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Topics - AQMP

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1
General discussion / Arlene and The Renewable Heat Incentive
« on: December 08, 2016, 03:27:44 PM »
Can't see this covered anywhere else.  This story should be huge.  Major f**k-up by Arlene...why aren't the Shinners all over this like a rash?? ::)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-38229535

"Serious systematic failings" in a Stormont-run renewable energy scheme are likely to hit the Northern Ireland budget by "hundreds of millions of pounds", the Audit Office has said.

The Renewable Heat Incentive scheme was run by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI).  The Audit Office said 140m could be taken from the region's block grant from the Treasury to plug the deficit.  The economy minister said the findings were "deeply shocking".  The scheme was set up to encourage businesses and domestic users to switch to biomass heating systems, mostly burning wood pellets.  More than 1bn of public money is due to be paid out over the next 20 years as a result of it.  The investigation was prompted when a whistleblower contacted the Northern Ireland Executive in January alleging that the scheme was being abused.
One of the claims was that a farmer was aiming to collect about 1m over 20 years from the scheme for heating an empty shed.  The whistleblower also claimed large factories that had previously not been heated were using the scheme to install boilers with the intention of running them throughout the year to collect about 1.5m over 20 years.

Kieran Donnelly, the auditor general, said there was "no upper limit on the amount of energy that would be paid for".  "The more heat that is generated, the more is paid," he said.  In one example cited by the report, a business taking part in the same scheme in Great Britain could collect about 192,000 over 20 years by using a boiler all year round, but a Northern Ireland firm doing the same could earn 860,000.  Mr Donnelly said the scheme had "serious systematic failings from the start".  DETI has since been renamed as the Department of the Economy.  The current minister Simon Hamilton (DUP) said ongoing costs of the scheme to taxpayers were "incredible".  "Opportunities were missed to remedy the situation" by those "directly responsible for administering the scheme," he said.
"External consultants are already being appointed to conduct on-the-spot and thorough inspections of installations to ensure they meet the spirit and letter of the scheme," he said.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-38248147

Interestingly Simon Hamilton tried to block the publication of the report earlier in the year.

2
General discussion / NI Assembly Election 5 May 2016
« on: April 27, 2016, 03:44:02 PM »
Anyone give a fcuk??

3
General discussion / The North's Council & Euro Election Results
« on: May 23, 2014, 02:40:43 PM »
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/events/vote2014/ni-council-election-results

For political nerds on the board the BBC is doing rolling news on the council elections.  Early indications seem to suggest the unionist vote may have come out and polling in working class loyalist areas in Belfast is reported to be up which may be bad news for Alliance.


4
General discussion / The Big Bailout (Annually) In The North
« on: April 02, 2014, 12:40:06 PM »
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-26845607

Public spending in Northern Ireland was 9.6bn higher than the amount raised in taxes in 2011/12,
according to research by the Department of Finance.

The Net Fiscal Balance Report shows that the spending deficit fell slightly compared to 2010/11, and is well below the 10.3bn peak in 2009/10.  The deficit, expressed as a percentage of total economic output, stands at 33% compared to a UK figure of 10%.  'Per head' the fiscal deficit is 5,311 compared to a UK figure of 2,133.  Northern Ireland's annual fiscal deficit increased by 3bn between 2007 and 2012, the report shows.  As a percentage of regional economic output, the deficit increased by 13.6 percentage points from 2007/08 to 2009/10 as a result of an increasing deficit and falling output due to the economic downturn.  However, from 2009/10 to 2011/12 the deficit has fallen by 0.7bn, driven by a slower rate of spending growth and increased VAT receipts.

As a percentage of regional economic output it has decreased by 2.9 percentage points as the economy continues to show signs of stabilising.  Over the five-year period, spending increased by 3.6bn (17.6%) while estimated revenue increased by 0.6bn (4.2%).  It is predictable that a deficit will increase during an economic downturn, as reduced economy activity means less tax while there is also greater demand for unemployment and related benefits.  The report shows that the main sources of Northern Ireland's estimated 14.1bn tax revenues were income tax (2.5bn), VAT (3.4bn) and National Insurance contributions (2.2bn).  Collectively, these estimated receipts accounted for about 58% of Northern Ireland public sector revenue.  The largest area of expenditure was on pensions and social security, amounting to almost 8bn, or 35%, of the 22.6bn total.  The other main areas were health at 16.2% and education at 12.3%.  The report shows that revenues from stamp duty - which is related to the housing market - collapsed by 71% between 2007 and 2012.

Meanwhile, the amount raised in alcohol duties jumped by almost 50%.  Cheers...hic! ???

5
GAA Discussion / NFL Div 4 2014
« on: January 29, 2014, 02:07:30 PM »
In the basement this year we have (odds from Paddy Power to win division)

Antrim  7/4
Tipperary 7/4
Clare  9/2
Wicklow  8/1
Waterford  11/1
Leitrim  12/1
Carlow 25/1
London 40/1

I actually think this Div is wide open...any two from eight.  Leitrim look a daycent punt at 12s??

6
GAA Discussion / Anto Finnegan
« on: November 21, 2013, 10:53:12 AM »
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/gaelic-games/25027330

Thought this deserved a thread of its own.  Former Antrim player Anto Finnegan has revealed that he has been diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

Anto plugged away for Antrim for 10 or so years with little major success bar our first championship win in 18 years against Down in 2000.  Only 40, and with a young family Anto is a stalwart of the St Paul's club in Belfast with whom he still coaches underage.

One of our players who probably would have graced a few more successful county teams, he gave a lot to Antrim football.  I'd like to wish him all the best.  Anyone who saw the interview with former SA scrum half Joost Van Der Westhuizen at the weekend will realise that it's a tough road ahead for Anto and his family.

7
Didn't see this anywhere else ;)  Bookies have Monaghan at 2/7 and Antrim at a very parsimonious 10/3.  Monaghan won the league game by 9 points (I think).  Div 3 champs against next year's Div 4 dross.  Monaghan have a good incentive this year.  Bate Antrim and they play the winners of Cavan/Armagh/Fermanagh to get to an Ulster final.  Antrim coming off a dreadful league and the usual bust up(s).

Realistically Monghan should beat us by as many as they want and I wouldn't be surprised to see them win this by 10-12 points.

8
General discussion / Stephen Nolan's Week In The Wilderness
« on: March 28, 2013, 10:48:08 AM »
Anyone catch any of the Nolan Show on radio this week??  He's been in some obscure, remote country somewhere east of New Zealand called (I think) the Republic of Ireland.  I only caught ten minutes this morning but he managed to patronise anyone or thing that is Irish in that time.  Honest to f**k, he thinks he's a cross between Ray Mears and David Attenborough.  "The people here are so friendly", "I'm really getting into the culture", "They gave me pigs' feet to eat".  I expect him to comment on the "charming native dancing displays" or how "everyone speaks such good English" next ::)

9
General discussion / McGurk's Bar Massacre 4 December 1971
« on: December 04, 2012, 09:48:22 AM »
Today marks the 41st anniversary of the massacre at McGurk's Bar, Belfast.  Sometimes referred to as the forgotten atrocity of the Troubles, 15 people lost their lives and 17 were injured when a UVF bomb exploed at 8:45pm on a Saturday night.  Those who died included 13 year old James Cromie and 14 year old Maria McGurk.  The oldest victim was Philip Garry who was 73.

While this incident was shocking enough what happened in the aftermath left a bitter taste in the mouths of friends and relatives.  The RUC briefed the media that the explosion was an IRA "own goal" i.e. that an IRA bomb being prepared on the premises exploded prematurely.  This remained the official RUC line of investigation...even after the conviction of UVF member Robert Campbell in 1978.

Having grown up close to this incident I've personal reasons for posting this today.

James Cromie (13)
Maria McGurk (14)
Edward Kane (29)
Robert Spotswood (35)
Kathleen Irvine (45)
Thomas Kane (48)
Philomena McGurk (46), mother of Maria
John Colton (49)
David Milligan (53)
Thomas McLaughlin (55)
Sarah Keenan (58), wife of Edward
James Smyth (58)
Francis Bradley (61)
Edward Keenan (69), husband of Sarah
Philip Garry (73)

May they rest in peace.

10
General discussion / Joanna Mills Misses Out On An Olympic Place
« on: October 17, 2012, 09:00:14 AM »
Doesn't really require a new thread but for some reason the original thread on this is locked?

Anyway, Ms Mills declares for Team GB

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/athletics/19971276

Joanna Mills has opted to make herself available to the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team following her omission from the Ireland 4x400m squad for the London 2012 Olympics.

Mills was controversially left out of the Irish team, despite having recorded faster times than one of those chosen.

"Joanna didn't want to rush into this decision," said Mills' coach Ian Neely.

"She wanted to let the dust settle after the Olympics, but it made the decision a lot easier," he added.

The Ballynure athlete said in July that she would take time to consider whether to switch allegiance to Britain after her exclusion from the Irish squad.

The 19-year-old was controversially left out of the Irish Olympic squad following a protracted appeals process.

Mills missed out on a place at the London Games after Kilkenny athlete Catriona Cuddihy won her appeal

11
General discussion / Malcolm MacArthur Released
« on: September 19, 2012, 02:00:11 PM »
GUBU...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19645317

The convicted murderer Malcolm MacArthur has been granted temporary release from prison in the Republic of Ireland.   He served 30 years for killing nurse Bridie Gargan who had been sun-bathing in Dublin's Phoenix Park, in 1982.  MacArthur, now aged 66, is the latest notorious criminal to be released.  His case shocked the Republic and played a significant role in ending one of Charles Haughey's Fianna Fail governments.   MacArthur bludgeoned Ms Gargan to death with a hammer. It is believed his motive was robbery.  Although charges were not brought against him, he also shot dead Donal Dunne, a farmer in County Offfaly who had advertised the sale of a shotgun.

McArthur, who never worked, lived off a modest inheritance, but as his money ran out he decided to fund his life style by armed robbery.  He was arrested at the Dalkey home of former Attorney General Patrick Connolly, where he had been staying as a guest.  After the arrest the attorney general went to the United States on holiday but was forced to return to Dublin to resign.  At a news conference at the time the then Taoiseach, Charles Haughey, described the events as "grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented".  The former late journalist Conor Cruise O'Brien used those comments to create the acronym GUBU, which has now passed into the Irish political lexicon.

A general election soon followed and Mr Haughey lost.  When MacArthur's release was considered in the past many, including people in the prison service and his mother, said they still considered him dangerous.  The Department of Justice confirmed he left Shelton Abbey prison under a condition that he sign on weekly at a prison and be monitored by the probation service.  He had been granted day and weekend release over the past 12 months.  He is one of the Republic's longest-serving prisoners.

12
GAA Discussion / Tipperary v Antrim - AI Qualifier Round 3
« on: July 16, 2012, 11:30:44 AM »
Well...

13
Don't know if this will get much of a response, but here goes.  Though I live outside the county now, I don't detect much optimism from Antrim fans coming into this one.  Would have hoped to be promoted from an admittedly competitve Div 3 but a won 4 lost 3 record wasn't good enough.  The Championship squad this year has a few new faces with only 3/4 St Gall's players there for various reasons.  Captain Aodhan Gallagher picked up an injury at the weekend.  Antrim's heady years of an Ulster final and successive promotions are starting to fade into the distance.  I don't think we've played Monaghan in the Championship for a while (though I do remember a couple of drubbings in the late 80s/ early 90s??)

Monaghan by 5-7?

14
General discussion / PSNI Suspends Four Officers
« on: April 06, 2012, 03:02:06 PM »
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/apr/06/police-northernireland

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-17637450

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has suspended four officers after an internal inquiry into racist and sectarian text messages.

The PSNI said the discovery of the allegedly offensive texts during an investigation was not connected to the suspensions of eight Metropolitan police officers and a civilian staff member of the London force.

A spokesman said the suspensions on Thursday came "through internal PSNI mechanisms and will be robustly investigated".

The officers at the centre of the inquiry work in various areas of the PSNI and are not senior officers.

The spokesman said: "We expect our staff to behave ethically and with the utmost integrity at all times both on and off duty.

"Any officer who fails to abide by the high standards of behaviour expected of all officers as laid out in our code of ethics can expect to be rigorously investigated. "We will not tolerate wrongdoing of any nature or inappropriate behaviour of any description."

15
General discussion / HET Report On Miami Showband Killings
« on: December 14, 2011, 01:36:56 PM »
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-16179921

Miami Showband massacre: HET raises collusion concerns

The families of three men shot dead in the Miami showband massacre have said a report into the killings indicates an RUC Special Branch agent was involved.

Three members of the band were shot dead in July 1975 after their minibus was stopped by a fake army patrol.

The HET report found that UVF man Robin Jackson had been linked to one of the murder weapons by fingerprints.

Jackson claimed in police interviews he had been tipped off by a senior RUC officer to lie low after the killings.

Police headquarters was told about that, but nothing was done.

The Historical Enquiries Team report said that Jackson, a leading mid-Ulster UVF member also known as "the Jackal", claimed that he was tipped off that his fingerprints had been found on a silencer attached to a Luger pistol used in the murders.

The HET said the murders raised "disturbing questions about collusive and corrupt behaviour".

It said the review "has found no means to assuage or rebut these concerns and that is a deeply troubling matter".
 
The fake army patrol was made up of soldiers from the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) and members of loyalist paramilitary group, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

The Miami Showband was travelling home to Dublin after a gig in Banbridge, County Down, when the minibus was stopped at a roadblock.

The members of the band were made to line up at the side of the road while one UVF member tried to hide a bomb on the bus. The plan was that the bomb would explode en route killing everyone on board.

But the bomb went off prematurely, killing Harris Boyle and Wesley Somerville - who were members of the UDR, as well as being in the UVF.

After the explosion the other members of the UVF gang opened fire on the band, killing lead singer Fran O'Toole, guitarist Tony Geraghty, and trumpeter Brian McCoy.

The bass player Stephen Travers was also seriously hurt and barely survived his injuries.

Three members of the UDR were eventually convicted for their part in the attack.

James Somerville, Thomas Crozier and James McDowell all received life sentences, and remained in jail until their release under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
 
Commenting on the report, band member Des McAlea, who survived the attack, said: "It's been a long time but we've got justice at last."

He described the HET findings as "quite shocking" and "mind-blowing".

"The fact that there was collusion in this is such a tragedy for all of us concerned," he said.

"To think that people who were supposed to be protecting us and they were actually involved in this terrible tragedy."

Mr McAlea, who emigrated from Ireland after the murders, said he relived the "terrifying" events of the night every day of his life.


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