Return to Stormont?

Who can forget the night Martin McGuinness gave media interviews to announce his resignation as Deputy First Minister? When we realised how ill he was, and we heard his words of resignation with sadness but also in no small relief. The DUP's RHI, anti-Irish pantomime leading up to the collapse of the Executive was over.…

The joy in a new potato

Is there anything lovelier than the first proper Irish new potato? I am not talking about the plastic bags filled with spotlessly clean baby spuds, which have their place, but are a bit bland and you can get them all year. Nor am I talking about the little red Jersey potatoes which are nice but…

Petition for Concern

Human rights are always about the minority. They are always about protection against majority rule. Internationally human rights standards were written in the context of majoritarian abuse. The violations committed by the Nazi party were legal, committed with a majority of the population voting for the Nazi party. The Nazi occupation of Austria was voted…

The Problem For Gavin Williamson

Spare a thought for Gavin Williamson. There he sits. A man of action. A man who thinks it is every man’s duty to serve his country in a military way. A man who believes in old Brittania. Not since the young Kipling (the writer not the cake guy) took pen to paper was there a…

The Crucible of the Ballymurphy Inquest

There truly are unspeakable things. In the crucible of the Ballymurphy Inquest there have been moments of the extraordinary, as the previously unspeakable become affirmed truths. In March, two middle aged men, Eddie and Martin Butler broke a life time of silence to state their truth. That Eddie at only 11 years of age had…

John Finucane becomes Mayor Of Belfast

In March 1990 there were extraordinary scenes outside the Dublin Supreme Court as two of the H-Block escapees were not extradited to the North. Dermot Finucane, was immediately released. He hopped onto the back of a motorbike and sped away. I can’t say I understood its significance at the time, either legally or politically, but…

Flags of hate

Belfast is big enough for all of our pasts, our hopes and our futures, on the basis of respect, the rule of law and equality for all. I drove through Sandy Row last week and at the corner with the Golden Mile I sat at the traffic lights while a large group of older men with ladders…

An Angelus for Lyra

On Good Friday 2019 an Angelus called us to pause. An Angelus of congregation in sadness and resolve following the unnecessary and sickening killing of Lyra McKee.  There is little extra condemnation that can be made in addition to that already stated, shouted, written and declared. But just like the Angelus, this is a pause…

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…