Former DPP says Troubles prosecutions should cease

Former NI Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Barra McGrory QC said the quality of evidence in some cases would be too poor to secure convictions

NI's former Director of Public Prosecutions has called for a halt to criminal prosecutions for murders carried out during the Troubles.

Barra McGrory denounced proposals for a new Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) as "convenient politically, but not really properly thought through".

The HIU would take over the task of re-examining 1,700 unsolved murders from the police and the police ombudsman.

Last week, a public consultation on the legacy of the Troubles was launched.

The government consultation was based on plans agreed by the local parties under the 2014 Stormont House Agreement.

Read full article Former DPP says Troubles prosecutions should cease

Consultation delay after cabinet 'spat'

Karen Bradley Image copyright ADP/Getty Images
Image caption Cabinet ministers took Karen Bradley to task on Tuesday

When Stormont politicians were given drafts of the long awaited legacy consultation document on a confidential basis last week, their understanding was that a full public launch of the process would follow within days.

However that was before Tuesday's cabinet 'spat', during which other ministers took Karen Bradley to task for proceeding without a specific question on the controversial statute of limitations proposal.

Read full article Consultation delay after cabinet 'spat'

Commemorations and commiserations

Pram in conference room
Image caption Belfast's "best-behaved baby"

Twice this week I squeezed myself into a seat at the back of a packed room.

On Tuesday afternoon it was the Whitla Hall at Queen's University, I sat alongside students, school pupils, and politicians as Bill Clinton, George Mitchell and other leaders associated with the Good Friday Agreement urged the current generation to rediscover the optimism of 1998.

Read full article Commemorations and commiserations

MLA pay and Stoke City - Karen Bradley's not so happy birthday

Karen Bradley Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Karen Bradley's comment that she is "minded" to reduce MLA pay, but plans to consult further before taking action, hasn't impressed some

It's not how Karen Bradley had planned to celebrate her birthday.

Originally the secretary of state had scheduled a combined statement on the Stormont budget and MLA pay for last week.

Read full article MLA pay and Stoke City - Karen Bradley's not so happy birthday

Bradley's budget meets a parallel universe

Karen Bradley Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Secretary of State Karen Bradley moved to introduce a budget due to the impasse at Stormont

So should we rejoice that Karen Bradley has at long last approved a budget, providing much needed certainty for harassed Northern Ireland civil servants?

Or should we lament this latest descent on what Mrs Bradley's predecessor, James Brokenshire, used to call 'a glide path towards direct rule'?

Read full article Bradley's budget meets a parallel universe

As hopes of a Stormont deal are dashed, what comes next?

no entry stormont Image copyright PAcemaker

Back in the tumultuous days after the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scandal brought down the Stormont Executive, both the DUP and Sinn Féin dug themselves into some very deep holes.

Sinn Féin said they wouldn't share power with Arlene Foster as First Minister.

Read full article As hopes of a Stormont deal are dashed, what comes next?

Stormont's corridors busy again - for now

Stormont sign Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption The words build trust were placed at the gates to Stormont on Wednesday as part of a Belfast City Council initiative

Strolling around the assembly building in recent months, the place has sometimes felt like a ghost town, its corridors bereft of the politicians and officials scurrying to and from meetings which used to be its lifeblood.

Not today.

Read full article Stormont's corridors busy again - for now

Politics review: A year of dramatic change and stalemate

Charles Dickens in his study Image copyright kreicher/Getty images
Image caption You couldn't make it up - Charles Dickens pondering Northern Ireland politics?

If Charles Dickens visited Stormont during 2017 he might have been tempted to describe it as both the best of times and the worst of times.

During this year of dramatic change and enduring stalemate, the main Northern Ireland parties experienced some exhilarating highs and a few emotional lows.

Read full article Politics review: A year of dramatic change and stalemate

Will budget cuts warning help break Stormont deadlock?

Padlocks on gate at Stormont Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Stormont has been without government for almost a year, but the bills still must be paid

So what impact, if any, will the Stormont civil service's latest budget briefing have on the chances of restoring devolution?

Secretary of State James Brokenshire is expected to convene a fresh round of talks with the local parties in January.

Read full article Will budget cuts warning help break Stormont deadlock?

Brexit deal: A quick fix for a slippery slope?

Icy Driveway

I have spent much of this weekend contemplating a slippery slope.

Not the slide towards a united Ireland which the DUP feared when they stopped Theresa May signing off on the first version of her Brexit agreement.

Read full article Brexit deal: A quick fix for a slippery slope?