Category Archives: General

The tragic breakdown of relations between Dublin and London and a 1998 Agreement that was not the last word

The most tragic element of Brexit and its aftermath – for me as a Northern Irish person who is also a happy citizen of the Republic of Ireland – is the total breakdown in relations between the Irish and British … Continue reading

Posted in British-Irish relations, General, Northern Ireland | Leave a comment

The NI Protocol is a mess but Boris’s bill to scrap it is a divisive disaster

The Northern Ireland protocol is a problem and it is back with a vengeance. As Taoiseach Miche├íl Martin, a man who is extremely careful with his words, put it, the British government’s new bill to unilaterally scrap large parts of … Continue reading

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

British legislation in the North is not always deceptive, oppressive or persecuting – it can be made better

Despite what Sinn Fein and other ‘advanced’ nationalists would have us believe, British government policy in Northern Ireland (and towards Ireland) is not always motivated by the wish to deceive and oppress and persecute. One benign effect of the peace … Continue reading

Posted in General, Northern Ireland | Leave a comment

Sinn Fein’s stunning victory does not signal any kind of unlocking of the Northern deadlock

It was a stunning and historic victory for Sinn Fein. In the 2017 Northern Ireland Assembly election commentators had made a lot of noise about Sinn Fein being 1,200 votes behind the DUP. This time the party of the IRA … Continue reading

Posted in General, Northern Ireland | 1 Comment

Poverty in Northern Ireland is not an election issue: society just ‘shrugs’

Last month I sat in on a webinar organised by the Glencree Peace and Reconciliation Centre in which we listened to two very impressive youth workers from the most deprived areas of nationalist West Belfast. They told a shocking story … Continue reading

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

Discussing Irish unity over dinner with Trinity College politics students

I had an interesting dinner with five political science students from Trinity College Dublin last month at which we discussed Irish unity and Southern Irish attitudes to it. I had met them three weeks earlier when I was giving a … Continue reading

Posted in General, Irish reunification, Republic of Ireland | 4 Comments

Sinn Fein will be re-writing recent Irish history when it gets into power

Earlier this month Mary Lou McDonald denied that the deletion of thousands of Sinn Fein press statements going back over 20 years represented an attempt to cover-up the party’s ‘soft’ position on Russia in the wake of its invasion of … Continue reading

Posted in General, Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein | 3 Comments

Is Ireland neutral in this battle between good and evil?

Sometimes (rarely) wars are seen as battles between the forces of good and evil. The war of the Allies against Nazism is the classic example in modern times. Except the Irish state chose to sit that one out, unwilling to … Continue reading

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

Unionism unloved and unbowed, and the rise and rise of Alliance

“Unwanted and unloved, Unionists are unbowed…but Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal is just the latest example of many in Britain kicking unionism and then being loved even more strongly in return”. That was the headline above a Belfast Telegraph column by … Continue reading

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

Fintan O’Toole, Leopold Bloom and me

I have been reading We Don’t Know Ourselves, Fintan O’Toole’s marvellous personal and political memoir of Ireland over the past 64 years. I am an unashamed admirer of O’Toole’s writings, and his brilliantly insightful, left-wing views on multiple aspects of … Continue reading

Posted in General, Irish reunification, Republic of Ireland | 4 Comments