An Gaeltacht Abú

Every Under 12s, Under 14s and Under 16s team has been decimated for the past five weeks. The Hills of Donegal have called our youngsters in their droves to stay with strangers and learn their native tongue while dancing, singing, messing and building a lifetime of memories. Similar scenes are known in Counties Kerry and Mayo with the GAA…

Collusion past or present tense?

Collusion was how the British did business. They had a policy, they enforced the policy directly or indirectly whenever convenient. So if they didn’t want the world to know that they intended to suppress a population through violence, they just let those they recruited as proxies do it for them. They have done it across…

Respecting the dead – all of them

There are few things that remind us of how divided we are in life than how we treat the dead and those who grieve for them. This week William Frazer died after a very long and painful illness. Willie was a victims campaigner, a flag protestor, a UDR member, a son, a husband and a…

The land of the brave

This article was written for the Andersonstown News before we discovered the horror of the fate of 23 month old Angie Valeria and her father Oscar Alberto Martínez who were found floating in the Rio Grande. This summer marks the 30th anniversary of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. Yet we know that…

July Standing Still

It used to be thought that nothing could progress during July, because of the tensions in communities during the “marching season”. Traditional thinking has been that political progress must be switched off at the end of June, and everything suspended to allow the sectarian marching fest.  However, with victories secured by residents’ associations across the north securing basic rights of citizens to live free…

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…