Tag Archives: Northern Ireland

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence Simon Coveney

This morning.

Further to last night’s cabinet decision to order nationwide ban on household visits and move three border counties to Level 4 restrictions amid warning that things won’t return to normal until a vaccine is found.

…via RTÉ:

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence Simon Coveney said there needs to be collective action in terms of adhering to the new regulations “to turn this around”.

Mr Coveney described the “enormous numbers” in Northern Ireland is very worrying, and said that while there is a lot of cooperation between the two jurisdictions, the Government is anxious to do more and have a collective approach both North and South.

….Minister Coveney said there are a number of things happening, including discussions to trace cases across the border and the use of a Covid app that works in both jurisdictions.

He said the NI Executive gets its scientific advice from a different source to NPHET and there is not always consistency, but both governments are taking action to try and reduce the infections.


Mr Coveney also said he had worries for the GAA ahead of the resumption of inter-county action this weekend.

Collective action needed to ‘turn this around’ – Coveney (RTÉ)


This morning.

Pubs and restaurants in Northern Ireland will close for four weeks, with the exception of takeaways and deliveries, while schools will shut for two weeks in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus, First Minister Arlene Foster (top)said.

In a statement at a special sitting of the Assembly this morning, Ms Foster said the situation needs to be urgently addressed as numbers continue to rise and hospitalisations are on the increase.

The closure will affect the entire hospitality sector, with the exception of takeaway and delivery services, and double the length of the mid-term break for schools.

Schools, pubs to shut as NI increases restrictions (RTÉ)

This afternoon.

Further to a report in this morning’s Financial Times (top) which claims sections of the upcoming UK Internal Market Bill would undercut key provisions of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Ms Ursula Von Der Leyen [European Commission President]  warned that, in Brussels’ view, the clause – which would see the British province continue to follow some EU rules while maintaining an open border with Ireland – is essential.

Senior Irish Government sources would not be drawn on The Financial Times report, with one source speculating that it was part of a stepping up of “noise” by the UK as the future relationship negotiations enter a critical phase.

EU chief warns UK must respect Brexit withdrawal deal (RTÉ)

Well the price of thon is a terra, in fairness.


Shut yer beak.

Why are you talking like this

I’m totally scundered.


Blootered. Pure wick so it is.


Did i come down the Lagan in a bubble?

I have literally no idea how to respond.


Earlier: Masks Or Chokey?

From top: railings at the Jellicoe Avenue entrance of Grove Park in north Belfast; Colm Dore

Among the statues of supremacists which have fallen in recent days, that of King Leopold of Belgium points to the lie that people in the past didn’t understand supremacism.

Roger Casement became famous for his exposure of injustice in colonial Congo under Leopold. He also lived the maxim that all politics is local, as his concern for justice fed his interest in Irish culture as it, too, struggled to emerge from a long history of colonial subordination.

The GAA’s promotion of Irish sports was part of that emergence. Casement was one of the organisers of the inaugural Feis na Gleann in his home place, County Antrim,

in 1904. A tenant farmer offered to host the playing of Gaelic games but this angered his Unionist landlord whose threats meant that the only available field was overgrown with weeds. There is a metaphor-ready photograph of Casement taking a scythe to it in order to enable its use.

The statue protests articulate the view that there has been, and remains, a denial of power relations: a denial of present-day disparity and its historical roots. To borrow an expression from James Baldwina failure to corroborate the reality people are living.

June 15 saw the display of an exclusionary, supremacist, banner and graffiti at Belfast City Council’s Grove park in north Belfast. They threatened users of the public park who might be identified with Irish sports.

This was a crude expression of an ugly reality which is both denied and enabled by mainstream discourse which perpetuates the very disparity which prompted the creation of the GAA in the first place.

This is the disparity which treats Irish culture as though it doesn’t belong in the north-east of Ireland. It’s the politics which deems the visibility of the indigenous language to be “divisive” there. Like an iceberg, this politics is visible to some extent, but below the surface to a large extent.

It’s uninterrogated in the framing of discussions which accept – as a starting premise – that the political acceptability of inclusivity in the north (e.g. bilingual signage to include the indigenous language) has to be looked at by presenting “both sides”.

Inclusion and rejection of inclusion are presented as equivalent positions, with the purportedly neutral position favouring the status quo by “not taking sides”.

Angela Davis has said that neutrality on disparity is siding with disparity. That presents a challenge for purported centrists in the north who (with the support of Dublin establishment parties) stand to benefit from “both sides” false equivalence.

Discourse in the north-east has these characteristics because it wasn’t arrived at in a vacuum. It’s a product of unequal, historically-rooted, power relations.

On foot of a complaint from the Unionist Stormont regime, BBC radio simply stopped reporting GAA results.

The embedded longevity of that culture was such that BBCNI didn’t broadcast any GAA on television until the ‘90s, even though Ulster championship matches routinely attracted attendances larger than the populations of County towns like Omagh, Armagh, and Enniskillen.

BBCNI has never broadcast a camogie or hurling match. These cannot be dismissed as matters of broadcasting rights.

In 2018, that station’s drivetime radio programme featured an extended discussion of what winning the Superbowl meant to the people of Philadelphia. It has never had such a discussion about what reaching the hurling summit has meant in Galway and Limerick. Such discussions don’t require broadcasting rights.

In the north, the historically dominant traditions main daily newspaper continually gives credence to Unionist “concerns” about University students wearing GAA tops in lecture theatres. What politics does that feed?

Meanwhile, there are calls for leadership, for conspicuous opposition to the sort of supremacist hatred that catapulted Holy Cross primary school girls into global consciousness twenty years ago.

Even in that case, the existence of supremacism was equivocated about by respectable voices in Ireland, north and south, while instantly recognised by global audiences who saw powerful resonance with the ordeal of little Ruby Bridges in 1960s New Orleans.

This, too, points to a challenge for centrists who decry “our local squabble”, yet simultaneously reduce it to a mere provincial matter by refusing to characterise it in terms with which they would immediately characterise expressions of supremacist exclusion abroad.

The problem that Casement had, the problem cultivated under the old Stormont regime, still stands. Denial of its existence makes it difficult to address.

Colm Dore is a Belfast-based political commentator who has appeared on BBCNI radio and television programmes. Follow Colm on Twitter: @ColmDore

Top pic via Twitter

This afternoon.

Via BBC:

The {British] government has confirmed there will be new checks on some goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK as part of the Brexit deal.

It will expand infrastructure at Northern Ireland’s ports to carry out checks on animals and food products.

The details are contained in UK proposals for implementing the NI part of the Brexit deal.

Northern Ireland will continue to follow some EU rules on agricultural and manufactured goods.

Brexit: Government confirms new checks on goods entering NI from GB (BBC)


According to an eagerly awaited paper on how the UK will implement the Protocol, seen by RTÉ News, London has also said there will be no tariffs on any goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, so long as they remain in the UK’s customs territory.

The paper also says there will be no new customs infrastructure in Northern Ireland.

The document is certain to prompt further disagreements between the EU and UK over the requirements of the Protocol.

The Irish Protocol is not “codified” as a permanent solution, the paper says.

“It is designed to solve a particular set of problems and it can only do this in practice as long as it has the consent of the people of Northern Ireland,” it says.

UK publishes Brexit paper on Northern Ireland (RTÉ)


Department of Health’s Covid-19 Health Surveillance Monitor as of yesterday; Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan giving his nightly Covid-19 briefing yesterday evening

Yesterday evening.

The Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan gave his nightly Covid-19 briefing to journalists, saying:

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, again thank you for being with us.

“Today we’re reporting to you that we have diagnosed an additional 500 – five, zero, zero – cases of Covid-19 bringing the number confirmed in this country to 6,574. And there have been an addition 28 deaths, bringing our total number of deaths to 263.

“Of those 28 deaths, 13 of them were males, 15 of them are females, and 19 of them, we have reports of an underlying medical condition.”

How are Covid-19 deaths in the Republic of Ireland calculated and recorded?

A Department of Health spokeswoman said:

“We count any death that involves a positive COVID-19 test, and we also include post-mortem positive COVID-19 tests.”

Separately, a spokeswoman from the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland, when asked the same question, said:

Deaths are recorded of patients who have died within 28 days of a positive test result, whether or not COVID-19 was the cause of death. By definition therefore, deaths where tests were not taken will not be included.

“The deaths may have taken place in a hospital setting, or in the community or a care home, but must have been reported to PHA by the Health and Social Care Trust to be included in the report.

“This reporting process allows a “real time” daily update of trends in COVID -19 deaths within each trust area. In this pandemic, public health professionals, policy makers and the public value an up to date, daily record of the number of deaths associated with COVID 19.”

The spokeswoman also confirmed that, like the Republic of Ireland, Northern Irish authorities also include the deaths of people whose remains test positive in a post-mortem.

View the Department of Healths’ Covid-19 dashboard here

Related: Coronavirus: Why death and mortality rates differ (BBC)