Category Archives: Northern Ireland

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

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

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

Whatever the Unionists wish for, the Protocol looks like it’s here to stay – and it can be good for all of us

One year on, the Northern Ireland Protocol looks like it’s here to stay. Its fiercest opponent (and chief negotiator) in the British government, Lord David Frost, has gone. Before that the British had dropped their demand that the European Court … Continue reading

Posted in General, Ireland, Europe and the world, Northern Ireland | 3 Comments

Could North-South agri-food cooperation help cross the rural-urban climate change divide?

So in the end the political will did not exist among world leaders at COP26 in Glasgow to radically tackle global warming. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned at the end of the conference: “We are still knocking on the … Continue reading

Posted in Cross-border cooperation, General, Ireland, Europe and the world, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, The island environment | Leave a comment

A brave exploration of the plight of Northern Protestants

Over the summer I have been reading Susan McKay’s new book, Northern Protestants: On Shifting Ground. This is a brave and brilliant book. For those of us who have watched the decline and fall of the unionist monolith, and the … Continue reading

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

In praise of wise and moderate people of ideas

In all my years in Northern Ireland, two of the wisest people I came across were a senior Irish diplomat and a Northern Irish business leader. The diplomat was Noel Dorr, ambassador to the UK in the 1980s, Secretary General … Continue reading

Posted in General, Irish reunification, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland | 5 Comments

Unionism is running out of both political and demographic road

I should start by welcoming Sir Jeffrey Donaldson as the new leader of the DUP, following Edwin Poots’ brief and inglorious reign. Donaldson is the nearest that ultra-dogmatic party gets to a pragmatist: a courteous man from a modest County … Continue reading

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

Two disturbing videos which show the huge gulf of misunderstanding between the peoples of Ireland

This week I watched two depressing and disturbing videos which reveal the huge gulf of mutual misunderstanding, ignorance and loathing that continue to exist between the peoples of this island. The first was a 46-second clip from the front runner … Continue reading

Posted in General, Irish reunification, Northern Ireland, Protestantism, unionism and loyalism, Sinn Fein | 8 Comments