Further to Morrison’s attempted revisionism

While Danny Morrison is now claiming that the British had not formulated a position nor proposed a deal at the time of his specially arranged July 5 visit to the hunger strikers and Bik McFarlane, both Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams, in the Irish News in 2009, wrote of Morrison going into the prison to deliver the British offer to the prisoners. “This was the prisoners’ mindset on 5 July, 1981, after four of their comrades had already died and … Read more

Happy New Year…

I see quite a few of our readers are already in 2012, and those of us in Britain and Ireland will be there a few hours before our US and Canadian readers… Whatever your politics, or wherever you are, here’s wishing you the best for the new year… And Slugger’s eleventh year… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest … Read more

Is my education system better than your education system? Finland vs the world.

Depending on who you ask, Scotland has a world class education system, a Northern Ireland grammar school education is the envy of the UK, and pupils from Anahilt primary school go on to dominate the head girl and head boy posts in local post-primary schools (according to a leaflet in Lisburn Library). Idly browsing through some tweets this morning I noticed a link to an article in The Atlantic about the Finnish education system which has been at or near … Read more

Outrage as British War machine send offensive Christmas card!…

Christmas week saw Newry and Mourne Sinn Fein Councillor Brendan Curran make another contribution to his party’s on-going attempts at ‘Unionist engagement’, endeavouring to understand the Unionist psyche, and of course creating a situation and atmosphere where Unionism will embrace and accept symbols, language and historical/ cultural expression important to Irish Republicanism. Brendan was reacting to the heinous and unforgivable act of receiving a charity Christmas card that dared to carry symbols and words directly relating to the charity it … Read more

Danny Morrison’s Position

Danny Morrison outlines his position to Brian Rowan in today’s Belfast Telegraph: “At the time of my visit to the prison on the afternoon of Sunday July 5, 1981, the British Government had yet to even formulate its position, never mind proposing a ‘deal’.” This is quite different from what is already well documented, both by Morrison himself and in Ten Men Dead, as well as being verified by Brendan Duddy at the Gasyard Debate when he confirmed the content … Read more

Alex’s New Year Message….it’s time !

Super stuff from Alex. Watch it all – it ain’t long – quote below. Our universities, colleges and scientific institutions are working on cures for the illnesses that beset humankind as well as the renewable energy machines and environmental initiatives that will make human progress compatible with the future of our planet.” But he added: “If we are going to shape the future we must make some changes to the present – and that means taking more control over our … Read more

Even carrots can be politicised? You learn something new every day!

orange and purple carrots - from http://www.flickr.com/photos/satrina0/

From the farming report at the end of tonight’s Evening Extra. [Richard Wright] … the vegetables that are grown and sold have always reflected changes in society. But the oddest claim is that carrots which are naturally a purple colour were bred as we know them today as part of an underground political strategy. [Christopher Stocks] We think carrots probably came to Britain with Protestant Dutch people fleeing from Holland at the time of the Inquisition. Bizarrely, Holland in the … Read more

Boston College to hand over Dolours Price interviews

According to Kevin Cullen, reporting for the Irish Times, US district court judge William Young is continuing his in camera review of the Boston College archive material.  And he has already ordered the college to hand over the recorded interviews of former Provisional IRA member Dolours Price.  From the Irish Times report College officials said Ms Price’s interviews will be turned over to US prosecutors acting on behalf of British authorities, believed to be the PSNI, by today. US district … Read more

National Archives 30 Year Papers – July, 1981

The 30 year papers for 1981 are being released, and they include many documents covering the hunger strike. Here are some quick notes about file PREM/19/506, which covers the period of the early July offer. Specifically, this is a quick sketch of pages 13-26 of the PDF, a telegram that comprehensively details the conversations the Mountain Climber/Brendan Duddy (referred to as “SOON”) had with the British Government, in which he was relaying messages from the Provisional IRA. This is the … Read more

“What happened to them was vindictive and not only a stain on their honour but on the honour of Ireland”

The BBC’s John Waite previews his forthcoming Radio 4 Face the Facts – The Disowned Army –  to be broadcast 12.30GMT on Wednesday 4 January 2012.  It’s subject, the post-World War II treatment in Ireland of around 5,000 Irish soldiers who deserted their own neutral army to join the British army and fought in Europe and elsewhere.  From the BBC article They were formally dismissed from the Irish army, stripped of all pay and pension rights, and prevented from finding work by being … Read more

Maltreating victims may condemn us to the folly of repeating the past

So here I am seven months on from the appointment of Mary McArdle as Special Advisor to the then new Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín . That appointment – of the only person convicted of my sister Mary’s murder – caused untold stress both to me and my family. While Sinn Fein seemed not to see a problem with it, it sent us a strong signal that what our family felt didn’t matter, just as it didn’t matter to them that … Read more

ND hoping to shake down the thunder from a Florida sky!

During these recessionary times, it will be a bit of a boon for the Dublin economy that a significant American sporting event will be hosted by the Lansdowne Road based Aviva Stadium next September as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are scheduled to commence their 2012 season with their annual encounter with Navy. My tickets for the Emerald Isle Classic have already been booked and tonight’s Champs Sports Bowl on ESPN involving Notre Dame and Florida State will be the final game of … Read more


Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here: http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/ http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/

Politics aside, shouldn’t they play together?

So as another NornIron coach sets out on a mission impossible, while the coach of the Republic (at least in name – for now) heads off to an international championships leading the least favoured side in the competition, are there any sporting arguments against the two Irish associations stealing a play from the rugby crowd’s book and playing together? Sure there’s politics involved but since many people pushing the political arguments are the first to claim that northern players should … Read more

Peace and Good Will to all men – or else!

Hostilities renewed in the Holy Land. (What are the odds that their subsequent sermons were on peace?) Update: Mea Culpa Pete: I just noticed you beat me to this gem.     RuaraiStrategic Communications Consultant, located in Washington, D.C.

M O’Neill takes charge

There’s an M O’Neill in charge at Windsor Avenue, but it’s not the M which many Northern Ireland fans would prefer to see at the helm. And yet there should be an abundance of goodwill on offer for the affable former Shamrock Rovers manager, Michael O’Neill, who won 33 caps for Northern Ireland during his playing career and managed to deliver the historic Europa League breakthrough for Irish domestic soccer this season with his Shamrock Rovers club. 2011 was not a productive … Read more

“It was a trivial problem that… occurs every year”

Just your average family gathering at Christmas, with a bit of an argument about the seating cleaning arrangements… Scuffles have broken out between rival groups of Greek Orthodox and Armenian clerics over a turf war in Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity. Bemused tourists looked on as about 100 priests fought with brooms while cleaning the church in preparation for Orthodox Christmas, on 7 January. Palestinian police armed with batons and shields broke up the clashes. Groups of priests have clashed … Read more

The PSNI, illegal road blocking charges and prospective New Year’s resolutions

Question: When is illegal road blocking not an offence? Answer: When the road blockers are of a unionist persuasion, it would appear. The news that 26 individuals have received fines of £400 plus for staging a sit down protest in advance of the loyalist 12th July parade along the Crumlin Road earlier in the year is newsworthy for the fact that it represents a departure from how the PSNI and judiciary have previously- and subsequently- dealt with those who illegally … Read more

Nuala O’Loan: “that is not the foundation for a just society.”

A novel suggestion for dealing with the past from former Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman, Nuala O’Loan, in a Guardian interview. And it’s not an “absurd” and “disingenuous” call for an international ‘truth’ commission.  From the Guardian article …the former ombudsman, now Lady O’Loan, stressed that a “Waking the Dead” style unit investigating Ulster’s recent conflict would not be tantamount to a truth commission like that which dealt with the apartheid era in South Africa. “There should be one unified operation to deal … Read more

2012 Prediction Contest

OK – Ten questions – predictions any time this year please – answers this time next year: i) Who will be the Republican nomination for US President? ii) Who will be the leader of the UK Labour Party this time next year? iii) Who will be the leader of Sinn Féin this time next year? iv) How far will the Republic of Ireland go in the Euro Football? v) How many gold medals will Wales win in the Olympics? vi) … Read more