Declassified files and political vetting

New Year files being declassified feel a lot less like history. This year it was disconcerting to read disclosure of NIO briefings from 1990 refer to friends and colleagues being named along with their organisations. The Committee on the Administration of Justice was the subject of one of the documents, a document we know was shared with MI5 and Task Coordinating Group.…

The gift of complexity

"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose”. A quote from Ecclesiastes (or The Byrds). When faced with political drift, in a climate of political chaos, it is difficult to determine what season we are in. In this time of political climate change, we just don’t know what political coat to put on. Since the collapse of the devolved…

A snapshot of some of ‘18

2018 was the year I began to recover from an operation to remove most of a brain tumour, accommodate the changes that has meant for me and begin to re-find my courage.  While not easy there was reward in remembering what is most important. Love, health, patience and generosity. Luckily for me I was on the receiving end of lots of that, for…

A Fermanagh Christmas Carol

As she approached her door, Eblene Fostrooge thought she saw a strange figure appear on her doorbell. But she knew that Mr Holyneaux was long departed. She blamed the vision on the mince pie consumed earlier at the Loyal Orange Ladies Christmas Carols Service.  It had been a wasted afternoon, as she needed to attended to formality, but in her heart only big politics mattered. She muttered to herself that Christmas…

Corbyn Disappointing in Ireland

As Brexit chaos unfolds one thing has become clear. Jeremy Corbyn is a disappointment to those Irish people who thought he might be different to all other British political leaders that have gone before.  It all began with promise. While campaigning for the Labour leadership in 2015 he came to Féile An Phobail and was given a hero’s reception. Possibly…

The more things change…

I opened up my search engine and there was a Google Doodle of a woman I didn’t instantly recognise. Me being a pretty aware feminist and all had to check out who this sister was. And it was Edith Cavell. Still I drew a blank. So, a few clicks later and now I know she was a famous…

November healing

So that’s the end of November. The “Month of the Dead”. I’ve written before about it being tough for me with the anniversary of the year my mother died and our baby a day later. Like everyone, it’s a personal grief and never forgotten.  A week after their anniversary comes the militarised memory that has become so propagandised and, despite its contested nature, narrow in scope…

Why is it always about Unionism?

Isn’t it interesting that big political developments here areusually framed in analysis by how unionism views them. From the peace process to Brexit, how Unionism reacts is by and large the focus of concern. For as long as I can remember during our peace process issues any big issue was about Unionist reaction.  From the start of the peace process we can point to…

Ballymurphy Massacre Inquest Begins

It was an incredible scene. St Mary’s Hall packed with families affected by state violence. They came together under the title of an event by Relatives for Justice called “Forgotten Victims”. Family members from across the North put their hands in the air and told a snapshot of their story. All to say“Me Too”, in an environment during…