Category Archives: General

Sometimes I despair about the lack of fresh thinking in the Republic about moves towards unity

On 23rd October, the day after the Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, launched his ‘Shared Island’ initiative, I wrote the following letter to the Irish Times: The Taoiseach’s comments at the launch of the Government’s new ‘Shared Island’ initiative, prioritising sharing the … Continue reading

Posted in Cross-border cooperation, General, Irish reunification, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland | 2 Comments

Sinn Fein are getting ready for government. But are they ready for unity?

An Irish Times opinion poll on 8th October showed support for Fine Gael at 35% and Sinn Fein at 29%, with Fianna Fail a distant third at 17% and the Greens an even more distant fourth at 4%. Public anxiety … Continue reading

Posted in General, Irish reunification, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Sinn Fein | 3 Comments

My tribute to the late, great Eugene McCabe

The great Monaghan writer Eugene McCabe died a month ago, aged 90. This is a tribute I wrote to him nearly nine years ago in my former blog: ‘A Note from the Next Door Neighbours’. Does being a border writer … Continue reading

Posted in General, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland | 1 Comment

In evil times the rule of law does not matter

I fear we are living through evil times: climate catastrophe coming down the road; facing into a second winter surge of the Corona virus; the insanity of Brexit yet to hit home, and ultra-nationalist ‘strong men’ in charge of most … Continue reading

Posted in General, Ireland, Europe and the world, Irish reunification, Sinn Fein | 1 Comment

Walking the Kerry Way to happiness

Earlier this month I took my annual long summer walk for five days along the Kerry Way. I left Killarney on a sunny Monday morning along the Old Kenmare Road and passed through the ancient, boulder-strewn oak forests above Derrycunnihy … Continue reading

Posted in General, Republic of Ireland, The island environment | 2 Comments

Unionists – listen to the Professor of Consociation and Confederation

Brendan O’Leary is an extraordinary man.  Born in Cork and brought up in Nigeria and unionist County Antrim, he was a professor of politics at the London School of Economics and for the past 18 years has been Professor of … Continue reading

Posted in General, Irish reunification, Northern Ireland | Leave a comment

An Open Letter to Micheál Martin

Dear Taoiseach Congratulations on your election last Saturday. We have known each other for 23 years, since you were the rookie Fianna Fail education spokesman (soon to become Minister for Education) and I was the rookie Irish Times education correspondent. I … Continue reading

Posted in Cross-border cooperation, General, Irish reunification, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland | 7 Comments

Is the future green (saving the planet) or green (driving on to Irish unity)?

We in the Republic of Ireland have two prospects when it comes to the colour of the next government (and indeed the one after that), I would suggest. Those prospects have little to do with Fine Gael or Fianna Fail. … Continue reading

Posted in General, Irish reunification, Republic of Ireland, Sinn Fein, The island environment | 2 Comments

How Covid-19 brought solidarity and kindness to Northern Ireland

This latest blog consists largely of a letter from my good friend Paul Nolan, the prominent Belfast social researcher, who portrays a Northern Ireland working hard to overcome its divisions in order to defeat the Corona virus, a picture one … Continue reading

Posted in General, Northern Ireland | Leave a comment

Could the Irish language be a tool for reconciliation in Northern Ireland?

Tá beagán Gaeilge agam. Tá me ag foghlaim. Is teanga an-deachair í ach tá rún daingean agam leanúint ar aghaidh. I have been learning Irish for two and a half years, and finding it tough going at my relatively advanced … Continue reading

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