Arlene Foster attends GAA Ulster Final

DUP leader Arlene Foster stood for the Irish national anthem as Fermanagh took on Donegal at the GAA Ulster final in Clones. #UlsterGAA @FermanaghGAA @officialdonegal — BBC News NI (@BBCNewsNI) June 24, 2018 Here attendance was welcomed by the Sinn Fein Vice President, Michelle O’Neill; I very much welcome the attendance of DUP Leader Arlene Foster MLA at today’s Ulster GAA final. “I along with other Sinn Féin leaders met recently with Prince Charles in order to demonstrate … Read more

How has opinion in Northern Ireland on the border question changed since the Brexit referendum?

It is perhaps ironic that, given politics in Northern Ireland has revolved around the border question since its inception, there is a significant amount of uncertainty regarding whether the people of Northern Ireland want to stay in the United Kingdom or become part of a united Ireland. There have been a number of opinion polls and surveys on the question since the Brexit referendum in June 2016, which have yielded significantly varying results on the question of support for Irish … Read more

“…on which Mr Hazzard in purporting to be offended by a long-standing informational map would do well to reflect.”

Or, catch yourself on!  From the Belfast Telegraph, the operator of the national railway network in Ireland, Iarnród Éireann, with a demonstration of how to respond to contrived mischief-making by a member of the UK parliament, in this case Sinn Fein’s Chris Hazzard, MP.  From the Belfast Telegraph report  A spokesman for Irish Rail said the company had worked “through good and bad times” to provide services between Northern Ireland and the Republic, including “the extraordinarily challenging era when sectarian … Read more

Arlene’s Baby Steps are welcome, but Unionism’s Outreach Journey is a Long Road

The DUP leader, Arlene Foster, has clearly been advised in recent days to give outreach a chance, and the first tentative steps in a Unionist outreach programme were visible in her appearance at an Eid celebration in Belfast and meeting with Fermanagh gaels over the past fortnight, as well as the confirmation that she will soon be attending an LGBT event. This can best be interpreted as an implicit acknowledgement that political Unionism has a real problem with recognising the … Read more

People Will See Us and Cry…

One of the advantages of having several different hobbies is that I get the chance to look at things through different lenses. Aside from blogging I am also into reading, hiking, poetry, dance fitness, and amateur dramatics, and the last one can often feel quite therapeutic – but then, pretending to be someone you’re not for two hours a night can hardly fail to be. Currently I’m involved in a production of the musical Fame, set in a performing-arts school … Read more

It would be a tragic mistake to miss out (again) on any future expansion of health budgets

It’s best to treat Theresa May’s NHS/Brexit announcement with some scepticism, but perhaps not too much. It may well be what Robert Shrimsley calls “snake oil sloganising”, but an important political concession has been made. The NHS is running almost on empty, and needs a rebasing injection of funds. But it will also needs accompanying reforms. Not least in Northern Ireland, where we missed out on the Chancellor Brown years when funding ran relatively freely. Whether May ever delivers that … Read more

Review of Archbishop Eames’ Unfinished Search – Will Another Opportunity to Address the Past Slip through our Hands?

‘Despite attempts to revise or rewrite history, the complexities of the legacy of this period indicate, if nothing else, that to find a common ground for the future will be a more difficult task than bringing an end to violence. To win the peace in Northern Ireland is one thing. To make it last and to transform it into an accepted way of life is by far the greatest mountain to climb.’ — Archbishop Robin Eames, Unfinished Search, p. 136 Those … Read more

“Not allowing people to speak or vote according to their conscience goes totally against republicanism, because without freedom of conscience there isn’t any freedom”

Sinn Féin’s continued adherence to the practice of democratic centralism, even on an issue that most political parties regard as a matter of individual conscience, has seen the party’s vice-president on the attack [best form of defence – Ed], and the resignation of Sinn Féin TD Carol Nolan [“disappointing but not surprising” – Ed].  Now the former Sinn Féin MLA Francie Brolly, who resigned from the party in February this year over its increasingly pro-choice position, and his wife, Anne … Read more

A warning to Leo from his base on his drift towards Mary Lou and Sinn Fein…

I didn’t get to share this piece from Sarah Carey in The Times, Ireland edition yesterday. It’s a stern warning to Leo Varadkar over his political flirtation with Mary Lou McDonald from a columnist from a committed FG family… The omens indicated something so preposterous and outlandish that I ignored them for too long, but no longer. Mary Lou McDonald, the Sinn Féin leader, says that she wants to form a coalition government with Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael. Not on … Read more

Ashcroft Poll shows a competitive Border Poll race.

Lord Ashcroft released the results of the survey he conducted which included results of how a Border Poll, North and South would go. In the South When do people think there should be a Border Poll David McCannDavid McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs

Happy Birthday NHS: What changes are necessary, and how might we make them?

Tonight’s Slugger event is highly focused on health policy, for which we make no apologies. One poor feature of devolution in Northern Ireland is its retreat from policy in favour of populism. However, this is also a wider feature of western democracy. About a year before the last but one UK general election, this animated conversation between Professor John Kay and Steve Richards illustrates the exact same casual (ie, uncosted) retreat taking place elsewhere: In Northern Ireland (as elsewhere), there … Read more

Evil, I think, is the absence of empathy…

As America continues its depressing slow drift into Fascism this quote caught my eye: “In my work with the defendants (at the Nuremberg Trails 1945-1949) I was searching for the nature of evil and I now think I have come close to defining it. A lack of empathy. It’s the one characteristic that connects all the defendants, a genuine incapacity to feel with their fellow men. Evil, I think, is the absence of empathy.” Quotation: Captain G. M. Gilbert, the Army psychologist … Read more

In true Bloomsday style, “Samuel Beckett got outrageously drunk…”

If you don’t know by now, it’s tradition!  [We know… – Ed]. Those of a sensitive disposition are duly warned, once again, that James Joyce enjoys the language in all its fecund nuttiness. And another reminder of a brief history of the day, from the Guardian, which includes this great 1924 quote from Joyce on Ulysses – “I have to convince myself that I wrote that book. I used to be able to talk intelligently about it.” Joyce’s last Bloomsday would take place on 16 June 1940, when the author was … Read more

#BillyCaldwell ‘s health deteriorates after Home Office medication seizure

Billy Caldwell, a 12 year old boy from Castlederg suffering from severe epilepsy, was admitted to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital via ambulance this afternoon after suffering a number of seizures. “Billy has had back-to-back seizures today,” Charlotte Caldwell, his mother said. “On his medication, which included the vital but banned THC component, he was seizure-free for more than 300 days.” Charlotte who has fought tirelessly to secure medication for Billy for a number of years has said that doctors back … Read more

Margaret Thatcher And The Road to Brexit…

It was while reading Will Hutton’s and Andrew Adonis’s recently published book Saving Britain that a curious and disturbing thought came into my head, unexpectedly and without invitation; it hasn’t gone away. I’m not a great fan of either author, though they can give useful insights at times. The book has two main parts, firstly, how Brexit came about, and secondly what can be done to save Britain. The thought occurred while reading the first part. Apart from this thought, my views on Brexit … Read more