“…courtly yet testy; an eloquent speaker yet a poor communicator; atavistic yet sophisticated; stubborn yet not quite sure of where he wants to go.” Brian Walker believes Trimble is the perfect paradigm of contemporary Ulster Unionism.
Today is known as the Glorious Twelfth for many in Northern Ireland, celebrating a history of civil and religious freedom. For others it an opportunity to break and head for the hills of Donegal, or other more tranquil spots. Of the many parades that take place each year, most pass off with little comment and even some with the active approval of the local Catholic population. This from Irish Times journalist Theresa Judge on the annual parade in Rossnowlagh, Donegal … Read more
Deireann Ian Malcolm: is mor an trua é nach bhfuil an dá thaobh ag Droim Crí ábalta teacht ar chomhréiteach a thaispeánfadh go bhfuil muid uilig ag fás aníos trí scáthán phróiseas na síochána.
More criticism of Trimble in the Guardian. The leader in yesterday’s Belfast Telegraph calls for Nationalists to understand the perception of the outworking of the Belfast Agreement amongst Unionist voters is vastly different to their own: “It serves no purpose for nationalist politicians to berate the unionist leadership for failing to fully embrace the Good Friday Agreement, with all its ambiguity. For them, it has delivered on equality, but for David Trimble and a majority of unionists it has failed … Read more
Ciaran Irvine urges the debate on the future of the whole island to focus on what can be done with that future rather than to get caught up in bemoaning the miseries of the past.
David Trimble seems to be at the receiving end of lectures from just about everyone these days. David Lister at The Times suggests that: “Mr Trimble, who has vehemently denied suggestions that he will stand down as party leader before the election, needs urgent help to win back Protestants who have lost faith with the peace process. The basic problem for Mr Trimble is that, although his compromises in taking Unionists into a power-sharing Assembly and talking to terrorists have … Read more
Mary McAleese reckons there is a significant shift in the way that violence is perceived in the post ceasefire era. “…she said she was more hopeful about the North situation today than she has been at any other time in her life. The current focus on sectarian violence and intolerance would not have happened during the Troubles when, every day, people were “absorbed with issues of death”, she said” But as the first comments on yesterday’s survey of attitudes come … Read more
For a sense of historical perspective, Timothy Lavin hunts back through the archives of the Atlantic magazine, and unearths some real gems from: Brian Moore commenting bleakly on the future of Ulster as seen in 1970; Henry Massingham writing in the very immediate aftermath of the 1916 rising; and Padraig O’Malley on the marching season of 1996, amongst others.
Not exactly Ireland, but Andrew O’Hagan grew up in that unsettled extension of Northern Ireland’s political and cultural norms, the west of Scotland. This piece for the London Reveiw of Books is an excellent account of what it takes to be a dissident to your own (footballing) tradition. John Lancaster kicks off his reminiscence of the latest World Cup re-visiting the McCarthy – Keane stand-off, whilst Niall Quinn is rewarded for his efforts with an honourary degree. If you can … Read more
The Guardian seems to like reading the Letter. They’ve listed us in their roll of favourite weblogs.
It seems as if Johnny Adair’s outfit is something of a roll, and attracting new members from his former allies. Meanwhile DUP minister Nigel Dodds has landed a major funding package to be aimed at ‘interface areas’ that have taken the brunt of the violence over the last 18 months or so.
Tá go leor den na drochscéalta faoin ‘Peace Process’ atá fagail ann linn faoi lathair, ach leis an meid de rudai uafasach atá ag dul araidh measann Robert McMillen gur ábhar dóchais an méid atá ag titim amach i mBaile Monaidh. Agus nuacht mhaith do Mheánscoil Feirste; deontas do 5 milliun phunt agus aitheantas oifigiúil do bhunscoil i dTuaisceart Bhéal Feirste.
A key piece of attitudinal research was released today. On the face of it the Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey 2001 confirms the widespread belief that the two communities are increasingly divided on on every matter of substance around the ‘Peace Process’. The lead authors, University of Ulster researchers Joanne Hughes and Caitlin Donnelly, said in a statement it was crucial for politicians and community activists “to explore the factors contributing to recent negative trends and to identify strategies … Read more
The peace line in Belfast is multiplying and fragmenting, and it seems there is a similar multiplicity of motives for wanting them there. Of all the political ‘coups’ of the last week, Gearoid O’Caireallain regards Maskey’s wreathlaying as the most masterful strategic move of the lot. The Orange leadership at Drumcree seems to be under fire from some who suspect them of having become soft.
The meeting of the pro-agreement parties at Hillsborough today seems to have had a mixed reception. Some are complaining that David Trimble is not showing it the regard he should, in leaving it to his Stormont Environment Minister Dermot Nesbitt. However this may have the more mundane (and hopeful??) explanation that this group will be meeting more regularly to more effectively manage the implimentation of the Belfast Agreement.
For a week from tomorrow, there will be a break in ‘transmission’ whilst I go off, get married and take a quick honeymoon. When I return the Letter will move to its new home at: www.sluggerotoole.com, and normal service will be resumed!
Mayor Maskey decides discretion is the better part of valor (for now at least) over the commemoration of the Somme in Belfast. It may be too soon for both his own and Unionist supporters in the City. Meanwhile Mark Durkan launches his brand New Nationalism, anchored, he says, in the principles of the Belfast Agreement.
The SDLP reveal their new logo today, retaining socialist red, with a slight tinge of nationalist green, and a full crescent of unionist orange. This, and its shift in language from a ‘united’ to ‘integrated Ireland’, is being seen by some as a part of longer term campaign to open up to the Unionist tradition.
As claim and counterclaim proliferate over collusion between security forces and loyalist paramilitaries, there is a first few tentative calls for something like a truth commission to bring the conflict to some kind of final rest. Whilst Ulster does its usual summer trick of ritually beating itself up, there may be a thread of hope that no conflict can drag on forever. James Murray Brown speculates that: “There is a hope that this summer could see the quietest Drumcree in … Read more
The SDLP is the subject of much speculation these days. It appears to be making overtures to Unionists by incorporating the colour orange into it’s new logo.