I was watching a witless BBC interviewer talking to Dwain Chambers yesterday, after he came fifth in the final of the European Men’s 100 metres. Old Dwain was trying to put the best face he could on his disappointment, saying he’d enjoyed every minute of the Games and it was good to be competing at this level, blah-de-blahety-blah. That’s when the thick-skulled interviewer said ‘So you don’t mind losing?’ For one glorious minute I thought Dwain might take him by the throat but it wasn’t to be.
Now the muscular Dwain isn’t a man you’d normally link with the DUP’s Nelson McCausland but there is a connection – trust me. Earlier yesterday, at lunch-time, we had Nelson visiting the Scoil Samhraidh Mhic Reachtain on the Antrim Road. That’s Nelson the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, who believes that Ulster-Scots is a language, as distinct from Ian Óg Paisley who thinks it’s ‘just bad English’. You’re both wrong, boys, ach sin sceal eile.
I missed Nelson’s little speech to the assembled Summer Schoolers, gathered like myself to learn Irish and other cultural and artistic skills. But I caught the last ten seconds and in it a smiling, affable Nelson told the assembled audience that he was delighted to be there, that he wished the Summer School every success and he was all for ‘such events as this throughout the province’. Just as the moron BBC interviewer felt the need to lob in a dumb and irritating question – ‘So you don’t mind losing?’ – old Nelson felt the need to inform us that he sees Northern Ireland as Ulster and pshaw, those other three little counties, sure they don’t really exist, Ulster we have and Ulster we hold. His audience, a tolerant and generous people, applauded him warmly despite the geographical misnomer. Me, I was wondering what response Martin McGuinness would get if he attended an Orange Order meeting and began talking about the Six Counties. But then, unlike the Scoil Samhraidh Mhic Reachtain, the Orange Order wouldn’t dream of inviting someone whose politics are radically different from theirs, so they’re safe from any such jibe. At the same time, I keep having this image of Dwain getting a headlock on Nelson – I know it makes no sense but I still keep having it. And, I’m ashamed to say, enjoying it.
Learning makes a good man better and ill man worse.............................................................
UPDATE THURSDAY 17.25 The First and Deputy First Ministers have just officially confirmed the Maze deal. I shall put the text of their written statement in the extended entry.
Robinson and McGuinness announce MLK development
First Minister Rt. Hon Peter Robinson MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MP, MLA have outlined their plans for the future development of the Maze/Long Kesh site.
The Ministers will table a motion in the Assembly at the earliest possible opportunity to debate the draft Strategic Investment and Regeneration of Sites (Maze/ Long Kesh Development Corporation) (Northern Ireland) Order 2010.
If approved by the Assembly the Development Corporation will be constituted on the commencement of the Order and be operational within six months of the Assembly decision. The Corporation will oversee the opening and redevelopment of the site including the construction of a Peace Building and Conflict Resolution facility.
Mr McGuinness said: “The Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister will shortly submit an EU funding application for a Peace Building and Conflict Resolution Facility on the site. It is anticipated that the centre will be a world class facility of international importance designed to strengthen our peace building expertise and to share our experiences with others throughout the world.
“The Corporation will drive forward the development of the site and it is believed that the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society will relocate to the site during the first phase of the redevelopment.”
Mr Robinson said: “The constitution of a Development Corporation for this strategically important Maze/Long Kesh site will enable us to realise the full economic potential of the site. The site represents a unique opportunity to help revive our economic output in these difficult times.
“The Development of the Maze/Long Kesh site is hugely significant not only in terms of Northern Ireland but for Europe as a whole. The site, which is some 360 acres, could potentially create some 6,000 jobs, securing the construction industry in Northern Ireland for years to come. This announcement represents agreement on another one of the outstanding issues facing the Executive, and as indicated at Hillsborough, we have been working to reduce the number of outstanding Executive papers.”
Taken from the Devonport Diaries
The Court of Arbitration for Sport will on Friday announce their ruling in a case which Northern Irish football chiefs hope will prevent players switching to play for the Republic of Ireland.
The Irish Football Association launched their case against the Football Association of Ireland, young player Daniel Kearns and FIFA which was heard by CAS earlier this month.
Kearns, 18, represented Northern Ireland at under-17 level but switched to play for the Republic this year and played in two European Under-19 Championship matches.
Under the Good Friday Agreement, Irish passports can be held by Irish citizens born on either side of the border, however the IFA are determined that players born in Northern Ireland without family links to the south should not be allowed to play for the Republic.
Kearns, who was released by West Ham at the end of last season, joined the likes of Manchester United’s Darron Gibson and Portsmouth’s Marc Wilson in switching allegiance from Northern Ireland to the Republic.
Copyright © 2010 The Press Association. All rights reserved.
FAI win case over player eligibility
Soccer: The FAI has welcomed “complete and final clarity” on the issue of eligibility for players from Northern Ireland to play for the Republic after a landmark ruling in its favour today.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) found in favour of the FAI in a case taken by the Irish Football Association (IFA) in relation to Republic of Ireland under-19 international Daniel Kearns.
The West Ham player was born in Belfast but declared for the Republic of Ireland despite representing Northern Ireland at underage levels. He made his first start for Sean McCaffrey’s underage Republic side in April, scoring the winner against Poland.
“The ruling upholds the right of individual choice on this matter for players born north of the border,” said FAI chief executive John Delaney today.
“I would like to thank the many people from all parts of the island who were strongly supportive during this process, and in particular, recognise the determination of Daniel Kearns and his family to uphold his right as an Irish citizen to play for his country.”
The IFA took the case to the CAS, having failed in previous appeals to the sport’s governing body Fifa for a review on players from the north being eligible for the Republic after they have come through their youth system.
Ireland’s political divide means Fifa allows players who hold duel citizenship the right to choose who they play for at international level.
The IFA have already lost the likes of Darron Gibson and Shane Duffy to the Republic’s set-up and today’s ruling means they will be unable to prevent players making the same decision in the future.
An FAI statement released this afternoon sought to heal any rift that emerged between the two associations, insisting: “The FAI would like to take the opportunity to highlight that it has in recent years had good relations with the IFA. Those were maintained throughout this case and will continue into the future.”
Juicy stuff, Hoboroad – go raibh cead maith agat aris…
Ulster Unionist MLA David McNarry last night called on the IFA to “fight tooth and nail” yesterday’s judgment .
“The IFA should use the European Courts, appeal to Westminster, make these young players sign a document that they will stick by the IFA that is pouring money and resources into their development – maybe even renegotiate the Belfast Agreement that created this farce,” said Mr McNarry.”
Taken from the Newsletter
When he was young, McCrea acted as spokesman for the short-lived United Loyalist Front. In July 1972, he shared a platform with masked UDA men. Although by then the UDA’s reputation for sectarian murder was well-known, McCrea issued a press statement saying: ‘We call on all Loyalists to give their continued support to the Ulster Defence Association as it seeks to ensure the safety of all law-abiding citizens against the bombs and bullets of the IRA. As the Catholic population have given their support to the IRA throughout this campaign of terror so must Loyalists grant unswerving support to those engaged in the cause of truth’.
Moderators, Please Sorry =)
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I thought that McCausland served as DUP spokesman and Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure
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