William Walker, Unionism’s James Connolly 


It’s hard to overstate the centrality of Pearse and Connolly to the modern Irish state and Irishness. Yeats wrote in his famous verse wrote: ‘Connolly and Pearse Now and in time to be, Wherever green is worn’ Eamonn McCann wrote: “One learned quite literally at one’s mother’s knee, that Jesus had died for the human race and more…


Refugees Welcome service launches in NI

Refugees Welcome Mural - photo by Máirín Murray

SOAPBOX Máirín Murray introduces Refugees Welcome NI which matches offers of accommodation in people’s homes with refugees who need somewhere to live. Could you help with accommodation or by joining the team?


The Catholic church flounders again over sexuality within

You couldn’t make it up. The decision of the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin  to remove  his diocese’s ( only) three trainees from  St Patrick’s Maynooth and pack then off to the comparative safety of Rome (!),  because of a  “poisonous atmosphere” surrounding allegations about the use of a gay dating app in the College, is more…


Well Mairtin it’s a start!

 From the Irish Times. EU structural and investment projects in Northern Ireland signed before the British chancellor of the exchequer’s autumn statement will be guaranteed after Brexit, the Treasury in London has said. The current level of agricultural backing, which underpins the farming industry, will also be matched by the British government until 2020. Europe’s more…


Big Ideas: Festival of Economics round-up


The four year Centre for Economic Empowerment project at NICVA is nearing its conclusion but the full attendance at today’s event can be taken as a sign of the capacity that has been built in the community and voluntary sector around economic awareness and understanding.


Finance Minister says NI left out of Brexit negotiations: UK Gov won’t underwrite current EU funding for NI


Talking at this morning’s Big Ideas: Festival of Economics at NICVA, Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir indicated that Northern Ireland was being left out of post-Brexit decision making in London. He also felt it was likely the British Government would not underwrite the “half of” current EU INTERREG and PEACE funding, adding that he expected more…


United approach to Brexit? Well done, Arlene and Martin.

Rather out of the blue, this joint letter from Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness   to the prime minister Theresa May changes the impression of a divided Executive heading for  a fresh stand-off and is to be warmly welcomed. It is artfully couched in calling for no weakening of cross border measures to deal with crime more…


In Post Conflict NI, Touts Are “The Bravest Of The Brave”

Living in the shadow of gunmen, from Jim McDowell… Whether they live in loyalist or republican enclaves still bedevilled by the bully boys of the rump of the IRA, the UDA, the UVF, the INLA, or, now, the deranged dissidents, the courageous corps of decent folk who speak, even anonymously, to the newspapers, or the more…


South Africa: An Electoral Tremor, Not An Earthquake

Queuing to vote in Cape Town's Athlone district in 2011.

In few countries would a governing political party in the throes of internal crisis consider 54% of the vote in mid-term elections to local councils a disappointing result. In South Africa, however, this represents a significant shot across the bows of the ANC 22 years after it took power, a decline of 8% from the more…


Summer of Parading Peace points way for Bonfire Regulation

There are many reasons why people oppose the practice of building and burning bonfires. That they are an eyesore is beyond dispute. For a period of weeks- if not months -before the night they are set alight, the area surrounding the bonfire site is turned into a rubbish dump, attracting crowds often into the small more…


David Cameron and the problem of setting real political choices


David Cameron’s referendums were regarded as reflections of ‘the will of the people’.  But is that true?  Here Peter Emerson of the de Borda Insitute questions that assumption then proposes a better methodology. 2011 Referendum on the Electoral System. Cameron’s first problem?   “Those damned Lib-Dems and the voting system!”  Hence the first ‘which’, to more…


The man who died from “an overdose of police”

Lenny Bruce (1925-66) in one of his many mugshots

Heard the one about the comedian whom the police seemed duty-bound to keep arresting whenever he swore on stage? Just thinking of such a scenario seems utterly incredible in our times. For all the complaints about political correctness and how We Can’t Say Anything in This PC Age, the truth is that speech today is more…


66 Days: fear, anger and a lost grip on control

I was invited to and duly attended the premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days last Saturday night. Alex Kane was also in attendance and he produced this well considered piece in Monday’s Newsletter. After the film’s showing, a question and answer session took place with former republican prisoner, Seanna Walsh, The Impartial Reporter’s Denzil McDaniel more…


Sinn Fein could be set to say farewell to their wages policy


In today’s Irish News, John Manley reports; SINN Féin is set to end its pay cap policy for elected representatives and workers. The party is reported to have completed the salary review launched earlier this year in response to concerns voiced by a number of Dublin TDs about the cost of living in the capital. more…


Why Fianna Fáil aren’t just waiting for their poll numbers to improve…


Smart comment from World By Storm drawing on analysis in the latest edition of the Phoenix… However in considering election timing FF will prioritise setting up a sustainable narrative over pure numbers. Micheal Martin has been careful to draw a line between his party’s boomtime past and its more recent crafting of what looks, smells more…