Britain’s bad faith undermines internal agreement- again

“Politicians get back to work!” And last week the local parties did what they were told going back to the Assembly on the back of a document produced by the Irish and British governments. A document that spoke to people from across society. Promising language rights, living wages, legislation to deal with legacy, investment in infrastructure, pay awards forhealth and education professionals. There was…

Simon Byrne making a hames of Chief Constable post

I write this column on the 29th anniversary of the murder of Fearghal Caraher from Cullyhana. Mr Caraher had been the victim of systemic harassment by the RUC in the lead in to the Royal Marines shooting him dead. The harassing RUC were based at Crossmaglen Barracks. Sited beside Crossmaglen Rangers GAA club, RUC officers and British army soldiers had to be…

A new decade

We are coming towards the end of the “Decade of Centenaries” and this is where it all gets a bit contested. The Lockout, the Great War, the Easter Rising, were all really important and we all learned so much more about each other’s histories and traditions. We discovered new histories with a far greater interrogation…

Return to Stormont?

You have to be a certain breed to sign up for politics. For our local politicians they will not be thinking solely about the 12thDecember and the count that night and the early hours of the 13th. They will be planning for the negotiations that are coming directly afterwards. And these negotiations are going to be different…

Getting busy for Christmas

This November I have been beset by the lurgy. I have no idea what lurgy actually is but if it means being floored by a combination of coughs, colds, spluttering and addiction to throat lozenges and eventually two sets of antibiotics, then that sums up my condition since Halloween. I have had a missing month.…

Belfast is better than this

It was a strange scene on Saturday outside City Hall. There were hi-viz vests everywhere as preparations for the Christmas Tree switch on was happening. Crowd barriers being carried, traffic being stopped, walkie talkies being spoken into. Ten or fifteen flag protestors squeezed into a little canal of space between the sheds of Christmas delights being erected. Bemused…

The Orange Card is a Busted Flush

The Orange Card has two sides to it. The one played in Westminster and the one played on this island. In Westminster it’s about London-based political parties using the votes of unionist leaning Irish MPs to secure their position. It’s always a short-term arrangement that ends in disappointment for the Irish MPs in question. So,…

Oíche Shamhna

October is my favourite month of the year and Oíche Shamhna is my second favourite celebration of the year. I love the colours of October, and this year we have been spoiled with a beautiful autumn of golds, coppers and reds. Happily, the past few weekends have been decent enough to let us get out into it without…