Tag Archives: Stormont

As Stormont politicians meet, Northern Ireland violence escalates

Northern Ireland has now endured more than a week of violence related to Boris Johnson’s duff Brexit deal.

Johnson himself has said the violence in West Belfast “deeply concerned” him. He was right – it did, and it should; he is directly responsible for it.

He was told his decision to put a customs border in the middle of the Irish Sea would tear up the Good Friday Agreement, triggering an end to the NI peace process and a return to violence – and he did it anyway.

Northern Ireland doesn’t have a single Conservative member of Parliament; nobody in the province voted to be governed by Johnson (or at least, nobody worth mentioning).

The province’s pro-Brexit Democratic Unionist Party propped up former prime minister Theresa May, and could therefore be said to have paved the way for him. It holds power in the Stormont assembly so This Writer wonders what its representatives have to say for themselves.

Last night alone, police officers were attacked, petrol bombs were thrown and a bus was burnt.

Here’s how it looked:

Police believe paramilitary groups were involved in incidents such as one in which several hundred people on each side were throwing petrol bombs in both directions in the loyalist Shankill Road and the nationalist Springfield Road.

The Shankill Road and Springfield Road in west Belfast are now added to the list that includes Newtownabbey, Carrickfergus, Ballymena and the Waterside area of Londonderry.

The BBC’s report editorialised:

The longer it goes on, the harder it will be to stop.

While it is a comment that should not have been made by a news reporter, This Writer tends to agree with whoever wrote it.

Sadly, with Boris Johnson running the country, he will undoubtedly dither, delay, take a holiday, and probably even hide in a fridge before taking any decisions – and by the time he does, it will probably be too late.

And, as This Site stated yesterday, this is what he wanted. He had been warned repeatedly that it would happen but he did nothing. We have to draw the obvious conclusion from that.

Source: Belfast: Emergency Stormont meeting after night of violence – BBC News

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New power-sharing deal restores NI devolution – in order to quit Johnson’s UK?

Devolution: The Tories will be quick to celebrate the restoration of devolved government in Northern Ireland. Has it not occurred to any of them that the Northern Irish hate Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal and now want to quit the UK altogether?

At long last – three years since the ‘Cash for Ash’ scandal that ended the last Northern Ireland power-sharing deal, it seems MLAs are returning to Stormont.

The new power-sharing deal means devolved government in Northern Ireland will resume.

According to Boris Johnson:

Do you think he hasn’t realised that they’re all getting back together in order to take NI out of the UK?

What would be really damning is if they decided they won’t even reunify with the Republic.

Source: Stormont talks: Main NI parties agree power-sharing deal – BBC News

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Bid to halt NI abortion law change fails. How will Boris Johnson get the DUP on-side for his Brexit now?

How interesting – last week we were told Boris Johnson’s government was working hard to get the devolved government in Northern Ireland working again, to bribe the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) into supporting his Brexit deal.

The idea was that, as the DUP is firmly opposed to the legalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland – which will happen by law after the Westminster government supported it and could only be stopped if the Stormont assembly voted to do so, then the Stormont assembly must be restored.

It seems clear that attempts were made to facilitate this, but it was impossible for MLAs to agree on the election of a speaker so the attempt failed.

Now it seems Mr Johnson has no way of getting the DUP to support his deal, other than by making concessions.

Or will Arlene Foster’s party have a miraculous conversion to his way of thinking?

A last ditch attempt at the Stormont assembly to stop abortion law changes in Northern Ireland has failed, with the law set to change at midnight.

Unionist parties, who oppose the upcoming liberalisation, triggered the assembly’s recall with a petition.

But politicians were told the assembly could not do any business until a speaker was elected with cross-community backing.

That became impossible when the nationalist SDLP left the chamber.

As a result no nationalist representatives remained, meaning no new speaker could be elected and the sitting was suspended after less than an hour.

In July, MPs at Westminster passed legislation which requires the government to change abortion laws and extend same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland if devolution is not restored by 21 October.

Source: Abortion: NI politicians’ bid to halt law changes fails – BBC News

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Is Boris Johnson using abortion rights to bribe the DUP into supporting his Brexit deal?

Boris Johnson: The right of women in Northern Ireland to get an abortion if they need it is nothing to do with him – so it is entirely possible that he will cancel it to get his Brexit deal.

Without the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party supporting his new Brexit deal, Boris Johnson will lose the Parliamentary vote on it tomorrow. So is he bribing Arlene Foster’s group?

The DUP is known to oppose the new legislation championed by Labour MP Stella Creasy to extend abortion rights to Northern Ireland. That change will happen in March 2020 – but only if devolved government in Northern Ireland has not been restored by October 21 – Monday.

Abortion law is a devolved matter but the Northern Irish assembly in Stormont collapsed in January 2017 and the Conservative government has shown little interest in restoring it.

Until now. It seems the government is ramping up efforts to restore the power-sharing devolved government, ending the chance to extend abortion rights into NI.

So it seems the Tories will sell out women across an entire country of the UK to pass its Brexit deal in the most squalid way possible.

Source: Boris Johnson accused of using abortion rights in Northern Ireland as ‘bargaining chip’ to get DUP to back Brexit deal | The Independent

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McKee murder prompts politicians to re-start NI power sharing talks

How welcome to see that Theresa May has finally got off her thumbs and made a start towards restoring the devolved government in Northern Ireland, after pressure from This Site and the general public.

I wrote after Lyra McKee’s murder last weekend: “It is now 21 years since the Good Friday Agreement heralded the end of the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland. Such an anniversary is a time to reaffirm the commitment to friendship – not to open up opportunities for a return to hate.

“Northern Ireland needs the restoration of its government in Stormont – now, not after Theresa May has spent another few months or years stalling so she can extend her own tenure in Number 10.

“The best way to shut down the possibility of violence is to deny people any excuse for it.”

Well…

An agreement has been reached to establish a new round of talks involving all the main political parties in Northern Ireland the UK and Irish prime ministers, Theresa May and Leo Varadkar, have said in a joint statement.

The public clamour for political progress following the killing of the journalist Lyra McKee encouraged both governments to launch a fresh attempt to restore power sharing in Northern Ireland, they said in a statement released on Friday afternoon.

It seems this is one message that has managed to get through to the UK’s recalcitrant prime minister.

Source: Deal reached for Northern Ireland power-sharing talks | Politics | The Guardian


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Was Derry car bomb a reaction to Tory arrogance?

Fireball: The explosion on Bishop Street, Londonderry was caught on camera.

Terrorism has reared its ugly head again in Northern Ireland, it seems – although interestingly the mass media are steering away from the word.

A car bomb – in a hijacked pizza van, we’re told – exploded outside a courthouse in Londonderry at around 8.10pm on Saturday (January 19).

Police were informed at around 8pm, leaving less than 10 minutes to evacuate people from neighbouring buildings which included a hotel, Freemasons’ hall, and a youth club. There were no casualties.

The lack of notice has led police to describe the attack as “unbelievably reckless”, and it is these words that the mainstream media have adopted, rather than referring to terrorism.

In fact, there seems a strong attempt to play down the incident:

But investigations have centred on the New IRA, one of a handful of republican groups that have rejected power-sharing and the Good Friday Agreement, and which makes a point of targeting police and courts.

Two men have been arrested. But the incident raises an important question:

Why now?

The timing seems significant as not only has the power sharing system brought about after the Good Friday Agreement stalled, but it seems Theresa May is determined to sideline the needs of Northern Ireland in her Brexit deal with the European Union.

There has been no government in Stormont since early 2017, after a row between Sinn Fein and the DUP over a botched renewable energy scheme.

And of course Brexit has revived concerns over the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, and over NI’s constitutional status.

The Conservative government in Westminster seems conspicuously relaxed about both situations.

Doesn’t the attitude of Theresa May and her government seem deliberately provocative to people in Northern Ireland who were unhappy with the peace process in the first place? I’m not suggesting she is responsible for the actions of other people, but she certainly has a responsibility to prevent any return to the so-called “Troubles”.

Aren’t the delay over restoring the government in Stormont, and the failure to overcome the border controversy, an opportunity for such republicans to claim the peace process has failed and go back to violence?

Isn’t that what happened in Derry on Saturday night?

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