Benefits of the Belfast agreement

On the subscription only Irish News site, Jude Collins publishes his list of 5 things he believes Unionism has gained from the Belfast Agreement: 1. Articles 2 and 3. Remember when we used to chafe at the Republic’s claim to the North in its constitution? It’s gone now. That’s nice. 2. The principle of consent. more…

Countryside alliance

Steven King rides a long and winding narrative here trying to explain just how complex a mix of interest the countryside lobby is in Northern Ireland. The truth is that this issue hasn’t much impacted the wider consciousness of people in NI, because the legal moves to outlaw foxhunting will not effect things there. But, more…

Loyalists in crisis

It looks like the murky waters of Loyalist paramiltary organisations are beginning to move quickly. Fears are increasing of a new feud within loyalism, this time between the splinter organisation the LVF and the UDA. The expulsion of Johnny Adair, the leader of the West Belfast UDA, has led to: “A number of senior loyalists more…

Closure

The reconciliation business is not what it once was.

Comments starting to take off

Natalie Solent described reading McIntyre’s article as like falling “…into an alternative universe.” And in the comments field here, David Steven suggests that the debate in Northern Ireland does not seem to got stuck in a negative game of saving face. Newton Emerson has kindly reproduced his article on Ulster Scots the comments field here. more…

What does British mean?

In the subscription based Irish News, Newton Emerson takes a swipe at some members of the Ulster Scots movement, but in the process comes up with a fresh definition of what his ‘Britishness’ means to him: “…I value my identity precisely because there’s no standard definition of what ‘British’ means. There’s a heritage and a more…

Policing drama

Gerry Adams believes that the decision of the UUC at the weekend (see here) will encourage an increase in sectarian murders. Despite his party’s close ties with the Loyalist paramilitary organisation UVF, Billy McCaughey of the PUP insists that policing should be left to the PSNI. The release of the latest crime figures will not more…

Applying principles

Dissident Republican Anthony McIntyre uses Chomsky to provide a lesson that should not be lost on every side of the conflict in Ulster: “If we propose some principle that is to be applied to antagonists, then we must agree – in fact, strenuously insist – that the principle apply to us as well.” McIntyre writes: more…

Todhchaí nua?

Tá David Trimble i dtrioblóid. Ach ba mhaith leis go mbeadh Caitlicigh compordach i gComhairle Aontachtach Uladh. Agus i gcursaí teanga, “…tá rudaí athraithe sa chaoi is nach bhfuil blas Caitliceach ar na téacsleabhair níos mó, rud a gcuirim féin, mar Phrotastúnach, fáilte mhór roimhe”, dar le Ian Malcolm.

Nationalist government?

After Mark Durkan and Gerry Adams met yesterday, both appealed for the British government to hold the line, and not suspend the political institutions if unionist ministers resign. This introduces the interesting scenario that all major posts in government could be run, by default, by the remaining ministers, ie those held by the SDLP, Sinn more…

Nationalist backroom

The repercussions of the UUC’s motion on Saturday, are beginning to hit through the Nationalist bloc. Gerry Adams and Mark Durkan are to hold talks “…aimed at reinforcing the primacy of the Good Friday Agreement.” One SDLP source said, “The Good Friday Agreement is not up for renegotiation. The policing reforms cannot be reversed.” It more…

An odd aside

For those still vaguely aware of the outside world, the dossier against Iraq has just been published on the New Statesman site – apparently some of the UK government sites hosting it crashed earlier with all the extra traffic. They have also published (in actual fact, re-published) a companion ‘dossier’, with John Pilger leading the more…

Loyalist paramilitaries

The danger of another Loyalist fued taking off, raises its head again. Johnny Adair was in court cheering on Andre Shoukri, after the latter was remanded in custody on gun charges.

January deadline

Whatever the outcome, the newly imposed deadline has certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons. Mark Durkan is not happy, accusing Trimble of wearing a sandwich board for Jeffrey Donaldson. Martin McGuinness was also quick to put his own spin on the news: “What we are witnessing now is a full-frontal assault on the Agreement more…

American in Andersonstown

Just picked this up from the archives at Samizdata, one of the most prolific and well organised weblogs on the net. It’s one man’s outsider view (from the inside) on the range of paramilitaries currently active in Northern Ireland. The style is brusque and American, and he finishes with something of a stylish flourish: “Some more…

And there's more

Ian Paisley, erstwhile leader of the DUP, calls for the dissolution of the current Assembly rather than to prolong the current crisis until the new year. Noel McAdam weighs up what it might mean to Trimble. And in the subscription only Irish News, Roy Garland suggests that things may not be as bad as some more…

Other Unionist voices

From Beowulf at Carisenda: “Keep picking fights you can’t win guys, keep reacting with your heart and not your head, keep up the in-fighting, the splits, the tantrums – I’m sure Gerry and the lads have a nice fat smile on their faces watching you slowly tear yourselves apart.” It has to be said that more…

Wider reaction

John Reid is typically sanguine, suggesting that all sides will need to full committment to turn around a history at least 80 years in the making. Gerry Adams condemned it as a Wreckers Charter; “…if the unionists refuse to be part of that process then the two governments must proceed anyway. Today’s victory for the more…

Unionist backroom

It’s all over bar the shouting. In the ninth meeting of the ruling Ulster Unionist Council since the signing of the Belfast Agreement in 1998, David Trimble was forced to deliver an ultimatum to Sinn Fein that the IRA disarm and disband by the 18th January 2003. A boycott of the North/South ministerial bodies begins more…

One last comment before the weekend…

The whole week’s commentary in Northern Ireland seems to have been bent towards one event; the meeting of the Ulster Unionist Council, which may or may not decide the fate of their reform-minded leader, David Trimble (more here, here, here, here and here). Whatever happens this weekend, it is unlikely to be the end of more…