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…

Children of the Troubles

This week two important books were launched. One Launch hosted the “who’s who” of the political world. In the Lyric Theatre Sam McBride launched “Burned”, the forensic examination of a scandal that brought down a government. The only political persona lacking at that event was the DUP.  At another launch the Titanic Hotel conference room was bunged with bereaved families and their friends for a book…

“Consent” is all about the Border Poll

Last week’s submission by Boris Johnson to the EU on Brexit was the colliding of our two political impasses in spectacular fashion, and will likely have long term implications. The proposals were a. for the North of Ireland to leave the Customs Union, thereby introducing a border in our country; b. to retain regulatory alignment in the North, thereby introducing…

When some rights are more equal than others

There is a thing that happens with human rights and the discourse around them. Generally, the status quo doesn’t want them if they cause change or cost money. So rather than say “no, we don’t want you to have those rights” what is said is something along the lines of “the time is not right”,…

Brass Neck Parliament

Unanimous judgment from the Supreme Court”. “The Prime Minister acted unlawfully in the proroguing of Parliament”. “This is the most significant constitutional judgment in our lifetime”. “Johnson wiped the Queen’s eye”. Yeah I made that last one up but at this stage there is little that is left unsaid about the upheaval of British politics as a result of the successful challenge…

Ring a Rosie

Dublin has only ever seen one other night like it. The night Ireland beat Romania on penalties in Italy and we were in the quarter finals of a World Cup. But this was different. This was ours. This team, who leave so many in their dust. This squad who dig deep when worthy adversaries figure out yeah they might…