Category Archives: Northern Ireland

Unity and Sanctuary: two difficult causes close to my ambivalent heart

There was an interesting exchange in the Irish Times earlier this month between two men I admire and whose views on Irish reunification I respect. A report in the online paper (its editors obviously deemed it not significant enough for … Continue reading

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

A clash between Northern bad faith and good cross-border business and infrastructure?

The unionists are digging another hole for themselves with their court action against the Northern Ireland Protocol. There is universal agreement in non-unionist Belfast, Dublin, London and Brussels that the Protocol, however unpleasant in the short-term for the North’s consumers … Continue reading

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

Listen to the wisdom of the man who was rejected by the voters of South Belfast

In democratic societies it is not always the best and wisest people who end up as politicians and political leaders. We have seen that in the USA, the UK and, not surprisingly, little Northern Ireland in recent years. Sometimes the … Continue reading

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

Is the UK exit from the EU an opportunity to turn Northern Unionists towards Europe (and Ireland)?

So, four and a half years after the fateful Brexit vote the United Kingdom finally left the European Union on New Year’s Eve with a trade deal in place. The sometimes unfathomable Northern Ireland protocol (which is separate from this … Continue reading

Posted in General, Ireland, Europe and the world, Northern Ireland, Protestantism, unionism and loyalism, Sinn Fein | 2 Comments

Don’t the DUP realise they are hanging on to the Union by their fingertips?

22 years ago, in the months after the Good Friday Agreement, there was a real feeling of hope in Northern Ireland. Seamus Mallon had sensed it when he talked to people in the streets of Omagh, Ballymoney and Poyntzpass after … Continue reading

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

Sometimes I despair about the lack of fresh thinking in the Republic about moves towards unity

On 23rd October, the day after the Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, launched his ‘Shared Island’ initiative, I wrote the following letter to the Irish Times: The Taoiseach’s comments at the launch of the Government’s new ‘Shared Island’ initiative, prioritising sharing the … Continue reading

Posted in Cross-border cooperation, General, Irish reunification, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland | 2 Comments

Sinn Fein are getting ready for government. But are they ready for unity?

An Irish Times opinion poll on 8th October showed support for Fine Gael at 35% and Sinn Fein at 29%, with Fianna Fail a distant third at 17% and the Greens an even more distant fourth at 4%. Public anxiety … Continue reading

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

My tribute to the late, great Eugene McCabe

The great Monaghan writer Eugene McCabe died a month ago, aged 90. This is a tribute I wrote to him nearly nine years ago in my former blog: ‘A Note from the Next Door Neighbours’. Does being a border writer … Continue reading

Posted in General, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland | 1 Comment

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