More on Lennon..

We have the first rash of post-mortems on the LVF death threat against the Northern Ireland captain. Henry Winter says: “Neil Lennon, one of life’s decent citizens, a man who lives for football, family and friends, walked away from the Northern Ireland dressing-room after receiving sectarian death threats. Few would question his sanity if he walked away from the Northern Ireland team for good.” Michael Walker sees an historic precedent, in an excellent and committed piece of writing: “…Windsor Park …

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Soccer captain in death threat

Neil Lennon withdrew from NI’s friendly game against Cyprus tonight after receiving a death threat from the LVF. The Celtic player was to take over the captaincy from Steve Lomas.

A belated thanks

To Brendan O’Neill for promoting the Slugger’s letter to his A-list of recommended sites and particularly for the co-billing with the CAIN on-line database from the University of Ulster – and a tag line of Peace facts no less! Brendan’s was one the first to make it the Slugger’s list of recommended sites. He has written a series of incisive and often witty (a quality so often missing from so much written about Northern Ireland. He has covered topics like …

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This month's bizarre headline

Sinn Fein defend DUP’s top post – John Kelly of Sinn Fein tells republicans, that they must not seek to dominate unionists. A clear signal from Sinn Fein that it will do business with the DUP after the next election. It also provides an indication that the DUP will not be as hard line in practice as its record and current rhetoric leads many of us to believe when it comes to the crunch. Eammon McCann asks if Republican violence …

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Street violence continues

The violence at the interfaces continues. There is no shortage of condemnation by unionists and ministers, but as yet there seems to be no viable resolution to whatever cause turns out to be. Des Browne on the Westminster NI team, continues his talks with various parties to find some means to end the violence. Despite a chilling warning from the INLA, John Murtagh of the IRSP, called for a non-aggression pact between the republican Bogside and loyalist Fountain areas of …

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The Blanket

This online magazine gives voice to a surprising variety of views, from Republican, Loyalists and Unionists, reflecting a often unseen, unheard dialogue between all section’s of NI society which takes place on a daily basis on the ground here. It’s worth adding to your list of favourites. Newton Emerson, reveiws a political debate at the recent Feile an Phobail in West Belfast. Ciaran Irvine castigates Bertie Ahern, suggesting that the damage done to the South’s economic and social fabric may …

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DUP or UUP?

In the print edition of the Newsletter, Mervyn Pauley dismisses the likelihood that any deal is possible between the UUP and the DUP: “…their mutual feelings of loathing, rooted in an unseemly history of interparty feuds, personality bashing and alegations of treachery and double dealing is arguably, as Sherlock Holmes said of Watson – “the one fixed point in a changing world”. If as is widely tipped, the DUP win poll position for the Unionist side of the Assembly, Pauley …

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Youth and paramilitries

It seems clear that paramilitary influence in Loyalist and Unionist areas is spreading quickly through the use of ‘youth wings’. Even in relatively prosperous areas there is a growing presence of all three major groupings. According to Alan Murray, Ulster Youth Movement (UYM), closely associated with the UDA and the UFF, is using loans to attract new members.

Sectarianism

Billy Hutchinson talks to the Boston Herald about the varieties of sectarianism, from North Belfast to North Belfast.

Trimble again…

Despite a degree of ‘ham’ rhetoric, Eoghan Harris hits several nails squarely on the head in an ‘open letter‘ to David Trimble. He offer three points for Trimble (and all unionists) to consider: Firstly, get out and sell the agreement. “…people respond badly to pessimistic politicians. Unionist leaders do not seem to understand that if a political leader wants to be bleak, he should be bleak in a positive way. That means Unionist moderates should be selling the Good Friday …

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De Klerk speaks at Glencree Summer School

I am just back from a weekend spent at the Glencree Summer School, where a variety of speakers gave presentations to a mixed audience from both sides of the Ulster community, the Republic and the UK. The keynote address was given by the ex-President of South Africa, FW de Klerk. Though it was clear from the discussion that followed his initial address that there were few direct parallels between the circumstances in the two situations, a number of interesting points …

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Nationalisms

Roderick Dunbar asks, “where have all the socialists gone?”, while Newton Emmerson rejoices in the tag of the middle class, declaring loudly that the class war is over! Billy Mitchell argues that the substance of British citizenship is more important than symbols. “It is not something that can be plucked from the heart as a plaque is torn from a wall or a flag from a flagpole. In spite of Sinn Fein’s outward show of euphoria, and the despondency that …

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Friday, August 16, 2002

James Murray Brown in the FT talks to John White, former spokesman for the now disbanded UDP, and close associate of Johnny Adair. In the course of his interview he says: “We understood that in a divided society there had to be compromise in the negotiations. But it’s anathema to think we can’t fly our national flag on public buildings. It’s anathema to see that republicans and nationalists are opposing loyalist parades in many parts of the province.” Murray Brown …

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Other unionist voices

With David Trimble on holiday, the local papers seem to be giving more space to other Unionist voices. On the front of today’s Irish News is Trevor Ringland, founding member of Unionist pressure group Re-Union, who said last night that though party colleagues were angered by the ongoing attacks at interface areas, it was essential that they condemned the “wrongs of both sides”. He went on, “if we want to advance the benefits of living in a British society then …

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Silly season?

Ray O’Hanlon reports on how serious the Ulster ‘silly season’ can get. It’s clear that this term always has grave connotations that don’t apply elsewhere. The US-based Irish Echo chooses to lead on the disturbances around Cluan Place, by the Short Strand area. How appearances deceive in Derry as a mother and daughter from Australia are attacked; though the Irish News report is full of instances of people offering the two tourists concerned free accommodation. Newshound goes back to 23rd …

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Back again

Having been out in the wilds of Donegal for the last week and a half, and far far away from even my laptop, I have missed out on a few things I will be trying to pull in over the next few posts. It is hard to maintain a sense of perspective on the news as it hits each day. Long term progressions get missed as the sensations of violence or impending political crises hit the headlines, or dominate the …

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Peace and war

With the hope surrounding meeting of John White and Alex Maskey in the Mayor’s parlour, there is a plethora of warnings about the consequences of any further violence. Sinn Fein claim that the UDA is on a sustained campaign of violence that can only end in another death. In the Irish Times Gerry Morriarty was almost upbeat about the meeting: “There is still much mutual distrust and suspicion, but at least at face value the fact that they were prepared …

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Bigotry

Julie Burchill had the chattering classes chattering, like she rarely has before with a fairly cack-handed attack on Ken Livingstone’s support for the London St Patrick’s Parade earlier this year. Malachi O’Doherty suggests some may be losing a sense of perspective in reacting so strongly. Closer to home Nelson McCausland faced criticism for his insistence that sectarianism was not solely an offence of a single community in Northern Ireland. In Derry though there seems to be a quiet and potentially …

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Calm before the storm

Though the summer has been accompanied with its share of tragedy, Kevin Connelly sees real change coming in the longer term. It’s the silly season in NI. Many politicians are away on holiday taking stock of the summers activities, and the uncertainty surrounding the ‘peace process’, or grabbing a bit of sane ‘downtime’. Sinn Fein speculate on early election strategy by the UUP. Among Unionists there seems little space for compromisers, as Duncan Shipley Dalton prepares himself for an early …

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Going to Ireland..

From Monday I will be in Ireland for three weeks. Though posting may be less regular, I hope to bring you more direct accounts of political and cultural life in Northern Ireland.