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…

Leo and Simon need to step up

We didn’t need the Good Friday Agreement to tell us we were Irish or British. We already knew.  We needed it to set out the constitutional arrangements and ensure protections that had not been available to the Irish population living in the Six Counties since partition and to make a promise for a time of change. So the Agreement says under “Constitutional Issues” 1.(vi) “recognise the birthright of…

Wake Up

History is being written. Seminal history. Our continent and entire globe is witnessing a growth of right-wing “populism”– a term to make Fascism palatable - which can only be compared with the 1930s. It’s time to wake up. Last week in an unprecedented announcement a university in Europe announced that it is being forced to move to Vienna from its home in Budapest, due to attacks on it…

Food Banks

“There are two types of having no money. Having no money after you pay your bills and having no money before you pay your bills.” As with many things in life I didn’t appreciate at the time, my mother had summed up living on the bread line. She was in her early 30s standing in…

Life after Brexit

I have had an unpleasant epiphany. It came to me like a skin condition creeping for a few months. I’ve realised that, because it is so painful and pathetic, I cannot enjoy unionism’s destruction of their own union. I thought it would be more fun. The utterances of those creating the political environment which makes a united Ireland a real possibility, are so depressing that those of us…

An RUC coup in the PSNI?

Reforming the RUC was seen as one of the Good Friday Agreement’s greatest tests and achievements. The Patten Commission was established to make recommendations on the form that the transformation should take and the PSNI was established in 2001. The Policing Act on which the PSNI was founded did not create change that was as…

Legacy Consultation- an exercise in disappointment

The legacy consultation has closed. NIO officials are locked away with the over 15,000 submissions they say they have received and are perusing them.  It’s not really all that transparent what happens next. In fact, it’s not one bit transparent. And of course, it’s very unsatisfactory that the decisions lie with the British government, considering the…

Where did it all go wrong?

Today we await the Brexit negotiation that could well bury the Good Friday Agreement. And we sit knowing the local Assembly is no closer to being re-established than it was on the day Martin McGuinness resigned. The political environment is, to put it mildly, “uncertain”. There is no answer to the question “what will happen…