Northern Ireland lessons for British policing

I could comprehend when the peaceful protest against the lethal shooting by a policeman of a black youth in Tottenham turned violent — a local community’s frustration at a disconnect with policing in the area. The first comparison that came to my mind were the 2005 Paris riots. But within 24 hours I was disabused of that, as groups of youths set upon other parts of London and beyond, utilising SMS texting on Blackberries (Facebook and Twitter being far too public). A PSNI friend, who …

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Lish & Gerry at the Rock Bar

I managed to see the last encore performance of “Lish and Gerry at the Shrine”, a drama based around two Northern Ireland football legends — Elisha Scott (Protestant manager of Catholic supported Belfast Celtic) and Gerry Morgan (Catholic trainer for Protestant supported Linfield). The drama was performed in the Senate Chamber at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, earlier this year, which was covered by the BBC (curiously, under the sport rugby!). This proved popular, and the production was performed again this summer, at the John Hewitt …

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Discussing e-books on BBC Radio Ulster Saturday Magazine

You never know where a blog posting will end up — on the back of my praise for Libraries NI making available e-books for loan via the Overdrive mobile application, I was asked to participate in a discussion on BBC Radio Ulster’s Saturday Magazine programme, presented by John Toal. The panel included Helen Osborn (Director of Service Delivery, Libraries NI), author John Bradbury and yours truly. Helen argued that this service has the potential to increase the number of new …

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Patterns of the City – Belfast city dressing project

Alderman Christopher Stalford, Chairman of Belfast City Council`s Development Committee launches “Patterns of the City” project After the disappointing recent additions of the broken Slinky Spirit of Belfast and the multistory whale bones Belfast Streets Ahead feature lighting masts public art installations, I was depressed about what statutory agencies have commissioned to demonstrate Northern Ireland’s vision. Today a “city dressing project” was announced by Belfast City Council, which worked in partnership with Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau, Belfast City Centre Management, DRD …

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Oliver Napier: A catharsis for Northern Ireland politics

[What follows is my original posting for an interview with Oliver Napier. I republish in my fond memory of him. http://www.mrulster.org/1999/08/ucd-ma-thesis-interview-oliver-napier.html] For my Master’s thesis at the University College of Dublin, I interviewed Sir Oliver Napier. (Time markings below.) http://mrulster.podomatic.com/entry/2011-07-03T14_11_05-07_00 One could argue that the genesis for the creation of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland lay with Oliver Napier, and his decision while he was a member of the Ulster Liberals (for which he served as Secretary), that it …

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QUB ICOT 2011 – Thinking about Reconciliation and Change

At a bit of last minute, I filled in for a colleague to speak at a roundtable discussion at the 15th International Conference on Thinking, held at Queen’s University of Belfast. The roundtable was chaired by Evanthia Lyons (QUB), and fellow discussants were Mari Fitzduff (Brandeis University) and Karen Trew (QUB). There was a separate but interrelated theme for each of the five days of the conference; for Thursday, 23rd June, the theme was “education and democracy”, and included presentations …

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Review: Avenue Q in Belfast

I had seen Avenue Q advertised at the West End a few years ago, but never bothered to figure out if it was worth seeing. Also ignored the posters at the Grand Opera House. But then read a review in last Friday’s Belfast Telegraph, and knew I had to make an effort to see this 2004 Tony Award winning Broadway show, which has been on a last leg UK tour since February. Described as Sesame Street for grown ups, I …

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A shared St Patrick’s Day in Downpatrick

Madame Oui and I were disciplined enough to get up in time for the early morning ecumenical service at St Patrick’s Church in Saul. We parked our car in Downpatrick and boarded a bus shuttle service, noticing straight away the high numbers of young Americans amongst us. It turned out that there were actually more of them than us. The diocese has a twinning with another in Albany, New York. They contributed to the huge overflow of parishioners at St …

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Unite against Hate billboard launch

By Allan Leonard for Northern Ireland Foundation At the Long Gallery at Parliament Buildings this afternoon, the anti-discrimination campaign group, Unite against Hate, formally launched their Northern Ireland wide billboard campaign The billboard features several UAH Ambassadors paired up, with the message “Hate. We say no. So should you.” 20110215 UAH 01 – Nuala McKeever At the event ceremony, Nuala McKeever was emcee and welcomed guests with some humour. 20110215 UAH 02 – Gerry Kelly Junior deputy First Minister, Gerry …

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The trouble with Flanders

As The Economist’s Charlemagne columnist puts it, “Why Belgium’s unending linguistic disputes matter to Europe.” You may not be aware that Belgium has just set a new record for any European state operating without an elected government — now over 230 days. This [surpasses ed. why doesn’t strikethrough work? It does now] is on course to surpass the 289 days (source: The Economist) it took Iraq to form its current government. Belgium is the textbook case study of consociational power sharing …

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Belfast Migrant Centre official opening

Attended the official opening of the Belfast Migrant Centre, located at Ascot House, Shaftesbury Square, Belfast. This centre was the result of Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities (NICEM) and its Welcome House project, a central advice and support centre for people from ethnic minority communities in Belfast and across Northern Ireland. The Belfast Migrant Centre is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and its Reaching Communities programme. The centre will operate as a partnership among NICEM, UNISON, Polish Association …

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UUP Conference 2010 – Shared Future Panel

At the annual Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) conference at the Ramada Hotel, Belfast, I attended a panel discussion on shared future policy. The event was facilitated by Councillor Ross Hussey. Panellists were Duncan Morrow, Bill Manwaring, Lesley Macaulay, Kenny Donaldson. The session began with an introductory presentation by Duncan Morrow, Chief Executive of the Community Relations Council: http://vimeo.com/17487489 Mr Morrow described the opportunities that shared future policy presents, including attracting inward investment, encouraging young people to stay and make their …

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Looking for Aunt Susans in Northern Ireland

Dear Editor, As an American living and working in Northern Ireland, I read Lexington’s article, “One nation, with Aunt Susan”, with particular interest. The US Constitution protects free speech and freedom of religion, but too often people misconstrue this as a secular project. Instead, its heritage comes from religious non-conformists who felt compelled to leave the Old World for the new. Indeed, historical American colonies could be viewed as sectarian as anywhere else, i.e. this piece of land is for …

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I Once Knew A Girl

Accompanying US Consul-General, Kamala Lakhdhir, I was glad to be able to attend the theatrical performance of I Once Knew A Girl, which is a production of the Theatre of Witness programme. (I encouraged the Consul-General to attend after she told me of a similar project on NPR.) The title’s subtitle is “The Unheard Stories of Women” — on a minimalist stage six women tell their own personal stories of how living through the Troubles and its aftermath have affected …

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Cartoons in Conflict

As part of its 2010 Summer School, Community Dialogue (www.communitydialogue.org) hosted an exhibition of international cartoonists’ contributions to The Parents Circle – Families Forum (www.theparentscircle.com), which is a grassroots organisation based in the Middle East. The Parents Circle – Families Forum represents more than 500 families, both Israeli and Palestinian, who have lost a family member to the conflict. At the Belfast launch event at Farset International, Springfield Road, Forum members Robi Damelin (Israeli) and Seham Ikhlayel (Palestinian) described the …

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Project Common Bond in Belfast

Project Common Bond is a programme developed by Tuesday’s Children, which itself is an organisation created to support the families of 9/11. Project Common Bond serves children worldwise who have lost a family member in an act of terrorism or violence. Project Common Bond brings together teenagers from around the world for community building exercises. This year, the group travelled to Northern Ireland. On 5th August, a reception for the participants was hosted by the Commissioners of Belfast Harbour, at …

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