Demographic nightmare

If both sides are to be believed then no one is to blame for the ongoing nightmare in North Belfast. Still there is something quite chilling in the latest statement from Loyalists with regard to recent violence. It is forthwrite, simple and completely unapologetic: The senior loyalist said that Mr Lawlor had been killed in retaliation for a gun attack on Sunday evening in which a Protestant teenager was seriously injured. He said: “We’re one bullet, one fatality away from … Read more

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

There is an inevitable gloom gathering once again over North Belfast, in the wake of the killing of Gerard Lawlor early yesterday morning. Loyalists claim the killing, but insist that it was in response to “…the onslaught against the Protestant community by the republican gunmen”. Further action is threatened if there is no abatement. That gloom will not be helped as we approach Trimble’s deadline of tomorrow night. For what seems like the umpteenth time in the four years since … Read more

From 1954…

There are some great old articles to be found on the Atlantic Monthly site. In 1954, John V Kelleher in discussing partition suggested that: “The history of the problem is nearly irrelevant to its solution. Three present factors count: religious differences, the failure of either state to create within its own borders a vigorously healthy society, and the bald fact that the division between North and South aggravates with every passing year.” “Anti-Partitionist propaganda never admits any of these factors. … Read more

What next?

Trimble puts the responsibility for keeping law and order on Blair. And there are signs that Blair may go some way to back-up Trimble’s call for a tougher and more transparent approach to breaches of the ceasefires. Though it is clear a majority Unionist population at large holds Sinn Fein responsible for the current destablising violence in Belfast’s streets, there is a corresponding puzzlement amongst Nationalists. The Sunday Business Post ponders the possibility of joint authority.

Street killing

The street violence of the last week or so claimed it’s first death yesterday; he was one of several others injured. It’s difficult to gauge exactly what triggered it off this time, but the Newsletter reports that Loyalist patience is growing thin in some interface areas.


Finally, for the first time in many years, the coverage in the media seems to be looking at Ulster Unionist problems with some degree of sympathy. Henry McDonald leads the way with a short but pithy analysis of where the epicentre of the current crisis may actually lie. “Arguably the greatest paradox of the peace process is that the crisis in unionism exists only because most of its leaders and spokesmen are so blinded by bigotry that they can’t spot … Read more

Counting costs

And a last word of the week to Jack Holland, who is fed up with the endless rounds of ‘whatboutery’ that we are all inclined to locked into – and nowhere moreso than in cyberspace. For a great choice of NI news links throughout the working week Newshound is the best single source.

End of Agreement?

With little left in the game for pro-agreement Unionists except electoral humiliation next May, they will likely collapse all institutions, bin the Good Friday Agreement and throw the peace process back a stage. “Assembly elections are due to be held in May next year, but unionists have warned the body could have been dissolved and direct rule re-imposed long before them unless Mr Blair acts.” PA The rejection of the IRA apology has not gone down well with some. There … Read more

Thursday, July 18, 2002

Here’s an in-depth article giving good background to the Catholic-Protestant change in fortunes. It’s almost worth registering with the New York Times for!!

Trimble: Biography of an enigma

Just finished reading Henry McDonald’s biog of Trimble (US). One of those last minute impulse buys waiting for an early morning flight out of Aldergrove. And still Trimble largely remains the enigmatic creature he was before. However the book is a useful reference for some of the action we’ve had since April 1998 (though it cuts off when the end-game was still in it’s early stages). Several things leapt out at me: 1 The key influence that several Catholic/former Nationalist … Read more

Stop, go again

The story of the peace process post Belfast Agreement seems to have been one of deadlines. Despite the apology from the IRA the UUP still intend to stick to theirs on 24th July. But, in this ‘theatre-in-the-round’, nothing is as planned and predictable as it once was in Ulster, and the main players are more interdependent that than they would sometimes like. Meanwhile, David McKittrick applauds the change in language and tone from the IRA, but goes on to point … Read more

Census 2001: Some preliminary thoughts

There’s only weeks to go before the results of the 2001 census are announced, we’ve not heard much in recent times about the demographic timebomb that awaits the Northern Ireland electorate. Though the proportion of the electorate voting Nationalist has risen exponentially in the last 30 years, the implications are not as clear-cut as it may seem on first sight. One Unionist politician I spoke to recently was at pains to point out that everyone is behaving as though the … Read more

IRA apology

As you might imagine the big story of the day is the latest statement from the IRA. Most punters are predictably split on what (if any significance) it has for the ‘ailing’ peace process. The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern welcomed the statement, whilst David Trimble immediately countered it with the suggestion that “the apology from the IRA tonight may have been prompted by the investigative pieces on which some journalists have been working for the anniversary of bloody Friday in a … Read more

Conservative policy

Simon Heffer believes Trimble has no choice but to move rightwards. Conor Cruise O’Brien pops his head above the parapet for the first time in a while and gives more immediate counsell: “What Trimble and all other unionists should be doing right now is keeping the spotlight on Colombia and the IRA’s links with FARC. In this way he will embarrass both Sinn Fein and the British and Irish Governments.” Meantime, in yesterday’s debate in Westminster the Lib Dem’s Northern … Read more


For those that still aren’t sure what it’s about. Here’s an article on weblogging. Check out Blogger to get started.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

D’fhág an BBC agus BSkyB agus TG4 as an áireamh i bpacáiste úr digiteach a bheidh á thairiscint acu sa Tuaisceart agus sa Bhreatáin ón fhómhar ar aghaidh.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

The trouble in and around the Short Strand comes in for some attention. Anthony McIntyre asks for the hyperbole to be taken down a notch or two, suggesting, “replacing the need to state what is with a penchant for the ridiculous only invites ridiculing of the needs of people going about their daily lives in a climate of adversity.” There are signs that Unionists of all shades are taking up the idea of Civil Rights to boost their own political … Read more

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

First of all, prize for the most eye-catching headlne of the year has got to go to Police Praise IRA, and Rosie Cowan’s article in the Guardian last Saturday. There have been a few rumblings about the border/link with Britain poll in the last few days. Newshound reprint an Andersonstown News (agus i nGaelige) story by Concubhar Ó Liatháin, whilst Trimble seems confident that the next Assembly elections will share the billling with a referendum on the issue.

Monday, July 15, 2002

Interesting piece on one of Northern Ireland’s largest and most ignored natural assets, according to Gary Grattan. “LOUGH Neagh – at 152 square miles the largest inland area of water in the UK – is not being exploited to its full tourism potential. “Sensitively and sensibly handled, the marketing of Lough Neagh as a recreational waterway is not in any way detrimental of ecological aspects of the lough. “The development will also create wealth in the surrounding areas via the … Read more

Monday, July 15, 2002

Following the widely trailed violence on the Springfield Road, the PSNI believe that this twelth was a relatively relaxed affair. Though Henry McDonald suggests that the Orange Order need to take a long hard look at itself. Others within the Order like George Patten apparently agree. John Coulter highlights an impending collapse in confidence within the Yes-camp unionist camp, and further suggests that Trimble has no choice but to make a serious shift to the right: “Strategically, Trimble is holed … Read more