both sides of the Ulster community, the Republic and the UK. The keynote address was given by the ex-President of South Africa, FW de Klerk. Though it was clear from the discussion that followed his initial address that there were few direct parallels between the circumstances in the two situations, a number of interesting points …

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Priomhoide briste as a phost

Dhearbhaigh an Foras Pátrúnachta cinneadh bhord bainistíochta Ghaelscoil Thulach na nÓg Tomás Ó Dúlaing a bhriseadh as a phost. Mar a duirt ceann den a na tuismitheoirí na scoile, i mBearla: “I feel sickened. We wanted to give our kids something different. We wanted them to learn more about religion than we ever had. Now bloody religion has come along and divided us and the school after all. What hope do those in the North have?” Dearainn Ian Malcolm, “Níl …

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Trimble: Biography of an enigma

Just finished reading Henry McDonald’s biog of Trimble (US). One of those last minute impulse buys waiting for an early morning flight out of Aldergrove. And still Trimble largely remains the enigmatic creature he was before. However the book is a useful reference for some of the action we’ve had since April 1998 (though it cuts off when the end-game was still in it’s early stages). Several things leapt out at me: 1 The key influence that several Catholic/former Nationalist …

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Stop, go again

The story of the peace process post Belfast Agreement seems to have been one of deadlines. Despite the apology from the IRA the UUP still intend to stick to theirs on 24th July. But, in this ‘theatre-in-the-round’, nothing is as planned and predictable as it once was in Ulster, and the main players are more interdependent that than they would sometimes like. Meanwhile, David McKittrick applauds the change in language and tone from the IRA, but goes on to point …

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Census 2001: Some preliminary thoughts

There’s only weeks to go before the results of the 2001 census are announced, we’ve not heard much in recent times about the demographic timebomb that awaits the Northern Ireland electorate. Though the proportion of the electorate voting Nationalist has risen exponentially in the last 30 years, the implications are not as clear-cut as it may seem on first sight. One Unionist politician I spoke to recently was at pains to point out that everyone is behaving as though the …

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Stormont implementation group meets…

The meeting of the pro-agreement parties at Hillsborough today seems to have had a mixed reception. Some are complaining that David Trimble is not showing it the regard he should, in leaving it to his Stormont Environment Minister Dermot Nesbitt. However this may have the more mundane (and hopeful??) explanation that this group will be meeting more regularly to more effectively manage the implimentation of the Belfast Agreement. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on …

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Intermission…

For a week from tomorrow, there will be a break in ‘transmission’ whilst I go off, get married and take a quick honeymoon. When I return the Letter will move to its new home at: www.sluggerotoole.com, and normal service will be resumed! Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: …

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Thursday, June 27, 2002

Mayor Maskey decides discretion is the better part of valor (for now at least) over the commemoration of the Somme in Belfast. It may be too soon for both his own and Unionist supporters in the City. Meanwhile Mark Durkan launches his brand New Nationalism, anchored, he says, in the principles of the Belfast Agreement. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is …

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SDLP launches new logo and ‘outreach’ to unionism

The SDLP reveal their new logo today, retaining socialist red, with a slight tinge of nationalist green, and a full crescent of unionist orange. This, and its shift in language from a ‘united’ to ‘integrated Ireland’, is being seen by some as a part of longer term campaign to open up to the Unionist tradition. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is …

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Wednesday, June 26, 2002

As claim and counterclaim proliferate over collusion between security forces and loyalist paramilitaries, there is a first few tentative calls for something like a truth commission to bring the conflict to some kind of final rest. Whilst Ulster does its usual summer trick of ritually beating itself up, there may be a thread of hope that no conflict can drag on forever. James Murray Brown speculates that: “There is a hope that this summer could see the quietest Drumcree in …

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