After Commemorations: In the future we should ensure that our weapon of choice is friendship!

On the 9th December 2014 the Four Corners Festival is hosting a night at Strand Arts Centre to screen “Joyeux Noel”, a film about the Christmas Truce that took place on the Western Front on Christmas Day, 1914. It is being held to celebrate the courage of those who stepped into “No Man’s Land”, during times of conflict, to show a different way. The French film from 2005 relates the events of that day, seen through the eyes of French, … Read more

Strength is only part of fixing our busted relationships. We need good leadership too.

James Thurber once observed “there are two kinds of light — the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures.” In Northern Ireland, we have become accustomed to obscuring glare more than illuminating glow. Despite the historic achievement of the Belfast Agreement our politicians still like to amplify a folk version of history to the idea that we remain two separate people whose interests are permanently at odds with one another. The current set of commemorations tend to reinforce that … Read more

Time for an urgent review of all Northern Ireland’s oversight bodies

When the Police Ombudsman in Northern Ireland (PONI) recently accused the PSNI of refusing to provide his office with information relating to certain investigations, he acted on his interpretation of a set of facts. The police had their own, alternative interpretation, insisting that they have a legal responsibility for the care and management of all the information they hold, some of which is extremely sensitive. Although they gave careful consideration to every separate request from the Ombudsman, they were constrained … Read more

“why should we as a people even consider absolving you of murder in such circumstances?”

I wrote the following piece last February and it was carried in several papers. But in light of the events of the last few weeks, I’ve asked Mick to post it here in full on Slugger. Someone said recently that Ian Paisley was either right in the ideological principles he was promoting in the 1960’s through to the late 2000’s and the methods he was using and wrong now or wrong then and right now. The same could be said … Read more

A proposal to help us deal with the past: an effective form of storytelling inside a legal structure

The context In dealing with the consequences of the conflict, we must maintain a focus on the challenge to build a peaceful, stable and shared society in Northern Ireland, on this island and between these islands. Embedding a sense of interdependence among the people—a vital foundation upon which to build a successful society—should not just be an aspiration but an imperative. Success in this regard would surely be the greatest tribute we could pay to those who died or suffered loss and injury. Let me begin by painting some context. First of all, … Read more