Did peace make a difference to domestic violence?

Last year, an incident of domestic violence was reported to the PSNI around every 18 minutes each day in Northern Ireland. In 1992, a previous study on domestic violence in Northern Ireland, led by Professor Monica McWilliams and Joan McKiernan highlighted the serious consequences of domestic violence for women and children during the Troubles particularly given the availability of guns at that time. It also showed how the conflict limited access to police thereby increasing the power and control of … Read more

Fianna Fáil and its discontents – the Eurosceptic opportunity

By Aidan Harkin At the time of writing Fianna Fáil (FF) is struggling to re-assert itself as the prominent force in Irish politics. The 2016 election was a moment of promise for FF who experienced considerable gains from its disastrous 2011 election performance, resulting in a difference of only six seats between them and the governing party Fine Gael (FG). This rise coupled with the implosion of the Irish labour party has meant both FF and FG now co-exist uncomfortably … Read more

When you are not seen as equal in the eyes of the law, it is difficult to feel equal in society and in the workplace. I hope that today will be instrumental in helping to change that inequality.

Denise Hart is Chair of Glee@PwC in Northern Ireland I’m the Chair of Glee@PwC in Northern Ireland, the firm’s UK-wide diversity network, so it’s no surprise I feel passionately about LGBT issues and equality. But back in August of 2017, when the Northern Ireland High Court ruled Marriage Equality as a devolved matter and LGBT equality felt further away than ever, I sent what could have been a rather career limiting email to the regional chair of PwC NI. I was … Read more

Women Won’t Wait: Campaigners for Women’s Rights and Equality Speak Out about the Impact of Stormont Stalemate

The results of a survey released today by the Women’s Resource and Development Agency reveal the impact of having no government at Stormont on women’s community organisations and campaign groups. 80% of those surveyed said they have continued to lobby decision makers in the 19 months since the collapse of the Executive, but the majority felt that it is now much harder to make progress on the issues that affect their organisations and communities. The 48 respondents to the survey … Read more

I believe so strongly that we have a massive case to be heard. This is about a way of life. We cannot go back to any form of hard border.

I’m a 50 year old Derry Girl, teacher of Drama and English in a local all girls’ grammar school and mother of two teenage daughters. I’ve lived in Derry all my life. My parents instilled in us a deep love of Donegal, its wild and often soft scenery, its simplicity and the gentle, unassuming people. Every Sunday we made the pilgrimage to Bridgend and then on to Rathmullan for the Football Special; Ballyliffin for the 70s delight of Chicken Maryland … Read more

The long and winding road to Irish unity

“Of its nature this is a long-term policy, requiring patience, understanding and forbearance and resolute resistance to emotionalism and opportunism. It is not the less patriotic for that” TK Whitaker, Note on North-South Border Policy, 11 November 1968 There is no denying that the idea of a United Ireland has more momentum now than ever before. Out of the Brexit chaos, and the Stormont vacuum, it tempting to ask: is the time for patience is coming to an end? And … Read more

Could the skills system hold the answer to Northern Ireland’s productivity problem?

In Northern Ireland we’re well-used to hearing bad economic news. What sits underneath much of this comes down to productivity – the value of what we produce by every hour of work. In fact, productivity here is almost a fifth lower than the UK average, and whilst the UK’s productivity rates are lower than some of our key competitors, which in itself is a significant structural problem, in Northern Ireland we have some of the very worst productivity rates in … Read more

Where are the safe spaces for our young trans and non-binary people?

Brian Smyth (Green Party rep. for Lisnasharragh) International Youth Day was Sunday 12 August and the theme this year is, “Safe spaces for youth”. There seems to be an International Day for everything, but as a Youth Worker, I believe it’s important to use these opportunities to tune into the issues that affect young people growing up, particularly those disadvantaged by poverty and inequality. The notion of safe spaces got me thinking about my safe spaces growing up. It made … Read more

External Association and the Brexit Dilemma

The Brexit negotiations have been plagued with political point scoring and little ‘real’ progress since the onset. There is a whirlwind of media noise surrounding any development when in reality the only concrete thing to emerge recently is the Chequers deal. This serves to embed the perception that Brexit is an intractable enigma, a foreign and absurd entity the likes of which we have not seen before. In reality, this kind of complex negotiation that fundamentally seeks to secure bi-lateral … Read more

Carnegie UK Trust continues its founder’s mission of wellbeing

This Saturday marks the 99th anniversary of the death of Andrew Carnegie, the Scottish-born philanthropist whose legacy and mission of improving ‘the wellbeing of the people of Great Britain and Ireland’ continue to this day through the work of the Carnegie UK Trust. The Trust’s latest initiative aimed at furthering Carnegie’s goals was announced in June, with the naming of the three local authorities set to participate in the Embedding Wellbeing in Northern Ireland project. The Community Planning Partnerships working … Read more

Clann na Poblachta: A Cautionary Tale for Smaller Parties

By Paul McIlvenny The silly season has begun. As the parliamentary recess began and TDs returned to their constituencies to touch base and escape the parliamentary heat for the heat of summer, the political commentariat were predictably consumed by pre-election claim and counter-claim. As the summer draws to a close, political fever around the October Budget will become pandemic, with new temperatures reached as the budget signals the end of the current Confidence&Supply agreement that holds Fine Gael and their Independent … Read more

Free conference at Queen’s University Belfast. Global Conflict: The Human Impact – 23-24 August 2018…

The conference, convened by Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Chicago, will be addressed by a range of distinguished speakers who will share their expertise on the Northern Ireland peace process, the peace process in Colombia, and the international refugee crisis, among other themes. Confirmed speakers include United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi; former US Senator George J. Mitchell; former US Assistant Secretary of State Anne C. Richard; Dominic MacSorley, CEO of Concern Worldwide; and James Robinson, Reverend … Read more

Mike Nesbitt “You cannot watch that Parade and not be moved to join the groundswell for a new, modern, pluralist, inclusive Northern Ireland”

Former UUP Leader, Mike Nesbitt was at the Belfast Pride march on Saturday and we asked him for some thoughts on the parade. What struck me about Pride 2018 was its air of relaxed confidence. It’s a while since I have observed a Belfast Pride Parade in any great depth and the change is remarkable. Back in the early days, it seemed to me many taking part felt a need to force themselves and their issues on the agenda with … Read more

If Sinn Féin are serious about rights and equality, they must prioritise Petition of Concern reform

By Eoin Tennyson In last year’s election cycles, Sinn Féin ran a campaign based on “equality, respect and integrity”, called for the “implementation of previous agreements” and promised “no return to the status quo”. Marriage equality featured alongside Irish language legislation as a cornerstone of the party’s campaign. The rhetoric was enthusiastically endorsed by almost 225,000 voters. In the negotiations that followed, it proved to be just that: rhetoric. February’s so-called “draft deal” revealed that Sinn Féin were in fact … Read more

New course at Stranmillis University College. Key players from October 1968 discuss the events of half a century ago…

Stranmillis University College’s Lifelong Learning team are launching a major Living History project next month to mark the half century of the civil rights march in Londonderry on 5 October 1968 which will include live interviews with key people who were involved at the time. Among those who have agreed to take part are  Bernadette McAliskey, Brid Rodgers, May Blood, Eileen Paisley, Austin Currie, John Kilclooney, Stratton Mills, Kenneth Bloomfield, Danny Morrison and Billy Hutchinson.  Shirley Williams, appointed by Harold Wilson to be the first … Read more

Happy Days Festival does Beckett and Brexit (1-6 August)

Waiting for Godot on the border, billboards and cross-border chess: the 6th Happy Days International Beckett Festival takes stock ahead of Brexit. The first line of Samuel Beckett’s famous play reads: ”Nothing to be done“. The characters go round in circles, both verbally and physically, are disorientated, are forever waiting for something to happen but it never does. They want to move forward but instead remain fixed in the same spot. Sound familiar?

Traditional feasts – Ulster Fleadh 2018

Reading David McCann’s account of his first visit to the Museum of Orange Heritage, I was reminded of the fascination and challenge of learning about other cultures and traditions, especially here, where the divide between the two dominant traditions has been particularly evident in the last number of weeks. With over 25,000 visitors expected to flock to Castlewellan in County Down this weekend, for the celebration of traditional music – from Sean-nós to Ceilí Bands, from strict competition to impromptu … Read more

Trusting Westminster to deliver on the border is a pipe dream, but who else is there?

Patch Thompson is a postgraduate student at Queen’s University, specialising in Northern Irish and Labour politics and Anglo-Irish Relations. Last week, during his first political appearance since resigning as Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson told the House of Commons that, to his surprise, the question of the border in Ireland, which had previously been ‘assumed on all sides to be readily soluble’ was now ‘so politically charged as to dominate the debate’. Johnson’s shock at what anyone with basic comprehension skills … Read more

Abstentionism lends itself to British involvement in Irish affairs

Colin McGrath is the SDLP Chief Whip and MLA for South Down Sinn Fein’s abstentionist policy, no matter the size of its mandate, like all party policy positions, is not above criticism. The catastrophe that is Brexit has awoken a new era in political history. Its implications will be far-reaching and its affects will be felt long after we exit the European Union. Any political party that has the power to change the course of this impending shipwreck should, and … Read more

Perspectives on Change from a Dublin-dwelling northern Prod

I am a Northern Irish Protestant who has lived in Dublin for the past twenty five years. I am proud to be from the Protestant community and proud to be from Northern Ireland. But I have never been so proud to be part of a society, as I have been to be part of the Republic of Ireland in recent years. A society that voted, myself included, in favour of marriage equality and a woman’s right to choose. I have a friend … Read more