Author Archive | Brian Walker

Gay rights campaigner Tatchell switches to support gay cake appeal

Peter Tatchell no less, who is second only  to Jeff Dudgeon as a gay rights campaigner, will have given some comfort to those who although they support gay rights have qualms about the legal finding against Asher’s the bakers. On the eve of the Asher’s appeal, Tatchell has changed his mind.  Jeff had reservations about more…

Terry Wogan made ordinary life special

If there was another Irish broadcaster who forced me to sit in the car park  and make me late for work it was Gay Byrne. Gay had a similar subversive streak and a light touch with a sting in the tail. But he did not  travel so well across the Irish Sea, nor did he more…

What will be the followup to new police move on the Birmingham bombings?

(Kieran) Conway, who is a now a solicitor in Dublin specialising in criminal defence,, voluntarily spoke to detectives in connection with his memoir of life inside the IRA “South Side Provisional”. In the book, Conway revealed certain details about the Birmingham pub bombings to which the IRA has never officially admitted. No one has ever more…

Back to the future – the only possible headline

Delorean tombstone

  Even now it’s hard to believe it ever happened. Remember the famous gull wings of the pride of Dumurry? And its big sell as the saviour of Northern Ireland with Protestant workers using one door of the factory and Catholics another? As it was written so it must be true, in the era of more…

The biggest losers in failing to come clean on the past is the reputation and authority of the state and its servants.

You don’t have to be a transitional justice zealot or a Provie fellow traveller to recognise that the heat is on the British government, the police and security authorities over dealing with the past. You can be a judge like Lord Justice Weir blasting the police and indirectly the government for  the inordinate delays in more…

Stormont deal now looking likely

Very gradually, the language surrounding the political talks is changing from negative to cautiously constructive, as Noel McAdam’s report shows .. In the strongest indication the party could return to the Executive, Mrs Foster has said the DUP will respond “positively” to positive developments during the inter-party talks on IRA activity and welfare reform. There more…

Brian Friel 2

Forgive the minor personal recollections, but they’re bound to come to mind.  I first encountered Brian Friel in the front line of the throng that stood silently in the freezing cold as the coffins of Bloody Sunday victims emerged from a torrid requiem mass in St Mary’s Creggan. There was a silent moment of mutual more…

Reflections on the SDLP, prompted by Seamus Mallon

Seamus Mallon, estimable figure that he still is, has left it a bit late  to declare  that a “fundamental mistake” was made to allow Sinn Féin into government without decommissioning. His point is not new but I don’t remember him saying it at the time. As Seamus’s successor as DFM Mark Durkan retails it: “Tony more…

Well Eamonn, those are your doubts about the latest legacy proposals, but what would you do differently?

In the Irish Times Eamonn McCann is sceptical about the proposed Stormont House Agreement Bill’s ability to deal with the past. At Westminster on October 12th, Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers will introduce legislation on dealing with the past. But the chances of it working are very small. Even handedly, he shares fears that both the more…

For the AssembIy solution, it’s the Stormont House agenda, stupid!

Amid all the sterile political sparring, the most significant development in the Assembly stand- off  has been the one that has been almost totally ignored – the UK governments’ publication of a summary of measures which would form the basis of a Northern Ireland  (Stormont House Agreement ) Bill  to be included in the Queens more…

Will Sinn Fein emerge as winners once again?

For general stimulation, Kevin Toolis, a noted historian of the IRA, presents the millennarian version of Sinn Fein’s outlook in the Times(£) For the IRA and Sinn Fein, the collapse of Ulster’s power-sharing executive shortly before Irish voters go to the polls is a perfect political storm that could sweep Gerry Adams to power in more…

Nearly two decades of sectarian politics have produced increasing indifference to politics, which is progress of a kind. Age, education and income are now the great dividing lines.

The Guardian’s Henry McDonald  reports an advance of the findings of a  complex opinion survey carried out by Social Market Research Belfast for four universities and coordinated by a team including Professor Peter Shirlow, now at Liverpool.  In common with the NI Life and Times opinion  surveys the poll confirms a much more complex state more…

Are you impressed with the latest Assembly moves?

Gaming in the Assembly crisis  reaches new heights ( or depths) with the DUP delivering an undisclosed ultimatum  to the secretary of state  and the Ulster Unionists implementing their own ultimatum by refusing to take part in talks on the basis of the Stormont House Agreement,  even though Mike Nesbitt’s way out of one part more…

Who is responsible and what’s at stake in the Assembly standoff

David McKittrick emerges from retirement to pass a magisterial verdict on the Assembly in the Newsletter, while the paper has just run a long and fascinating interview with David Trimble by Alex Kane. His view of the history since 1998 is not a million miles from the familiar saying that Sinn Fein were  clever enough more…