NI LibDems Abhor Attack Upon Alliance


Yet again, the NI Liberal Democrats, as must all those engaged in civilised political manifestation and activity in this Province, raise their voices in utter abhorrence at the attack last night on the offices of our sister party in East Belfast. We also thank, and applaud, the officers of the PSNI for their speedy work to limit the damage done.

The hypocrisy of those who seek to “defend” “their” Britishness by engaging in the kind of anti-democratic Politics of the Street that are anathema to Britons of all political shades has been demonstrated so frequently that it scarce merits mention. But, to those who committed this act, or endorse it, a question – how many of you wore poppies last Sunday to commemorate those who died ending tyranny in Europe, only six days later to bring the politics of Kristallnacht to the streets of a capital city of the United Kingdom?


Did you pack these chocolate vampire lollies yourself?


Today, I posted a parcel to my goddaughter. I’m happy to state to those who read this blog that it contained a few sweets and toy items for Halloween.

Now, the last time I posted a domestic parcel, I was handed a laminate by the member of Post Office Counters staff, and asked to confirm that my parcel did not contain any prohibited item listed on it. At the time I grumbled internally, replied “No, it does not” and the member of staff was happily and politely content with this answer, and posting continued.

Today, at a different Post Office, a staff member directly asked me what was in the parcel. I declined to answer, and was told that she “had to ask under the Dangerous Goods Act”. I replied that I had, in the past, answered questions as to whether forbidden items were present, and was willing to do that, but that I questioned her right to ask as to the specific contents of the parcel. She then, after a period of colleague-directed eye-rolling, handed me a leaflet specifying the items forbidden under the Act. I read this, then stated to her that I was aware of all classes of forbidden item, and stated that none were present in the parcel.  She was content at this, and I my parcel was processed for posting. 

On getting home, I called the Royal Mail Helpline, identified myself as Chair of the NI LibDems, and asked if Staff were entitled to ask as to the specific contents of parcels, and was told in a rude, peremptory fashion that they are. “For various purposes, including whether they are using the right service or not.”

I’m not going to say anything about the ever-increasing regulation of our lives. I’m not anti-Government. This is the Liberal Democrats, not the Tea Party. You’ve heard all that so many times from so many people I’ll not repeat it. But it’s SO disheartening to think that YET another frontline service provider now has the ability to demand information of a private nature from me, in a public place, and that I face denial of service if I do not comply.  If this has to happen, perhaps a tick-box sticker, “By ticking this box the Sender declares that no item in this parcel is classified as Dangerous under the Dangerous Goods Act” might be a more dignified way of making this check?

Another attack at Whitehouse


Councillor Webb speaks with the voice of all members of both sister parties, certainly that of the NI Lib Dems’ Chair, whose family memories of St. Mary’s, Star of the Sea extend back through the whole of its existence. There have been well over one hundred attacks on this church since the advent of the 1968 Troubles, and on more than one occasion priests resident in the adjoining Parochial House have had to be evacuated by Police. We call on anyone who may have information pertaining to this act of base thuggery to bring it into the possession of the PSNI.

Statement in response to the events of 8 October, 2013


The Northern Ireland Liberal Democrats wish to express their condemnation of, and disgust at, the actions of those who today saw fit to bring fear and disruption to bear against our sister party and its neighbours in East Belfast.

Conflict resolution is an evolutionary process. The environment changes, and attributes which once gave advantage no longer do. Many actors in our society who once spoke only in the language of violence have chosen to adapt to this change, and now pursue the needs and concerns of their constituencies with the new advantages given to them by participation in political, social and economic processes. As this year of attacks on, and threats to, Alliance has shown, a small number of the ruthless still seek to try in vain to resurrect the advantages once gained for them by thuggery. 

We are always proud to stand as one with our friends and colleagues in Alliance, never more than when they are threatened by those who would, without thought of consequence, destroy the political and social progress for which Alliance has so tirelessly fought since its foundation.

Northern Ireland Lib Dem Chair pays tribute to Sean Morrin

Sean Morrin at Foyle Pride. (Photo: Anne Ramsey)

Sean Morrin at Foyle Pride. (Photo: Anne Ramsey)

Responding to the sad news that Sean Morrin, a lifelong human rights activist and trade unionist, who died in Derry at the weekend, Northern Ireland Liberal Democrats Chair, John O’Neill said,

Sean Morrin’s untimely death brings to an end too soon a life lived in unstinting commitment to equality and freedom for all the people of Northern Ireland, especially those of his beloved home city.

Sean was a great man who campaigned for human rights for everyone especially for rights for those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender in our society. On behalf of the local Liberal Democrats, I express our sadness at his passing, but we hope that everyone who knew him will continue to work for the equality that was so much a part of his life.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and work colleagues at this time.