“When the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to Fly by those nets.” 
James Joyce

News Round-Up, January 2018

News Round-Up, January 2018

Politics

  • The New Year kicked off with Barry McElduff flooding the headlines after he posted a video of himself with a Kingsmill loaf on his head on the anniversary of the Kingsmill Massacre. The ensuing outrage resulted in his apology, his suspension and ultimately his resignation. It also inspired a cartoon by Brian Spencer which sparked further apologies from others for sharing it.
    The incident was discussed by Brendan Harkin in an article on Fly By Those Nets
    The resulting "cartoon incident" was satirised by Andrew Pope in his own artwork.
  • Sinn Féin had a change in leadership after the stepping down of Gerry Adams with Mary Lou McDonald being the only candidate running for President and Michelle O'Neill the only candidate to replace Mary Lou as Vice President of the party. 
  • Mary Lou McDonald sparked outrage after attending a tribute to an IRA bomber killed by the premature explosion of the device he was planting.
  • Sammy Wilson of the DUP called the Irish Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar of Fine Gael, a "nutcase" and later stated he regretted the comments. Sammy then went on to accuse the Irish Government of having a "very public hissy fit" over Brexit.
  • Leaked proposals for adjustments to constituency boundaries were later confirmed to be the latest proposals and gained mixed reactions with Sinn Féin supporters making accusations of gerrymandering which the Boundary Commission rejected.
  • The Irish Government confirms it will hold a referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution at the end of May.
  • The flying of Royal Parachute Regiment flags on the Anniversary of Bloody Sunday was described as "shameful" by Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie with others echoing his condemnation.
  • The DUP met with equal marriage campaigners for the first time, but the meeting was called a disappointment after it emerged that the party would still "defend the current definition of marriage".
    Malachy Clarke wrote about the DUP's hypocrisy over LGBT rights in an article for Fly By Those Nets.

Stormont Talks

Security & Justice

Economy

  • Engineering and infrastructure firm Carillion went into liquidation. Union GMB assured said NI workers would receive their pay until the end of January.
  • The UK Government was criticised over its role in the Bombardier dispute which could've seen the loss of hundreds of jobs in NI after its submission to the ITC was just 4 pages long.  Ultimately the ITC ruled in Bombardier's favour
  • The Education Authority refused to approve the budget plans submitted by 632 schools as they were shown to be unable to stay within their allocated budgets.
  • The Stormont talks deadlock has blocked £19m in lottery funds being available for charities due to a lack of funding mechanism. 
  • Owners of Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (RHI) boilers are to lodge an appeal against a court decision which left them on reduced tariffs. This is alongside the ongoing RHI Inquiry which has been hearing evidence from various civil servants  involved in DETI and the formation of the failed scheme.

Brexit

  • Kier Starmer warned that Labour won’t support a Brexit deal that does not work for all communities of Northern Ireland.
  • Buzzfeed received the leaked Brexit impact assessments carried out by the UK Government. The assessments reportedly show the UK will be worse off in every scenario assessed however it is claimed the specific scenario the UK Government is aiming for has not been assessed.
  • PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton voices concerns at a possible vulnerability caused by Brexit if the European Arrest Warrant were to be removed. 

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