Saying so much for the so-called shared future in the North of Ireland
THE DUP is to fly the Union Flag on five more government buildings under its control in Belfast – at a cost of up to £10,000 to the public. Nationalists will be unable to prevent the flags flying on designated days bbecause the publicly owned buildings – three of which are near the city hall – are controlled by DUP finance minister Sammy Wilson, (pictured below).
Last month the party was forced to accept defeat on an effort to fly the flag from the cenotaph in the grounds of the city hall after the Royal British Legion said it did not want it. The Department of Finance and Personel already flies the flag from four buildings but Mr Wilson has ordered his civil servents to erect flagpoles at five more, including two at May Street and one at College Street, Belfast. A fourth will fly on a Northern Ireland Civil Service building at Airport Road West and a fifth at Rosepark House on Upper Newtownards Road. The Alliance Party branded the move “cynical”. The SDLP condemned the DUP minister as “silly and childish”. A spokesman for the Department of Fiance and Personnel confirmed that work is under way to erect the new flagpoles at a cost of up to £10,000 to taxpayers. “The regulation gives the discretion to fly the Union Flag at any other government buildings on specified days and the minister has confirmed he wants the department to fly the Union Flag at buildings where we have premises responsibilty,” she said.
When complete it will bring to nine the number of buildings under DFP control which will fly the Union Flag on designated days. “Currently a flagpole is in place and the flag flies on designated days on four DFP buildings. “Estimated cost per site is £500-£2,000 depending on the complexity of works required at each site – location of flagpole, structural issues, site preparation works required etc. Work shshould be completed at all sites within four months,” the spokeswoman said. The flag already flies at Land and Property Services at Academy House, Ballymena and Colby House, Stranmillis and Queen’s Court, Upper Queen Street in Belfast and at Craigantlet Buildings on the Stormont Estate which houses the minister’s department headquarters. The Alliance Party branded the flag pole moves “cynical” while the SDLP condemned the DUP minister as “silly and childish”. Both parties warned the minister there could be implications for fair employment legislation among workers at the sites.
“It’s hard to think this is not connected to the flags dispute. It is a cynical move but we all must move beyond that and start discussions,” Alliance councillor Andrew Webb said. “I appeal for the minister to pause for breath and plot a sensible way forward on a Northern Ireland policy on flags.” The SDLP’s Alban Maginness also condemned the move. “This is just childish nonesence. The minister has obviously lost his perspective in this matter of the flying of flags. It is an unnecessary expence on the public purse to fulfil some sort of DUP craving to see the Union Flag all over the place,” he said. But supporting the scheme, PUP councillor John Kyle said government buildings were distinct from other places were the flag was flown for cultural reasons. “Within civic society we need to allow people to express cultural identity. However, it seems appropriate that we draw a distinction in favour of it flying on government buildings.” The erection of the new flag poles comes after the DUP was last month forced to accept defeat on an effort to fly the flag from the cenotaph in the grounds of Belfast City Hall after the Royal British legion said it did not want it. That followed months of street protests after Belfast City Council voted to restrict the flying of the Union Flag at the city hall to designated days.
With many thanks to : Andrea McKernon, Irish News
- Finance minister’s union flags order (bbc.co.uk)
- £10,000 to Put Up New Flag Poles in Belfast (belfastdaily.co.uk)
- DUP flags move ‘a ploy to get care homes off the front page’ (newsletter.co.uk)
- DUP abandons proposal for Union flag at Belfast City Hall Cenotaph (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Royal British Legion rejects DUP plea to fly Union flag at Belfast cenotaph (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Committee votes against proposal to fly Union Flag at city cenotaph (newsletter.co.uk)
- DUP abandons Cenotaph flags plan (bbc.co.uk)
With no opposition to highlight failure (and 160 press officers to deny it) our public sector is governed by a culture of non-accountability, which filters down to failed organisations such as the Housing Executive.
OH DEAR, things are not good at Stormont (The big House on the Hill). the DUP and Sinn Fein are making nasty remarks about each other, both claiming that their major coalition partner is unfit for government. (In the interests of equality, this column agrees with both sides.) So what went wrong ? Why has the romance of a few years ago disappeared in a welter of accusation and recrimination ? Were they just in love with themselves and not each other and how will this lovers ‘ tiff end – in divorce or at a romantic dinner ? (Either way, like their libel losses, taxpayers will foot the bill.)
There are many explanations for the failure of Storming as there are MLAs. We have time for only three. The first is the catch-22 analysis, based on the novel by Joseph Heller. In it, US pilots in the Second World War were deemed crazy to fly any further missions. But if they refused to fly, they were regarded as sane – and therefore fit to fly. The two main parties at Storming might be viewed in a similar light. They would be electorally crazy to abandon their long-held (largely flag-waving) principles. So they retain their core values, which renders them electorally sane and therefore fit for power. But the only form of power available is power-sharing, which if operated fully, would render them electorally crazy by requiring them to abandon their flag-obsessed values. By institutionalising sectarianism, Storming has created an inherent contradiction for the DUP and Sinn Fein. They are required to have one message for their supporters but the opposite message for their coalition partner. Supporters have now copped on, so both parties have taken a step back from their loving relationship.
The second theory is the spoiled child syndrome. When Stormont was re-established, the media regarded it as surpassing the Second Coming. No praise was too great. No superlatives were to super. Ian Paisley (later Peter Robinson ) and Martin McGuinness together – good God, they said, it is a miracle. But the role of government is not to look politically pretty. It is to govern – and Storming has significantly failed to do so. Both major parties were built largely on protest. Their style and substance of government shows that they have failed to adopt the responsibility and transparency which goes with power. So when this newspaper (Irish News), for example, asked questions about governance and ethics, Peter Robinson said we should not read The Irish News. Surprisingly, Martin McGuinness did little to distance himself from the comments. When a first minister says that citizens should not read the state’s largest-selling newspaper, his government has lost the plot – and public confidence. Each party blames the other for their government’s low standing and therein lies the present dispute.
The third theory, which this column has trailed for some time, is that without an opposition, Stormont has no incentive to succeed. The parties in power can never be replaced, so failure is always an option. With no opposition to highlight failure (and 160 press officers to deny it ) our public sector is governed by a culture of non-accountability, which filters down to failed organisations such as the Housing Executive. The public are now experiencing failure in several areas (health, housing, employment) so both main parties at Stormont feel obliged to blame the other. So there you have it – Stormont’s breakdown could be a failure of systems and structures. But in any organisation, most problems stem from managerial inability. Good managers can make the most complex structures work. Poor managers rarely deliver, even within appropriate frameworks. Perhaps not enough MLAs have the necessary skills and knowledge to make Stormont work. (Have you seen what passes for debate there ?) For example, since all parties operate at various intensities of sectarianism, none has the ideological basis necessary for developing economic policy. As a result our economy is based on the show business model – golf, fancy buildings, sports stadiums and tarting up derelict buildings to hide our decaying reailty from visitors. It has little underlying economic rationale, which begs the question : If an expert panel were to interveiw MLAs for appointment to their jobs, how many would succeed ? Yes, Jim Allister would make it – how many others ? Defeat in Gaelicf football these days tends to be explained by a confusion of systems and structures on the pitch. Defeat in hurling is useually easier to explain – the other team had better hurlers. It appears that there are simply not enough good hurlers in Stormont – and there are no plans to appoint better ones any time soon.
With many thanks to : Patrick Murphy.
- Robinson and McGuinness talks to clear the air (newsletter.co.uk)
- Stormont rulers failing to fulfil peace promise, says Martin (irishtimes.com)
- Vote delay as Sinn Fein opposes abortion move (newsletter.co.uk)
- McGUINNESS SINGLES OUT THE IRISH NEWS !!! (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Ard fheis stetement contradicts Martin’s IRA claim (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Northern Irish politicians now commercially indemnified against libelling members of the public… (sluggerotoole.com)
” Details on costs of the trip to Brazil and thimmediatelyll be published at a later date when all information is aavailable ” - OFMDFM spokeswoman.
DESPITE the first minister and deputy ffirst minister’s promise last month to publish how much their America’s trip cost taxpayers, their is still no sign of a total. Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness were criticised for the secrecy surrounding their visit to Brazil and the US.
On Monday they were praised for taking a ” belated decision ” to, in principal, publish the cost of foreign trips. When pressed by the SDLP member Conall McDevitt in the assembly on Monday, Mr McGuinness agreed that tax-payers do have a right to know what is spent on publicly funded trips. However, despite calls from MLAs and repeated requests from The Irish News he said the information would not be released immediately but published online ” within a very short peroid in the not-to-distant furture “. ” The reality is that it was decided that announcments about the cost of visits will be made on the website twice yearly so that is where you will find, within a very short peroid in the not-to-distant future, the full costs of the trip to China and India last year and the costs of the trip to Brazil and the United States,” Mr McGuinness told the assembly on Monday.
Mr McDevitt described it as ” a spectacular U-turn in the face of huge and justifed public criticism of the first and deputy first ministers for being secretive about public costs “. A spokeswoman for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) said : ” Details on costs of the trip to Brazil and the USA will be published at a later date when all the information is available.” Despite having promised a new open approach to a trip to Beijing next month, OFMDFM has not responded to this newspaper’s inquries about the itinerary of that trip or even who will be going. The North of Ireland delegation ” has not been finalised “. All that is known is that the visit to China will include ” a series of meetings with the Chinese governmen “. The trip follows an invitation from Chinese state councillor Liu Yandong to the first minister and deputy first minister during her visit to the north a year ago. The stated aim of the ministers ‘ visit is to ” further enhance the relasonship with China across a range of our Programme for Government priorities ” and includes the promotion of joint research partnerships between universities and education and cultural exchanges.
With many thanks to : Bimpe Archer, Irish News.
- Luxury Hotel Budget Firmly Under Wraps ! (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Robinson Slams ‘ Whingers and Whiners Back Home ‘ and Reveals Next Trip !!! (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- DISSIDENTS BLAMED FOR PAINT-BOMB ATTACK ON McGUINNESS’S DERRY HOME (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness urges people to stop celebrating Margaret Thatcher’s death (irishcentral.com)
- COUNCILLORS’ GOLDEN HANDSHAKE RAISED TO £35k DESPITE PLEDGE (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- ONH( Oglaigh na hEireann ) ADMITS RESPONSIBILITY FOR DEVICE AIMED AT POLICE STATION (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
” It’s alarming that this man has disobeyed the terms and conditions of his release and is being sought after by police ” - Alban Maginness.
A 29-YEAR-OLD rapist who brutally attacked a 64-year-old women in her own home has gone on the run. Joseph Francis McCabe from West Belfast, was jailed for 14 years in 2006 and put on the sex offenders ‘ register for life after he admitted to breaking into the women’s house and raping her in February 2005. But he did not serve his full sentence and has now gone missing.
McCabe, who had been living at an undisclosed address in Belfast, was reported missing on Tuesday evening. Police disclosed he had gone on the run yesterday. They have warned the public not to approach him and have appealed to McCabe to hand himself in. He is decribed as being 6ft tall, with short dirty fair hair. During his 2006 trial McCabe, who had an address at Iris Street in West Belfast at the time, claimed he had been hearing voices since he was eight. Sentencing him at Belfast Crown Court sitting in Antrim in September 2006, Judge Kevin Flinnegan described the attack as a “terrifying, prolonged ordeal”. Judge Finnegan said the woman had been subjected to “a violent sexual offence carried out with significant gratuitous violence”.
McCabe and another masked man smashed their way into the woman’s flat when she was reading in bed. McCabe told his victim to “kiss me, kiss me on the lips” before he partly stripped her and raped her. The pair later ran off. SDLP North Belfast assembly member, Alban Maginness, said he was disturbed McCabe had gone on the run. “Given the circumstances, people would be very concerned and particularly his victim will be concerned,” he said. “It’s alarming that this man has disobeyed the terms and conditions of his release and is being sought by police. “I would also appeal to people who have any knowledge of his whereabouts to report it to police so he can be safely returned, either to his address, or prison, if that is necessary.”
With many thanks to : Claire Simpson, Irish News.
- Three Belfast brothers and their sister face string of child sex charges (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Police Hunt Dangerous On-the-run Sex Offender (belfastdaily.co.uk)
- Sex offender in breach of licence (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Rapist Tries to Shut Down Anti-abuse Facebook Site (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Belfast to Dublin train conductor was rapist and robber (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
Cost of local government reform payments expected to be more than £4 million overall
THE golden hhandshake being offered to councillors who resign their seats ahead of planned local government reform has risen by £5,000 – despite assurances from Alex Atwood that it would not increase. The environment minister last year proposed capping the lump sum payment for long-serving councillors at £30,000.
He said he would even consider the payment being lower. However, in fresh proposals published yesterday it emerged that the figure had in fact increased to £35,000. While the Storming legislation streamlining the North’s local government structures has yet to be passed, it is hoped to reduce the region’s 26 local authorities to 11. The first eelections for the enlarged council areas are expected to take place next year alongside the European elections. It will mean 120 fewer council seats. Ahead of the poll, councillors wishing to retire and avail of the severance payment must tender their resignations. Only councillors who have served a minimum of 12 years will be eligible for a payment, which will be tax-free up to £30,000. The overall cost of the golden handshakes is expected to be more than £4 million.
“This scheme is designed to recognise the contribution of long-serving councillors who will not be standing for reelection, many of whom have served their communities during periods of political unrest,” the SDLP politation,said. “These councillors have made a significant contribution to the needs of the people in their areas.” In a statement in August, the minister said the severance payment would be “no higher than £30,000″. He wwent further to add that he ” may decide it should be lower”. Responding to queries about the figure had increased by more than 16 per cent, the minister said the reason was “simple”. “I strongly believe – and I think people understand – that those councillors who have served longest, whom worked fearlessly in demanding times for those in need and did so with only small financial recognition deserve recognition as they leave public life,” he said. “I consider a cap of £35k is the right and fair threshold for those who have served so long.” Mr Attword said it had been agreed there will be a bar on the council/MLA double jobbing and that last year he had cut the allowance of assembly members who were also councillors by two-thirds. “Across the range of issues, my approach has been to recognise long service but tackle decisively double jobbing and double incomes,” he said. The public is being invited to comment on the latest proposals in a consultation exercise at the end of May.
- Braintree: Have your say on how many councillors district needs (eadt.co.uk)
- ‘Councillors to blame for illegal plots’ (times.co.zm)
- Veteran councillors may get £35,000 (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Ban councils from making money from planning system in their area, Labour’s Hilary Benn tells Eric Pickles (telegraph.co.uk)
- Moonlighting planning officers help builders exploit ‘vulnerable’ councils (telegraph.co.uk)
” The public expression of disapproval by the chief constable of Norfolk is a useful benchmark ” - Alban Maginness.
CHIEF Constable Matt Baggott remained silent on Tuesday in the face of appeals to fellow police cchief who branded an officer threatening to sue a victim of a crime ” disappointment “. Norfolk Chief Constable Phil Gormley said the actions of PC Kelly Jones had undermined the public’s trust in police.
She began legal proceedings against a petrol station owner after tripping over a kerb when responding to a burglary report. The high-profile case comes a week after it emerged PSNI/RUCofficers injured when chasing car thrives in North Belfast were suing owners of the stolen vehicles for damages. The civil claims, for injuries suffered when stopping the cars, were made against car owners even though they were not involved in the thefts or crashes. Despite the injuries happening while on duty, the PSNI/RUC has continued to insist that they were a ” private matter ” for officers.
This was not the attitude taken by Mr Gormley who criticised his own officer and stressed she did not represent the attitude of the ” vast majority “. “It is a dissappointment to us and I do understand why it has caused such a public reaction,” he said. “In 27 and a half years in the service, this is the first time I have ever personally come across a set of circumstances like that. “The vast majority of officers perform their work brilliantly well, they are aware of the risks, and in fact many people are attracted by the risk and the variety of a police career. “It is surprising and disappointing, I think, for the majority of our staff that an incident like this has undermined confidence in how we do our job.” PC Jones is reported to have since abandoned the claim after talks between senior officers and her Police Federation representatives.
SDLP justice spokesman Alban Maginness, who has constituents amoung those being sued in Belfast, said Mr Baggott, pictured above, or his deputies should follow suit. “I think that the PSNI/RUC at a senior level should reflect carefully on the veiws expressed by the chief constable of Norfolk and whether in fact the PSNI/RUC should be taking this as a matter of public policy rather simply leaving it up to private litigation between officers and victims of crime,” he said.”The public expression of disapproval by the chief constable of Norfolk is a useful benchmark for the PSNI/RUC here on what council should be given to officers.” However, the PSNI/RUC said on Tuesday Mr Baggott ” won’t be putting out a generalised quote about police suing”. Instead it repeated the service’s stated position that it “would not hold any information in relation to police officers making a compensation claim against the owner of a stolen vehicle”.’”Each incident would very much depend on the individual circumstances and the insurance arrangements in place,” it said.”Therefore this would be a private matter between the iindividual officer, like any other citizen, and the insurance company involved. Such information is not recorded or required by police.”
With many thanks to : Bimpe Archer, Irish News.
- Chief constable suspended by PCC (bbc.co.uk)
- Chief disappointed at PC legal claim (bbc.co.uk)
- Report: Police officer drops claim against burglary victim (itv.com)
- Police officer suing burglary victim after tripping over kerb at his garage drops the claim (mirror.co.uk)
- Chief constable criticises policewoman’s compensation claim (telegraph.co.uk)
- Norfolk Cop Fall: Media Hype or Another UK #Police #Fail (bankbabble.wordpress.com)
- Pc Kelly Jones presses ahead with trip injury claim (standard.co.uk)
- How 1,800 suspended police keep their pensions (telegraph.co.uk)
- Police chief ‘disappointed’ over Pc’s legal bid (standard.co.uk)
As Irish-Americans our mantra now must be the words of Bernadette (Devlin) McAliskey: This Was Supposed To Be Over.
For those who may have missed her recent speech from which these words come, it’s here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L71P3rJFoG8
We must join with her when she says: Organize! Educate! Activate!
There are 40+ million US citizens who readily identify themselves as Irish-Americans. Time to get them up and at ‘em. It’s an election year. We did it in 1968. We did it in 1972. We did it in 1980. .
And we must do it again because?
This Was Supposed To Be Over
The English Bastards would be much happier knowing they killed both Gerry McGeough and Marian Price in prison.
What other excuse do they have for this blatant disregard for human rights?
POSTED ON BEHALF OF : Helen McClafferty
Posted in EXPOSING THE TRUTH IN ULSTER
Tags: 32 County Sovereignty Movement, bernadette devlin, Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, blatant disregard, Ethnicity, Gerry McGeough, Human rights, Irish American, irish americans, Irish Republican Army, Irish republicanism, Libya, Maghaberry, Marian Price, MARTIN COREY, Owen Paterson, Police Service of Northern Ireland, Politics, Prison, Religion, Republican Sinn Féin, Royal Ulster Constabulary, Social Democratic and Labour Party, undefined, United Nations
THE VIOLATION OF MARTIN COREY‘S HUMAN RIGHTS GUARANTEED UNDER THE GOOD FRIDAY AGREEMENT. THOSE PARTIES INCLUDING THE BRITISH AND FREE STATE GOVERNMENTS SHOULD BEARRESTED AND CHARGED FOR VIOLATION OF THE AGREEMENT.
DEMAND THE IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF MARTIN COREY!
POSTED ON BEHALF OF : Mick Kelly
- Now is the Time to Take a Stand Against the Anti Good Friday Agreement Unionists (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- PoW Martin Corey refused compassionate leave on the death of his brother (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- [R . S . F news] Provo MLAs act as jailers (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Boycott Against British Injustice in Ireland: Out of Prison or Out of Business (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Statement from the POW Department Republican Sinn Féin 223 Parnell Street Dublin 1 00353-1-8729747 00353-87-9374277 (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
While it appears that Nigel Dodds and other Dissidents within the DUP have got themselves into a frenzy over the stance taken by the SDLP on issues of human rights and their calls for the release of Gerry McGeough and Marian Price, it is important to understand that this is not just a stamping of Dissident DUP feet. There are more sinister elements working quietly behind the scenes. Those Dissident Unionists, of which there are many, including Foster and Morrow, have never supported the Good Friday Agreement. They do not want the Good Friday Agreement to work. They do not want the Peace Process to work. Of course, they will willingly accept the benefits of that same process. They will accept the grants, the funding, the Ministries, the pay cheques, but they will continue to thwart all attempts to build a sustainable peace in Ireland. What they want is a return to the days of a Protestant State for a Protestant People, a return to the days of the B-Specials.
The recent letter presented to the British Secretary of State by Morrow asking for Gerry McGeough to serve his full sentence and remain in prison until 2031 is an attempt by the Dissident Unionists to thwart and manipulate an International Agreement under which Gerry would be released after serving two years. They will use whatever means possible to acheive this. Gerry’s imprisonment is destabilising the Peace Process. The internment of Marian Price, Martin Corey without charge is destabilising the Peace Process. The Dissident Unionists, now being led by Nigel Dodds and Maurice Morrow know this. But Dodds and Morrow are only puppets being used by what Gerry Adams refers to as ‘securocrats’ who work quietly behiind the scenes directing the Anti Good Friday Campaign.
The stance taken by the SDLP and Fianna Fáil has to be supported. Sinn Féin have also called for the release of Gerry, Marian, Martin and others. While our campaign has ciriticised Sinn Fein for their lack of effective action on these issues, our stance has been vindicated by the statement released by Anita Cavlan on her resignation from the party. However, we have always accepted that the imprisonment of Gerry and others does not benefit Sinn Féin, the SDLP or the Nationalist People of Ireland. It will only ever benefit the Dissident Unionists and we must never forget this.
Our campaign has succeeded to bringing together the people of Irish America, the people of Catalonia and the people of Ireland in supporting justice for Gerry McGeough. We have brought on board politicians from the SDLP, Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Independents and the Socialist Party. TD’s, MLA’s, MEP’s, the ERC and ICV and Councillors have come together in a single cause. To support the release of Gerry McGeough and to protect the Good Friday Agreement in the interests of peace and justice.
Now is the time for all those who support peace, justice and equality to stand together, regardless of political affiliation, against the attempts of Dissident Unionists to bring down the Good Friday Agreement.
POSTED ON BEHALF OF : Gerry McGeough Justice Campaign
- Free Gerry McGaough campain letter (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Cllr Brush Scrapes the Bottom of the Unionist Barrel (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Boycott Against British Injustice in Ireland: Out of Prison or Out of Business (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- The McGeough case raises worrying questions about the peace process. The SDLP are right to raise them (sluggerotoole.com)
- SDLP needs a story that makes its opponents more uncomfortable than it does themselves.. (sluggerotoole.com)
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POSTED ON BEHALF OF : Seán MacDiarmada Ard Eoin