Future Ireland / Northern Ireland and the Humpty Dumpty World of Schrödinger’s Cats

Apparently you follow the rabbit down a hole and you emerge in a wonderland …. Ken Clarke – House of Commons “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.” Lewis Carrol – Alice in Wonderland The …

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Future Ireland: Writing Competition

This is an open call for submissions on our current featured topic – Future Ireland: Alternative Conversations about Unity and the Union You can read a little more about the aims of the project here, and the types of contributions that we’re seeking. Here are some examples.  But we suspect that you might have some even better ideas. So we’re putting out an open call for articles on this topic.  The best three articles will win a prize (tbc – …

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Future Ireland: Alternative Conversations About Unity and the Union

The future of Northern Ireland is deeply uncertain. Brexit, the rise of English nationalism, Scotland, Stormont deadlock and demographic change make Irish unity a realistic alternative. The polls vary greatly, but some have unity very much within sight, especially if there is a harsh Brexit and a disruptive border. People are talking about this at kitchen tables across the north. But whilst we are highly engaged about if we would like unity or the union, and many of us have …

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Future Ireland: Where Can The North Thrive?

For some masochistic reason, I feel umbilically connected to the soil and the soul of this island. Especially this messed up northern corner of it. But there is no point in drawing borders in the soil, and driving flags into it, when it only has 60 more years of harvests left to give. It occurred to me recently that the best case scenario for Northern Ireland, as things stand, is to have a mediocre Brexit, for Stormont to limp back, for orange …

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Is it “conceivable that in future Ireland would need to align itself even closer to Britain economically?”

Good interview in the Irish Post which pushes Martin McGuinness a little harder than we’ve become accustomed to in recent years within the Irish MSM. I was particularly interested in this section, because it has some pragmatic echoes of Bertie’s analysis just before he left office. Yet it also asks some real questions about the foreign policy implications of the slow economic drift between Britain (and Northern Ireland) and Europe (and the Republic) for anyone wanting to put the two …

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Northern Ireland must not be left behind – Why I’m supporting a Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill

Claire Hanna is the MP for South Belfast We are currently living through a series of emergencies; from the destruction of natural habitats and the tragic emergence of displaced peoples and refugees to most recently, the spread of the COVID19 pandemic. It should go without saying that we will do everything in our power to address and eradicate these immediate crises and to ensure that future generations are not forced to act in perpetual calamity. It is for that reason, …

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The Ulster Unionist Party reflects on the future of Northern Ireland

The third series of Holywell Trust’s Forward Together podcasts has heard from experts in a range of areas – including the economy, skills, education, young people’s experience, housing – and also considered best practice elsewhere. As it moves towards a close, it puts the arguments for major change in the governance of Northern Ireland to our political leaders.  In the first of this closing series of podcasts, we spoke to Steve Aiken – who at the time was still leader of the …

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Civic Space: Unionist voices on the future of a Northern Ireland inside the UK

Over the last year of lockdown Professor Pete Shirlow, Director of the Institute for Irish Studies in Liverpool, has put together an impressive array of materials from lots of different people on both sides of the argument over NI’s future. The front page of the civic space has two summative animated videos on the broad cases for a united Ireland and for staying within the Union. I’ll stick to the pro Union case for now and come to the UI …

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Ireland’s Future-Changing Narratives and Changing Language

Gerry Carlile is the CEO of Ireland’s Future  The labelling of people ‘Green’ and ‘Orange’ to describe their political outlook is becoming increasingly dated. In fact, the laziness inherent in those labels are patronising and offensive. The peace process signalled an end to such broad sweeping and blunt labels to describe an increasingly complex and nuanced spectrum of political views across the north. Even a cursory analysis of those who use these descriptors reveal a certain brand of intellectual and …

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A more refreshing debate on Ireland’s future has just been ignited

We are looking at a border poll within the next ten years, and reunification could happen within 20 years. I believe events will move a lot faster than any of us could ever envisage. Just look at Brexit, who could have predicted that five years ago?  Brian O’Neill may be right or he may be wrong. But we need something more than speculation.  A new debate has been ignited in the Irish Times.  Prof Pete Shirlow  goes for developing the …

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Northern Ireland’s future demands new energy and ideas from the BBC

Denis Bradley writing in the Irish News The atmosphere that has been nurtured on BBC Radio Ulster and Foyle since the peace process has driven away more voices than it has attracted. Only the most vocal of our politicians are regulars. Most clerics avoid it like the plague. Key personnel in many of our most important institutions never appear, most likely out of fear. Many do not feel equipped to partake in an atmosphere that is not always conducive to …

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Northern Ireland’s MPs and Brexit: Their past and future influence…

The UK in a Changing Europe recently published a report on Parliament and Brexit. The report examines how much has changed as a result of Brexit and, of course, the 2019 election which is unlikely to have happened in other circumstances. It also looks ahead to upcoming challenges for Parliament as the transition period hurtles along. This extract from the report considers the parties from Northern Ireland and their place in Westminster. It is easy to forget in hindsight, but …

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There’s more to it than polling. Ireland needs more than one choice of political future.

Although Irish unity has been a common obsession for more a century we can only marvel at how little it has been considered as a realistic proposition. In the Republic Sinn Fein’s surge at the general election has promoted it to a higher but still uncertain place in an agenda preoccupied with economic reform.  In the GFA, the issue was from the start insulated from what really mattered at the time, the  winning of the peace and the  effective operation …

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Northern Ireland faces great challenges and there is no point pretending otherwise. However, these challenges are not insurmountable. We can change. We can create a better future

Ann Watt is the Director of Pivotal  We are used to hearing about Northern Ireland’s political difficulties. We hear much less about the public policy challenges that affect people’s everyday lives. That has to change. Key pillars of public policy face significant and pressing challenges. The health service is in crisis. The schools system has areas of excellence but suffers from major inequalities. The economy is unbalanced and performs poorly compared with the rest of the UK. A quarter of …

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Ireland’s Future: Green shoots of hope & the need to plan for change.

Martina Devlin’s piece from yesterday’s Irish Independent has been reproduced below with the permission of the author. Martina appeared on the RTE podcast with Aine Lawlor on Thursday to discuss the Ireland’s Future letter and the unique context of this year’s Brexit election. When voters in the North go to the polls next month, the question facing them won’t be the subliminal one which harks to the past of ‘which tribe do you belong to?’ Instead, it will be a …

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Eoghan Harris: The problem with Ireland’s Future “one party” conversation..

Most of today’s Sunday Independent Eoghan Harris’ column is reproduced with the permission of the author. NB Harris is often the target of man playing. Any attempts here at man playing, whataboutery or seeking to change the subject may be removed.  We can be sure Gay Byrne would never have signed the letter, titled Ireland’s Future, signed by 1,000 public figures, telling us that because of Brexit, the reunification of Ireland has moved centre stage. Gay condemned IRA violence because …

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Considering the future of Northern Ireland

A panel considered how to engage in a friendly and unthreatening conversation about the future constitutional arrangements for Northern Ireland. This was held as part of a concluding reflection on the Holywell Trust’s series of 35 Forward Together podcast interviews. The panel comprised author Julieann Campbell, the commentator Denis Bradley (who was co-chair of the Consultative Group on the Past and former deputy chair of the Northern Ireland Policing Board) and Maureen Hetherington of the Junction, plus myself as the …

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Identity is fluid not fixed, and so is Northern Ireland’s future

Brian M Walker in the Belfast Telegraph this morning provides useful historical context for the ever changing issue of politics and identity in Northern Ireland… In 1968, just before the outbreak of the Troubles, Richard Rose conducted a survey in Northern Ireland about national identity. Of the Protestants polled, 39% saw themselves as British and 32% as Ulster, but also 20% viewed themselves as Irish, 6% as sometimes British and sometimes Irish and 2% as Anglo-Irish. We can assume that …

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‘Brexit means that Northern Ireland’s constitutional future has become an issue for Europe’, says Denis Bradley

Denis Bradley was keen to move on in the latest Forward Together podcast interview to discuss the constitutional position of Northern Ireland.  “Well that’s the one that intrigues me because I don’t know the answer!,” he says. “First of all I think something very important happened within the last couple of weeks and has not received attention. And that is that the Europeans have said if there a no deal situation we will still have to deal with the Northern …

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Slugger TV looks at the future of Karen Bradley & the role of the media in Northern Ireland.

Slugger TV: Episode 27 from Northern Visions NvTv on Vimeo. Slugger TV is now two years old (thank you for watching). Our panel this month is the Irish News journalist, Brendan Hughes, Commentator, Andree Murphy and the Director of the NI Retail Consortium, Micheal Connolly. Here it is on Youtube, if you are hard of hearing or in a quiet environment you can get subtitles on Youtube by clicking the CC button below the video: