Category Archives: Republic of Ireland

Fintan O’Toole, Leopold Bloom and me

I have been reading We Don’t Know Ourselves, Fintan O’Toole’s marvellous personal and political memoir of Ireland over the past 64 years. I am an unashamed admirer of O’Toole’s writings, and his brilliantly insightful, left-wing views on multiple aspects of … Continue reading

Posted in General, Irish reunification, Republic of Ireland | 4 Comments

Majority of Southern voters think united Ireland “not very important” but they would like to see it “some day”

That is the headline I would like to have seen on the Irish Times front page lead story on 11th December about the paper’s latest opinion poll on unity and other issues. Its editors went instead for the much more … Continue reading

Posted in Cross-border cooperation, General, Irish reunification, Republic of Ireland, Sinn Fein | 1 Comment

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

My single transferable blog: the people of the South are not ready for reunification

In his long and distinguished political career, John Hume many times gave what came to be known as his ‘single transferable speech’. He used to say that as a former teacher he realised that for even the smartest pupils, the … Continue reading

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

My tribute to a group of mountaineering Irishmen (and a note about Micheal D.)

For the past 48 years I have been hill-walking with a group of men – mainly Dubliners – the length and breadth of Ireland: mainly in Wicklow, but also in Kerry, Connemara, Mayo, Donegal, the Cooleys and the Mournes. I … Continue reading

Posted in General, Republic of Ireland, The island environment | 4 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

A hill-walker’s return to the most beautiful county in Ireland

It is surely no coincidence that I choose to take my Irish holidays in a place that is as far away from Northern Ireland as one can get. Kerry is simply the most beautiful and fascinating (and peaceful) county in … Continue reading

Posted in General, Republic of Ireland, The island environment | 3 Comments

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

Ireland in the 20th century contained not one rotten little state, but two

The impact of this month’s Mother and Baby Homes report came home to me personally through texts from my two daughters, both proud Irish-speaking feminists in their early thirties. “I felt deeply sad and sick to my stomach”, said one. … Continue reading

Posted in General, Irish reunification, Republic of Ireland | 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, Miche├íl 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