Did state agents nudge the IRA towards peace?

BBC Spotlight spoke to an informer who said he believed Gerry Adams sanctioned Denis Donaldson's murder
Image caption BBC Spotlight spoke to an informer who said he believed Gerry Adams sanctioned Denis Donaldson's murder

Gerry Adams has denied any involvement in sanctioning Denis Donaldson's murder.

Martin McGuinness says the claims made by an alleged agent inside the IRA on this week's Spotlight programme were "about as credible as Walter Mitty".

By contrast the Ulster Unionist Party urges the Sinn Féin President to take legal action against the BBC and if not to explain why not.

The TUV is urging the Gardaí (Irish police) to interview Mr Adams about the murder of Mr Donaldson just over ten years ago.

Aside from the claims around the Donaldson murder, the most interesting aspect of the Spotlight report was the argument that "agents of influence" were so pernicious within the republican movement that they could be credited with playing a major role in nudging Sinn Féin and the IRA along the path of ceasefires and political deals.

'The intelligence war'

Read full article Did state agents nudge the IRA towards peace?

BBC Border poll survey: Brexit impact on opinions

EU and Union Jack flags Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The BBC border poll survey suggested 8/10 voters opinions were unchanged by Brexit

Having spent the last few days trawling through the numbers in the View's latest survey, I feel safe in assuming that having covered the Good Friday Agreement referendum, the EU referendum and the AV referendum (remember that) I am unlikely, in my tenure as BBC NI Political Editor, to find myself covering a border poll.

(Note to editor - I am not ruling returning from retirement for a bit of punditry, I might need the cash!)

Image caption There was a rise in those who would vote to join the Republic of Ireland since 2013

Fluctuating support

Read full article BBC Border poll survey: Brexit impact on opinions

Brexit: The 'reverse ferret' claims and Stormont's 'joint approach'

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Martin McGuinness and Arlene Foster identified their five key priorities in the Brexit talks in a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May this week

"Brexit means Brexit" might have proved a catchy sound bite for Prime Minister Theresa May.

However this week's letter from Stormont Castle to Downing Street points to the huge ambiguity about what the UK might be entering into after it exits.

Read full article Brexit: The 'reverse ferret' claims and Stormont's 'joint approach'

What are the implications of Brexit for Northern Ireland?

A Union Jack flag flutters next to European Union flags Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Stormont and Dublin ministers are discussing Brexit in their North South Council and an early meeting of the East West British Irish Council has been promised

Our politicians are embroiled in discussions about the implications of Brexit on both sides of the Irish Sea, but so far not a lot of concrete ideas have emerged.

Both the SDLP and Sinn Fein have suggested creating an all Ireland national forum to consider the implications of Brexit.

Read full article What are the implications of Brexit for Northern Ireland?

Thoughts on the Brexit vote result in Northern Ireland

Image caption Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers backed the Leave campaign

As Nigel Farage and Theresa Villiers appeared to concede defeat late on Thursday night and sterling climbed on the assumption that Remain had it in the bag, Mark Carruthers, presenting BBC NI's "The View" invited me to call the referendum outcome.

Mindful that, behind me, the counters were still verifying the ballot papers and across the UK not a single area had declared, I declined his offer on the grounds that making a wild guess at such an early stage is a "mug's game"

Read full article Thoughts on the Brexit vote result in Northern Ireland

How long will the Stormont honeymoon last?

Parliament Buildings at Stormont Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption Anyone thinking the new-look assembly will mimic Westminster practices is likely to be wrong

So, how long will the Northern Ireland Executive honeymoon last?

And what difference will the new Stormont opposition make in practice?

Read full article How long will the Stormont honeymoon last?

Claire Sugden says risks of taking the justice role are 'life-changing'

Claire Sugden
Image caption Claire Sugden has been appointed as the new justice minister in Northern Ireland

Until the Assembly broke for the election campaign, Claire Sugden was an occupant of what used to be called the "naughty corner".

She inherited the East Londonderry seat from David McClarty after his untimely death from cancer, following in his footsteps as a liberal unionist working hard on the bread and butter concerns of her constituents.

Read full article Claire Sugden says risks of taking the justice role are 'life-changing'

Mike Nesbitt: UUP leader proves he still has an eye for a headline

Mike Nesbitt
Image caption Mike Nesbitt's rallying cry of 'let battle commence' ensures a change of the Stormont political game

As a former TV presenter, Mike Nesbitt has a penchant for grabbing a headline.

Last summer, he pulled out of the Stormont Executive when Peter Robinson was away, initially wrong footing the DUP as it tried to respond to allegations that Provisional IRA members were involved in the murder of former IRA man Kevin McGuigan.

Read full article Mike Nesbitt: UUP leader proves he still has an eye for a headline

Gerry Adams and the 'N-word'

Gerry Adams
Image caption Gerry Adams apologised for using the 'N-word' admitting it was "inappropriate" but stood by "the context and main point of my tweet which were the parallels between people in struggle"

The Northern Ireland Assembly election campaign had been looking dangerously anodyne, especially when contrasted with the high octane row about anti-Semitism within the British Labour Party. Then Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams decided to go to the movies.

The angry responses to Mr Adams' tweet about the film "Django Unchained" and his subsequent apology for his "ironic" use of the N-word have been well documented elsewhere.

Read full article Gerry Adams and the 'N-word'

NI Assembly election: Hustings events remain key part of campaign

Jim Wells
Image caption In March the former DUP health minister Jim Wells told the BBC his party was going to avoid election hustings during this campaign

Back in March the former DUP health minister Jim Wells told the BBC his party was going to avoid election hustings during this campaign.

It is easy to understand why Mr Wells took that view, given the furore over the controversial comments he made during a discussion of same sex marriage at a hustings event before last year's Westminster election.

Read full article NI Assembly election: Hustings events remain key part of campaign