The Stolen Children who call to us despite Callous Britain

One of my favourite subjects in school was English poetry. When I say English, Irish poetry written in the English language. Being a Smiths and Cure fan Patrick Kavanagh was my man. He pulled my heart even lower and we wallowed Together on grey days, with me finding solace in his misery.  I found Yeats a bit hot and…

Battling climate change in my garden

That was a strange winter wasn’t it? It started late and seemed to finish early. Unlike last year, where we had snow and freezing days from October until April, this year’s winter was very mild, with February being the warmest on record. Of course, that makes me worry about global warming. Who couldn’t be concerned that last year we…

Murders of Women requires better response

Over the past month the headlines have been particularly harrowing. I don’t know if it is the convulsions over Brexit but we need to pay attention to what is happening to many women living in fear in their own homes. We were all horrified when Giselle Mariman Herrera and her daughter Allison were strangled to death in the apartment where they lived…

We must insist on Bradley’s Resignation

Last week there was a debate on whether asking for Karen Bradley’s resignation would “make any difference”. Some feltthat because she might be replaced with a worse Tory the call for her to go was ineffectual or meaningless. In her Westminster answer to the MP for South Belfast theinterminably incompetent Secretary of State had caused a storm. In all of the noise of MPs in her ear insisting that something is done…

We Don’t Need Permission

There’s an amazing song from the 1960s “Don’t tell me what to do”. I’ve only come to know it recently, which is sad because I wish I’d had a song for the moments in my teens and twenties when I needed a bit of courage, and the words of Simone De Beauvoir weren’t easily recalled. In 1963 Lesley Gore sang “I don’t…

The primacy of law

Why is law important? I know, a bit existential for today, but given we are beginning Lent and this is to be a time of reflection, let’s ask ourselves some reflective questions. At the Pat Finucane lecture a couple of years ago international human rights lawyer Paul Siels said, “Law is humankind’s greatest invention”. I was working at the…

Project Fear? Don’t think so

“Project Fear”. This reductionist argument has become the unionist response to the growing debate on Irish unity. Drawing on English Brexiteer propaganda it is astonishing that political unionism believe that this is how to engage with Brexit.  In the context of the majority in their artificial statelet wanting to remain the attitude is so nuts,…

Commemoration signals continued legacy outrages

The first two weeks in February are always marked by commemorations of some of the most horrific incidents of our conflict. Because of the proximity of the dates of these incidents these weeks after St Brigid’s Day always bring pause to reflect. The commemorations are as varied as they are connected. Commemorating the New Lodge Six is an opportunity to reflect on…

Clara and Emma – our Heroes

There are very few places anywhere named after women. In Belfast we have load of Victoria places. A hospital, a shopping mall, a university. We also have a bridge named after Queen Elizabeth. Of course those named venues are not really about the women they are named after. We all know it is about their position, the reign of empire and monarchy. …