Society and Culture

The mixed messages of The Eat Out To Help Out Scheme… – Slugger O’Toole – Politics Article

Obesity is hitting the headlines again and we’re all being encouraged to be a bit more fit and a lot less fat. Which reminds me of my favourite food stories. A couple of years ago I was out for lunch with my children in a bustling local café. Above the background noise, we couldn’t help but overhear a customer at the next table loudly proclaiming her request to have all fat removed from the bacon in her toastie that she…

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Happy Swiss National Day… – Slugger O’Toole – Politics Article

A long established Slugger tradition is the annual posting on Bastille Day of the clip from Casablanca showing the emotional singing of La Marseillaise (here). Perhaps I can start another similar tradition. Today, 1 August, is Swiss National Day and a public holiday, but only if the date falls during the working week. It commemorates the events around the foundation of the country, and the struggle for freedom from the domination of the Holy Roman Empire. There is documentary evidence…

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The time has come to unmask Korhomme… – Slugger O’Toole – Politics Article

Let me tell you a story. In July 2004 I flew from Belfast to Manchester on a day trip. I was formally dressed in lightweight clothes and carrying a briefcase. On arrival, I was stopped at the security check; the policeman wanted to see my passport. I showed him my Irish one, which made him suspicious. He asked the purpose of my visit, and I told him I had an appointment at the Swiss Consulate; this made him deeply suspicious.…

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From library assistant in Oldpark to Smash Hits boss in four years… – Slugger O’Toole – Politics Article

Talking to a retired nationalist politician recently he recounted how important it was for him to get out of Belfast in the early days of the troubles to UCD and a Dublin in which society and its operants (arts, commerce, science) outsized the politics of the day. #CargoOfBricks and Brian’s In Conversation podcast series draw from a wider circle of sources share insights and stories that perhaps can have a fresh bearing on our lives in-the-round, not always through the…

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Our comfortable hypocrisy with addiction… – Slugger O’Toole – Politics Article

Q. What is the similarity between the DUP’s Christopher Stalford, the SDLPs Paul McCusker and the N. Ireland Office. A. An interest in drug addiction services. But there the similarity more or less ends. I feel genuinely sorry for Christopher Stalford for falling into such a simple trap. He was only doing what politicians do, supporting and articulating the concerns of his constituents, in this case, those living in the Donegall Pass and Botanic area. Christopher is concerned that the…

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Shared or united island? The Greens called it right. – Slugger O’Toole – Politics Article

The new banter coalition in the Republic has got off to a dramatic start. Ministerial sackings! A tax ruling from the ECJ! Infighting! It’s everything we could have hoped for. Among the chaos of this week came an interesting titbit from Green Party leader Eamon Ryan. According to Ryan our own Clare Bailey, the party leader in Northern Ireland, was behind the decision to rename the ‘united island’ unit in the Department of the Taoiseach to the ‘shared island’ unit.…

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Loyalism must succeed where Sinn Fein has failed… – Slugger O’Toole – Politics Article

Moore Holmes is a Loyalist from East Belfast. You can find him on Twitter I have a fond memory of my dad telling me how foolish he thought the phrase, “learn from your mistakes.” Each time it came up in a conversation, he’d half-chuckle and half-scoff, provocatively asking, “why not learn from someone else’s mistakes and save yourself the hassle?” Although my dad would be at pains to point out that I’ve sung “Fathers Advice” far more than I’ve ever…

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Social Distancing Hasn’t Gone Away, You Know… – Slugger O’Toole – Politics Article

The Health Minister comes across as an extremely likeable fellow. Standing atop his podium, like an experienced but weary plumber, the civil and utterly decent Robin Swann is ever ready to plug any leaks in the flow of public compliance and adherence to Covid-19 guidelines. Despite having his feathers ruffled at the beginning of April, Swann took a dignified stance yesterday and opted not to weigh in with his own personal criticism of a certain someone’s attendance at a certain…

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Reconciliation above all – Slugger O’Toole – Politics Article

Peter OSBORNE (Community Relations Council). (c) Allan LEONARD @MrUlster Reconciliation is the primary necessity facing Northern Ireland, believes Peter Osborne. Peter is a former chair of both the Community Relations Council and the Parades Commission. He was talking in the latest Forward Together podcast from the Holywell Trust. “I come from a perspective of looking at what reconciliation is about,” says Peter. He argues that to achieve reconciliation it is essential to correct the structures that create separation. This has…

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Is less medicine a bad thing? – Slugger O’Toole – Politics Article

Medical consultants are anxious that too few acute medical cases are being reported at A&E departments during the on-going crisis. This they claim predicts a potential surge in morbidity and mortality from diseases such as; heart disease, lung disease, mental illness and cancers, once Covid-19 is dealt with. It seems a logical conclusion given that there was, for example, in one Health Trust, a 33% reduction in reported heart attacks in March and April. Consultants reason that people are having…

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‘Politicians will argue, they will fight over it and they will come up with reasons for not dealing with the past’ – Slugger O’Toole – Politics Article

Denis BRADLEY. (c) Allan LEONARD @MrUlster It was hoped that the Patten reforms would herald a new start for policing in Northern Ireland, but, argues Denis Bradley, the PSNI remains burdened with its legacy from the old RUC. Denis is a former vice-chair of the Northern Ireland Policing Board and co-chair of the Consultative Group on the Past. He was talking in the latest Forward Together podcast from the Holywell Trust. “In the setting-up of the PSNI, the new service…

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#InConversation Podcast with Andrew Hill – What is going on in America? – Slugger O’Toole – Politics Article

Andrew Hill is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at St. Philip’s College in San Antonio, Texas. In this podcast, we talk about the recent race protests in America, inequality and the upcoming Presidential Election. Andy has a local connection, he worked at Corrymeela for a year and he also studied at Trinity College Dublin. The books Andy recommended were Linda Hogan’s Keeping Faith with Human Rights, and Sluggers own Gladys Ganiel’s books. You can find out more about Andy on…

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