Author Archive | Soapbox

DUP17 Diane Dodds

We are so used to seeing Northern Ireland politics as a zero-sum game that it’s hard to acknowledge a political deal which might benefit everyone.

Jon Tonge is a Professor of Politics at the University of Liverpool. He is the author of The Democratic Unionist Party: From Protest to Power. Oxford: Oxford University Press. We are so used to seeing Northern Ireland politics as a zero-sum game that it’s hard to acknowledge a political deal which might benefit everyone. That more…

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Can the DUP square all its circles before time runs out?

In the aftermath of the DUP’s slick, on message conference last month, Arlene Foster’s comments on the border and customs union were – unsurprisingly – headline news. This week, after a chaotic round of statements, leaks and interviews from the Irish and British governments, the DUP and the EU, they bear reexamining. On the border, more…

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Relationships: The Bridge between Principles & Practicalities

“We are committed to partnership, equality and mutual respect as the basis of relationships within Northern Ireland, between North and South and between these islands” – Belfast / Good Friday Agreement 1998 Last month, I had the immense honour of speaking at the international youth conference One Young World: 1500 young leaders from 196 countries more…

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EXCLUSIVE POLL: Unionist supporters content with East West post #Brexit border controls…

The dilemma facing Brexit negotiators on the ‘Irish border’ question is how to retain an invisible, frictionless, ‘soft’ North-South border in Ireland and somehow avoid the seemingly inevitable reality of the emergence of a ‘hard’ border if the UK leaves the single market and the customs union. Squaring this circle is a little tricky. It’s more…

The Holylands: a manifesto for urban renewal

Emmet McDonough-Brown is an Alliance Party Councillor for Botanic. Since my election in 2014, I’ve devoted a fair bit of time and effort to the challenges faced by the Holylands and its community of settled residents. I won’t rehearse the full and inglorious history of how we arrived here but the experiences that residents have more…

Westminster parliament

For Westminster, Northern Ireland still isn’t a priority.

Patrick Thompson is a postgraduate student at Queen’s University, specialising in Northern Irish and Labour politics Last week a strange piece appeared on the news agency Bloomberg’s website about the Irish dimension of Britain’s decision to leave the EU. It was titled ‘Irish Border Throws Unexpected Hurdle to Brexit’. The notion that there is an more…

Ballot Box

Time to bring the citizen back in?

As Steven Agnew of the Green Party calls for a Citizens Assembly for Northern Ireland, Robin Wilson writes about the idea which has been under development by a group of citizens and voluntary sector organisations facilitated by the Building Change Trust over the past 6 months. Northern Ireland seems once again to have reverted to more…

ESRC Festival NI 2017 programme

SOAPBOX: Can the economy be Irish? #ESRCfestival

SOAPBOX – The OU’s Dr Leslie Budd recalls economist George Shackle’s observation that to be an economist one has to be an anthropologist, political scientist, mathematician, philosopher, and sociologist with an interest in economics. It is these characteristics that are vital in creating a narrative and conversation about Brexit. Irish storytelling could help address the more…

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Economics as Storytelling – will Northern Ireland live happily ever after?

Economics is seen as one of those complex subjects, up there with nuclear physics, as simply too difficult to understand and something only economic experts can comment on. However, this is not always the case. While presented and viewed by most as objective, scientific and complex, economics can actually be viewed as a form of more…

Contact NI infographic

SOAPBOX: Suicide – the public health crisis of our times

Carrie Montgomery is deputy chief executive at Contact NI. If 90% of Northern Ireland patient deaths by suicide were assessed as no or low risk during their last contact with services, she asks in this post why the Public Health Agency is being constrained to just provide services for people at high risk of suicide?

UTV Vote17 Mike Nesbitt

Nesbitt ” We must learn to resist the agitation of those who simply view equality as a tool to impose their ideology and take ownership of the values that will secure a fair future for all.”

Mike Nesbitt is the former leader of the UUP and is the current MLA for Strangford How do you think you would react if you heard that a unionist leader – Robin Swann, or Arlene Foster, for example – was refusing to deal with the NHS waiting lists, or the funding crisis in our schools, more…

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Demand for legal access to medical cannabis is pushing the debate ahead….

Pearse Donnelly, a musician, activist and medical cannabis patient. Regional co-Chair for United Patients Alliance here demonstrates how Cannabis debate is taking off even in politically becalmed Northern Ireland . Two decades in and almost forty weeks into Stormont’s mobocracy, cannabis becomes a unifying force between all major parties in Northern Ireland. All while our more…

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Is it time to let go of Nationalism?

This Saturday I attended an event organized by representatives from the Irish News and Slugger O’Toole which took place in Killough Youth and Community Hall titled, ‘Six into 32? Finding a place for Northern Ireland in a United Ireland’. This was apparently part of the Killough ‘Lighthouse Summer School’ but with blustery winds outside and more…