Archive | October, 2013

From lawyers to Haass. No truth recovery without a conditional amnesty

Following the historians’ pitch from Arkiv, it’s the turn of the lawyers.  Prof Kieran McEvoy in the Irish Times makes the case I agree with, for a conditional amnesty as part of truth recovery.   He makes the telling point that the historical cases review is unlikely to lead to more than a handful of prosecutions. more…

Soapbox: A conflict of interest in CCEA’s dual role in education?

By Niall Boyd and Chris Colvin Intentionally or by accident of history, England’s secondary-level education examination system operates as a quasi-market. Ofqual, the government’s regulator, sets down a national curriculum. A host of competing examination boards then set tests that examine this curriculum in subtly different ways. While universities do not tend to differentiate between school-leavers with different boards’ more…

Time for political nationalism to ‘man up’ on law and order?

There are no end of northern nationalists prepared to resort to law when it suits their cause. Equality laws for instance provide a ready stick to beat the backwoods men of the DUP when it comes to some socially conservative policy.  Yet so far only a nationalist minister, Conor Murphy, has been brought to book more…

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“People are being treated differently in NI because of their sexual orientation & that cannot be acceptable”

After a long period of reflection and internal discussion The Equality Commission today published a policy document on Promoting Sexual Orientation Equality: Priorities and Recommendations. The Chief Commissioner Michael Wardlow said: People are being treated differently in Northern Ireland because of their sexual orientation and that cannot be acceptable in the 21st century. In summary, more…

From Arkiv to Haaas. A way out of the deadlock for dealing with the past

  It’s heart warming to find  some of the ideas I’ve been grappling with being taken forward with real authority and integrity. As reported in the Newsletter  a  firm and positive set of  proposals for dealing with the past has been submitted to the Haass talks by a group of historians calling themselves Arkiv. The idea more…

Liam Adams his brother and the real damage to his party

A roughly scrawled graffito has appeared in Beechmount Avenue in the Falls area of Belfast, which reads: ”Gerry tell the truth?” It’s a rare public challenge to the hegemony of Sinn Fein’s power base. The party hold five out of the six Assembly seats in West Belfast. It sits around the corner from one of the more…

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Post Troubles Derry cheer on Grayson Perry. There is another world

  As an occasional live attender  in the past, for me this was a first for the BBC’s Reith Lectures, normally an austere and rather forbidding event.  Whoops, cheers and whistles greeted the cross dressing artist and potter Grayson Perry in Londonderry Guildhall for the third in this year’s series, Nice Rebellion Welcome in!  (text pending on more…

HRSC on Mars Express - Valles Marineris

“an unforgettable journey across the Red Planet.”

Curiosity may have been on the surface of Mars for over a year, but ESA’s Mars Express has been in orbit around the Red Planet for almost a decade.  It’s one of a number of ways Mars is being observed, up close and personal.  And, like the Hi-RISE camera on Nasa’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Express has some specialised instruments more…

(UPDATED) How will the Irish Govt. respond to NSA spying?

(Update below) This would be different… The Irish govt. takes its citizens’ right to privacy extremely seriously; consequently, we have requested a full explanation from the United States… But let’s speak plainly: As a friend and partner of the US, we, like many other countries who expect and rely on the United States taking on more…

Lou Reed 1942-2013

Just a quick post to mark the death of founding member of The Velvet Underground, inspiration for 10,000 bands – see Brian Eno quote – singer, songwriter and general rock legend, Lou Reed, who has died of an unspecified “liver-related ailment”.  He had a liver transplant in May this year after suffering liver failure. At more…

DUP-are they really the voice of Unionism?

This piece is a bit delayed but rounding off the party analyses of the four major parties I present to you the electoral performance of the DUP over the past 15 years. Instead of focusing on gains that the party has made over the last number of years I thought I would take a look more…

Obsessing over history and identity won’t educate our kids or bring them closer together

Forgive me if I take advantage of my posting rights to reply to Andy Pollak’s interesting post on  cross border exchanges  in education and go on to  widen the issue.  Much closer cooperation is a no brainer. What’s stopping  it?  The introverted pressures of financial austerity? Preoccupation with different systems and problems N&S?  Might it more…

East Belfast Speaks Out Nov 2013 poster

Platform for Change debating Haass/O’Sullivan agenda (Mon 25 Nov); East Belfast Speaks Out (Wed 27 Nov)

The last week of November is shaping up to be a week of political hustings and community discussions. Looking towards the final stages of the Haass/O’Sullivan talks, Platform for Change are hosting a panel discussion in Dukes at Queens (aka, Dukes Hotel) on Monday 25 November from 7.30pm to 9.30pm. Previous events this year have more…