Martin McGuinness’s challenge should be accepted. Offer immunity in exchange for disclosure to those who took decisions on both sides of the long war

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt has mounted “a stinging attack” on Martin McGuinness for saying he would have “ no difficulty “ in disclosing his own role as an IRA leader in dealing with the past. An outsider would be taken aback at the vehemence of Nesbitt’s reaction.  On the face of it, McGuinness’s offer more…

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How Sinn Fein only undermined themselves by turning on their own partners in Government…

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In case you missed it, here’s my analysis of the debacle up to and following the resignation of Daithi McKay written for and published by the Irish Independent on Saturday. The nine-year government coalition between Sinn Féin and the DUP has been an odd and largely unproductive affair. In spite of the popular Chuckle Brothers routine between more…

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Mount Stewart Conversations: a festival fusing debate, culture & food (17+18 September)

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MOUNT STEWART CONVERSATIONS promises a weekend of debate, ideas, storytelling, art, music and food in the National Trust’s recently restored house and the surrounding gardens. Anne Applebaum, David Aaronovitch, Fintan O’Toole, Sarah Helm, Wendy Osborne, Jonathan Powell not to mention Urslua Burns, Iain Archer, Molly Sterling, Orchestre des Refugies et Amis, Bitch’n’Monk, and Lords of more…

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“Better to criminalise rather than politicise.”

Here’s something you might have missed last week.  In an interestingly timed, if much belated, intervention in the Guardian, professor of journalism at City University, self-declared Sinn Féin supporter and, in the late 1980s, a pseudonymous contributor to An Phoblacht, Roy Greenslade channels his inner Thatcher for a call for media [self] censorship when reporting on still violent dissident republican groups.  From the Guardian article In other more…

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Former top civil servant O’Donnell has a viable vision of Remain

Former Remain supporters of the moderate tendency have gained a powerful ally in Gus O’Donnell the former UK Cabinet Secretary. The role is recognised as the fountainhead  of Making It Happen in government – or explaining to ministers why it can’t happen. It’s all the more important at such a politically volatile time.  In an more…

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Theresa May must end drift on Brexit after the Bank Holiday

The deeper meaning of “Brexit means Brexit” doesn’t get any easier as time goes on. Theresa May will have to clarify quickly after the Bank holiday. Arch Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith claims Article 50 will be triggered early in the New Year. “I have spoken to them and I am certain that these characters – more…

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The cautionary tale of Pat Hickey: How the Olympics Got Seduced by Money, and Lost its Way

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Ireland and Europe’s most senior Olympic official sits arrested in Rio, on charges of ticket scalping.   Meanwhile, pizza restaurants and small clothing shops receive threatening letters from the Olympics, telling them not to tweet the Games That Must Not Be Named.  (Lawyers say ‘I don’t think that’s what the law says’.) It’s all a sign of more…

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Neither liberty, equality, nor fraternity

Imagine a woman on a beach on a hot day, perhaps your mother, sister, girlfriend or wife. She doesn’t take the sun well so she doesn’t wear a bathing suit and covers her head with a cloth and her shoulders with a shawl while she sleeps. Imagine four police officers approach her, waken her up, more…

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A cautious approach to the McKay affair is right. But for the sake of Executive cohesion, O Muilleoir needs to say more or stand aside.

So rather than buckle down to the altogether tougher demands of trying the govern the place, the politicians are having themselves a jolly crisis. Far more fun isn’t it? And the more bizarre the better. But might there just be a chance that the Executive will in the end decide not to waste a good more…

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Corbyn, the man who can’t even find a properly busy train in the UK:

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CCTV photographs show Corbyn’s photograph sitting on the floor of a ‘ram-packed’ train actually was staged on a train full of unreserved seats – including the one he went back to sit in after.  Virgin’s press release: ‘Seats were available on the train in which Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn was filmed sitting on the floor, more…

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“What was the basis of that belief? Where was that belief grounded?”

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Máirtín says he had no knowledge of Daithi McKay’s backchannel with Jamie Bryson until it was published last week, even though the inquiry (which was supposed to be investigating Nama) has, as yet, turned out to be little more than a power play against the then First Minister, Peter Robinson. No political party worth the name more…

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Funny Olympic Facts

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Whatever your views on the monarchy and Ireland, I think we can all be united by a brief pause of mathematical surprise that HM Queen Elizabeth’s 2016 personal medal tally is precisely 50 golds, 50 silvers, and 50 bronzes.

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Robin Chichester Clarke was the last of the gentry that treated government as part of the family business.

Robin Chichester -Clarke, the last of the old unionist gentry to hold office in either Stormont or Westminster,  died a fortnight ago at home in Norfolk at the age of 88.  His elder brother Jimmy, later Lord Moyola, (familiarly known as  “Chi-Chi,” after a notably  infertile panda) was Northern Ireland’s penultimate  prime minister in the darkening more…

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British Irishman, not a Black and Tan

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In the Ireland of 2016 the British community (Protestant and unionists) still carry the curse of plantation, Cromwell, the famine, the Black and Tans and one-party rule Stormont. (Read ‘Being a planter‘ here.) The Protestant and unionists are the villains, by birth levied and vilified with historical wrong. Catholic is Erin and virtue, Protestant is more…

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