Appeals tribunal confirms NUJ membership! 

The NEC Appeals Tribunal in London have overturned the decision of the Belfast and District Branch of the NUJ to reject my membership. 

I represented myself at the hearing in London yesterday and today’s decision has vindicated my earlier assertions that I did meet the criteria for membership, despite the Belfast & District branch asserting otherwise. 

The public intervention of the Belfast and District NUJ into this matter was, in my opinion, foolish. I never sought conflict in relation to this matter, however I had no option but to defend myself when others sought to aggressively oppose my application, for what I felt were entirely illegitimate reasons. 

However, the appeal tribunal has ruled definitively in my favour, so that is where the matter ends. 

There cannot be a glass ceiling for people of the Unionist community, or those whose views are seen as unpopular. We must challenge inequalities, or attempts to tell us that certain professions- such as law and journalism- aren’t for us. 

I look forward to the support of the Branch, and the wider NUJ, when the inevitable legal onslaught- designed to get to my sources in relation to Nama- comes. 

Moves are already afoot in this regard, and such attempts to use legal mechanisms, in order to expose sources of whistleblower and journalistic material, should be resisted by all that cherish freedom of expression and the freedom of the press. 

I want to place on record my thanks for the NUJ lifetime member of 61 years standing, that very kindly wrote in support of me. I have never met this individual, yet he took the time to offer his support. (I have not sought this individuals permission to name him publicly, so therefore I won’t do so at this stage). 

Serious questions raised over PwC 

 The business advisors, that were brought in to carry out a report into the shambolic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme which will cost the tax payer over £400 million, are involved in numerous scandals, it can be revealed.

Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) is also regularly used by the PSNI to carry out forensic accounting in relation to economic crime.

It can be revealed that, according to well-placed legal sources, PwC are now facing becoming embroiled in an ongoing legal action by a high profile Northern Ireland businessman.

 It is alleged that PwC were appointed by a local company’s directors, on the instruction of a prominent bank. It was not, however, revealed to the company that PwC and the bank were actually working together to strip company of their assets. They then disposed of the assets, at a knock down price, to their chosen circle of business associates.

It isn’t the first time that Pwc have been involved in scandals. Below is a sample list of some of the recent issues to arise in relation to PwC:

• PwC were sued for $5.5bn for negligence in a mortgage case

• PwC were sued by Bill Gates over a corruption scandal

• Prosecutors investigated PwC for their role in the Tyco scandal

• Former PwC employers faced trial over their role in LuxLeaks scandal

• Temporary worker was sent home from PwC, for not wearing high enough heels

• Tesco dumped PwC after a £263 million accounting fiasco

• PwC were implicated in the Barclay’s libor scandal

• PwC have been accused of selling mass marketed tax avoidance schemes

• PwC partners faced trial for tax fraud

• John Lewis dumped PwC over concerns arising from an increasing number of scandals

• PwC employee had to publicly admit that he took confidential files

• PwC forced to investigate a sexist email scandal involving staff in their Dublin office

PwC have previously been alleged to have been involved in a pattern of collusion with corrupt banks. 

The pattern referred to is that a bank advises their customer to appoint PWC, however, behind the customer’s back PwC reports all confidential matters to the bank. These confidential reports include tax returns and audit files, unlawfully passed to the bank without the client’s knowledge or approval. PwC then advise their ‘client’, at a time of the banks choosing, that they should go into administration. 

More often than not it is PwC themselves that are appointed as administrators, and accordingly they strip the client’s assets and sell them to pre-selected parties, generally picked from the favoured golden circle.

The above pattern of behaviour is at odds with the words of Paul Terrington, the Chairman of the Institute of Directors and PwC (NI). Writing in the March/April edition of Business First, Mr Terrington, in an article carrying the headline ‘Trust’, said;

“Across the nation we are experiencing a growth in cynicism and a decline in trust.”

He further said “what underpins trust are transparency, honesty and a tone from the top that defines the purpose of an organisation, its value and place within wider society.”

There is much more to come in relation to ongoing scandals involving PwC, however at this point in time it is important that PwC’s role in the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme is fully explored. 

It is further important that the PSNI explain why PwC, who are embroiled in a litany of fraud and corruption scandals, are chosen to carrying out forensic accounting for their economic crime department.

If trust and transparency are key, then those who sought PwC’s assistance on the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme, and the PSNI that continue to use PWC’s services, must inform the public whether they feel that this firm can be trusted.

Kearney & Tweed- Why don’t you sue me? 

I was today named in the Belfast Telegraph, in relation to litigation being pursued by Mr Paul Tweed on behalf of Paddy Kearney, one of Peter Robinson’s golden circle of property developers. 

Mr Kearney, of course, benefitted from a sweetheart deal from Cerberus, not only having over £224m written off- but further picking up the assets of his competitors at knock down prices. 

Key to Mr Kearney’s involvement is Alan Mains, his close associate. Mr Mains was named in my Nama book for his involvement in the Smithwick tribunal, and was later exposed as having been involved in handling Mr Kevin Fulton. 

Mr Mains was involved in a fraud case, of Mr Luigi Marotta, which was later thrown out when it became apparent that the PSNI may have had to explain who Kevin Fulton’s handlers in the case were. This, of course, would have raised all sorts of uncomfortable questions about Main’s evidence to Smithwick. 

The legal strategy of Paul Tweed is to sue Daithi McKay as a conduit to get to me, and then have the real battle over the revealing of sources. This entire process of ‘litigation’ is about finding a way of compelling me to reveal my sources- something I will never do! 

If Mr Kearney sued me, then I couldn’t be compelled to give evidence, but by suing Mr McKay they can then seek to compel me to give evidence. At this point they will then seek the court to compel me to reveal my sources, and I will refuse. It is then that the real battle will be fought. 

This isn’t about money, this isn’t about reputation, this is a game of chess that Mr Tweed has plotted out. The problem for them is that they aren’t the only ones to have war gamed it out long ago. 

So Mr Kearney and Mr Tweed (and Mr Robinson in the background)- let’s get all the pawns off the table and go right at it! 

I have republished today- in full- my allegations about Mr Kearney before the committee. They aren’t covered by privilege, and I stand over each and every allegation fully. Go ahead and serve your writ! 

Paul Tweed knows the battle is going to be over trying to get me to reveal my sources, I know that’s where the battle is going to be- so why waste time with satellite litigation around it? 



It’s time to sweep away the contrived notion of ‘parity of esteem’

One of the most flawed parts of the Belfast Agreement is the contrived notion of parity of esteem. Parity means equality and esteem is defined as ‘to have high regard or great respect for’. This naturally creates the environment that allows the notion that those who aspire to Irish unity should have their political aspirations held in equal regard, in terms of state recognition, as the majority of people in Northern Ireland, whose wish is to remain an integral part of the United Kingdom. 

This is a complete perversion of democracy. All individuals are entitled to the same rights, protections and equality under the law. There is no right, however, which grants those with a minority political aspiration to have the outworking of such an aspiration- such as flying of foreign flags etc. – receive formal Government recognition. There is no legitimate or lawful requirement for the expressions of any foreign identity to be held in parity with the sovereign flags and emblems of the United Kingdom. 

If we follow this claim of ‘parity of esteem’ through to its logical conclusion, then the Irish flag should have equal standing alongside the Union flag. The Irish National anthem should have equal standing alongside the National anthem of the United Kingdom, and the emblems of the British Armed Forces should be reduced to equal standing alongside those of the Irish Army. 

And the above examples lay bare the political motivations cloaked in the language of ‘parity of esteem’. If the sovereign symbols and expressions of identity are reduced to equivalence with those regarded as their own by the minority that deny the legitimacy of the State to govern, then the democratic wishes of the majority of people- to remain within the United Kingdom- are undermined via the backdoor. 

Once you accept the principle of parity of esteem, then the logical trajectory of such a process is joint-authority. If one accepts (which I never have) that there should be parity between expressions of sovereign Britishness and the minority aspiration of Irish unity, then it is only logical to conclude that both the Irish government and the British Government should govern Northern Ireland, in order to provide ultimate ‘parity of esteem’. This would be entirely unacceptable to the Unionist population.

Such a neutralising of sovereign identity is another staging post along the road to economic, cultural, security and governing harmonisation between North/South- a key strategic aim underpinning the political objective of obtaining Irish unification. 

‘Parity of esteem’ is a linguistic method of dressing up political aims, in the language of civil rights. The reality is that it is a political weapon used to further the political aim of those who seek to deny the democratic right of the elected Government of the United Kingdom to govern. It is not people that will be granted ‘parity of esteem’, but rather a political aspiration. It is important to make a distinction between the rights of each individual to be treated equally under the law, and held equally subject to the law, and the false claim that minority, or foreign,political symbols and identity should be afforded parity with the sovereign symbols and identity of the majority, who wish to remain part of the United Kingdom. If we follow, once again, the ‘parity of esteem’ logic, then why are other minority political aspirations not also afforded equal parity? 

Individuals have the right to hold and express their political opinion freely, even if such opinions do not recognise the right of the state to govern. Individuals or groups should not be discriminated against for holding such views; however they do not have the right to have such views formally recognised by the state or for their political denial of the same states legitimacy to govern, to be held equally alongside the democratic wishes of the majority. 

If British citizens are to have their democratic will of sovereignty held, by the state, in equivalence with the wishes of a minority that seek to deny such British citizenship, then that is an erosion of the democratic wishes of the majority, and as such undermines the very principle of democracy. 

All of the above works from the Nationalist viewpoint of the Belfast Agreement. Sinn Fein’s submission to the Haass talks in 2013 sought to refer to the Agreement as providing a duty of “Equality of treatment” on Public bodies. This, naturally, provides Nationalism with a spring board upon which to argue that cultural and sovereign expressions of Irishness should be held in parity with Britishness. 

The context of their submission on this point was an attempt to place a duty on Public bodies to adopt a policy of flying either the British and Irish flag, or no flags at all. This perverse suggestion should be utterly rejected. There cannot be parity, within the lawful territory of the United Kingdom, between the sovereign Union flag and any foreign flag. Whilst the “Equality or Neutrality” point was raised in relation to public bodies, it does shine a light upon the much wider strategy of Nationalism, designed to undermine every vestige of British culture and tradition within Northern Ireland. 

This is, of course, is one of the key flaws in the Belfast Agreement. It is so ambiguous on such matters, that it allows Nationalism to use the Agreement- which was sold as a ‘settlement’ to Unionism- as a Trojan horse process, upon which they can piggy-back towards Irish unity. A key part of this strategy is neutralising the sovereign cultural expressions, and campaigning for what is, in their mind, positive discrimination against the British majority within Northern Ireland. 

The Trojan horse targeting sovereignty, by the back door, is disguised under the aforementioned Sinn Fein policy of “equality or neutrality”. This is a carefully laid trap, designed to move Unionism and statutory bodies into an area whereby whatever decision is taken, it will undermine the prominence of the sovereign expressions of the majority. There is no duty on the sovereign Government of the United Kingdom to dilute, nor give official recognition to, the symbols of a foreign jurisdiction- which is now further separated by an EU land border. 

The issues arising from Brexit do much to undermine the Belfast Agreement and the parity of esteem argument, which is so cherished by Nationalism. Once Brexit finally officially takes place, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which are already separate jurisdictions, will be separated by an EU land border. Therefore it is impossible that Irish citizens of Northern Ireland, which is outside the EU, can have the same rights as Irish citizens within the Republic of Ireland, which remains within the EU. This drives a horse and cart through the ambiguous areas of the Belfast Agreement that Nationalism base their “equality or neutrality” strategy upon.

Strategic legal victory for Bangor Protestant Boys 

The prosecution of four members of the Bangor Protestant Boys Flute Band, of which I am a member, is a sad indictment on the system and indeed further reflects the continuing attempts by the Policing and Justice apparatus to criminalise, and neutralise, expressions of culture.

The core trajectory of the failed Belfast Agreement pivots on the contrived notion of ‘harmonisation’. This, in essence, is the key of Nationalism’s strategy. It is dressed up under the guise of equality, which is, in Gerry Adam’s own words, the ‘trojan horse’. Harmonisation relies upon social, economic and cultural neutralisation.

For this strategy to be effective, and the peace ‘process’ to follow its pre-disposed roadmap towards Irish Unification- whether constitutionally or via the back-door of all-Ireland harmonisation- culture must be neutralised and neutered. Therefore it is no surprise to see that the PSNI and Public Prosecution Service- which was surrendered under the table at the Hillsborough agreement talks- are acting as the enforcement arm of this strategy, and as such criminalising all aspects of Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist cultural expression.  

Our band came under investigation following a conscious decision to breach an unjust and oppressive Parades Commission determination. Our band respectfully decided to play a hymn passing St Patrick’s chapel on Donegall Street. This is a decision that the band fully stands over.

The PSNI initially sought to prosecute almost every member of the band, working under a ‘joint-enterprise’ rule whereby they sought to present the entire band as one structure and therefore each and every band member could have been prosecuted for the actions of the band corporately.

The band took a conscious decision to target this particular aspect of the PSNI case, knowing full well that a successful outcome could severely undermine future PSNI attempts to criminalise bands corporately.

Prior to this, the band also decided to expose the fatal flaws in the legislative framework of the Public Processions Act. By initially refusing to voluntarily attend for interview, the band forced an admission from the PSNI that they have no powers of arrest under the Public Processions Act; therefore there was precious little they could do if a band member refused to engage.

Once this aspect was proven, much to the consternation of a humiliated PSNI investigating team, the band then decided to present for interview with a pre-prepared outline of our defence. This defence was based on the assertion that rather than being one corporate entity, the band was instead compartmentalised and accordingly different sections of the band had no idea what duties other sections were to perform.

For example the flag carriers had no knowledge of what tunes the flute section would play, the drummers acted on the instruction of the lead tip- the role of which revolved constantly amongst the drummers- and the flute players acted on the calls of the band captain, which rotated throughout the parade.

This strategic test of the PSNI’s case proved effective in undermining their malice, as their attempted mass prosecution buckled due to the fact that they could not adduce sufficient proof as to who knew what, when they knew and who bore responsibility. With each compartment of the band reliant upon another and this structure constantly rotating, then it is much harder for the PSNI/PPS to prove beyond all reasonable doubt culpability or knowledge.

As such, the PSNI were only able to prosecute four members of the band, all of whom played flutes. The band members had refused to omit from their pre-prepared PSNI statements that they had consciously broken the determination, a mark of their pride in the actions of the band. Had such an admission not been included, then it is quite conceivable that the PSNI would not even have succeeded in prosecuting four band members.

The strategy of compartmentalising the band, and rotating responsibility of roles and actions, presents the PSNI with a serious evidential problem for any future cases. Despite the fact that four unfortunate members of the band had to accept a fine in this matter, it was an important strategic victory over the PSNI and PPS, and it is hoped that such defence strategies can be refined and utilised further and in the future thwart further malicious prosecutorial attempts to criminalise culture and religious freedom. 

Politics, Deal Making and Illegality- Adair/Kearney’s sweetheart deals #NAMA 

One aspect of the unfolding Nama scandal that was not afforded due attention, was the then DUP Finance Minister’s attempt to have former Anglo-Irish bank boss Neil Adair appointed to the Nama Northern Ireland advisory panel. 

The fact that Sammy Wilson had tried to appoint Mr Adair only became apparent when previously redacted Department of Finance papers were provided to the Departments scrutiny committee who were investigating the Nama scandal. 

In 2006 Neil Adair left the Anglo-Irish bank and teamed up Paddy Kearney. The pair, along with another man, Brian McConville, formed a company called PBM Ltd, which would later become Kilmona holdings. 

In a media interview given at this time Mr Adair stated “I’ve always seen myself as a deal-maker first and banker second.” 

As Adair, Kearney and McConville embarked on numerous business ventures together, they were funded by the Anglo-Irish bank to the tune of £260m. 

Confidential reports from the following years however show that the company were becoming “hopelessly insolvent” and were unable to pay their interest. 

By 2009 the company had debts of circa £317m. Over £200m of these debts would later be written off, after lobbying by then First Minister Peter Robinson, and Mr Kearney eventually received a sweetheart deal from Cerberus, in which he not only had millions of pounds written off but he was also permitted to purchase the assets of developers who were in far less debt than Mr Kearney. 

The favourable treatment of Mr Kearney by Cerberus must be viewed in the context that the Finance Minister Sammy Wilson sought to put Kearney’s business partner, Neil Adair, onto the Nama advisory panel in 2009. 

Mr Adair had worked alongside Mr Kearney as he accrued the enormous debts that followed him into Nama following the collapse of the Anglo-Irish Bank. 

Questions have been raised about why Mr Sammy Wilson sought to appoint Neil Adair and what due diligence was carried out prior to this proposed appointment, given the fact that Mr Adair’s business partner was a huge debtor in Nama. 

Following Paddy Kearney’s sweetheart deal from Cerberus, the then First Minister Peter Robinson attended a celebratory dinner in Carrickfergus. 

As part of this sweetheart deal, Mr Kearney had to refinance his loans through Jeffries loan core. 

One of the companies controlled by Paddy Kearney was previously owned by a man who will be referred to here as ‘GB’. 

This gentleman had assets of circa £90m but during the crash the value of these assets fell and the business began to fall into troubled waters. 

The Anglo-Irish bank approached ‘GB’ and informed him he would be going into administration- unless the sold 50% of his company to their former employees business partner, Paddy Kearney. 

Left with little option ‘GB’ agreed to this deal, but upon closing the deal he was informed that Kearney wanted 70% of his company. Anglo told him he had no choice but to agree to sell it for £1. 

Once these debts found their way into Cerberus they had to be refinanced as part of the package agreed with Jeffries Loan Core. The sticking point was that ‘GB’s’ company had to be owned 100% by Mr Kearney.

It is understood that individuals acting for Mr Kearney falsified ‘GB’s’ power of attorney, which was then witnessed by Tughans, and signed over- illegally- 100% of the company to Paddy Kearney. 

It was such deals that Mr Robinson celebrated when he attended the party hosted by Paddy Kearney in Carrickfergus following his sweetheart refinancing deal. 

SF ‘travel’ motion provides a clear example of their dying ‘harmonisation’ strategy 

Sinn Fein are currently moving a motion through the committees of Belfast City Hall that is, on the face of it, about travel. Duped into believing this is, naturally, the Alliance party; whose Councillor Michael Long has seconded the motion.

 The text of the motion seeks to walk Belfast City Council into a cross border and pro EU initiative, via the back door. Sinn Fein’s agenda behind this is clear. 

Firstly, they want to continue to promote the failed European Union, even through the democratic will of the people of the United Kingdom has voted to leave. 

And secondly, it is another transparent attempt at advancing the agenda of all-Ireland harmonisation via all means possible, including trade and commerce. The purpose behind these harmonisation attempts is not primarily economic, but rather as part of the core republican political strategy of wedding together all aspects of political, social, cultural and business life between Northern Ireland and the Republic. 

Unionism must grasp the opportunities Brexit provides to strengthen the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. 

The hysterical reaction from Nationalism following the Brexit vote demonstrates their fear that the process of harmonisation- that was one of the core tenets of the Belfast Agreement for Nationalism- could be severely damaged. 

Some say that a more clearly defined border would encourage and validate dissident republicanism. 

The parading issue at Twaddell avenue is a microcosm of the state of dissident republicanism. Isolated from the democratic process with zero political support, their strategy encompasses threatening elected MLA’s, their local priest and journalists. 

Dissident republicanism is a rudderless ship, both militarily and politically. They are isolated and repudiated even from within the communities they claim to represent. 

Aside from questioning what is the point of the diabolical and imploded debris that currently constitutes dissident republicanism, and therefore leaves them ripe for destruction, there is another core aspect that must be kept in mind. 

Democracy and the articulating of lawful political viewpoints should never be held hostage to the threats of those, such as the numerous factions of dissident republicanism, who would seek to use terrorism to subvert the democratic will of the people. So why should concerns that such terrorists could cause further damage factor in discussions. To allow such considerations to play a role is to provide leverage to those that seek to attack democracy and the rule of law.

The Brexit vote was a democratic vote by the majority of the United Kingdom, voting as a whole. Northern Ireland is not a member state of the EU as a single entity, but rather as part of the United Kingdom. Therefore the argument that Northern Ireland should stay in the EU is preposterous and fanciful, not least a repugnant attempt to override the democratic will of the majority of people within the United Kingdom. 

Northern Ireland’s integral place as part of the United Kingdom is guaranteed via the principle of consent, which was ironically enshrined within the Belfast Agreement that Nationalism clings to so valiantly. 

Nationalism recognises a key point, and this is why they are so infuriated. The Belfast Agreement provided the vehicle for North/South harmonisation, a gradual and practical eradication of the border by means of eventual joint policing, trade, commerce and a neutralised cultural identity. The EU of which Nationalism wishes to be part is not only an trade and economic union, but also a political one. 

A European political union was the senior project that hoovered, like a guarantor, above the North/South harmonisation project designed to harmonise practical relations and thus make the constitutional question eventually irrelevant. If North/South was harmonised in every practical sense, then what relevance would the border have? And if it had no relevance, then why keep it? 

The European Union project was an identical strategy on a larger scale. It was primarily about creating a fully functional political union by harmonising member states in a web of financial and economic institutions. From this would naturally flow a political union. 

Now that the United Kingdom has voted to leave the EU, one of the key aspects of Nationalism’s interpretation of the Belfast Agreement has been thrown into disarray. With a clearly defined land border between one state (Republic of Ireland) that is a EU member state and another (United Kingdom) that is an independent and sovereign state, the harmonisation project is greatly demoralised. 

It is for the interlocking reasons of promoting North/South harmonisation, and continuing to desperately attempt to cling to the European political union dream, that Sinn Fein propose such motions as that put forward by Mr McVeigh. 

Cloaked in the monotonous language plucked straight from the peace process dictionary and no doubt being underpinned by such manipulated themes as ‘parity of esteem’ and the Trojan horse of ‘equality’, the motion disguises their political objective under the veil of trade and commerce. 

A prime example of the republican strategy if ever one was needed. Unionism must be alert and aware of these manipulative actions from an increasingly desperate nationalist/republican play-book. 

The harmonisation strategy, ironically as a constitutional and security imperative, died the moment that Brexit became a living reality. 

When Nationalists and republicans repeat the line ‘what does Brexit mean’, it is really a rhetorical question, they know the answer full well. It means that their entire political strategy lies in tatters.

LAD cyber bully revealed 

I notice that given LAD’s now boring and repetitive harassment, one of the pathetic cowards behind the website has decided to seek relevance by revealing himself under the laughable auspices of launching a ‘stand up show’. 
Let us not forget the innocent people LAD harassed and some of the vile, obnoxious, sectarian, defamatory and profanity laden comments that regularly flowed from the admins of their website. 

There are people such as myself who willingly put themselves into the public domain. In that regard the obsessed trolling from creeps- such as John Paul Whearty- is part and parcel of daily life. 

LAD, however, decided to trash the lives of many people whose only crime was to express their views on their own social media platform- ironically being brave enough to do so under their own name. 

Now that John Paul Whearty has confirmed what many of us have known for quite some time, and convicted woman beater Gary Kirby has already been outed, it is about time the other bearded ‘Lad’ admitted his complicity in what was little more than a NI21 inspired mask to allow cowards, woman beaters and insecure freaks to troll those brave enough to articulate their views using their own identity. 

I would encourage all, especially those in the loyalist community, to remember the campaign of hate this site orchestrated and not to allow this cyber troll to whitewash his actions or somehow present them as part of a moral crusade. 

Harassment, cyber bullying and trolling is not the mark of a group of virtuous crusaders, but rather a band of insecure social rejects whose purpose in life was found behind a keyboard. 

Given there are already legal actions being brought against LAD associates by Jim Wells, it is entirely possible that similar actions could now flow against John Paul Whearty, the self confessed ‘Lad’. 

There may also be criminal breaches of the law in terms of harassment and anyone who feels they have suffered at the hands of Mr Whearty and co. should refer the matter to the PSNI for further investigation. 
Finally, I hope that all will remember Mr Whearty for what he really is. A cyber bully and a coward that hid behind a mask to abuse others. 

Education- It’s cool; Breaking the invisible barrier 

Tony Blair said very little of substance during his leadership of the Labour Party- but when he uttered the words “education, education, education”, he was absolutely correct. 

Countless academic reports have studied the educational underachievement of young Protestants, especially young Protestant boys. 

I attended school at Bangor Academy secondary school. It was, and is, a fantastic school. There is a wonderful mix of teachers with fresh ideas and approaches to the broadly defined term of ‘education’. 

I focus on Bangor Academy as an example because firstly it is the school I attended-therefore have some intimate knowledge of- and secondly because it is situated within my local community. 

The school recognises that education is defined far more broadly than the somewhat narrow, and traditional, academic definition. This is important because it provides opportunities for young people to explore all of their talents- whether that be academic, sporting or other. 

Situated within the home town of the DUP Education Minister, Bangor Academy should be held up as an example of a school trying to provide modern education and ensuring that the benefits of education are promoted within the community. 

It is by such positive promotion of education that real change can come about. Quite often there is a resistance to education within working class Protestant communities. The reason for this could be debated until kingdom come, but it is widely accepted that there is some form of invisible barrier that makes young Protestants believe that education isn’t something that should factor high on the priority list.

That is why it is essential that schools such as Bangor Academy, and others similar, reach out into the community and ensure the message that education is positive, is spread far beyond the school walls. 

When looking at secondary schools it is important the education authorities realise that some of their most positive results may not come in exam papers, but rather in slowly changing attitudes towards education within the wider communities from which many of their pupils come. 

Education is cool. Education is important and most importantly it provides the tools that you require to promote real change and improve yourself. 

I am not an expert on education, but I do know one thing; once you change your attitude towards education it can unlock intellectual potential that otherwise would have remained hidden behind the invisible barrier that many young Protestants believe is saying; “you are not good enough”. The fact is such an invisible barrier doesn’t exist in reality, it is a social barrier that is effective in reducing potential because more often than not young people chose to believe the myth. 

It’s time for young Protestants- or anyone else feeling educational isolation- to embrace education. It is time to realise that drinking until you fall over, taking drugs or engaging in anti-social behaviour isn’t positive or a measure of social standing. 

What is positive is educating yourself, empowering your community and leading real change in whatever chosen profession or field you decide to engage in. 

11 vital questions- #Nama scandal 

This past week has seen more Nama allegations substantiated in the mainstream media, by virtue of the excellent BBC Spotlight program by Mandy McCauley. 

This, once again, makes a mockery of the useful idiots unyielding defence of that “pillar of the establishment”- Mr Frank Cushnahan.

There are a number of questions that are relevant at this time. 

 Gareth Robinson worked as a lobbyist for Lagans, who benefited from Sammy Wilson’s political influence being exerted on Nama in relation to Millmount. Lagans have recently got the Millmount site after Paddy Kearney ran into financial difficulties. Ian Coulter also now works for Lagans.

1) Gareth Robinson was paid professional fees by Lagans. What for? 

B) Did Lagans make any cash payments to Gareth Robinson for his lobbying? 

C) Did any representative of Lagans meet with Sammy Wilson or Peter Robinson? 

2) Did Gareth Robinson, in his annual returns, make a declaration of cash payments he had received from John Miskelly? If not, why not? 

3) As a PR lobbyist, what was Gareth Robinson’s expertise in a financial deal involving property developers. What services did he provide? Or was Gareth Robinson’s role to act as a conduit for his father, Mr Peter Robinson, in selling political influence for cash?

4) Mr Paddy Kearney received extraordinarily strong political support from Peter Robinson. Did Mr Kearney- or his fixer Alan Mains- make any cash payments to Mr Cushnahan or Gareth Robinson or meet with either? 

5) The Miskelly tapes cover under the table cash payments totalling up to circa £700,000. Who else received these payments and for what ‘services’? 

6) Frank Cushnahan said Gareth Robinson was to be sorted out from “the other thing”. What other thing? Was this reference to the £7.5m fixers fee that was to be split 5 ways? Was Gareth acting as the conduit for his father Peter Robinson’s slice of the money? 

7) Was there more than one off shore account that held Nama fixer payments? An account in the name of the wife of one of the key players in the scandal perhaps? 

8) What was the next part of the tape after Frank Cushnahan received the £40k from John Miskelly? Was the £40k to be split between Frank Cushnahan and a prominent political figure? 

9) Frank Cushnahan was “up working behind the scenes” with Sammy Wilson. Did Frank Cushnahan have a Stormont access pass, if so what party gained this for Mr Cushnahan? 

10) Can Frank Cushnahan confirm that prior to moving to Grahams bookmakers, he held an office in a firm controlled by Mr Brendan McGinn, a key player in Fortress? Did Mr Cushnahan communicate with his colleague Mr McGinn, who worked for Fortress the under bidder, during the bidding process? 

11) Brendan McGinn- business associate of current Finance Minister and from whose office Frank Cushnahan previously worked- was paid a large fee for carrying out due diligence on Fortress’s Nama bid. What was this fee? Was it in the region of £800,000? 

The above 11 questions are just the tip of the ice berg. There are huge questions- with enormous political ramifications- for the current Finance Minister. These questions will be published 24 hours prior to his appearance at the DFP committee.