Archive | August, 2014

Big Tent Conversations at Skainos this Autumn

The Skainos Centre at 239 Newtownards Road in Belfast will be hosting a series of discussions this autumn around “big issues affecting our community as we move forward.” The discussions look to get to the heart of matters around flags, victims and dealing with the past. Each discussion will be held in the Refresh Café more…

On abortion: Why it should be a woman’s decision…

‘Throughout the whole Greco-Roman civilisation abortion was permitted by law. It was Christianity which revolutionised moral ideas in this matter by endowing the embryo with a soul; for then abortion became a crime against the foetus itself’. – Simone De Beauvoir, The Second Sex. There is one reason only a woman should have the legal right to more…

Syria: Does Ireland have the resources to deal with intra state conflict?

It’s been an article of recent considered thought in foreign policy circles that inter state war is being replaced by intra state conflict. Today there was panic when the UN announced that forty three peacekeepers had been ‘detained’ by “an armed group”. #454288150 / gettyimages.com There are an estimated 130 Irish soldiers with the 44th more…

Two Ceasefires and a Coming Out: A Memoir

I’ve been thinking about coming out. There have been a few horror stories doing the rounds recently: Vicky Beeching’s harrowing life and those of Lyra McKee’s friends. It’s made me think about how it was for me, all those years ago. If I’m honest, it was a banal tale set against a bizarre backdrop. Maybe more…

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Cheryl Lawther – Truth, Denial and Transition: Northern Ireland and the Contested Past, Book Review

Cheryl Lawther’s Truth, Denial and Transition: Northern Ireland and the Contested Past (Routledge, 2014) makes a timely contribution to debates about ‘dealing with the past’ in Northern Ireland, providing insights into why unionist political elites, loyalist ex-combatants and members of the security forces have consistently opposed truth recovery processes. Lawther is a Lecturer in Criminology more…

John McCallister reveals links between LAD and NI21

It says something about a political party when the satirical website to which is has been linked is more important than the party. Or that the revelation of that link is more significant than an interview with its former deputy leader and a former leadership contender for a major NI political party. That it seems more…

The #indyref essential count guide.

The last major debate happened between Alex Salmond and Alastair Darling last night and commentators where flying with debates about who won (yes, some poor buggars thought Darling did win). Yet, very few people seem to know just what exactly the process for the count will be and providing the public service that we do more…

Thoughts on Gerry Anderson, Albert Reynolds, and Crowded Death Days

The Grim Reaper resumes his role as the ultimate great leveller: no matter who you are or how exalted your status, you have absolutely no control over exactly when It’s Your Time. For people in the public eye, however, there is an added curse: you also have absolutely no control as to the degree of more…

Friday Thread: How to thrive in a world where change is constant…

A few years back I got asked to judge in a fun version of the Dragons Den as part of Microsoft’s Imagine Cup at the Science Gallery in Dublin. It was pitched largely at students in the Regional Technology Colleges right across the Republic, from Letterkenny and Sligo to Waterford and Cork. It’s the nearest more…

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Get a wash, boys: @paddyb_ireland and the #MNDicebucketchallenge

The latest thing to go viral on social media is the ice bucket challenge, where you post a video of yourself being drenched by a bucket of ice cold water. You also nominate someone else to complete the challenge and they have to complete it within 24 hours. While it may look like just another idiotic online more…

After devolution, referendums and possible succession[s], what’s happening to our politics?

Janan Ganesh is an outstanding new talent in the UK political press. His columns for the FT are fresh and sit outside the niggly media bubble of Westminster. A few days back he outlined an apparent effect within the political political system currently more pronounced on the Tory side of things, but which may also have echoes elsewhere. He more…