Category Archives: Protestantism, unionism and loyalism

Mutual contempt and ignorance are no way to build relations between peoples (especially in Ireland)

As the crisis deepens in Britain, the old negative stereotypes are back. The right-wing British press is full of fury at the treacherous role of the Irish in the ‘backstop’ to keep the UK hobbled and handcuffed indefinitely to the … Continue reading

Posted in British-Irish relations, General, Northern Ireland, Protestantism, unionism and loyalism, Republic of Ireland | 3 Comments

Why demography is no way to solve the Northern Ireland problem

We need to talk about demography. In an Irish Times article last month the economist David McWilliams reminded us of some basic facts.¹ As we all know, the Protestant population of Northern Ireland is falling while the Catholic population is rising. But … Continue reading

Posted in Cross-border cooperation, General, Northern Ireland, Protestantism, unionism and loyalism | Leave a comment

Lovely people, close neighbours, parallel universes

A year ago I walked along back roads, hill paths and beaches from Belfast to Dublin to raise money for homeless charities in the two cities. I then sat down and tried to write a book about my experiences. By … Continue reading

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

The DUP may be paranoid, but we still have to befriend them

It should come as no surprise that beleaguered identity appears to have once again trumped economic well-being in Northern Ireland (for the moment, anyway), as inter-party talks meant to agree a return to power-sharing missed their British government-imposed deadline this … Continue reading

Posted in Cross-border cooperation, General, Northern Ireland, Protestantism, unionism and loyalism | 1 Comment

Whatever happened to Northern working class Protestant radicalism?

There is an interesting conference taking place in Dublin this weekend (Saturday 6th May, 11 am-5.15 pm) entitled ‘The radical working class Protestant tradition in Northern Ireland’, which I am involved in organising, along with veteran inner-city Dublin community workers … Continue reading

Posted in General, Northern Ireland, Protestantism, unionism and loyalism | Leave a comment

Are there really 150,000 unionists who are persuadable for a united Ireland?

Last month’s blog was based on a most interesting conversation with the widely-read unionist commentator Alex Kane, in which he estimated that there were now 150,000 ‘soft’ unionists who were persuadable of the merits of Irish unity,and that he expected … Continue reading

Posted in General, Irish reunification, Northern Ireland, Protestantism, unionism and loyalism | Leave a comment

The most interesting conversation I have had about Irish unity for a very long time

Last week I had the most interesting conversation about Irish unity that I have had for many long years. It was with Alex Kane, the North’s most widely-read unionist-minded columnist: he has opinion columns in both the Belfast Newsletter and the Irish … Continue reading

Posted in General, Irish reunification, Northern Ireland, Protestantism, unionism and loyalism, Republic of Ireland, Sinn Fein | 2 Comments

The DUP’s bigotry and incompetence bring the house down

In last month’s blog I wrote that Northern Ireland was now “a modern region with a power-sharing government in which nationalists enjoy a new equality and confidence.” I was wrong. A fortnight later the Stormont Executive collapsed when Martin McGuinness … Continue reading

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

My politician of the year is a lesbian loyalist from Belfast

The most impressive politician I met in 2015 was Julie-Anne Corr Johnston, a 28 year old member of Belfast City Council, representing the small left-of-centre Progressive Unionist Party (PUP), many of whose members are former UVF prisoners. Julie-Anne is a … Continue reading

Posted in Cross-border cooperation, General, Northern Ireland, Protestantism, unionism and loyalism | 5 Comments

Why Northern loyalists are running scared of a shared future

Returning to the fearfulness and narrowness of loyalist Belfast after a trip through the magnificent landscapes and massive social contradictions of South America is to come back to earth with a bump. But I had promised myself back in January … Continue reading

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