Archive | March, 2016

Belfast_City_Hall_2

President Higgins pulls out of City Hall Dinner

President Higgins has pulled out of the civic dinner to be held at Belfast City Hall to commemorate the Easter Rising. However according to the Irish News; It is understood the fact the occasion has not garnered enough cross-party support, with a number of unionists declining invitations, motivated the president’s decision to stay away. Commenting more…

In defence of John Bruton

It was brave of former Taoiseach John Bruton to chose last week to return to the ultimate Irish counterfactual. He’s taken to task for it in the Irish Times by historian Dr Brian P Murphy OSB I believe,” said Bruton, “Ireland would have reached the position it is in today, an independent nation of 26 more…

Stormont

May’s #AE16 could be a precursor to a more open and competitive contest in 2020…

Apart from in West Belfast, there’s not currently much in the ‘big politics’ column for the elections in May. The Lucid Talk figures are remarkably stable (it’s a relatively stable methodology), which doesn’t suggest there’s any kind of democratic tumult. In unionism, there’s speculation about who’ll get Basil McCrea’s seat, his former partner, John McCallister more…

Hunterdon Courthouse courtroom, scene of the 1935 trial of Bruno Richard Hauptmann

Passing sentence on capital punishment

Next Sunday is International Anti-Death Penalty Day. OK, I’d better qualify that one: it won’t actually be International Anti-Death Penalty Day, but to my mind it ought to be. On that date it will be exactly eighty years since an immigrant German carpenter was sent to the electric chair in Trenton, New Jersey. The previous more…

Dissidents on the wrong side of the tracks – and history

The mind of the Republican dissident must be a very dark and dilapidated place, bereft of ideas and locked into a grim past. No hope and nothing to offer, except a return to what they might consider as the golden days of bombing, shooting and wrecking. While most of us are trying to move – more…

Tory Uncivil War based on Europe but continued on everything else?

The dust has begun to settle on the budget and Ian Duncan Smith’s dramatic resignation: not enough that said to know what is going to happen in the medium term. The episode was, however, much worse than the Omnishambles of the 2012 budget. It revealed a series of fault lines within the Conservative Party that more…

Easter Rising 2016: Live and let celebrate

Last week a Muslim acquaintance of mine wished me Happy Easter. I try to remember to wish Muslims Happy Eid. I would submit this has parallels with how Unionists and other non Republicans should approach the Easter Rising celebrations. Christians can and do invite those of other or no religion to Easter events as a more…

Insurrection

Insurrection 1916…… a Unionist perspective

The Insurrection in Dublin during Easter 1916 involved less than 1,700 men and women. It was the brainchild and initiative of a minority, of a minority of a minority- a small conspiratorial grouping within the leadership of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, who had itself been using and manipulating the Irish Volunteers behind the scenes, who more…

celtic-cross

Whose Truth Will Rise This Easter?

This Easter time many thousands of Christian people across Northern Ireland will gather to celebrate Christ’s resurrection. They will do so in churches, houses and communities where they will share the stories- as laid down in Christian Scripture- of that event some 2000 years ago.  Of those who gather, many will be convinced of the more…

“The report’s Canadian authors made their numbers add up by using a ‘Tory island’ model of small government, low taxes, free markets and no debt…”

In the Irish News, Newton Emerson has fun with the recent Sinn Féin re-launch [and re-re-launch! – Ed] of the report they commissioned, under cover of the “Knights of the Red Branch Inc”,  of the benefits of an economically right-wing united Ireland. From the Irish News An academic study showing Northern Ireland would be better off more…

mcquaiddevalera

Easter ’16, Once Again

DUBLIN—Here in Ireland, this weekend, Yeats’s terrible beauty becomes a centenarian. It might have had a letter from the Queen, were history different. It is a pleasing sign of recent Irish social change that 1916 is not being commemorated as a good-and-evil struggle, one with Ireland on the side of the angels—and evil Britain receiving more…

ArbourHill

Easter & Innocence

Still trying to read all the books I got for Christmas I’ve been dipping-into a recently-published collection of poetry by a local priest. His works of short and accessible verse are mostly on matters that might feature in a country curate’s sermons, except for one, which retells a story from his childhood, his trip to more…

A J P Taylor (1906-1990)

Commemorating the archetypal History Man

The sub-title of a 1995 TV documentary said it all: he was an unusual kind of star. In his heyday he was capable of emptying pubs on a Friday night, simply by going on television and speaking his mind and explaining things clearly in plain, uncomplicated English. And how did this man make waves? By more…