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…

Learning restraint

We have a side board in our hall. I had wanted one in my homes for years and years because there was one in my house when I was small. My childhood Aladdin’s Cave. It was one of those old-fashioned ones of dark wood that took two adults with the sweat lashing off them to…

Belfast – a Strumpet City

It isn’t often I pay huge attention to what the main man in the Church of England has to say. But when Justin Welby spoke last week I listened as he was talking about fundamental issues that are going without enough comment and attention. He addressed the TUC congress last week and urged more action…

History being rewritten

The thing about History is that it never stays still. It is always expanding and being added to. Those of us interested in 1916 saw how the history books were expanded last year with a greater emphasis on women’s experience of the Rising and the first exploration of all of the children who were killed.…