Category Archives: General

Why I am an (Irish) Unitarian

This is a slightly edited version of an address I gave in the St Stephen’s Green Unitarian Church, Dublin, on 30th April. I’m going to talk today about why I am a Unitarian. But I am going to start with … Continue reading

Posted in General, Republic of Ireland | 2 Comments

Irish media’s poor coverage of Northern Ireland not helping understanding in the Republic

Earlier this week I addressed the Belfast dialogue group Compass Points on the coverage of Northern Ireland by the media in the Republic. This is a slightly edited version of my remarks. The first thing I should say is that … Continue reading

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

Talking to a cosmopolitan, community-focussed nationalist who is full of good ideas

Conor Patterson emphasises that he is not a politician, political commentator or member of a political party – he is a businessman with a passion for community development in his home town of Newry, in Northern Ireland and on the … Continue reading

Posted in General, Irish reunification, Northern Ireland | 1 Comment

A wise, insightful examination of the perils and possibilities of Irish unity

If readers of this blog are looking for a book to read on the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, I strongly recommend Perils and Prospects of a United Ireland, by my friend Padraig O’Malley, the distinguished Professor of … Continue reading

Posted in General, Irish reunification, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland | 9 Comments

Are we afraid of talking about Ireland’s violent past and possibly violent future?

This is a blog about letters to the newspapers. I know it’s dangerous to generalise from the particular, and especially the particular of one’s own tiny experience. But I can’t help seeing a pattern in recent rejections of my letters … Continue reading

Posted in General, Irish reunification, Sinn Fein | 3 Comments

Talking to a broad-minded sporting unionist who defies all the Southern stereotypes

Brian Dougherty is a unionist. This Derry community worker says he is more determined in his unionism than he has ever been. Yet in every other way he goes against the narrow stereotype that most people in the South have … Continue reading

Posted in General, Northern Ireland, Protestantism, unionism and loyalism | 2 Comments

The new GAA president is that rare thing: an anti-sectarian Ulsterman

I am going to stray into the unfamiliar territory of the Gaelic Athletic Association for this blog. As a sports-mad half-Irish boy growing up in London, my games were football (soccer in Ireland) and rugby (although I was occasionally seen … Continue reading

Posted in General, Northern Ireland | 1 Comment

In this still deeply divided country, should we be talking about confederation?

The former T├ínaiste and Progressive Democrat leader, Michael McDowell, has been writing recently about confederation.1 I may not often agree with his views on social and economic issues, but I have always found his political analysis of the North to … Continue reading

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

A united Ireland will have to include unionists – so let’s get on with the difficult task of including them

I will be surprised if I see a united Ireland in my lifetime (I am in my early seventies). But the direction of travel is unmistakable. The history-changing reasons have been well rehearsed: the growth of the Catholic population – … Continue reading

Posted in General, Irish reunification, Northern Ireland, Protestantism, unionism and loyalism | 8 Comments

Now for something completely different: an optimistic story about climate change

In the first week of January 2023 it is not easy to be optimistic. There is no obvious end to the cruel, grinding Russian war against Ukraine. Economic recession looms for the West. Climate change targets are being missed all … Continue reading

Posted in General, Ireland, Europe and the world, The island environment, Views from abroad | Leave a comment