Tag Archives: northern ireland

David Steel on Northern Ireland abortion law

David Steel

We’ve just caught up with an interview with David Steel on the BBC Northern Ireland political show The View. (The interview starts 17:58 minutes in)

David was responsible for introducing the Abortion Act in 1967, which made abortion legal up to 28 weeks, later reduced to 24 weeks. But the law was never extended to Northern Ireland where the Offences Against the Person Act of 1861 still applies. Under that law a woman who procures her own abortion is guilty of a felony and can be given a prison sentence of life, or for up to two years ‘with or without hard labour, and with or without solitary confinement’. Current regulations permit termination only if the woman’s life is at risk or if continuing the pregnancy would put her long-term health at risk.

David says:

I think they’ve got to face up to the fact that the law in Northern Ireland is simply ridiculous – 1861 – and it is time they came up at least to 1967, if not 2016.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Bearder calls on Theresa Villiers to quit if she backs Brexit

Lib Dem MEP Catherine Bearder has said that Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers should resign if she wants to campaign for Britain to leave the EU. She joined Northern Irish politicians who argued that the effect of leaving the EU would be acutely felt in Northern Ireland and the peace process could be at risk.

Catherine said:

Given the disastrous impact Brexit could have on the Northern Ireland peace process, it would be highly inappropriate for Theresa Villiers to remain in her post while campaigning to leave the EU.

Leaving Europe would risk stoking sectarian tensions and undoing years of peacebuilding, much of it funded through EU peace programmes. It would also fundamentally transform the UK’s relationship with the Republic of Ireland and put at risk the open land border we currently share.

David Cameron must stop putting the interests of his party ahead of those of the country. Government ministers should not be able to campaign for an EU exit if this completely goes against their role and responsibilities.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 16 Comments

Opinion: Human Rights Act – when rights clash

 

As one of the many who have recently joined the Liberal Democrats, my attention has been drawn to the fight to make sure that the Human Rights Act is not scrapped by the Conservatives. In a recent email from Tom Brake MP, we were reminded of the following rights afforded to us by the Human Rights Act:

  • the right to life;
  • the prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
  • the prohibition of slavery and forced labour;
  • the right to liberty and security of the person;
  • the right to a fair trial;
  • prohibition of punishment without law;
  • the right to respect for private and family life;
  • the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;
  • the right to freedom of expression;
  • the right to freedom of assembly and association;
  • the right for men and women to marry and found a family;
  • the right to peaceful enjoyment of personal property;
  • the right to education;
  • the right to free elections;
  • and the prohibition of discrimination.

But what happens when there is friction between two or more of these rights?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 49 Comments

Opinion: Northern Ireland and marriage equality

On Friday the people of Ireland voted on marriage equality in their referendum. The results on Saturday showed that 1,201,607 people voted Yes/Tá to 734,300 voting No/Níl making the result 62.1% to 37.9% in favour. Only one of the 43 constituencies, Roscommon – South Leitrim, voted no but only by a margin of 1,029 votes and barely nibbled into the overall trend of the votes that were being announced. The other forty-two constituencies had all by either a small (only 33 votes in Donegal South West) to a large (27,959 in Dublin South) margin voted yes. Overall 1,201,607 people voted Yes/Tá to 734,300 voting No/Níl 62.1% to 37.9%.

But the other question is where does that leave Northern Ireland, which is now the largest region of the British Isles that does not have equal marriage in any shape or form allowing people of the same-sex to marry?

Firstly if we look at the Northern Ireland Act 1998 it recognises that the people of Northern Ireland can identify as British or Irish or both. This is key now to moving forward. Then from the same piece of legislation we also note that:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

Opinion: What’s that you say, Mr Robinson?

Peter robinson by alan in belfastThis weekend,  Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson addressed his party conference for the last time before the General Election and launched his ire at losing his seat in Westminster last time out. Talking of the DUP candidate’s chances for East Belfast next May he said:

There may be other unionists in the field, but they will only serve to divide the pro-union opposition to the flag-lowering, parade-stopping, gay marriage-supporting, pro water-charging, holier-than-thou Alliance Party.

It’s an interesting choice of words, which drew applause from his audience but needs a serious look at the implications of what they mean, for our sister party in Northern Ireland.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Nick stands with Anna

I stand with AnnaWhen a politician says that he might trust a whole specific group of people only to go to the shops for him, you would think that would be a one way ticket to the door marked Ignominious Exit from Public Life. Sadly, Peter Robinosn, Northern Ireland’s First Minister remains in office while Alliance  Party politician Anna Lo has said she’s going to quit politics because she’s fed up at all the abuse she’s getting. She spoke to Channel 4 last night about her experience with great dignity. My pride in her was matched by my anger at her treatment. You can watch here.

When people start to be nasty about how you look, the colour of your skin, how your eyes look about your stature, then that is racism and that is wrong and that is uncalled for and that’s what I object to and many people in Northern Ireland would support me in that.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 25 Comments

Opinion: Should the Queen speak out on the Belfast flag issue?

Queen Elizabeth IIThe pictures of the Queen joining the Cabinet meeting were charming. They conveyed a reassuring image of a stable democracy with a historic back-stop. Almost always we want the democratic element to prevail, but there are perhaps very limited issues and occasions when the monarchy can make a difference. The Queen inviting Harold Macmillan to form a government rather than Rab Butler in 1957 is the occasion often quoted. It did actually make a political difference, since Harold Wilson was later reported as having feared that Rab Butler may well have won the 1964 election.

Northern Ireland may be another occasion when the monarchy could make a

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 12 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRichard 6th May - 4:38am
    ... and Caries Anne Dumbleton took a seat from the Labour Party in the Rokeby & Overslade Ward of Rugby Borough Council too.
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 6th May - 4:20am
    Great news and we need to listen to election winners to see what we can learn.
  • User AvatarMichael BG 6th May - 2:25am
    The topics suggested by Eddie Sammon are very poor topics for discussion. We should rather be considering is have we improved on our 2015 vote...
  • User AvatarJonathan Brown 6th May - 2:25am
    A couple of other reasons Stuart: 1) the refugee children Europe are already here. Even if their need is less than of some of those...
  • User AvatarRob 6th May - 2:24am
    And across the river in Grimsby have gained East Marsh and Park wards. East Marsh result Lib Dem 901 Lab 507 Con 81 ( We...
  • User AvatarPaul Holmes 6th May - 1:34am
    1. No 2. No 3. Yes
Sat 7th May 2016
Sun 8th May 2016
Tue 10th May 2016
Sat 14th May 2016