Topic Archives: Society and Culture

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Crime and punishment (beatings)…

It was a hellish scene. The shaky video taken on someone’s phone showed a stolen car speeding up and down the Falls Road, doing hand brake turns at brake neck speed. Tyres and onlookers squealed; smoke filled the air. Terrified road users attempted to make it by without getting written off and pedestrians fled from more…

“is Gerry the Genius sure he has thought all this through?”

In today’s Irish News, Newton Emerson asks the impertinent question… Remarks by Mike Nesbitt about cross-community voting distracted from what should have been the major story of the week. Northern Sinn Féin leader Michelle O’Neill has said her party will not return to the executive with Arlene Foster as first or deputy first minister until more…

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NI’s post Brexit (and unpolicible) border will be dictated by the (un)generosity of #Brexit’s precise terms.

Last night, I rewatched Michael Smiley’s Something to Ride Home For, a light-hearted, three-part TV series featuring interviews and bike rides across Ulster (including Monaghan and Donegal) which was originally broadcast in the summer of 2015. There’s a section in his interview with author Dervla Murphy at Crossmaglen on the shores of what I took more…

What the DUP have done….

I attended a meeting in Belfast on Monday night, no ordinary gathering either.  It was a meeting called by Finance Minister and Sinn Féin candidate Mairtín Ó Muilleoir to facilitate a conversation between the Irish language community about the current political situation and the threat it poses and/or the opportunity it presents. Irish language activists more…

Entitled MACHA Productions Welfare Reform Mitigations Report

Entitled – “What theatre should be – critical and a little bit political” (The MAC until Sat 18 + tour)

ENTITLED – Entitled to benefits? Dignity? Protection? A new play asks how much difference the welfare reform mitigations make on the ground? How fair are the processes? How do politicians square up their talk about equality and adoration of figures like Winifred Carney with the legacy of welfare reform in Northern Ireland? The MAC, SCORE, more…

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#SluggerReport: McCabe and the southern meltdown, plus #AE17 East Antrim and Foyle profiles

This morning’s #SluggerReport touched on a potential meltdown in the south over the disclosure by RTE’s PrimeTime that Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe had been the victim of what looks distinctly like a vilification campaign. It’s the sheer length and sustained nature of the campaign that impresses/depresses. The government’s response has been partial, self contradictory and more…

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Cannabis Oil; An idiot’s guide

Patrick, 84 this year, is nothing short of a minor miracle.  A bright, intelligent and curious man, had he not been such a heavy and committed drinker, his life might have been very different.  He has always lived in the street where he grew up in the pitiful poverty of the 1930s.  In spite of more…

The Irish Language Act can better NI society, cynicism will destroy it

Two years ago the Cultúrlann hosted a group of Gaidhlig psalm singers from Lewis.  The renditions by the singers from the Bach Presbyterian Church of age old hymns in Gaidhlig was a reminder of our common Gaelic culture, a shared heritage which could not be sundered by petty religious spite. Spite seems to be order of more…

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94% of integrated education budget unspent due to ‘single minded’ failure to create a cohesive policy?

Earlier this week the Irish News reported that the Department of Education underspent a £50m budget by a staggering £47m. Under the Fresh Start agreement, the money is part of an alleged £500m of new capital funding to support shared and integrated education over 10 years. In its first year, Education Minister Peter Weir has allocated more…

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Free screening of ‘I am Belfast’ film this Thursday…

If you have not seen it yet, ‘I am Belfast’ is a visually wonderful and unique film. Mark Cousins’ tribute to his home city is both a treat for the eyes and thought-provoking. The basic concept is to imagine Belfast as a 10,000 year old woman. We follow her as she travels through Belfast and reflects on the more…

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Senator George Mitchell in Conversation with Monica McWilliams at QUB on Friday – Free Tickets

American Senator George Mitchell, the mediator in the talks that produced the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, will be in conversation with Monica McWilliams on Friday 10 February, 1-2 pm, in the Great Hall at Queen’s University Belfast. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets must be reserved by contacting Mr Brett Walker (b.walker@qub.ac.uk / more…

Fake News and the Assembly Elections

How does the saying go – fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me!    If one positive thing emerged from the 2016 US Presidential Election, it’s the focus on the phenomenon of the influence of Fake News on the electoral process.  It’s difficult to assess the level of impact but more…

“I don’t have to be a Sinn Féin republican.”

Despite the efforts of the former Sinn Féin MLA for North Antrim, Daithí McKay to reinvent himself [move along now… – Ed], some of his supporters appear not to be prepared to let it lie. Having resigned from the party over its handling of the Jamie Bryson coaching scandal, and its anointing of Daithí McKay’s successor, former Sinn Féin councillor Monica Digney is standing in more…

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The Legacy of Irish Missionaries Lives On: Book by Matt Moran – The Irish Tradition of ‘Social Justice as Faith’?

There’s been plenty of discussion in recent weeks (and years) about the decline of the Catholic Church in Ireland. The trauma stemming from clerical sexual abuse continues to cast a long shadow over Irish society. Indeed, the Irish Times’ Derek Scally has recently argued that the Catholic Church was as authoritarian and dominant as the more…

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False Ecomomy of Closing Outdoor Education Centers

In recent months the Education authority have taken the decision to cut the provision for residential outdoor education. At the stroke of a pen they have taken a decision that will result in the closure of at least four of the outdoor education centers. Ardnabannon, Bushmills, Delamont and Killowen Outdoor Centers, and probably a fifth at more…