Author Archives: andypollak

Whatever the Unionists wish for, the Protocol looks like it’s here to stay – and it can be good for all of us

One year on, the Northern Ireland Protocol looks like it’s here to stay. Its fiercest opponent (and chief negotiator) in the British government, Lord David Frost, has gone. Before that the British had dropped their demand that the European Court … Continue reading

Posted in General, Ireland, Europe and the world, Northern Ireland | 3 Comments

Majority of Southern voters think united Ireland “not very important” but they would like to see it “some day”

That is the headline I would like to have seen on the Irish Times front page lead story on 11th December about the paper’s latest opinion poll on unity and other issues. Its editors went instead for the much more … Continue reading

Posted in Cross-border cooperation, General, Irish reunification, Republic of Ireland, Sinn Fein | 1 Comment

Could North-South agri-food cooperation help cross the rural-urban climate change divide?

So in the end the political will did not exist among world leaders at COP26 in Glasgow to radically tackle global warming. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned at the end of the conference: “We are still knocking on the … Continue reading

Posted in Cross-border cooperation, General, Ireland, Europe and the world, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, The island environment | Leave a comment

My single transferable blog: the people of the South are not ready for reunification

In his long and distinguished political career, John Hume many times gave what came to be known as his ‘single transferable speech’. He used to say that as a former teacher he realised that for even the smartest pupils, the … Continue reading

Posted in General, Irish reunification, Republic of Ireland | 5 Comments

My tribute to a group of mountaineering Irishmen (and a note about Micheal D.)

For the past 48 years I have been hill-walking with a group of men – mainly Dubliners – the length and breadth of Ireland: mainly in Wicklow, but also in Kerry, Connemara, Mayo, Donegal, the Cooleys and the Mournes. I … Continue reading

Posted in General, Republic of Ireland, The island environment | 4 Comments

A brave exploration of the plight of Northern Protestants

Over the summer I have been reading Susan McKay’s new book, Northern Protestants: On Shifting Ground. This is a brave and brilliant book. For those of us who have watched the decline and fall of the unionist monolith, and the … Continue reading

Posted in General, Northern Ireland, Protestantism, unionism and loyalism | 3 Comments

In praise of wise and moderate people of ideas

In all my years in Northern Ireland, two of the wisest people I came across were a senior Irish diplomat and a Northern Irish business leader. The diplomat was Noel Dorr, ambassador to the UK in the 1980s, Secretary General … Continue reading

Posted in General, Irish reunification, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland | 5 Comments

A hill-walker’s return to the most beautiful county in Ireland

It is surely no coincidence that I choose to take my Irish holidays in a place that is as far away from Northern Ireland as one can get. Kerry is simply the most beautiful and fascinating (and peaceful) county in … Continue reading

Posted in General, Republic of Ireland, The island environment | 3 Comments

Unionism is running out of both political and demographic road

I should start by welcoming Sir Jeffrey Donaldson as the new leader of the DUP, following Edwin Poots’ brief and inglorious reign. Donaldson is the nearest that ultra-dogmatic party gets to a pragmatist: a courteous man from a modest County … Continue reading

Posted in General, Northern Ireland, Protestantism, unionism and loyalism | 1 Comment

One of these years we in the Republic may have to face a difficult choice between equality and peace

Readers looking for insights into the recent turmoil surrounding the DUP will have to wait until that storm subsides before I essay some impressions. In my last blog, I said I would return to the weighty and thought-provoking report from … Continue reading

Posted in General, Irish reunification | 2 Comments