Category Archives: General

My plea to Irish voters: don’t put Sinn Fein close to power

We in the Republic have a general election in two days, and it looks as though Sinn Fein are going to do exceptionally well. The unhappiness of people – particularly young and poor people – with the shortcomings of Fine … Continue reading

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

The Seamus Mallon I knew: a brave and generous Irish chieftain

My much-admired friend Seamus Mallon was buried yesterday. This was my tribute to him in yesterday’s ‘Belfast Telegraph’. Courage and generosity: those are the two words that come to mind when I think of Seamus Mallon. Courage because for 25 … Continue reading

Posted in General, Northern Ireland | 4 Comments

Fear of Irish nationalism is now the main obstacle to a united Ireland

Fear is the main obstacle to the age-old dream of a peaceful united Ireland becoming a reality: unionists’ fear of Irish nationalism. In the first week of what many nationalists hope will  be a momentous decade, marking major movement towards … Continue reading

Posted in General, Irish reunification, Northern Ireland, Protestantism, unionism and loyalism | 4 Comments

Are the Unionists in the last chance saloon, or will Alliance come to the rescue?

I was delighted to see the centre ground, represented by the SDLP and Alliance, doing so well in last week’s British general election in Northern Ireland: the former giving Sinn Fein and the DUP a drubbing in Foyle and South … Continue reading

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

Is this the kind of ‘new conversation’ Northern Nationalists want?

Earlier this month 1,000 nationalists – although their spokesman claimed they are not nationalists – signed an open letter to the Taoiseach calling on the Irish government to set up a ‘citizens assembly’ to discuss reunification. In an advertisement listing … Continue reading

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

Now they’re going to be on the losing side again, is it time to be nice to the Unionists?

Writing this on 24 October, I forecast that Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, despite parliamentary delays and perhaps a general election,  will eventually pass through the British parliament (the 30 vote Commons majority for the second reading of the Withdrawal Agreement … Continue reading

Posted in General, Ireland, Europe and the world, Irish reunification, Northern Ireland, Protestantism, unionism and loyalism, Republic of Ireland | 4 Comments

A pessimistic speech on the 20th anniversary of the Centre for Cross Border Studies

The Centre for Cross Border Studies celebrated its 20th anniversary in Dundalk last week with a conference reflecting on the Good Friday Agreement and cross-border cooperation. The importance of the Centre’s work was recognised by the keynote speakers, the three … Continue reading

Posted in British-Irish relations, Cross-border cooperation, General, Northern Ireland | 2 Comments

Why don’t we have a competition to compose a new national anthem?

As a sports fan I find myself singing Amhrán na bhFiann quite a lot at this time of year: whether it is watching soccer or rugby internationals at the Aviva or (less frequently) all-Ireland finals at Croke Park. I belt … Continue reading

Posted in General, Irish reunification | 4 Comments

Two Irish mistakes as we hurtle towards the Brexit cliff edge

Readers of this blog will know that I have been a voice in the wilderness when it comes to querying the wisdom of the Irish government’s ‘backstop’ strategy to avoid a hard border on the island following the UK’s exit … Continue reading

Posted in British-Irish relations, General, Ireland, Europe and the world, Irish reunification, Northern Ireland | 3 Comments

A walk through Ireland’s bloody history in Wicklow’s peaceful mountains

Last month I went on my annual longish summer walk through the Irish hills and countryside. This year I decided, as a change from my usual cross-border itineraries, to go far away from the North to the deep south-east. I … Continue reading

Posted in General, Republic of Ireland, The island environment | 8 Comments