Tag Archives | Conflict

Time cannot silence the Voices of the Somme

Lurgan Volunteers with pic

At the start of July I posted on Slugger O’Toole to introduce Somme Voices, a month-long series of daily tweets in remembrance of that dreadful World War One battle. I’m returning to Slugger to bring the Somme Voices project to a close with a final poem. The reason is that I’d like to quote this more…

The time is overdue for the two governments to tell what they know about the Dublin-Monaghan and the Birmingham bombings

Consider the latest developments about two atrocities, the Dublin and Monaghan UVF bombs in May 1974 and the Birmingham IRA pub bombs of November the same year. What they have in common is knowledge of the identities of what we must call the alleged perpetrators. The deep frustration caused to individuals and states has not more…

Do we need the “old ” IRA to contain the “new”?

Gang activity labelled “dissident republican” is spreading and is proving very difficult to check.  What is the connection between the killings in Dublin and the fatal shooting taxi driver of  Michael McGibbon? Perhaps the most chilling aspect of McGibbon “ punishment shooting “  was that, rather than go the the police – or even Gerry more…

1916 is still worth a fret or two

I’ve just finished reading my latest foray into an absorbing subject, Ruth Dudley Edwards’s magnificent The Seven, her biographical account of the main leaders of the Easter Rising, guardedly but critically reviewed by the  historian and Irish Times columnist Diarmaid Ferriter here. While Ruth may be dismissed by some as the arch revisionist, no reader more…

Injured Prison Officer Dies After Heart Attack

Adrian Ismay, who had previously been released from hospital after sustaining serious injuries from a dissident Republican bomb attack, suffered a fatal heart attack earlier today. The First Minister lead condemnation, tweeting from the USA on an investment mission, “I’m devastated. Can’t believe the news. I was texting Adrian before we left for the US. 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…

Stakeknife: PSNI seek resources to conduct an investigation into 53 murders…

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UNCOVERING STAKEKNIFE: A new investigation could cost up to £12.5m over a five year period. Interestingly the Chief Constable in interview on Newsline this evening suggested that whilst the investigation would be looking allegations against Stakeknife, it would be looking all the murders associated with the IRA’s internal security unit.

Paisley: Relic of the Past or Harbinger of the Future?

LRB 1987 cover Paisley

I recently chanced upon this 1987 review by Charles Townshend in the LRB of Steve Bruce’s God Save Ulster: The Religion and Politics of Paisleyism. It now reads as a fascinating period piece. Just the previous month, Paisley had performed the first of his major protests at the European Parliament, heckling Margaret Thatcher. She was 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…

Threatening the existence of the Assembly is a victory for terrorism

Oh God, not another fundamental breakpoint founded on the highest principles, whether they’re about welfare or the IRA! Come on, get real. This kerfuffle over “IRA structures” will pass. For all their simulated outrage over the IRA or welfare, no politician – none of the leaders anyway – want to close Stormont down.  Electoral politics more…

After the McGuigan murder: The Provisionals *really* haven’t gone away, you know….

As I noted some time ago, the biggest problem Sinn Fein pose to society  is their settled policy of partial disclosure. Do you believe Detective Superintendent Geddes’ assessment or Sinn Fein’s local representatives? On one level that’s matter of political choice. But as we have seen over the Cahill allegations, the party only ever says more…

Monica McWilliams – What difference does conflict or peace make for women? #feile15

Monica McWilliams

Power works through dominion, but it also works through dependence … [yet] power can be changed. Wearing DDP Barra McGrory’s glasses until her own were located, Prof Monica McWilliams delivered a lecture this evening in St Mary’s University College on Conflict or Peace: What difference does it make for women? as part of Féile an more…

Conversations about the future require candour, not platitudes

Because of a clash of commitments I’m having to miss out on the Westminster launch on Tuesday of  Uncomfortable Conversations: An Initiative for Dialogue Towards Reconciliation  edited by the Sinn Fein chair Declan Kearney.  It will follow a similar launch in the Linenhall Library in Belfast  which Sinn Fein covered on YouTube in April. It more…

Roy Mason, the last to believe in outright IRA defeat

Roy Mason who has died aged 91 was  Northern Ireland Secretary of State  from 1976 to the end of the Labour government in 1979. He was  “short in stature and long in self confidence “ as David McKittrick  rightly described him. He even designed his own peculiarly vented and lapelled tight fitting light khaki suits. When I last more…

DLA: The Numbers

I was on BBC Talkback earlier to comment on the Belfast Telegraph lead-story today about DLA claimant levels. I thought Slugger readers may like to see the stats behind the headlines. The stats detailed in this written answer show the change in the average number of people in receipt of Disability Living Allowance between 2010 and more…

Ulrich Beck and developing the art of co-existence and constitutional tolerance…

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Towards the end of the last millennium, an intellectual fad infected the Anglo-American academy, whose ivory towers can be vulnerable to fast-spreading exotica. Against the backdrop of the fall of the Wall in Germany and the cul-de-sac into which French ‘structuralist’ philosophies had fallen, ‘post-modernism’ announced the end of the ‘grand narratives’ of modernity, deriving more…

Outsourcing solutions may be the secret of dealing with more than the past

Well, perhaps amid the encircling gloom the political parties have seen some light at last. The details of the agreement on welfare reform are awaited but it looks as if any new money will come from Westminster mainly to deal with the past which is surely fair. Adds: United Executive request for a total of £2.1 billion over 10 more…