On the ‘death’ of the newspaper

The latest Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) six month figures have predictably enough shown almost all daily and weekly newspapers across Ireland and the UK taking a further tumble in sales.

The regional northern Irish dailies; the Belfast Telegraph, the Irish News and the Newsletter have all been sliding to some degree as Alan in Belfast’s fine graphics illustrate over on Slugger.

The Belfast Telegraph’s 11 .7% decline over the last six months is clearly the most pronounced, dropping 8,862 copies, somewhere in the region of 340 per week. The Irish News, while still recording a 3.2% decline, registered a less dramatic gradient, albeit still a declining one.

One of the key differences between the rival dailies has been the on-line news strategy. While the Irish News exclusively operates a pay-wall system, the Belfast Telegraph have set the standard for free online news content in Northern Ireland. Read more of this post


#GAA Tyrone v UUJ McKenna Cup 7pm (live updates)

I will be tweeting live match updates on my twitter feed of Tyrone’s third McKenna Cup game against UUJ in Healy Park Omagh tonight at 7pm. Keep up-to-date right here.

Teamtalk will be providing updates as well I understand here. Although Teamtalk only managed first half updates during Wednesday night’s game against Fermanagh, leaving myself as the only live feed.

Q101.2 should also be providing coverage, although again they didn’t cover Wednesday night’s game in Brewster or Sunday’s game in Edendork.

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Sinn Féin to target four Assembly seats in West Tyrone







Sinn Féin will seek to extend their political dominance in West Tyrone in 2011 by attempting to add a fourth MLA to the three Assembly seats they already hold in the constituency.

Chairman of Omagh District Council Declan McAleer (above right) and Chairperson of Strabane District Council Michaela Boyle (above left) are the two new additions for the 2011 campaign, joining Barry McElduff and Pat Doherty (centre). Strabane based MLA Claire McGill will step down at the next Assembly election on May 5.

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A5 appears to avoid chopping block

With the tidal wave of austerity in wake of the EU bailout flushing throughout the South of Ireland. Up here in Tyrone we sat patiently waiting expecting on news any day that the £400m package promised by the Irish Government would be first in line on the budget chopping block.

As one of the toughest budgets in the history of the Irish Free State becomes a reality, we waited for the news of the withdrawal of the too-good-to-be-true investment package in the A5/N2 and A8 dualling projects.

But as the 140 page National Recovery Plan 2011-2014 was published. Predictions for the demise of one of the biggest road projects in modern Irish history it seems, have been greatly exaggerated. Although not expressly mentioned in the report. Those patient enough to trawl through to page 84, under a small section labelled “Delivering Economic Infrastructure” will have read the following:

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The cost of managing our health

This briefing paper has been lying around the doldrums of the Northern Ireland Assembly website for a couple of weeks now ever since it was submitted to the Health Committee. The BBC did dip into it on November 4, but in the interest of transparency, I feel the figures should be laid in full for people to properly grasp the true extent of what managing our health system costs.

The paper reveals the cost of managing the health system here and the salaries paid to directors in each of the five Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts, but more on that later.

First off the whole point behind the Review of Public Administration (RPA) and merging of the 18 legacy health trusts into five new HSC Trusts was to cut overall management and administration costs of the health service here. The total management costs of the legacy trusts in 2006/07 was £113m. After the first year of the five ‘new’ HSC Trusts along with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) an apparent £5.6m was saved with an £107.5m management spend.

However by 2008/09 the total management spend was back in excess of the 06/07 level to £120m. In response, the Department of Health gave the Northern Ireland Audit Office this spiel:

“When the 2006-07 management costs are rebased to 2008-09 levels factoring in inflation, Agenda for Change contracted progression and a change in employer’s superannuation rate, there is a real terms savings on management costs of almost £6.7m.”

Wouldn’t be like a health service press office to bury facts amongst almost impenetrable jargon.

Anyway here are the salaries in all their glory:

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Where’s Jeffrey?

The new series of Reeling in the Years has been taking us through the big news stories of the last decade (and every single reality TV show RTÉ had running that particular year apparently).

The usual fade-to-black depressing section on the North, where the latest atrocity is relived, has been replaced by mind-numbing tedium. As we are taken back through every exhausting staggering step of the process since the turn of the millennium.

Still, it isn’t all bad when you have little gems you had almost forgotten about such as at [1.46] below. With the West Side Story encounter between David Trimble, just about clinging onto his authority as the voice of Unionism versus the still outsider band of rabble-rousing DUP nay-sayers on the streets with Iris in her finery asking David the winsome question: “Where’s Jeffrey?”

The absolute best thing about this video however  is the abject horror on Eamonn Mallie’s face [2.07].

Where was Jeffrey?

Tyrone GAA bible is online

An Interesting find I discovered among the remnants of Tyrone County Board’s old web site is the entire PDF of Joe Martin’s bible of Tyrone GAA.

First published in 1984, ‘The GAA in Tyrone: The Long Road to Glory’ has required some much-needed updates thanks to the success of Tyrone’s minor, under-21 and senior teams in the past decade. The particular digital edition hosted on the county board website takes the reader up to the glory of 2003, although I believe there is a more recent 2005 edition.

The book is essential for those in Tyrone serious about their GAA, chronicling the origins of Gaelic games in the O’Neill County from its infancy at the turn of the century, through each decade since.

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