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The public clamour for political progress following the killing of the journalist Lyra McKee encouraged both governments to launch a fresh attempt to restore power sharing in Northern Ireland, they said in a statement released on Friday afternoon. We agree that what is now needed is actions and not just words from all of us who are in positions of leadership.” The new process would involve all the main political parties in Northern Ireland, together with the UK and Irish governments, it said. Theprime minister and taoiseach, who both attended McKee’s funeral in Belfast on Wednesday, also agreed that there should be a meeting of the British-Irish intergovernmental conference to consider east-west relations, security cooperation and political stability in Northern Ireland. What is the New IRA? It has been linked with four murders, including the shooting of journalist Lyra McKee in Derry in April 2019. The group is believed to have formed between 2011 and 2012 after the merger of a number of smaller groups, including the Real IRA, which was behind the 1998 Omagh bombing. She said the DUP could not accede to all Sinn Féin demands, describing such a scenario as a “5-0 victory”. McDonald, speaking in a separate media interview, said Sinn Féin would not “capitulate” on an Irish language act, saying there was nothing trivial about insisting on equality and rights. Smaller parties are keen to return to Stormont. “There is no issue more important than political stability.”
The main achievement of the Good Friday Agreement — the creation of power-sharing institutions — is not just unwell, but perhaps terminally ill. Like few places on earth, Northern Ireland lives its history. Stay at the multimillion pound Radisson Blu hotel in downtown Belfast and an Irish tricolor can be seen, stuck in a window of a flat in the “Markets” area — an Irish Catholic ghetto surrounded by Britishness and a derelict patch of grass. Politically, it is more Balkan than British or Irish. It created a land where you could be Irish or British — or both. “Politics here are based on allegiance and identity," wrote the columnist Brian Feeney in the Irish News last week, days before the shooting of journalist Lyra McKee in Derry/Londonderry on Thursday night. Look, it’s not going to happen.” The New IRA admitted responsibility for the killing on Monday — albeit with "full and sincere apologies" — a sign of the deadly tensions that are still simmering in Northern Ireland. The backstop, which aims to ensure no border controls are needed, treats Northern Ireland differently to the rest of the U.K., raising unionist fears that it is the start of the slow drift to Irish reunification — and the dominance of Irish nationalists over Ulster unionists. The old leaders who guided the peace process to its conclusion — and may have had the power and authority to save it now — are gone. Northern Ireland is not well. Sign up here.
"We cannot allow racist and armed vigilantes to kidnap and detain people seeking asylum," the ACLU said in a letter to state authorities denouncing the actions and asking the government to step in. Pelosi's comments are likely to annoy members of the ruling Conservative party who insist that a hard Brexit — which include the UK leaving the bloc's single market and customs union — is necessary in order for the country to strike trade agreements with third countries. And Lyra McKee was killed on the cusp of Good Friday. Good Friday. Later, these would break apart into hydrogen molecules and helium atoms. Is it a good day for dinosaur news, SciNews.com? It's always a good day for dinosaur news! He'll make this another argument about open borders, instead of what it is, another example of how dinosaurs lived then to make us happy now. The Committee is always happy to learn new things. So the members enjoyed Top Commenter Jack Schroeder's little lesson in Alabama legislative history.
Nearly three years after the EU referendum, I no longer feel the same connection. Then Brexit happened. People who were aware of my plan to move to Greece, people whose children are dating foreign nationals, how could they vote for Brexit? I don’t want to say I’ll never come back to the UK because I will always be British. I started to think about going back to Europe the next day. I stopped speaking to people who voted leave. Everyone keeps saying we don’t know what people voted for. We’re lucky – some of our friends here have only British passports and are worried that they will be told to go home. They are sad about Brexit, but have moved on. We’re sorry we asked you to do the same thing every other country was doing!” Maybe now the politicians will realise the world is bigger than Great Britain.
Amid a final scramble by the prime minister to bring her informal coalition partners onboard before a probable vote this week, Jim Wells, a DUP member of the Northern Ireland assembly, said he believed up to 30 Tories would still vote against the plan. “So even with the DUP support I think it’s inevitable that Theresa May, if she pushes a third vote, will go to yet another defeat,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. While the DUP have an important role it’s not utterly crucial.” Several prominent Brexiters, including the former work and pensions secretary Esther McVey, have said they are willing to switch their vote and support the deal, with government sources saying they hope DUP backing could create “a sense of momentum”. “No deal is better than a bad deal but a bad deal is better than remaining in the European Union,” he told LBC radio. “Mrs May’s deal, however bad it is, means that we are legally outside the European Union.” A number of prominent Conservative Brexiters were still holding out against May’s deal, including Boris Johnson. In an article for the Daily Telegraph on Monday, he wrote: “If we agree this deal – and unless we have a radical change in our approach to the negotiations – we face an even greater humiliation in the second phase. “We have not found a convincing unilateral way out of the backstop. Unless we discover some willingness to resist, the diet of capitulation seems set to continue for at least two years.” Another sign of continued Conservative opposition came in a letter to the Telegraph from 23 backbenchers calling for a no-deal exit. “A widespread war-weariness on all sides is a significant factor.” However, Wells said the DUP remained undecided on whether the government had secured enough changes on the border insurance policy for the party’s MPs to back the deal. “We still have a huge difficulty with the backstop because we see it as a waiting room for constitutional change.
The parliament building at Stormont is 365ft wide, representing one foot for each day of the year, but if she lasts in the job long enough it may also refer to the number of times Karen Bradley, Northern Ireland’s secretary of state, puts her foot in it. Politicians in Northern Ireland have lost count, but agree she outdid herself last week by telling Westminster that security force killings during the Troubles were “not crimes” but the actions of people “fulfilling their duties in a dignified and appropriate way”. Her subsequent apologies did not douse a clamour for her resignation. But few in Stormont think her departure would solve much. Northern Ireland has had no functioning elected government since power sharing between the Democratic Unionist party (DUP) and Sinn Féin collapsed in January 2017. Civil servants are left to run things but cannot make key decisions. “What’s surprising to me is we’re a third year into the breakdown and the public doesn’t seem to care very much.” Stormont, sited on an estate outside Belfast, looks formidable. Some assembly members still work from their offices but on really quiet days, one member confided, it can feel like the Overlook hotel in The Shining. Dissident republicans sense a historic opportunity. The DUP blames the collapse of power sharing on Sinn Féin, saying the party wants instability to portray Northern Ireland as a failed state.
Northern nationalists look to be locked outside the gates of power The SDLP is now scattered to the four winds. Its leader, Colum Eastwood joined Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin on stage at FF’s ardfheis last month, while former leader Mark Durkan raised some eyebrows by being unveiled during the week as a Fine Gael candidate for the Dublin constituency in the European Elections to represent, not Dublin, but Derry. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has suggested Durkan’s candidacy under the FG banner is partly about delivering on his promise of December 2017 that northern nationalists “will never again be left behind by an Irish government” . As the Labour Party sees it, there is another dimension to this. It is not a receptacle for the SDLP exiles, despite the Labour dimension to its title. As we look forward to these elections, it is clear that the true candidate for social democracy – for a social democratic and labour party – will not be the Fine Gael candidate, nor indeed the Fianna Fáil candidate, despite their recent alliance with the SDLP. One of the reasons the SDLP’s first leader, Gerry Fitt – who insisted on the inclusion of the word Labour in its title– parted ways with the party in 1979 was because he believed it had become too “republican” and he regarded himself as representing the “voice of concern”. A divided SDLP is now, it seems, a political flower withered beyond recovery, but the scattering of its petals is just one manifestation of weakened northern political muscle. Sinn Féin has also struggled in recent times to carve out a distinct space in the Brexit drama and has been left reacting rather than initiating. But the complaints of SF are also a reminder of a wider recklessness and lack of leadership in NI of which SF bears part responsibility at the very time when that leadership is needed most.
But if the UK leaves without a deal, all changes and drivers will be expected to carry a green card when in mainland Europe and Ireland. Direct Line insurance says: “In the event of a no-deal Brexit, we have plans to ensure customers are provided with a green card if they drive in Europe on or after 29 March. You will not need a GB sticker to drive outside the UK if you replace a europlate with a numberplate that features the GB sign without the EU flag.” PC Driving with a UK licence when abroad In a sentence You will have to buy an International Driving Permit to drive in Europe, at a price of £5.50, with different ones required for France and Spain If there is no deal with the EU then recognition of UK driving licences in the EU ends. Two weeks ago, the UK government issued its latest advice on healthcare when travelling abroad, warning that if the UK leaves with no deal, our Ehics will no longer be valid. It has advised anyone travelling on or after 29 March to any of the EU countries as well as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, to buy travel insurance to cover healthcare “just as you would if visiting a non-EU country”. MB Flight compensation In a sentence The government promises to keep EU flight delay payouts, but airlines could use changes to fight having to pay out European Union flight compensation regulations have been fought in almost every UK court, so could a no-deal Brexit give the airlines another opportunity to stop paying passengers after a lengthy delay or cancellation? The British Veterinary Association has warned that a no-deal Brexit will lead to pet owners facing longer waits (pdf) to get their animal cleared for travel, higher costs for the required vaccination, treatments and health certificates each time they leave the UK. It means EU citizens can use their mobile in another EU state as if they are at home. O2 says: “We will be working closely with the government and other European operators to try and protect the current arrangements, so our customers can continue to enjoy free EU roaming.” Ministers have said the government will legislate to put a £45-a-month limit on the amount that could be charged for mobile data abroad. But even here agreement has been reached, with a temporary permissions regime allowing them to carry on in the UK for three years after Brexit, and apply for authorisation during that time.
The prime minister is due to chair a cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning before departing for a two-day visit to Northern Ireland to underscore her commitment to avoiding a hard border with Ireland. Read more She is expected to say: “I know this is a concerning time for many people here in Northern Ireland. But we will find a way to deliver Brexit that honours our commitments to Northern Ireland … that commands broad support across the community in Northern Ireland … and that secures a majority in the Westminster parliament.” Privately, however, there is scepticism within the government about the possibility of a breakthrough before May returns to parliament to make a statement about her Brexit plans on 13 February. The prime minister’s withdrawal agreement faces a new problem in the shape of a potential legal challenge by one of the architects of the Good Friday agreement. The group was created after Tory MPs from the leave and remain camps came together to promote the Malthouse compromise, which involves a longer transition period while alternatives to the backstop are explored. The resulting 'Malthouse compromise' involves redrafting the backstop arrangement for the Irish border which is so unpopular with Conservative Eurosceptic MPs and the Democratic Unionist party, which props up the government. It would also extend the transition period, set out under the previously negotiated withdrawal agreement, until the end of 2021. If the attempt to renegotiate the backstop fails, the Malthouse compromise proposes what amounts to a managed no deal. Before MPs voted for that amendment and against others, Theresa May praised the Malthouse compromise. The Northern Ireland minister, John Penrose, told Cable in a written parliamentary answer that his department had not allocated any funding for no-deal preparations, adding: “A number of staff across the department work on both EU exit and non-EU exit related work.” Cable said: “If the government is serious about letting Britain crash out of the EU, there should be a dedicated unit in the Northern Ireland Office, preparing for this eventuality.
Since the end of The Troubles, Derry has become a vibrant cultural hub in Northern Ireland. But a car bomb that blasted granite chunks off the street and through windows lifted the curtain on something darker going on in this…