Author Archive | Brian Walker

Burnside bounces back with oligarchs

Burnside bounces back with oligarchs

  The Guardian has noted the blossoming  PR career of David Burnside since he lost his south Antrim Westminster seat in 2005. As a training ground for a career in the brutal and suspicious world of post-Soviet business, the enmity of hardline Northern Irish politics is hard to beat. That is the path trodden by more…

Now it’s the PSNI in the dock. Chaos over the past deepens as political deadlock over Haas agenda continues

Now it's the PSNI in the dock.  Chaos over the past deepens as political deadlock over Haas agenda continues

At last the clash has come between accountability and transparency and “national security” over dealing with the past. After the unhappy period of Al Hutchinson we have a Police Ombudsman in the assertive tradition of Nuala O’Loan. Michael Maguire who was also Hutchinson’s successor as Police Oversight Commissioner probably knows where quite few bodies are buried more…

Tourism figures for 2013 bring us down to earth

Tourism figures for 2013 bring us down to earth

The figures for tourism to Northern Ireland in 2013 out last week show a more modest reality than the hype suggesting it’s just about the most visited place on the planet. The numbers visiting from overseas amounted to just 9,000.  Home holidays and short trips and family visits accounted for most of the rest. It’s not more…

The power of Nolan – too much of a good thing?

The power of Nolan - too much of a good thing?

It was interesting to see that there was as much comment on Nolan personally as about Pastor McConnell. I don’t see or hear Nolan that often but I thought he played a pretty straight bat on this one. I’m told he divides an already divided community, not on sectarian lines but between pro- and anti- more…

The British goverment must set a better example before the case for an amnesty is properly heard

The British goverment must set a better example before the case for an amnesty is properly heard

Adrian Guelke a  South African a  Queen’s academic and a leading authority on post-conflict resolution joins the growing list of reputable figures calling for an amnesty. He criticises the two governments for lack of involvement (although the unfortunate  Eamon Gilmore can’t be faulted for trying almost right up  to the moment of his resignation as Labour more…

Irish and English election results so different, so much the same

Irish and English election results so different, so much the same

Similar trends and outcomes are apparent when the British and Irish elections results are compared. They are of course part of a common European picture. But the immediate effect on the coalition governments  at Westminster and in Leinster House differs. The Irish coalition is rocking. The Irish Times is even speculating that pressure from Labour may more…

Personal memories of Sunningdale and the UWC strike – the lost opportunity for a generation

Personal memories of Sunningdale and the UWC strike - the lost opportunity for a generation

Although I couldn’t attend the conferences they’ve sparked off vivid memories. This was a time when not only Northern Ireland seemed ungovernable but Britain too. At the Sunningdale civil service college in Berkshire we in the media were stuck in the conference annex for days because of the difficulty of getting taxis during the three day week, then in full more…

Pink is the colour, not orange or green

Riders of team Katusha

                      I plead guilty. The question buried somewhere in earlier comments strikes home:  “Why do you keep banging on about Gerry Adams so much when the Giro is on? “  Now I could give an apples and pears answer, the two being in different categories.  But more…

Why spoil two parties by rowing about a royal invitation in 1916 that doesn’t exist?

Why spoil two parties by rowing about a royal invitation in 1916 that doesn't exist?

There is a very peculiar little controversy going on in Dublin over inviting the “royals “ to 1916 commemorations. It involves catty exchanges between Maurice Manning, NUI chancellor, one of several former nearly men in Irish politics  and a part time historian, and the equally learned professional modern historian Diarmaid Ferriter.  In his latest  blast in the Irish Times, more…

Contrasting views of the Adams arrest for Irish Americans

Contrasting views of the Adams arrest for Irish Americans

Jason Walsh grew up in the Upper Falls and witnessed as a child the horrors of the “Death on the Rock” events in Milltown cemetery. Here he presents a more authentic and reasoned assessment of recent days in the Christian Science Monitor than what the American audience is  used to.  Gerry Adams says he was never more…

Abortion turndown is a constitutional issue

Abortion turndown is a constitutional issue

The ruling in the English High Court against free abortions for Northern Ireland women in England comes as no surprise. Have campaigners legally examined the situation in Scotland? This now seems like a case for  the Supreme Court where the issue would be: Are devolution powers superior to  UK  equal citizens’  rights? An aspect of the judge’s comments intrigued me: He more…