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 …
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 …
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 …
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 …
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.
Fiafraíonn Robert McMillen an bhfuil baill áirithe d’Fhianna Fáil ag breath chun nascanna níos láidre a chothú idiru féin agus an SDLP, de bhri go bhfuil Sinn Féin ag éirí níos láidre mar pháirtí?
Whilst the controversy over collusion between the security forces and loyalist paramilitary death squads continues, there is a new wave of more skeptical coverage of the story. From Malachi O’Doherty who suggests that pushing further is a serious form of illogic for Agreement parties who have already accepted an amnesty on all paramilitaries, to Eilis O’Hanlon who suggests that if such investigation is good enough for one side it is valid for the other.
Whilst the hiatus pundits are still speculating about when the executive will next break down, there are still several ministers who are showing a passion for the job of government. Martin McGuinness at Education said at the weekend “I intend to do something before the end of this parliamentary term, which lays out before the people what I believe to be the foundation stones on the future of education in this state for some period to come.” There are signs …
Here’s a few encouraging words about ‘Letter to Slugger O’Toole’ from Spiked-online journalist Brendan O’Neill.
Looks like the UUP are getting caught by the off-side rule yet again in their efforts to get the Parades Commission to re-consider it’s ruling against the Orange Order over the Garvaghy Road route. The Order themselves are not happy, after the Commission binned their proposals from last year, even though they were considered “…a significant advance on the order’s previous position and might provide a basis on which the parties could move forward.”
Ahern and Blair are to call a meeting of all the Pro-agreement parties next week. The Stevens enquiry rumbles on in the Guardian, whilst the Independent emphasises that MI5 actively obstructed the investigation of the Finucane case. Neil McKay in the Sunday Herald went as far as to suggest that Margaret Thatcher was the one who first ordered such collusion. Meanwhile Kevin Myers calls for a quid pro quo if there is to be a long term continuation of inquiries.