Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | January 15, 2010

U-turning the Sod for the Footbridge

A few chuckles here in the clocktower as we looked across the river to Ebrington barracks yesterday.  There was Martin McGuinness alongside Mark Durkan and the rest for the turning of the sod ceremony of the the new footbridge.  Great to see this link into our home forging ahead so the Watersiders will be even closer to us (lucky them).  The whole city will benefit.

Of course, the irony will not be lost as we see Martin’s big grin in today’s Derry Journal holding his shovel.   He had all the mush talk about how this would be a link between the two parts of our divided city (as if nationalists and unionists don’t live alongside each other in the Waterside already).  A great project paid for by the European Union.
And this enthusiasm from a man at the top of a party that has fought against Ireland being in the EU ever since it was set up.  If Sinn Féin had their way there would be no Ireland (North or South) in the EU, no money, no bridge!

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | December 25, 2009

Beannachtaí na Nollaig

Happy Christmas to all our readers from a chilly but homely Guildhall Tower!

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | December 18, 2009

Guildhall renovation under threat?

There we were hoping for a shiny new home for us here in Guildhall Tower. Very annoying then to hear that Edwin Poots is planning to cap the heritage building grant at £250 000, which means a cut of around £400 000 to the renovation of our lovely Guildhall. Apparently First Derry Church will lose over £100 000 which must also put that project at risk. Someone from the DoE on the radio with Mark Durkan said that St. Columb’s wouldn’t lose out – then explained that was only because the builder would do it for less than the cut!

When local politicians visit Stormont to ask for an economic stimulus, this is a kick in the teeth for the Derry construction industry and our tourism development. One can’t help think that if the Guildhall was in Lisburn that another approach would have been taken.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | December 11, 2009

The Derry Journal Sinn Fein agenda?

Interesting debates on Facebook today about the NUJ meeting on the planned cuts at BBC Radio Foyle that happened in the City Hotel during the week.

What seems odd though is the difference in the online comments and today’s Derry Journal article in the name of Michael McMonagle.  The web discussions refer to a speaker from the SDLP contributing to the meeting – in fact they suggest that this representative from Mark Durkan spoke better than Sinn Fein. Yet the Journal only refers to the fact that Sinn Fein was represented.  Why?

The photo of the meeting is also focused in on Sinn Fein. So a reader would nearly think only Sinn Fein were there.

At best its an oversight at worst its bias. We’ll be emailing the Journal for a reply and will let you know.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | July 20, 2009

Clinton’s secret Donegal visit

The Observer has revealed that former US President Bill Clinton visited Donegal quietly in 2006.  He attended Nobel Poet Seamus Heaney who was recovering from a stroke in Letterkenny General Hostpital at the time.  Heaney wrote in the paper that Clinton also visited various wards in the hospital giving a boost to patients across the county hospital.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | July 7, 2009

North West by North roads

Positive development yesterday with the confirmation by An Taoiseach Brian Cowen TD at the North South Ministerial Council that E9 million is being released for the A5 and A8 roads.  Well, positive in respect of the A6 anyway.

Taxpayers in Donegal and elsewhere in the South can’t be happy that the Irish government is making severe cutbacks but is paying for a road from Belfast to Larne.  Whatever about its profligacy in the boom years, it can hardly be justified now. Unlike the A5 road which links Donegal to the east coast, this has little advantage to southern taxpayers.

It would be too much to expect the DUP Cats Who Got The Cream yesterday to give credit to North/South cooperation, rather than arguing the downturn is a reason for union with Britain.  And we didn’t notice Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness claiming responsibility in from of Cowen for the A5 road project, as Sinn Fein did in the Southern elections.  No doubt because he would have looked been shown out to be a liar in front of the paymasters if he had.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | June 19, 2009

Watts in the plan, Valerie?

Almost a year into her tenure as Town Clerk, Valerie Watts has presented her plans for the rationalisation of Derry City Council to the councillors.  While the proposals are not yet fully in the public domain, there are grounds for optimism.Derry City CouncilHer proposals ‘Transforming Derry City Council’ would see around 20 departments being reduced to 3 Directorates.   There will be a trawl for voluntary redundancies seeing 20 posts, believed to be higher/middle management being axed.  So far, so good.  However, what will happen if voluntary redundancies do not suffice?  Nor do we know exactly what posts are to go.  The Derry public need to know what posts are to go and what the bases for those decisions are.

That demand cannot be about personal witchhunts, but about public service delivery arguments. Nor do we want to see a rerun of the Review of Public Administration in health and education which inevitably saw mergers resulting in more management being employed than before reforms began.  Ratepayers cannot afford that luxury.

Inextricably linked to the question of management rationalisation is the future internal organisation of Council.  The important test is that underperforming staff and unnecessary services go while productive services are retained and indeed created.  Hopefully this will all be made clear in the report once it is public.

The response of NIPSA to the plans as ‘hatchet wielding’, (which presumably they have seen)  is unsurprising.  Unfortunately, NIPSA has a poor track record when it comes to embracing change.  That is bad for its members.  We need strong professional trades unions.  Council is known to have poor morale in many sections, so unions should embrace plans that can give their members a better place to work.  Their response is hopefully just an opening gambit in the negotiations for juicy pay offs for management who fancy leaving.

The Town Clerk doesn’t seem a fan of short titles! The 3 directorates proposed are “Corporate Services, Environment, Infrastructure and Culture”; “Business and Community Services” and a “Town Clerk and Chief Executive’s Office”.  These seem to be a bit of a dog’s breakfast title-wise but not knowing exactly what each one will cover it’s hard to give alternatives!

The sooner the plans are brought into the open the better for everyone.  Ms Watts has a delicate balancing act to perform.  Underperformers should go.  Unnecessary services should end.  Priority services should be retained and developed.  Most of all, the ‘lean and mean’ structure that is left must be capable of delivering that performance in an efficient and sufficient way.  This is her big test and the biggest test facing elected councillors in a decade.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | June 15, 2009

Derry Journal Phoblacht?

As the dust begins to settle after the Euro Election results, NBNW has been reflecting on coverage of the results in the local papers.

We were shocked last Tuesday to sit down to read the Journal with a cup of tea and a scone from Louis Cafe to read the front page headline where Martina Anderson claimed to have won Foyle.  SDLP Colr Mark H Durkan bizarely claimed to be disappointed to win the seat, but did the party really expect to win a seat?  Surely a per cent increase is the best they could have realistically hoped for.

Colr Martin Reilly SDLP had a letter in Friday’s Journal suggesting that Sinn Fein had no tallymen there and couldn’t possibly have known one way or another.  Did the Journal not ask the other parties for their view?  Did Colr Durkan provide this information to the Journal at the time? It doesn’t seem the Journal were too worried as the original story didn’t even carry a percentage or estimate poll figure from ‘Hans Christian’ Anderson.  You’d be forgiven for thinking you were reading An Phoblacht!

Either the Journal’s journalism is poor or else it should own up to being a pro Sinn Fein newspaper.  It has to be one or the other.  This isn’t the sort of stuff any properly run paper – even a Sinn Fein voice piece – should run without proper checking out of the facts.

They say you can’t believe everything you read in the papers.  Soon you’ll have to wonder if you can believe anything you read in the Derry Journal.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | June 8, 2009

SDLP up 0.3%, Sinn Fein down

So the DUP reclaim their seat from ‘renegade’ Jim Allister.  The Robinson/Dodds leadership surely have food for thought, but any attempt to ride back (further) on power sharing would not only be wrong but counter productive.  They have had the upside on Sinn Fein over the past 2 years, so the fact that the anti Agreement vote is down from 1998 shouldn’t be forgotten.

The SDLP  vote on firsts went up by 1/3 of a per cent. Sinn Fein’s went down by about the same.  Maguinnis did well from transfers, but the unionist bloc was too solid (not surprisingly).  The post mortems will start soon and there is a lot of food for thought for the nationalist parties too.  More on that over the next few weeks.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | June 5, 2009

Good local poll by SDLP

Local SDLP activists are happy with the turnout of the SDLP vote for Alban Maguinnis yesterday.  While the overall vote will likely hit around 45% in Foyle, areas such as Steelstown, Trench Road, the Northlands and Claudy have reportedly polled a bit higher.

If so, it seems to indicate that people are starting to question what the DUP/Sinn Fein partnership is delivering.  Not much.  The 11+ and Civil Service were apparently major issues on doorsteps in the last week around the North West.

As with the rest of the campaign, the Sinn Fein machine on the ground was less prominent than in the past.  Presumably a lot of them are in Dublin helping Mary Lou. Not that too may were overwhelmed being asked for SF sample ballots!

The only certain placing is that de Brún will top the poll.  After that all bets are off!  Can’t wait til Monday..

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | June 2, 2009

Sunday Independent not a Fountain of knowledge

The Sunday Independent paper this weekend carried a story about the horrendous murder of Coleraine man Kevin McDaid, who was buried yesterday.

 It is extremely important that there is accurate and informed reporting of sectarian tensions. Unfortunately, Jim Cusack’s report fell short on both.

 First, he described how “following McDaid’s death last weekend, the tiny Protestant enclave of the Diamond .. was attacked by Catholic youths for two nights”.  What he didn’t say is that there have been clashes on this interface for around a month.  Deeper into the story has been the actions of the UDA in and around the Fountain simmering for around a year. 

 Cusack goes on to say that the Bishop Street fence “protects them from regular stone and petrol bomb attacks from the Catholic youths from the adjoining Bogside. NBNW – like many people – saw first hand what went on over the past few weeks.  The nationalist youths were also to blame but it is simply a half-truth to describe such clashes as being perpetrated upon the Fountain from the nationalist side. 

 It is no coincidence that the UDA showing its muscle inside the Fountain – intimidating many law-abiding residents in the process – is not a contributory factor.  It is. If anything, it is the greater factor over recent times.

Finally, Cusack seems to explain Kevin’s murder by saying that “sectarian tensions around the north-west area to a large degree derive from the effective ethnic cleansing of Protestants from the Cityside of Derry/Londonderry”. Where is the evidence of this?  First, it suggests to readers that pogroms took place to force unionists off the west bank, which did not happen (unlike the Shankill attacks on the Falls in 1969). Of course the IRA campaign played a part in this but this must be reported accurately.

 Second, there is no evidence that sectarian tensions in Coleraine have anything to do with that migration.  Sectarianism is riven through loyalism.  It has been for at least 3 centuries.  The Sunday Independent should reflect that in its reporting rather than presenting Kevin McDaid’s murder as some delayed response to the drift from Derry’s west bank.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | May 27, 2009

Journal behind the Madeline McCann 8 Ball

Yesterday’s Derry Journal ‘revealed’  that convicted sex offender, Raymond Hewlett, used to live in Urris, Co. Donegal.

The story was already widely reported over the weekend, including the Sunday Tribune, which mentioned the Dunaff link, the Mail and the Times.  The Irish Independent shockingly describes how Hewlett is a suspect for the disappearance of young Mary Boyle, 6, who went missing in Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal in 1977.  Hewlett was working reportedly working in the county at the time.

Another English paedophile, Bob Howard, was the sole suspect for the murder of Arlene Arkinson from Castederg, who disappeared from Bundoran in 1994.

The movement patterns of such dangerous men demonstrates the need not only for an All Ireland Sex Offenders Register, called for by the SDLP in 2003, but surely this should be done at UK and Ireland level.  This would be a useful project for the British Irish Council – and indeed for the EU.  Another good reason to vote Yes to Lisbon next time.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | May 25, 2009

Unlike Stormont, Catalonia is PRO Europe, see?

NBNW sees that the Assembly’s OFMDFM committee is off to  Catalonia to learn lesssons about how to get the most out of EU membership.  They’re interested in learning from the Barcelona admistration how to build relations with the EU power levers.Catalunya

Well how about electing a pro-European MEP for a start?!

Costs nothing and would send a better signal than a report that will be ignored.  The Sinn Fein/DUP/UUP members of the committee should tell their supporters to vote Alban Maginness 1 – that would be a good first recommendation.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | May 23, 2009

Durkan leaving Stormont?

The Foyle MP Mark Durkan announced out of the blue on TV on Thursday night that his days as both MP and MLA are numbered.  His exact words were “If I stand in the next Westminster election, I will be standing on the basis that I am not, I am not, a continuing MLA at that point.  I have made that very clear. That’s what our party position would be.”

End of an era?

End of an era?

NBNW isn’t sure what Durkan means by “I have made that very clear”.  Some SDLP figures in Derry yesterday indicated that a move to one mandate was expected eventually, but were surprised at the clarity this far from an election.

So the issue now is will he stay as MP or MLA.  Presumably he has to run as MP. First, the SDLP don’t have anyone who could take on a strong Sinn Fein candidate for Westminster (unless they can bring in a face not currently in politics).  Also, if they did bring in someone from outside (of Denis Bradley type status) they would then have a bigger mandate than Durkan.  That would undermine his position as local top dog.

So the speculation will soon turn to Durkan’s likely replacement in Stormont.  Given the recent SDLP history of selection convention in-fighting (Courtney etc) it could be eventful!

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | May 21, 2009

Tommy Gorman’s selective report

NBNW was there at the Policing Board meeting as Gaeilge.  Not surprisingly, Martina Anderson was all over the Derry News today being quoted about how great it all was even though she didn’t even address the meeting.  Her colleagues Kevin Campbell and Raymond McCartney did, while Martina left the room as soon as the cameras.  Yet she appeared in the photo with Gearoid O hEara (who she describes as “my party colleague” yet sits as an Independent on the Policing Board???) and the PSNI/Board big shots.

Tommy Gorman

Tommy Gorman

This was a first not just for the North but for Ireland, so we were disappointed with Tommy Gorman’s report on RTE Morning Ireland the next day.  He reported that “many” in the audience were linked to Sinn Fein.  It just seemed to be thrown in, although what it added to the report is anyone’s guess.

Tommy is no doubt a great reporter who apparently saved the whole peace process acting as a go-between for Sinn Fein and the DUP.  But we know for a fact that there were as many elected SDLP reps in the room (3) as there were Sinn Fein.  And that doesn’t count the guy who introduced himself as representing Mark Durkan the SDLP MP, who asked a question as well as Mark H Durkan.  There were also other SDLP members and supporters, who are also Gaeilgoiri, in the meeting.

So why did Tommy Gorman basically suggest the thing was only filled with Shinners when that obviously was’nt the case? In fact, UTV showed footage on its UTV Late show that night of only one speaker, and that was the bloke from Durkan’s office beside young Durkan!  So they weren’t exactly hiding.

Given the pre-spin put out by Martina Anderson trying to make it out as a Sinn Fein event, if anything the more newsworthy thing to say would be that there was a very strong SDLP turn out!  It’s a pity that some of our reporters didn’t take the time to absorb or to reflect on more of the facts, rather than some people’s presumptions or spin.

Of course Mr Gorman is the same man who told us a week out from the 2005 Westminster Election that Mitchel McLaughlin would win the seat.  So he has fallen for Sinn Fein spin before. 

Next time Tommy look a bit more into the facts please. Hopefully if you read this, you’ll post us a comment for the Derry public to see.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | May 20, 2009

Policing Board Crinniú report

Last night saw the ‘historic’ first public meeting of the Northern Ireland Policing Board in Irish. NBNW was there.

Credit where it is due to Gearóid ÓhÉara (ex Sinn Féin Mayor) and Barry Gilligan new Policing Board Chairperson who both addressed the meeting as Gaeilge.  There was a strong SDLP and Sinn Fein presence with Councillor Mark H Durkan asking a question on neighbourhood policing resources as well as a rep from Mark Durkan MP who asked about performance in PSNI follow-up with victims of crime.  Both got undertakings that there would be improvements.

Kevin Campbell SF Councillor asked if the PSNI would have bilingual labels on vehicles, while Raymond McCartney MLA asked if there would be more such meetings (strange given that Martina Anderson was beside him for the first 20 minutes and she put out a press release saying this was the first of 4 of them!).  Pat Ramsey and Brenda Stevenson were also there (Ramsey like Anderson left early).

More important, there were also a number of questions and comments from ordinary Gaeilgóirí on a range of different policing and Irish language engagement topics.  One good suggestion was PSNI Gaeilgóirí would wear a fáinne – given that the District Commander said that 10 officers in Foyle have the language.  What use if Gaeilgóirí don’t know it when they meet them?  The PSNI seemed open to the idea.

The Irish Times today reports that 30 people were there, Radio Foyle today said 100.  The truth is probably that 100 odd people attended but that about half were PSNI/Policing Board people or others wearing interpreting headsets.

Finally, full credit to the two PSNI officers who gamely revived their Irish to address the meeting.  Hopefully they’ll get more and more chance to brush up and their colleagues will step forward to!

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | May 19, 2009

An Bord Póilíneachta i nDoire as Gaeilge

An Bord Póilíneachta

An Bord Póilíneachta

Beidh eachtra stairiúl tráthnona inniu i nÓstán na Cathrach i nDoire nuair atá an chéad cruinniú poiblí ag an Bord Póilíneachta san teanga dúchasach. Gan dabhta, is é an chéad eachtra den sórt seo sa oiléan ar fad agus is iontach an rud é. 

The words of UUP Basil McCrea MLA this morning on Radio Foyle were very welcome – pointing out that this is a practical means of reaching out to a sector of the community.  He quite rightly also recalled the proud role of Presbyterians in fostering the language over the centuries. 

An mbeidh Sir Hugh Orde ann agus é ag freagra ceisteanna as gaeilge?!

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | May 17, 2009

Sinn Fein bowing to the securocrats

Big coverage in the Sunday Tribune today about the SDLP supporting its campaign to stop the PSNI pursuing a reporter, Suzanne Breen, for her information about Real IRA activity.  Going on an SDLP press release, Derry MP Mark Durkan tried to lodge a Westminster motion on this but was rejected.  Alex Attwood is quoted explaining his unhappiness that the same motion was refused by the Assembly.

The paper points out that the DUP and Sinn Fein have been silent on this issue.  Given that the Sinn Feiners campaigned for years against ‘state censorship’, doesn’t that apply to journalists as well as Gerry Adams voiceovers? Attwood is quoted pointing out that the DUP put in a motion recently on Ian Paisley Junior’s refusal to hand over his sources to the Billy Wright inquiry.  Why not the same for Suzanne Breen and the Tribune?

Of course, it ain’t too long since Martin and Peter wrote as First Ministers to the Belfast Telegraph owners wanting investigative journalists to be muzzled.

Ironcially, the Tribune suggests that the Assembly and Westminster rejected the motions because of NIO wishes. They must be the same NIO securocrats Gerry Kelly,Martin McGuinness and Martina Anderson have been ranting about for years!  Supporting policing isn’t the same as supporting everything done by the Police.  The poachers have gone game keeper.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | May 16, 2009

Pat the Cope sends SF spinning

Very interesting opinion poll in today’s Irish Times.  Of most local interest is that the entry of Dungloe’s Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher into the race for Fianna Fáil looks to have smashed any chances that Buncrana-based Sinn Féin candidate Padraig MacLochlainn will get to Europe.

Dungloe's Pat the Cope

Dungloe's Pat the Cope

Gallagher is on 19% with MacLochlainn on 10%.  Sligo’s Marian Harkin and Mayo’s Jim Higgins also sit in strong positions on 18% and 20%.

The campaign proper is only getting started but there is really only one seat for a Donegal based canidate.  For years that was Neal Blaney and Pat the Cope took over that seat before.  Donegal has been without an MEP since he came back to the Dail.  MacLochlainn was getting cocky and the Shinners were sure he would fill that vacuum.  It even got to the point where SF were demanding that Fianna Fáil not run a Donegal based candidate!  It seems that it won’t happen so easy for MacLochlainn this time.

Of course, no matter the result this time it will put him in a good position for the next general election.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | May 11, 2009

Martin and Martina to the Rescue!

Unemployed people all over Derry will have rested easy on Sunday night after seeing the Sunday Journal. In true SJ style, it was like reading An Phoblacht. The front page had a massive full colour photo of Martina Anderson and her boss Martin McGuinness Joint Leader of the Six Counties with two Massachusetts Senators.

Apart from the fact that they are not US Senators (as the Sunday Journal incorrectly calls them), teh Journal might well be asked why none of the SDLP people at the function, even John Hume or the Mayor, were included in the photo.

The bigger question is why they didn’t ask Martina or Martin how much of the Emerald Fund New York Pensions money they boasted would save the new SF-DUP economy last year. It turns out from today’s Irish News that the answer is £0 and 0p. In contrast, the News reports that £3m has been paid in fees to an “ally” of Martin and Martina’s buddy William Thompson the NY State Comptroller.

Not exactly investing in the heart of the bog is it?

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | May 10, 2009

Sinn Fein and the gravy train

So the MP expenses story runs and runs.  It does seem strange that Sinn Fein claim expenses for three properties in London and justify seemingly extortionate rents on the basis of built-in costs.  So a flat that should cost Gerry and Martin £1 400 costs them £3 600 a month as it includes housekeeping, utilities and parking costs.

Even in London a cleaner, some electricity and gas can hardly cost £2 200 a month!  And why do they need to be paying for parking?  Unless they’re claiming for car ferry tickets and they drive down from Stranraer.  The whole thing stinks.

And what’s all this business they be doing in London?  Fair enough if they are doing business for constituents.  If so, publish details of the meetings they are having so it’s clear for all to see.  Of course the same should apply to the other MPs (who actually go inside the Commons chamber to vote rather than use the offices only).

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | May 9, 2009

Ooo ooo Mary Lou!

NBNW is listening to a debate on RTE Radio 1 at the minute about the Euro elections in Dublin.  Her performance is absolutely abysmal on it!

Not surprising for a Sinn Féiner, once her record is questioned she crumbled.  She started talking about how it was vital to get Europe to tackle the banking crisis.  Then Proinsias de Rossa and Gay Mitchell (Labour and FG) both pointed out that she wasn’t even in the European Parliament when new laws on banking controls were discussed and voted on!  It seems Mary Lou was miles away in Brussels doing TV interviews.

Apparently her attendance record is shocking.  Only there about 63% of the time.  Other Irish MEPs are in the Parliament for over 90% of votes.  What is she doing all that time? Does she hand back the portion of her salary that she’s doing SF work, not representing Dubliner?
Not for the first time it seems that Sinn Fein talk the talk but don’t walk the walk.  This is the fate awaiting Ireland North West if Padraig MacLochlainnn is elected for Sinn Fein.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | April 30, 2009

City City City

On Radio Foyle’s website today is a piece publicising the excellent City of Derry Jazz Festival taking place this bank holiday weekend. In 231 words it says the word city 11 times.

Mayor Gerry Diver

Mayor Gerry Diver

We can understand people trying to avoid the Derry/Londonderry thing but this is taking it to such lengths that readers are left with their head spinning! Maybe the Mayor and Jim Roddy could occassionally use terms like “across town” if they really want to avoid the name issue.  “City City City City City” should be left as a Brandywell chant.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | April 27, 2009

Threats to Martin McGuinness

NBNW has heard various opinions on the reported threats to Martin McGuinness. The ones which led him to have a major press conference at Free Derry corner on Friday.

Not everyone in Derry is convinced about these threats. We have heard people suggest that these threats to Martin’s life are a very useful distraction from Sinn Féin’s performance in government. When put like that, it is notable how much press attention has been given to these threats since Martin announced them, and how little media focus is on Stormont or what the Executive is doing to save jobs.

If so, it’s an each way political bet for Sinn Fein. If McGuinness is attacked, Sinn Féin get even more publicity on them and on how they are defenders of the peace process. If nothing happens, who can prove it’s made up? The Sinn Fein spin doctors know well that the PSNI won’t comment on the security of individuals.

No doubt there are dissidents who wish Sinn Fein people harm, but that isn’t the same as being prepared to act on it. Here are Guildhall tower, we don’t have the information to assess whether there really is any danger. All actual threats are wrong.

Unfortunately for Martin, Sinn Fein have a history of playing fast and loose with the truth. Sure isn’t his boss Gerry Adams the only man in Ireland who thinks he was never the in the IRA (which he has denied as recently as the week apparently)?

People can be forgiven for being cynical.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | April 26, 2009

Green Conference Style!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

NBNW was impressed with the style at the Green Party Northern Conference this weekend.  Check out the Wurzel Gummidge look-a-like contest entries.
You just don’t get that at a Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis!
Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | April 25, 2009

Snipes and Project Kelvin

NBNW was disappointed to read a post on ‘This is Limavady‘ which somehow managed to incorporate a swipe at the Project Kelvin restoration effort in a post about local property prices!

We aren’t experts in the property market (at this stage who is?!) but Project Kelvin ain’t got much to do with house prices in Ballykelly.

The author doesn’t explain exactly why he thinks the reversal of a secret change to a public policy project was “ a totally pointless exercise”.  But regardless of the ins-and-outs of the Telehouse issue, surely it’s a good thing that government is held to honour its promises.

For a blog which appears dedicated to highlighting the jobs crisis in Limavady borough, surely this is a principle which should be pursued.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | April 24, 2009

Can Sammy defend Derry’s Walls?

Environment Minister Sammy Wilson crossed Glenshane this morning to launch a new plan for the preservation of Derry’s Walls.

Given Sammy’s views on global warming, its reassuring that he doesn’t think the walls should be knocked down.  Mind you,  he probably thinks the bricks in the Walls are the cause of global warming.

Says Sammy, “This is the largest monument in state care in Northern Ireland and its full potential must be realised.”

With the track record of the DoE and its EHS agency (Environment and Heritage Service), one has to worry.  Both arms of government were about as useful as a rubber crane when it came to protecting Tille and Hendersons from destruction.  Let’s hope the walls fare better.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | April 17, 2009

Hugh Orde replacement – Martin’s tack change

NBNW was intrigued to hear on Radio Foyle news this morning that Martin McGuinness would be very happy if a senior Garda replaced Hugh Orde as PSNI Chief.

In 1996 Martin’s friends in the IRA murdered Garda Gerry McCabe in Limerick so that they could fill their pockets with cash for the IRA holiday homes fund.  Widow Anne McCabe or her family will take no comfort from his words.

McGuinnesss also rattled out the Sinn Féin line that they ‘succeeded in getting new legislation’ so that SF could join the Policing Board.  Martina Anderson came out with the same yesterday.  Maybe they would tell the world what that was? 

Not a hill of beans.  Just Sinn Fein rewriting of history again.

Unless they’re talking about them signing up to Mi5 taking the lead on intelligence policing in the North.  No independent oversight.  Great work Martin.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | April 11, 2009

Derry News gets Footbridge right

Derry Footbridge

One of the reasons we run North by North West is to shine a light where the local media – the Derry Journal, Derry News, Radio Foyle, Q102 – do not.  Far too often, real problems go unexamined because some are afraid of vested interests.  Far too often we see free reins given to negative opinions and uninformed comments.

People always complain that Derry doesn’t get what others have.  Now that we’re getting a new footbridge, we keep hearing that we don’t need one.  The begrudgers should get with the change.

And people saying it’s a waste of money that should be spent on a car bridge should also shut it. Why don’t they listen when they’re told it is EU Peace money?!  The EU want to fund a peace project, Ilex has got it for a foot bridge.  Well done Ilex (for once).

The EU wouldn’t have spent this money on another car bridge.  That’s Conor Murphy’s job.  Maybe if we had good MEPs they’d get money for a car bridge like John Hume did for the Foyle Bridge.

So well done to the Derry News this week for saying the negative types need to wise up.  Of course, that still leaves open the debate on the name for the bridge…..

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | April 8, 2009

Sad passing of Garda McCallion

The whole community in the North West was saddened to hear of the tragic passing of Garda Robert McCallion yesterday.  He had been treated in Beaumont hospital Dublin since being struck by car thieves in Tara Court, Letterkenny on 26 March.

Garda McCallion has been described by a colleague as “everything a garda should be”.  Those responsible for hitting him with that car are everything we don’t want.   Hopefully they will be charged with appropriately serious offences.  Causing the death of a young Garda serving the community must be treated harshly by the criminal justice system.

From Mayo, he was much loved in his adopted Donegal home.

Only two weeks before, Constable Stephen Carroll lost his life answering the call of duty in Armagh.  The whole of Ulster should be proud of these men who died serving the community and the country.  That was real patriotism.

Ar dheis dé ar a anam.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | April 6, 2009

Mitchel McLaughlin home attack wrong

Last night’s attack on the home of Mitchel McLaughlin in the Bogside was totally wrong.  So is any attack on any family home for any reason. It is all the worse when a public representative is involved because it is an attack on the voice of the community that elects that person.

People will see irony in the fact that McLaughlin referred to it as a ‘cowardly event’. Presumably the attacks by Provo hoods  let loose on SDLP represenatives houses and others in Derry over 35 years were not cowardly.

I guess it all depends on who is doing it, Mitchel?  We won’t forget – hopefully the hoods of today will learn the futility of it quicker than your friends did.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | March 25, 2009

Continuity IRA detentions – what relevance is Diane Dodds?

Bizarre piece in this morning’s Irish News on the concerns raised yesterday by the Human Rights Commission about the detention conditions of suspects held in Antrim PSNI station over the murder of Stephen Carroll.  Diane Dodds attacking Monica McWilliams for doing her job.

As is her role, Chief Commission Monica McWilliams queried the suitability of daylight-less cells and such things. While some will think it good enough for people convicted of such a horrendous crime, noboby has been convicted of anything.

Diane Dodds in today’s papers called the visit “inappropriate”. Hardly – to stay away from the first 28 days murder detention would have been to run away. McWilliams is to be commended – her job is to be a safeguard not to take sides.

The real irony is Diane Dodds attacking McWiliams saying it was “a desperate attempt to make herself relevant”. Surely that comment actually applies to Dodds as she latches on to this trying to become known outside the Shankill for her European campaign!

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | March 16, 2009

UUP needs to get their heads around GFA

Ulster Unionists Communications Director Alex Kane has written an astoundingly ignorant piece in today’s Newsletter


First let me say that I agree that Martin McGuinness and the rest of that Provisional IRA leadership should admit that their violent actions of the past 4 decades were wrong.  They should also fully disclose the truth of their actions to the survivors and to victim’s families.  Of course, the same goes for the UVF, UDA and state forces (RUC, Army etc).

That however is where our concord ends. Kane’s argument is intellectually flawed.  Ostensibly he conflates constitutional republicanism ideology (SDLP, Fianna Fail, today’s Sinn Fein, etc) with that of dissidents, saying it provides succour to the latter.  This is as cheap and crass as suggesting that the UUP is responsible for the Shankill butchers.  Evil men do evil things and the noble aspirations of good men should not be tarnished for that.

He also yells that trust cannot be built on the basis of a ‘us-and-them’ arrangement, as St. Andrew’s clearly is. Yet he also calls upon the SDLP and Sinn Fein (it appears) to agree a final settlement within the 6 county state.

Therein he betrays a fundamental weakness.  For all the talk of a pluralist union, UCUNF still sees this as a tribal conflict.  SDLP Republicanism is defined by its values and its aim of Irish unity – Catholic, Protestant, Dissenter and Immigrant united in harmony and equality in one state.  These twin pillars are indivisible and undeniable.  Once a Republican agrees to a perpetual internal 6 county settlement, he is no longer a Republican.

So any ‘final settlement’ can settle tribal quarrels, but it cannot accommodate any meaningful Republicanism.  That appears to be what Adams has settled for in St. Andrew’s, but the SDLP puts national unity ahead of tribal share-out.

And how can Republicans ever be satisfied with the trustworthiness of a state that is politically driven by tribal intent?  The Republicanism of Tone deigned for more than that.

Kane says “Gerry Adams is reduced to pretending that the Assembly is a mere tool for the promotion of Irish unity. Indeed, in Adams’ original statement last Sunday he clearly implied that the dissidents were interrupting this promotion.” What does Kane want?  Adams promoting unity (however badly) in the Assembly is surely not a ‘reduction’ from the IRA killing for it.  And – ethics aside – the dissidents’ attacks do interrupt the constitutional republic project to win unity.  John Hume won this argument within Irish Republicanism 20 years ago – that we must spill our sweat together not our blood.  Kane seemingly hasn’t noticed.

He is right that we should break down the ‘us-and-them’ society.  But this cannot be on the basis that nationalists have to give up their political beliefs.  That is why Alliance have never made inroads into the SDLP vote.  Most SDLP voters have never been tribal Gaels awaiting incorporation in the union.  They have been constitutional republicans seeking a strategic democratic path to Irish unity.   Wanting an integrated North of Ireland doesn’t mean you have to give up on unity.  On the contrary, unity requires that we pursue integration.  Without it, we cannot convince unionists or the South that unity is desirable or that the state will be stable.

Mr Kane should reconsider his description of the SDLP as “supposedly moderate”.  Thinking SDLP activists do not see it as moderate.  Democratic yes, but more creative than Sinn Fein and more radical in its thinking.  Again, Kane misses a key point.  While the SDLP is avowedly pro-unity, it is also avowedly pro the right of unionists to think, act and be British both today and within the united Republic once it comes.  That seems a radicalism too much for Kane to comprehend.

This is the real corker: “Unionists have accepted, albeit slowly and reluctantly, the uprooting of conventional democratic principles and the enforced sharing of power with a party which was, until very recently, a participant in and justifier of terrorism. I don’t think that nationalists/ republicans yet appreciate the sheer scale of the change within unionism. But nationalists/republicans, on the other hand, have barely changed at all. Both Sinn Fein and the SDLP still rattle on about their all-Ireland dreams and agendas”.
Here Kane shows two things.  First, the total and utter strategic futility of the Provo IRA campaign which allowed unionism to portray concessions to Provos as constitutional compromise (Martina Anderson and friends take note). Second, it shows that some unionists truly have failed to recognise the fundamental compromise that the Good Friday Agreement entailed.  Does the acceptance of the UK framework not register at all with them?

Why do Kane, Gudgin et al insist on nationalism self-immolating before they rest easy?  They do not require it and it will not happen.  Such demands are hardly the utterances of defenders of a ‘secure’ union.

Nor does it rest easy with the UUP idea of a pluralist and modern kingdom.  Does Kane similarly demand that the SNP or Plaid Cymru abandon their political principles.  What next -banning of democratic parties?  The diverse Republic seems all the sweeter in comparison!  And does his new boss David Cameron suggest that the SNP and Plaid have no right to work for self-determination. Is the Empire striking back?!

Conversely, does Kane really believe that the SDLP and Sinn Fein abandoning unity as an objective would undermine the dissidents?  On the contrary, it would prove a better recruiting agent over the medium term than even Bloody Sunday.

NBNW suggests to the Ulster Unionists that their best bet for undermining the dissidents is to promote the devolution of justice powers – preferable to an SDLP Minister as the Agreement intended.  In tandem, intelligence primacy should be handed to the accountable PSNI.  These steps will take more ideological wind out of dissident sails than anything else.

Then let’s work together on bread and butter issues, respecting each others’ identities and aims. And let the best plan win.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | March 14, 2009

Constable Carroll’s funeral – Unity in Tragedy

The funeral of Constable Stephen Carroll yesterday was a symbol of the new Ireland.  A police officer buried for serving the whole community – indeed a nationalist area – by callous cowards who ran into the dark.  A funeral at which the chiefs of policing North and South were present to pay their respects.  The Ministers for Justice North and South both present. The Irish President represented. So too SDLP, Sinn Fein, UUP, DUP, Alliance.

carrollMeanwhile, Constable Carroll’s passing was remembered a few miles away at an Ulster GAA conference on community.  That is the point that the Real IRA need to get – Stephen Carrol in donning that uniform was not a servant of a foreign power.  He was a servant of the Irish people, and part of our community.  All of us.

Murdering him has only brought us all together the more.  We will remember him and we will stand by the new Irish democracy he died serving.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | March 11, 2009

Dissidents may disrupt us but they will not deter us

The past two days have summed it all up.  After their vile murders of two British soldiers and PSNI officer Stephen Carroll and the wounding of 4 other men, they now turn to rioting and disruption.

The symbolism is stark.  Yesterday, they planted a hoax device near the Waterside Clondermott school site.  The very place where SDLP Minister Margaret Ritchie is developing plans to regenerate an unused school into a vital new shared space for the working-class areas nearby.

Then today they follow this up with a device outside Derry credit union.  Planted only minutes before the ordinary people of the city gathered a few hundred yards away at the Guildhall Square to say NO MORE and NOT IN OUR NAME.  It is an affront to us all.  It is dispicable.  And it they will learn that it is futile.

The Trades Council is to be commended for organising the peace protest. The Mayor Gerard Diver seized the moment by placing a ‘Peace Book’ for citizens to sign – which the SDLP I presume will copy elsewhere.

It is welcome that all parties – including Alban Maginniss SDLP and Basil McCrea UUP from outside Derry – were there to pledge support.  Finally, as Mark Durkan said today, Sinn Fein should take a final step and acknowledge that the acts of the past 40 years were morally wrong and futile just as these murders are – that will take the wind out of the dissidents evil sails.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | March 10, 2009

PSNI Murder Will Not Swerve Us

The overwhelming majority of the Irish nation, North and South, has been appalled by the murder of PSNI Officer Stephen Carroll last night in Craigavon.


Here was an officer serving his community in the midst of a known threat and coming to the aid of a distressed vulnerable woman under attack in her home. Those who murdered him have no support from the Irish people, no mandate from our nation and no justification for their criminal actions.

  • The PSNI has the support of the Irish electorate across our country – the dissidents do not.
  • The PSNI is democratically accountable – the dissidents are not.
  • The PSNI offers hope for a peaceful, rights based future – the dissidents cannot.

The disruption caused by a device in the Waterside today is another echo of a former era. We reject that path. Tomorrow the people of the North West should come out in force at the Guildhall at lunchtime to say NO to the dissidents. 

We will hold firm against their bleak threat. They will not undo what we have all built. We must use the three murders of the past days to reinforce our will to build a shared future.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | March 7, 2009

Foyle Ferry and the 1949 Republic

Highland Radio is currently running a report that Cecilia Keaveney has found out that a 1949 law could mean that Magilligan would not be an ‘international port’. So the security there is not needed and the costs would go down.

Her website has more on this – but is a bit unclear.  Is she talking about a British law?  After all, it would need to be a ‘UK’ Minister like Conor Murphy or his London colleague who could take steps to change the position for the Limavady borough port.

More clarity needed but one to watch.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | March 4, 2009

Spotlight on Sectarianism in Derry

Radio Foyle’s Enda McClafferty and his Spotlight team are to be commended on their programme ‘Life Sentence’ about the terrible assault on Paul McCauley in July 2006.  He was the victim of a savage assault instigated by the UDA. 



One young Fountain man, Daryl Proctor, was convicted in relation to the brutal crime.  Unfortunately, he and others in the loyalist community in Derry are hiding the others.  They need to be outed for this despicable act which has ruined a man’s life and that of his daughter and wider family.


Especially shocking was his step-father’s suggestion that if Procter provided information on the others, that any consequences would be the ‘responsibility’ of the McCauley family.  This from the same man who called his hate-filled step son a ‘gentle giant’ who knew nothing about the North (clearly a lie as he came here at age 11) and who had no sectarian opinions.  Not according to his bebo page.


When a young Foutain lad says on camera he doesn’t want to know Catholic kids because “I’m a Protestant. I don’t believe in that”, something is still seriously wrong.  It’s about time the local community put these criminals in the dock – and the DUP and Sinn Fein get serious about a plan to build a shared future.  It was pathetic that the Junior Ministers Donaldson and Kelly wouldn’t be interviewed together.  They should be ashamed.


The programme is repeated tonight on BBC2 NI at 10pm. 



Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | March 3, 2009

Bradley and Eames aren’t the villains

NBNW was disappointed with some of the most recent attacks on local man Denis Bradley and his co-chair on the victims report, Archbishop Eames. 
Their task was always going to be impossible – there are so many views, opinions and varied experiences of the conflict here that one report couldn’t satisfy everyone.  The personalised attacks from the DUP at Westminster were appaling. It cannot be easy for the Group members to have signed up to the report either.  Unfortunately, the payment idea has been used as a stick to beat them and a distraction to the real issues – truth, support and sharing.

Today’s Derry Journal has a pathetic report giving off that the authors got £680 per day to work on this.  Of course it’s not a small fee – but how much did the Provo bombing campaign cost Derry?  Or what price the assasinations by the UVF? It goes on. In comparison to the cost of Saville, grossly inflated by MoD legal actions, it is not big money.  If it helps us to help those still struggling, it will be worth it.

Of course, if Denis Bradley and Arch. Eames wanted to hit back at this insinuation reporting, they should state how much they have been paid in total, and how many days they worked.  NBNW knows they toured the North visiting groups, individuals, hurt families and consultations.  No doubt much of it was never invoiced. 

There is many a senior civil servant, MLA or government botch job (water reform, Brangam fraud, etc) that costs us more, does much less good and hardly a peep by the DUP ‘smaller-government’ moralists.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | February 27, 2009

What’s in a name, Derry?

Today the NI Boundary Commissioner published his final recommendations for the boundaries and names of the 11 new councils. These now to Environment Minister Sammy Wilson.  The changes will effect in 2011.

This will see a Strabane merge into Derry while Limavady goes into Coleraine and Moyle as part of ‘Causeway Coast and Glens’.  The main attention locally is on the name of the new ‘Derry City and Strabane Regional Council’.

Not surprisingly, the DUP had the news in advance (funny that!) and are calling this a lost ‘perfect opportunity’. Only to wipe out any official recognition in the North of the name ‘Derry’, he means.

Nationalists are (most of them) very reasonable people. They wouldn’t mind the new Council being called ‘Foyle’ or ‘North West’ even but ONLY if the name Derry is officially recognised for the city.

If the DUP are serious about equality of esteem or for that matter a shared future, they should stop playing games (of intranigence) and start living up to responsibilities.

We could have a Foyle Council based in Derry City, Co. Londonderry. We could even market ‘the Walled City of Londonderry’ within the city itself for tourism.

Would that really be so bad Gregory?

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | February 26, 2009

Triax dumps Donegal in it

Highland Radio is today reporting that Triax official Sean McMonagle wants Donegal to pay for recycling depots in Derry City.


God knows that Sinn Féin activists have an amazing record at getting jobs paid for from the public purse in the North.  But is he seriously suggesting that when Dublin is cutting back on civil servants pay packets and special needs funding that they will pay to keep open a recycling depot in the Brandywell?


Would he not be better off asking Martin McGuinness (the Joint First Minister as he keeps telling us) or his other high-powered Sinn Féin friends in Stormont Castle to pay for it?  At least Martin might use it – I can’t see Mary Coughlan driving up here from Donegal town with her old cardboard boxes!


Apart from anything else, aren’t Donegal cars supposed to be barred from these depots?

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | February 25, 2009

Fine Gael TDs night-time double act

Good living Fine Gael voters across Donegal North East were shocked this week at the revelation that Joe McHugh TD and his wife Deputy Olwyn Enright from Laois/Offaly were double claiming for overnight expenses in Dublin for 3 years, according to the Sunday Tribune.


The Tribune estimated the cost of the second E140 per night claim at around £30 000 over the 3 years.  The time period involved 2005 to 2008. For much of that time Carrigart man Joe was a Senator in the other Leinster House chamber to Olwyn.  Presumably once they were married they spent most nights in Dublin in the one chamber.

Apparently, the second claims stopped in July 2008, although it isn’t clear what prompted that change.  The Fine Gael Press Office response will probably disappoint many of the 8711 Donegal people who voted for him in 2007, who probably expect more than a ‘we was entitled’ line.  We don’t need a Beverley Cooper Flynn in the North West.

And what does Deputy McHugh mean when he says “We have had a number of queries about this and it wouldn’t be accurate to say there was double-claiming – the hypothesis is simply not accurate.”  Why is it not accurate?  It would be interesting to hear him explain. 

At a time when people are crying out for honest and straight leadership, Deputies McHugh should be careful not to try to muddy the waters.  If they have done wrong – even if it was not illegal or against Oireachtas rules – it would be best to take it on the chin.  That’s the best way to move beyond this. Of course, the other question is whether he or Olwyn propose to retain the high moral ground by returning the money?

Joe is a hard working Deputy who has a good record particularly on cross-border issues. It’s hard to believe that his (and her) judgment could have been so poor, then or now.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | February 23, 2009

Keaveney ups anchor on MacLochlainn

While SDLP man John Dallat MLA pursues the Minister for Regional Development Conor Murphy MP MLA over the funding crisis facing the Foyle Ferry service, the NI Minister’s performance has sparked a political tussle across at the Greencastle end of the route.   magilliganpoint

Moville’s Fianna Fáil Senator Cecilia Keaveney is flagging up the crazy situation whereby the costs of the service are put up by Magilligan’s definition as an international port.  This really is a joke in today’s post Good Friday Agreement age.

Meanwhile, in typical Sinn Féin style they are trying to have their Sir Humphry cake and eat their PR pie.  On the one hand, Murphy says he has ‘no legislative competence’ on the issue.  On the other, his SF colleague across in Inishowen rallies to his defence in saying that he will ‘has pledged to explore cross border funding options’. What has he been doing up to now?  It all sounds a bit familiar where the SF Transport boss promises to explore things but little seems to materialise.  If he is so concerned, has he raised it at the North South Ministerial Council?  Or the international designation with the British government?

Presumably neither given that Keaveney claims to be doing so.  So much for a new “vision of Ireland’s future” – but then Sinn Féin has a bit of a record of not highlighting things at the N-S Council (Project Kelvin anyone?).

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | February 22, 2009

De Brún Wobbles

The SDLP must be licking their lips in prospect at taking on the existing MEPs in the June European Election.  Their poor record was displayed only this weekend during Bairbre de Brún’s live BBC interview with Jim Fitzpatrick and Mark Devenport at the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis.

She was asked what the issues would be.  Her first priorty was getting elected, she said (i.e. herself!). Then she said people were looking for action on the economy, the Irish language, education, our relationship with Europe and opportunities for cooperation in Europe.  Has this woman no sense of what is going on in our country?

  • Sinn Fein wasted most of 2008 telling us that the Northern government can’t do anything about a global economic downturn – and still no budget to meet the changed circumstances the North now faces
  • The DUP beating their chests about denying Irish language rights
  • Sinn Fein manages to replaces an unfair 11+ with an even more unfair free-for-all
  • Sinn Fein opposes Lisbon when the tale of Iceland, the Euro and Irish opinion now is that we need Lisbon
  • Sinn Fein has no influence in Europe and what can they deliver in 5 more years than they have failed to manage by now?

If Alban Maginnis is even a half decent candidate he should be able to make the incumbent MEPs embarrassed over the next 100 days.

Finally, what a patronising attitude from de Brún on the BBC live coverage – “I couldn’t get into all the details without losing the people who are watching” was her observation when asked what the substance of the Sinn Fein cross-border programme was.  Needless to say what she didn’t give any substance at all.  But yet more evidence of how detached she has become since going to Brussels.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | February 21, 2009

Project Kelvin – Come on Arlene!

So the Telehouse is at last going to Derry – or so we were told on Thursday night.  NBNW will wait until it happens until we believe it, given that there is a history on this project of things being promised and then changed.

There was a sorry effort yesterday on Talkback when David McClarty MLA gave off about negative campaigning or the like from the Derry City brigade.  This is rather sad coming from the Deputy Speaker of the Assembly.  To top it all, he claimed he was unaware of any early mention of the Telehouse going to Derry city.  He is either forgetful, lying or ignorant of the entire project’s purpose and history.  We suspect the later.

Saddest of all though was DETI Minister Arlene Foster’s tirade against ‘negative publicity’ from Derry city.  This is very distasteful from a Minister for all the people of the North.  It is she who should be apolosing for the whole way this project was disfigured, contorted, misrepresented and hijacked for whatever purposes.  Her department’s handling of this has been a disgrace and really overshadowed the positive effects that Kelvin could bring.

Most hillarious of all was how Martin McGuinness tried to make out he had saved the day by making an announcement that clearly was the result of a campaign he played little part of!  And as for Martina Anderson’s claim that this was evidence of the ‘accountability mechanisms negotiated by Sinn Fein’ at work, she must be warming up for the Edinburgh Comedy Festival.  It’s been SF failing to stand up to the DUP all along.  From the minute he found out, why wasn’t McGuinness getting this fixed with Arlene’s DUP boss, the man Martin would have us believe is his ‘joint’ first Minister. Why couldn’t the Joint First Minister of the North get this sorted without Derry/Donegal businessman Philip O’Doherty having to get DETI to rethink under fear of judicial review??

Even Sinn Fein supporters have been commenting on how Mark Durkan was way ahead of any Shinners in his grasp of the issue over the past month or whatever it is.  And we still haven’t had an explanation from Martin as to why no SF minister backed Margaret Ritchie when she raised the issue way back at the North-South Council meeting in Magee.

Credit where it is due to Paul McFadden at Radio Foyle who recognised the importance of this.  Less said the better about how long it took the Derry Journal to catch on – not to mention their farcical suggestion that their week old campaign ‘wot won it’!

In a week when the EU is questioning the Stormont junta’s dispersal of farm modernisation grants, God only knows what they’ll make of all this.  Transparent and efficient government Sinn Fein/DUP style, yet again..

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | February 11, 2009

Further blow for Stephanie Crabtree

Shocking news this morning with the revelation in the Sentinel that Stephanie Crabtree has been fired by Converse Models.  For outsiders, it’s Derry’s number 1 (i.e.  only) model agency.



NBNW thinks that this would have been some much-needed publicity for Converse models.  Maybe they feared they’d lose all their customers in Foyleside shopping centre given poor Stephanie’s criminal record.

Give the girl a break we say.  Steph would be welcome in Guildhall tower anytime.

Hopefully, Stephanie will go on to bigger and brighter things.  Ballykelly needs a superstar.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | February 10, 2009

Local girl put out of Miss Teen UK

Straight men, lesbians and all other admirers of women across the North West have felt mixed emotions at the expulsion of Ballykelly girl Stephanie Crabtree from Miss Teen UK.  She was put out because of her conviction for assault on two girls in Limavady.  She hit one with a glass.


Not exactly Miss Goody Two shoes, but few Ballykelly girls really are. At the very least she deserves another go, a bit like she had during that argument!

On the bright side, our papers and websites have been graced with lovely photos of young Steph.  So thanks to those two girls for suffering so we might have such pleasures. 

She has already signed to Derry’s own Converse model agency.  If theres ever Big Fight Boxing in the Forum she’s be ideal for the gig.

Hopefully this will end up just a blot on Stephanie’s career and she will end up looking back on it like Nadine Coyle now does to her age “incident” on that RTÉ talent show.  God knows Nadine is getting old and the North West could do with a nice pair of legs to be looking at in until this recession lifts in a few years.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | February 8, 2009

Setanta kicks arse

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | January 29, 2009

Stormont Castle secrets – just not Obama!

There is a developing theme of lack of accountability from the DUP/Sinn Fein junta up in Stormont Castle.  NBNW isn’t sure what happened to Peter and Martin’s idea to come to the Assembly for questions only once a month each.  A bit of a joke when most heads of government – including Scotland’s First Minister – answer questions every week!

I’m reminded about all this because President Obama has changed the rules on Freedom of Information.  There will now be a “clear presumption” that information will be released.  Also, an “Open Government Directive” is to come within 120 days.

How stark Obama’s openness drive compares to the secrecy in Peter and Martin’s castle.

Posted by: northbynorthwestblog | October 24, 2009

back for another season?

We can hardly believe it ourselves, but we are still getting between 70 and 100 visits each week.  Seems to us we shouldn’t let you folk down.  The truth needs exposed and the cosy Derry media (Derry Journal, Radio Foyle, the rest)  are probably getting a bit complacent, sitting on their big cushioned leather chairs.

And if we don’t put something up soon nobody might come back to check on us!

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