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Haass continues NI peregrinations

Richard Haass and Meghan O'Sullivan are continuing their travels around Northern Ireland. On Wednesday, they were in Londonderry, Portadown, the Orange camp at Twaddell Avenue in Belfast and a Christmas shopping stop at Belfast's continental...Show More Summary

John Larkin 'is nothing if not his own man'

The words cat and pigeons came to mind when my colleague Vincent Kearney first broadcast his interview with attorney general John Larkin proposing a bar on Troubles prosecutions. Conspiracy theorists wonder whether Mr Larkin is flying...Show More Summary

Haass submissions outline issues

After the publication on Monday of Sinn Féin's submissions to Richard Haass and the BBC's reporting of the submission from the Retired Police Officers' Association, Relatives For Justice (RFJ) contacted me to point out that they tooShow More Summary

Striking ideas in Sinn Féin submission

It is common currency amongst Haass talks observers that the easiest item for the negotiators to make progress on will be parades. After all, both the DUP and Sinn Féin agreed a blueprint back in 2010. Even if that proposal had someShow More Summary

Change of tack over NI welfare reform

Mike Penning's pugnacious performance on BBC Radio Ulster's Nolan show marks a change of tack by the London Department for Work and Pensions over the vexed question of welfare reform. Previously, the London minister Lord Freud has held...Show More Summary

Maze rural centre gets green light

At first sight this might appear a sea change in Sinn Féin's block on any wider economic development at the Maze site, pending a resolution over the row over the peace centre. However, Sinn Féin sources emphasise that approving the rural...Show More Summary

Adams US trip break from pressure

So Gerry Adams is flying off to the US to "brief the US administration on the political situation in Ireland" and the need for continuing American engagement in the peace process. According to his Twitter feed, despite his frequent visits...Show More Summary

A reminder why we must never go back

Two quite different anniversaries this week evoked contrasting memories. Twenty years ago when the IRA bombed Frizzell's fish shop on the Shankill Road I was a reporter on the BBC's Spotlight programme. Back in 1993, I don't think any...Show More Summary

Poots responds to code breach claims

The Northern Ireland Executive's ministerial code sets out the rules the Stormont politicians are meant to follow. The code dates back to 1998 - the year of the Good Friday Agreement - but was amended, supposedly to eliminate loopholes,...Show More Summary

Accentuating the positive

David Cameron made no bones about it - his visit to Northern Ireland was an uninterrupted sales pitch. As payback for June's successful hosting of the G8 summit, the prime minister was more than willing to "bang the drum", as he putShow More Summary

Victims and terrorists

Should the Victims Commissioner Kathryn Stone resign, because she wouldn't call the IRA or the UVF "terrorists"? On the one hand, the TUV's Jim Allister thinks so. On the other, Ms Stone thinks not. If that sounds like a fence sitting...Show More Summary

'Super-councils' law under debate

Assembly members are due to debate the Local Government Bill next week - the measure which sets out how the planned 11 councils will function. The elections to the new 'super councils' are expected to take place on 22 May next year,Show More Summary

Politics and the property market

I can't make up my mind whether Peter Robinson's decision to use assembly privilege to strike a personal low blow against Jim Allister over a Fermanagh land deal has worked out in the way the DUP leader intended. In the short term, it...Show More Summary

Where are the local think tanks?

"Think tank" has been a phrase I've used liberally in my scripts in recent days. The first and deputy first ministers hold talks at the offices of a New York think tank. Richard Haass is ably assisted by officials from his think tank. Which...Show More Summary

Talks 'limited but ambitious': Haass

Richard Haass is not representing the US government but he goes about his job with the same cool professionalism as when he was Washington's envoy. The politicians headed up for their talks in one of the Belfast Europa's hotel lifts. Just...Show More Summary

NI leaders present united front

Mingling with Irish Americans in a tiny penthouse garden area at the top of Fitzpatrick's Manhattan hotel, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness were among friends and believers. Duncan Niederauer from the New York Stock Exchange has just been given a CBE for his contribution in bringing hundreds of jobs to Belfast. Show More Summary

How will the SDLP fill McDevitt void?

When I arrived at Conall McDevitt's front door on Wednesday night, his young son came bounding down the stairs. The outgoing South Belfast MLA introduced me, and, as we made our way through the house towards the back garden, his sonShow More Summary

Unbuilt Northern Ireland

Broadcasting on BBC Radio 4's PM programme last night, I threw in a line pointing out that Daniel Libeskind's angular peace building centre is not the only major project which looks set to be stillborn at the Maze. HOK Sport architects...Show More Summary

DUP caught up in Maze

When the last prisoners left the Maze in 2000, it marked the end of a troubled era which had seen death and suffering both inside and outside the jail walls. But few can have predicted the twists and turns of the stalled attempts toShow More Summary

Robinson stalls on Maze peace centre

There's no doubt about it, it's a massive shift in policy by the DUP on the Maze. There have been political rumblings - both outside the DUP - from the TUV, the Ulster Unionists, IRA victims and the Orange Order but also crucially inside...Show More Summary

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