Dublin Councillor who opposed flying our national flag the tricolour in case it offened foreigners has lost his seat

Patriots of Ireland are rejoicing after the news went viral that Solidarity-People Before Profit councillor Matthew Waine who opposed flying the Irish flag at council offices in Swords, as it could offend foreigners living here, lost his seat in last Friday’s local elections.

Waine, who represented the Ongar area of Dublin 15, was not returned to office and this is being seen as cause for celebration on social media by countless citizens across the country.

The PBP councillor who opposed flying the tricolour as he claimed it might offend foreigners said he would rather see the red flag communism or the rainbow flag of the LGBTQQIP2SAA community in its place.

At the time his comments were met with disgust and anger, including from his fellow councillors, with many commentators on social media promising to punish him at the next election, and so they did.

With many thanks to: The Liberal and Gerard Clarke for the original story

Children in Coalisland house when shots fired

Detectives are investigating the gun attack in Coalisland as attempted murder. Credit: UTV

A number of people, including children, have escaped injury after shots were fired into a house in Coalisland, Co Tyrone.

Bullets struck the front door of the property at Loughview Gardens shortly after midnight on Sunday, smashed windows and damaged a TV in the living room.

PSNI Detective Inspector Trevor Stevenson said: “We are working to establish a motive for this appalling attack, which we are treating as attempted murder.”

The bullets were fired through the front of the house in Coalisland

The bullets were fired through the front of the house in Coalisland. Credit: UTV

He added: “Everyone has a right to live in a safe and stable community and this type of senseless and reckless criminality will not be tolerated.

“The occupants of the house were at the back of their property when this attack was carried out.

“It is understood a number of people, including children, were in the kitchen at the rear of the house when the gunmen struck.

“Thankfully, we are not dealing with any serious injuries, or worse, today.”

Detectives want anyone who saw suspicious activity in the area, or any cars being driven in a suspicious manner, to contact them on 101 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

With many thanks to: UTV Live for the original story

Further concerns over rights of Irish citizens in the north over Brexit

[Caroline Nokes’s] position makes a mockery of the agreement’s pledge that it is the ‘birth right’ of people born in the North to be accepted as Irish or British (or both) – Daniel Holder

◾ANGER: Deputy Director of the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) Daniel Holder

CONCERNS have been raised again about the rights of people in the North claiming Irish citizenship after Brexit.

It comes after a statement by British immigration minister Caroline Nokes on the same day Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to examine difficulties faced by Irish citizens who want to bring family members into the North. Under the 1998 Good Friday Agreement (GFA) people have the right to Irish or British citizenship. In response to a parliamentary question this week, Ms Kokes said: “Irish citizens resident in the UK who do not hold British citizenship will be eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if they choose. However, they do not need to so under the reciprocal Common Travel Area arrangements with Ireland.” The EU Settlement Scheme will allow EU citizens to continue living in Britain or the North of Ireland after Brexit.

However, the Home Office has previously said it views people born in the North as British, a position some believe including myself is contrary to the GFA. It has ment that family members of people born in the North of Ireland but claiming Irish citizenship may have difficulty securing residency. Daniel Holder, deputy director of the Committee on the Administration of Justice expressed concern. “Under the current Home Office position that the North of Ireland-born people should be treated as British, this means that no Irish citizen born in the North could benefit from the retained EU citizens’ rights under the Withdrawal Agreement, that are to be accessed by the EU Settlement Scheme,” he said. Mr Holder said Ms Nokes is at odds with the GFA.

“Her position makes a mockery of the agreement’s pledge that it is the ‘birth right’ of people born in the North to be accepted as Irish or British (or both),” he said. Back in December 2017 separate UK-EU commitments were made for arrangements for Irish citizens residing in the North of Ireland to continue to be able to exercise EU rights – but these arrangements were never put into place.

“This Home Office position means Irish citizens here may be among the only EU citizens not to have a mechanism to retain some of their EU rights.” Ms Nokes caused controversy last year when she admitted to the House of Commons Northern Ireland Affairs Committee that she had not read the Good Friday Agreement “in its entity”. A Home Office spokesman said on Wednesday night it was ” absolutely committed to upholding the Belfast (‘Good Friday’) Agreement which confirms the birth right of the people of the North of Ireland to identify as British or Irish or both, as they may choose, and to hold both British and Irish citizenship. “We respect the right of the people in the North of Ireland to choose how they identify,” he said.

With many thanks to: Connla Young and The Irish News for the original story.

THE IRISH NEWS     Pro fide et patria

Rights battle was ludicrous hurdle

WHILE Theresa May offered little fresh thinking on the Brexit crisis during her two-day visit to Belfast, which ended on Wednesday, she deserves credit for indicating that the alarming saga over citizenship rights endured by Co Derry woman Emma DeSouza could at last be close to a positive outcome.

Mrs DeSouza, as a holder of an Irish passport, was ludicrously told by the UK’s Home Office that she needed to declare herself to be a British citizen if her US-born husband, Jake, was to be granted a visa officially allowing him to live at their Magherafelt home.

The signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998

After the issue was repeatedly highlighted by The Irish News, Mrs May said she had specifically asked Home Office Sajid Javid to consider how such cases could be addressed as a matter of urgency. There will be relief when Mr DeSouza’s application is finally approved but it remains disturbing that his wife needed to go to court in order to demonstrate her entitlement to an Irish identity under the Good Friday Agreement.

With many thanks to: The Irish News for the original story.


Message from nationalist ‘gurn-fest’ will surely upset unionism

1,500 turn up for well-organised Belfast conference on future of Ireland

Literature on display at the “Beyond Brexit – The Future of Ireland” event in Belfast at the weekend. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

It is reasonable to assume that the majority of the 1,500-strong crowd at the weekend conference in Belfast, “Beyond Brexit – The Future of Ireland” , were Sinn Féin supporters. But this wasn’t solely a Sinn Féin ardfheis by another name – all sections of nationalism were represented in the room.

The well-organised conference included a glossy 30-page programme where the back page was given over to a picture of the Taoiseach and his December 2017 message to Northern nationalists: “You will never again be left behind by an Irish government.” That set the grumbling mood for the day.

It seemed clear too from the conference that nationalist horizons have extended and that the idea of a united Ireland being achieved in the medium term is now a real goal of a considerable body of nationalism.

Upset unionism
It’s a message that surely will upset unionism, but then again another message from the day as explicitly expressed by the organiser, Belfast solicitor Niall Murphy, is that unionism has only itself to blame for the current changes, uncertainties and tensions.

Murphy, capturing the essential theme of the day, said “Brexit has changed everything” while referring to what he called the “DUP’s sneering contempt for parity of esteem” and the Irish language – a contempt, he felt, that was exacerbated by DUP MP Gregory Campbell’s “curry my yoghurt” take on the language and the DUP’s “cancellation of microscopic bursaries for the Donegal Gaeltacht”.

And he did a bit of his own currying of unionism, so to speak, by describing Northern Ireland as a “micro-jurisdiction”.

Essentially this was nationalism speaking to nationalism although there were few people in the hall from a unionist or Protestant background. Unionist politicians weren’t invited but they will have heard the message nonetheless, and will have been alarmed by it.

Southern politicians including Minister for Education Joe McHugh and Fianna Fail’s Dara Calleary, who spoke at the conference, will have detected the irate and sullen tones of some of the nationalist speakers, and they too will have had messages to bring back to Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin: a message saying that a significant element of Northern nationalism is deeply unhappy and will need pacifying and placating.

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald, who also spoke, was delighted with the message and surely feels that the day reinforced her repeated call for a Border poll on a united Ireland and the speedy convening of a forum to begin planning for Irish unity.

Not everyone from a Northern nationalist background was enamoured of the occasion. Tom Kelly, a Northern Ireland businessman and leading Remainer campaigner, refused to attend because he saw it as a nationalist “gurn-fest” – Northern Ireland for moan-fest.

The Belfast-based journalist Eamonn Mallie was listed to speak on the programme but he pulled out because he was unhappy that the speakers did not reflect Northern Ireland society. He had requested there be a more balanced panel of speakers.

Lower the temperature
In terms of Northern voices therefore it was left to SDLP leader Colum Eastwood to try to lower the temperature a little. This wasn’t 1968 and nationalists weren’t second-class citizens, he reminded the audience.

“Those who have deliberately inflamed the narrative that unionism as a whole is unchanging, don’t believe in rights, and can’t be worked with – those people are wrong,” he said in challenging what appeared to be the dominant thought of the day.

“We all have a duty to tell our unionist neighbours: ‘You belong to this place every bit as much as I do – therefore you have the very same right to shape the future of this island,’” he added.

In other words, more calm, more thought to the two communities, less volatile rhetoric, which in Northern Ireland always is good advice.

Still, the big message from Saturday was that the Northern nationalist mood of resentment, annoyance and frustration needs to be heeded.

With many thanks to: Gerry Moriarty (northern editor) and The Irish Times for the original story.

Saoradh reacts to Derry bomb: We’re not linked to the IRA but armed struggle inevitable – Derry Journal


Councillors turning blind eye to human misery


The Irish News 23/01/2019

Belfast City Council’s recent decision to allocate upwards of £200,000 to ‘bonfire diversionary projects’ is little more than a sectarian carve up coming at a time when this city needs serious and sustained investment in health and well being projects, in jobs and in its young people.

It is appalling that as we come to terms with the news of 10 drug-related deaths over the Christmas period, an increasing reliance of food banks, rising fuel poverty and some of the highest levels of social deprivation, that public money is squandered in this manner.

It beggars belief that with all these problems on our doorstep that some city councillors can turn a blind eye to the levels of human misery that exist locally in favour of a rave in the Falls Park and a big night out in Woodvale.

People in west Belfast have the lowest life expectancy in Northern Ireland, 34 per cent of local children live in poverty or in low income families and more than 40 per cent of houses are in fuel poverty, meaning that people can’t afford to heat them and the number of local people suffering with mental health problems is three times higher than in other areas.

Add to that the problems of homelessness, addiction and low educational attainment and the very idea that these should take second place to a rave and a concert is deeply offensive.

The promise of Sinn Féin lord mayor Deirdre Hargey to build a “…healthy, harmonious and prosperous society” will mean nothing to people facing hardship and hopelessness when they see the resources that could have made a difference to their lives, and the lives of their children, frittered away on a musical one-night stand.

Workers Party, West Belfast

With many thanks to: The Troops Out Movement for the original posting.