Category Archives: Northern Ireland

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

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

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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

Why we need to fight the Corona virus on an all-island basis

This is an updated and expanded version of an article published in the ‘Belfast Telegraph’ on 2 April. I find I have a little more to add to the Covid-19 reflections of my last blog: specifically about North-South cooperation in … Continue reading

Posted in Cross-border cooperation, General, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, The island environment | 1 Comment

Two reflections on the Corona virus crisis: one Irish, one international

What more can one ignorant retired journalist add to the trillions of words written about the Corona virus? Not much, except perhaps two points that readers will have seen before from me ad nauseam on a range of topics: 1) … Continue reading

Posted in Cross-border cooperation, General, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, The island environment, Views from abroad | 2 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