Children of the Ceasefire: Unity Amid Division

The first time I was referred to a ‘Child of the Peace’ was in Year 10 of secondary school. We were in form class with our teacher and it was  the lead up to Halloween. She was was reminding us to be vigilant of the boys in the neighbouring schools across the town who had developed a taste for throwing fireworks after school at the bus depot. After giving this announcement she muttered something along the lines of “This wouldn’t …

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Children of the Ceasefire: Reflections on the Border I

As we head into the home stretch of Brexit, the issue of a hard border in Ireland seems to be the main issue. The question of how to regulate the flow of goods and trade has no clear answer. Much has been made by the DUP of there being no need for a border, as trade has always been free-flowing. If that where the case one wonders why the military felt it necessary to ever establish check-points, outposts and look-out …

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Children of the Ceasefire: Reflections on the Border II

Irish. Northern Irish. A global citizen. Three ways in which I described myself in my previous blog post. In describing this, I highlighted my concerns to being constrained to one certain identity. However, as discussions on Brexit intensify, so does the issue of the border and these constraints of identity. I am a holder of an Irish passport. I play and follow Irish sports.  I have studied at an Irish university. I have been christened with an Irish name. I …

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Children of the Ceasefire: Reflections on the Border III

The Issue of the Border in Ireland is a debate caught between two fronts. The border, as it exists currently, is representative of a physical and symbolic/metaphysical indicator of relative peace and stability in Ireland. The openness of the physical border has consequentially allowed for civil debate and meaningful reconciliation between Northern and Southern communities to flourish. The absence of a physical manifestation of the border solidified by investment through the PEACE I-IV, and EDF schemes in Northern Ireland and …

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Future Ireland / Children of the Ceasefire / 1

This is one of three winning articles for the Future Ireland series. The articles were submitted together – by three friends who met at college – a northern Catholic, a east Belfast Protestant, and a Dublin man. We liked the nuanced content of the pieces, the sense of identities in flux, and the fact that each tried to understand the perspectives of the others. Also how being children of the ceasefires weaves throughout their pieces. By Matthew Redmond – hailing …

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Future Ireland / Children of the Ceasefire / 2

This is one of three winning articles for the Future Ireland series. The articles were submitted together – by three friends who met at college – a northern Catholic, a east Belfast Protestant, and a Dublin man. We liked the nuanced content of the pieces, the sense of identities in flux, and the fact that each tried to understand the perspectives of the others. Also how being children of the ceasefires weaves throughout their pieces. By Seanín Little Growing up …

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Future Ireland / Children of the Ceasefire / 3

This is one of three winning articles for the Future Ireland series. The articles were submitted together – by three friends who met at college – a northern Catholic, a east Belfast Protestant, and a Dublin man. We liked the nuanced content of the pieces, the sense of identities in flux, and the fact that each tried to understand the perspectives of the others. Also how being children of the ceasefires weaves throughout their pieces. By William Clarence – from …

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Fr Gerry Reynolds’ Anniversary & his 1994 Sermon on Forgiveness after the Ceasefires

I am writing a biography of Fr Gerry Reynolds, a Redemptorist who served 32 years in Belfast’s Clonard Monastery. His ministry encompassed some of the most difficult days of the Troubles; and he dedicated himself to praying and working for an end to the violence. So I am perhaps more aware than most that today is the third anniversary of his death. I also am aware that while I began the biography a few months before he died, it is …

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Report reveals a long post conflict history of Loyalist and Republican abuse of children…

Off The Record NI picked up on Lawrence Liam Kennedy’s report which highlights the extent of paramilitary ‘abuse’ of children… Between 1990 and 2013: 94 children were shot by loyalist paramilitaries. 73 children were shot by republican paramilitaries. 166 children were beaten – some badly mutilated – by loyalist paramilitaries. 178 children were beaten by Republican paramilitaries. In total, more than 500 children abused by the IRA, UVF, UDA etc. As Jason Murdoch notes: There is little doubt that paramilitary …

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Two Ceasefires and a Coming Out: A Memoir

I’ve been thinking about coming out. There have been a few horror stories doing the rounds recently: Vicky Beeching’s harrowing life and those of Lyra McKee’s friends. It’s made me think about how it was for me, all those years ago. If I’m honest, it was a banal tale set against a bizarre backdrop. Maybe it’s just because I’m home, for the first significant amount of time since Chris died, sleeping in the room where I came out to my …

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The new threat of the post ceasefire dissident Republicans

A year on from the killing of Sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar shot at Massereene army base in Antrim there is now incontrovertible evidence that dissident republicans have the capacity to do immense damage into the future. Two developments in dissident republican engineering have forced the police to reassess their approach. The bomb at Newry courthouse was the first time since Omagh on August 15 1998 that a so called improvised explosive device actually detonated. And the second development …

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The new threat of the post ceasefire dissident Republicans…

A year on from the killing of Sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar shot at Massereene army base in Antrim there is now incontrovertible evidence that dissident republicans have the capacity to do immense damage into the future. Two developments in dissident republican engineering have forced the police to reassess their approach. The bomb at Newry courthouse was the first time since Omagh on August 15 1998 that a so called improvised explosive device actually detonated. And the second development …

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Can Northern Ireland Change?

‘You have to have hope,’ my friend always tells me. Usually this is after I’ve been outlining the likely facts of my children’s future, on account of our great leaders trashing the planet and laughing all the way to the bank. ‘You can’t live like that though, you have to have hope,’ she says. I like Frankie Boyle‘s take on hope. If you see a leopard, hope is not a good evolutionary strategy. There’s no point in saying, ‘Is that …

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Imperfect Politicians…

london, westminster, bridge

Have you ever wondered how some politicians get away with everything while others have their careers blighted by seemingly small actions that upset the wrong people? When the tape of Trump bragging about grabbing women by their pussies first leaked, many of us thought he was finished, but he won that election, and even now, he is more popular than Biden. This is despite being found liable for sexual abuse and defamation with $83 million in damages awarded against him, …

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Can Israel Learn Anything from the Northern Ireland Peace Process?

a building that has a bunch of debris in front of it

The TV images that appeared on Saturday 7th October last year are seared into the memory of those of us who watched in disbelief on that afternoon. For many the grotesque display and abuse of the body of a German girl (Shani Nicole Louk), followed by the image of a female Israeli soldier, her trousers bloodstained, being lead away filled us with horror and anger. We don’t accept women being treated in that way and wanted to signal our disgust …

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Potential solutions to the Israeli / Palestine conflict…

A couple of thousand people (myself included) walked on Sunday’s ‘Peace in Gaza’ march to the US Consulate in Belfast. When I posted pictures of this on Twitter (@arnoldcarton) some of the more polite responses argued that seeking peace without destroying Hamas entirely is naïve, it is argued that seeking a ceasefire now and a negotiated settlement is unrealistic, that wars end when one side has won and the other know they have lost. This is worth exploring. Those who …

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“Those who sing Zombie this week after Ireland’s match against Scotland know their history…”

bar, cocktail, alcohol

I was at Trent Bridge week last Saturday to watch Ireland complete the only one of their three match ODI Cricket series. It was a blissful catchup with old mates (English and Irish) over a long day of that weird mix of generosity and competition. It was a particular pleasure to watch fellow Holywoodian Mark Adair in action for one of three island wide sports teams that comfortably straddle a border and sectarian divide that other codes (and the island’s …

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Parallel Conflicts, Divergent Narratives: Algeria, Northern Ireland, and the Role of Propaganda…

Bernie McIlhatton is a Slugger reader from Belfast I enjoyed Sam Thompson’s piece on the Algerian War which emerged from his review (elsewhere) of Patrick Anderson’s Rewriting the Troubles, War and Propaganda, Ireland and Algeria. Sam’s introduction to the Algerian War serves as a usual background for the book’s main focus, reportage and propaganda during political conflict. The book investigated NI’s new controversy. Unionists maintain republicans are ‘Rewriting the Troubles’. Republicans respond that they are excavating their narrative from earlier …

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Talking to a cosmopolitan, community-focussed nationalist who is full of good ideas…

Conor Patterson emphasises that he is not a politician, political commentator or member of a political party – he is a businessman with a passion for community development in his home town of Newry, in Northern Ireland and on the island of Ireland. To use an old-fashioned and probably politically incorrect phrase, he is a working class boy “made good”. Patterson’s father was a welder (sometimes with his own small company, but often unemployed), his mother a telephonist, originally from …

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Let’s celebrate the Belfast Agreement’s successes but recognise that Biden’s content free visit also highlights it failings…

shallow focus photography of dragonfly

“What’s the difference between a bug in a program and a misunderstanding?” — Monica Anderson I watched the events of Good Friday 1998 in the old cottage we rented off a local estate in Dorset. My abiding memory though was an audio tape that one of my Irish students brought to the class I ran on Tuesday nights some weeks after the event itself. On one side were programmes he’d taped via satellite of Raidio na Gaeltachta for the class, …

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