White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigns. Sean Spicer announced his resignation soon after President Trump hired Anthony Scaramucci as Director of Communications. Spicer denied any rumour that he left on bad terms and claimed “I just thought it was in the best interest of our communications department”. That said, Spicer had an embarrassing experience as press secretary, often looking uncomfortable at the podium, mixing up his words and mispronouncing the names of foreign leaders, all unforgivable behaviours to display in such a role. However, when you are working for the most powerful man in the free-world who believes all communication starts and stops with him, it is surprising Spicer lasted as long as he did.
The release of BBC salaries exposed its shameful gender pay gap. In the interest of transparency, the BBC published a list of all its top earners and their salaries. Despite intentions this consequently exposed the BBCs gender pay gap among its top presenters. It is shocking that almost fifty years since the Equal Pay Act was introduced, that an organisation of such magnitude as the BBC has fallen short of rolling out the values of equality.
A further re-ignition of the bonfire debate. The issue has come to the fore this week as Republicans began to build a bonfire commemorating anti-interment next to a block of residential flats. Residents of the Seven Towers in the Newlodge area of Belfast expressed concerns given the recent damage caused to apartments as a result of a Loyalist bonfire less than two weeks ago. Statutory bodies have begun to dismantle the bonfire; however, this opens up a number of questions including why statutory bodies where unable to equally implement the law in loyalist areas where bonfires posed a safety risks to the homes of local residents.
A further relaxation on ‘gay blood’ policy. The Westminster Government has changed its policy on the deferral time of men who wish to donate blood from 12 months after sex to three. In Northern Ireland, the Department of Health have begun preparations to implement the policy, however, its implementation will be delayed as the final say lies with Stormont. Should the Assembly eventually follow in the steps of Westminster, it will be another victory in the fight for equal rights following the decision to scrap the blood ban in Northern Ireland in early 2016.
DUP MLA Edwin Poots addresses audience in Irish. This week DUP veteran Edwin Poots addressed a gathering in Co. Donegal in Irish. This came as a relative shock as the DUP have long opposed the implementation of an Irish Language Act in Northern Ireland despite their commitment to it in the St. Andrews agreement. Reading between the lines, this small display of cultural accommodation could be considered a step towards softly introducing their voters to the reality that an Irish Language Act is inevitable should a deal at Stormont be agreed.