Category Archives: General

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

Why Micheál Martin’s speech was inspirational and why the Shared Island initiative matters

Nobody would ever accuse the former Taoiseach, Micheál Martin (now Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs), of being an inspirational public speaker. But listening to his speech at the big Shared Island event in Dublin Castle earlier this month, I … Continue reading

Posted in Cross-border cooperation, General, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland | 6 Comments

Ulster loyalism feeling abandoned, betrayed and in perpetual crisis

Ulster loyalism is in crisis – but then when in recent years has it not been in crisis? Opinion in working class and rural areas has hardened against the Northern Ireland Protocol, which has given DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson … Continue reading

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

A brilliant, hard-nosed look at moves towards Irish unity. Unionists beware!

I have been reading Making Sense of a United Ireland by the University of Pennsylvania-based Irish political scientist Brendan O’Leary. This is an important book, rich in detail, truth-telling but also hard-nosed. It is the first deeply considered exploration of … Continue reading

Posted in General, Irish reunification, Northern Ireland | 4 Comments

Is this columnist’s frightening republican vision shared by young Irish people?

Una Mullally is a high profile Irish Times columnist: a gay left-wing feminist (although I have never seen or heard her describe herself as a socialist) who is particularly popular among the young. This is not surprising given that one … Continue reading

Posted in General, Sinn Fein | 5 Comments

Is Ireland’s Future effectively a front for Sinn Fein? Or is that the wrong question?

I was at the big Ireland’s Future ‘Preparing for a United Ireland:Together we can’ event at Dublin’s 3 Arena earlier this month. There was very little ‘preparing’ in the proceedings – it was more like a ‘Forward to the Promised … Continue reading

Posted in General, Irish reunification, Sinn Fein | 7 Comments

The results of the census and the revolt of the masses

Firstly, and briefly, the 2021 Northern Ireland census results. We know the headline figures well by now, that the number of those who are Catholics or from a Catholic background (at 45.7%) now outnumber the number of people who are … Continue reading

Posted in General, Ireland, Europe and the world, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland | 1 Comment

Sinn Fein are winning the peace, as people forget the IRA’s war

Sinn Fein are winning the post-1998 peace. They are now the largest party in Northern Ireland, and almost certainly will be the largest party in the Republic after the next election. A combination of internal and external events have come … Continue reading

Posted in General, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Sinn Fein | 4 Comments

Mary Lou McDonald and the forgotten people of the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’

The title of this blog,  ‘Two Irelands Together’, was not chosen by accident. My core contention in writing this column is that for more than 400 years there have been two clashing politico-religious cultures on this island – Catholic nationalist … Continue reading

Posted in General, Irish reunification, Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein | 13 Comments