Best of frenemies – thoughts on the last four years

I wrote the following after spending the day in Stormont on the last day of term. I intended posting it earlier but after the week that was, it didn’t feel appropriate.

There was a distinct feeling of summer last week as I passed Carson on my way up the long symmetrical road to Parliament Buildings on Stormont’s hill.

It wasn’t just the blue skies, blinding sunshine or the freshly cut green grass, but the distinct atmosphere bouncing around the marble floors and pillars of Stormont’s Great Hall that rang; last day of school. For all intents and purposes March 23 was the end of term at the Assembly, albeit not a school term, but the final sitting of the four year session of the latest incarnation of our local devolved government.

Although for many observers, school is an appropriate enough analogy for Stormont, given the prevailing political immaturity and on the job learning that many MLAs have been cast into. Read more of this post


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.

Read more of this post

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The usual fade-to-black depressing section on the North, where the latest atrocity is relived, has been replaced by mind-numbing tedium.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?

GP MLA’s two day week draws criticism

Assembly voting records published during the week surprised no one in West Tyrone when they revealed Dr Kieran Deeny lay joint bottom of the table with a lowly 23% attendance for votes in the chamber.

Of course this is nothing new and the independent Assembly member makes little apology when these stories surface, reiterating the fact that he opts to remain a practicing GP and focus mainly on health issues. He repeated again this week;

Because of the insecure nature of politics, I could not give up my GP job and I think people are aware of that. I’m committed to working two days a week and so sometimes that means I have to do constituency work on an a Monday or a Tuesday. Read more of this post