Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Profile for Andy Pollak

Andy Pollak retired as founding director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies in July 2013 after 14 years. He is a former religious affairs correspondent, education correspondent, assistant news editor and Belfast reporter with the Irish Times.

Latest posts from Andy Pollak (see all)

Andy Pollak has posted 70 times (1 in the last month).

While Britain and Europe’s tectonic plates move, we argue about Orangemen and Ardoyne

Sat 12 April 2014, 3:37pm

Tweet [This is taken from Andy Pollak’s monthly blog] What is the strategic issue causing senior people in the Irish Department of Foreign affairs to lose their sleep these nights? In the week that Michael D. Higgins paid the first ever, spectacularly successful state visit by an Irish President to Britain, it is the […] more »

Would Bobby Sands have agreed with cross-border teacher training?

Fri 25 October 2013, 1:18pm

Tweet A republican acquaintance of mine once said that Bobby Sands didn’t die for cross-border teacher training. I’m very sorry that Bobby Sands had to die at all. I don’t believe his cause, the IRA’s armed struggle (or terrorist campaign, depending on your point of view) to unite Northern Ireland with the rest of the […] more »

A Cross-Border Gun for Hire

Wed 26 June 2013, 4:27pm

Tweet So, after nearly 14 years, it is time to say farewell to the Centre for Cross Border Studies – although not to this blog, which is migrating to a new site (see below). We have done some good things in our small centre in Armagh during that time, and I must pay tribute to […] more »

My Top 14 cross-border co-operators in Ireland

Wed 29 May 2013, 4:30pm

Tweet Since this is my penultimate ‘Note’ before I stand down as director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies, I am going to use it to nominate my personal Top 14 cross-border co-operators, one for every year since the Centre was founded in 1999. There is no doubt that the pioneers of cross-border cooperation […] more »

‘Note from the Next Door Neighbours’: a 90 second read from South Armagh

Thu 2 May 2013, 8:57am

Tweet Two good news stories from South Armagh and Social Welfare In a small village in South Armagh something rather wonderful is beginning to take shape. After some difficult early years the Middletown Centre for Autism, a North/South body whose mission is to create a centre for excellence in Ireland for the education of children […] more »


Wed 27 March 2013, 3:31pm

Tweet Sir George Quigley died on 3 March after a long and full life of service to Northern Ireland and Ireland. He was as near as a small place like Northern Ireland gets to a Renaissance man: head of four government departments; chairman of Ulster Bank and Bombardier; the tireless chair of numerous public bodies […] more »

Time to Reach Out a Southern Hand to Unionists

Wed 27 February 2013, 3:12pm

Tweet In a thought-provoking blog on the new 15 Years On site ( this month, former Community Relations Council director Duncan Morrow lists all the promised reforms in Northern Ireland since 1998 which have not been realised: a Single Equality Bill, a Shared Future, the Review of Public Administration, Dealing with the Past, educational reform, […] more »

The Centre Roars Back with New Funding and a New Shared Blog

Thu 31 January 2013, 4:13pm

Tweet Nearly two years ago I wrote a ‘Note’ saying that the Centre for Cross Border Studies had 15-18 months funding left, we were starting to feel a little nervous, and were appealing to our readers and supporters for some good new ideas for cross-border cooperation in Ireland. In the event we generated most of […] more »

What will be the impact on the Irish border if the UK leaves the EU?

Mon 7 January 2013, 10:29am

Tweet After last year’s hugely successful visit by Queen Elizabeth to the Republic and a joint communiqué of extraordinary warmth following last March’s summit between David Cameron and Enda Kenny, British-Irish relations were generally considered to have reached a closeness unprecedented in more than 90 years since Irish independence and partition. In July the Irish […] more »

An Essential Cross-Border Information Service

Wed 28 November 2012, 2:40pm

Tweet For the second month running I am unashamedly going to blow the Centre for Cross Border Studies’ trumpet. Because the Centre does not only write about cross-border cooperation in Ireland; it not only researches such cross-border cooperation – it also does practical cooperation between the two parts of this island. Last month I wrote […] more »

Latest comments from Andy Pollak (see all)

Andy Pollak has commented 6 times (0 in the last month).

  1. Comment on Would Bobby Sands have agreed with cross-border teacher training?
    on 25 October 2013 at 3:14 pm

    I agree completely with Charles Gould that we should start by merging Stranmillis and St Mary’s (although the political and educational ‘powers that be’ have been trying to do for this 30 years without success!).

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  2. Comment on Time to Reach Out a Southern Hand to Unionists
    on 28 February 2013 at 8:33 am

    For the record, Higher Education Statistics Agency figures show that the proportion of undergraduates from the Republic of Ireland at Northern Ireland universities fell from 10.45% (3110) of the total undergraduate population in 1996-97 to 4.4% (1690) in 2009-10. Andy

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  3. Comment on An Essential Cross-Border Information Service
    on 29 November 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Annmarie is also the Centre’s ICT manager. In this capacity she manages and updates on a daily basis 5 websites: (nearly 50,000 page views per month); (29,500 page views per month); (17,000 page views per month); and

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  4. Comment on The Challenge of Turning Goodwill into Cooperation
    on 27 September 2012 at 8:57 pm


    Please can you move this column over to my Andy Pollak file.



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  5. Comment on A Cross-Border Geopark that leads the World
    on 19 July 2012 at 8:14 am


    Wikipedia is just plain wrong. I interviewed the manager of Marble Arch Caves, Richard Watson (in post since 1985), and the dates I use are the dates he gave me.


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  6. Comment on A solid statement that North-South cooperation is here to stay
    on 27 July 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Hello Brian
    I’ve been away on holiday so forgive the tardy response – it’s good to hear from you after all these years.There’s a lot going on in the way of practical North-South cooperation that people in London (and journalists in Belfast and Dublin!) don’t know much about. People working hard and cooperatively cross the border together doesn’t make headlines. Another example is energy – watch for my July ‘Note’.
    Hope to cross paths with you again some time soon.

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