The dry stone wall of Northern Irish politics…

VETERAN observer of NI politics Arthur Aughey (pictured) weighs up the outcomes of the peace process for devolution in an extract from Breaking Up Britain (blogged on Open Democracy). Rather than see the Agreement as “a foundational event from which a radically new society emerges”, Aughey paints devolution here as part of a messy continuum. He conjures up the image of a dry stone wall to suggest the continuity of our history, composed, not of bricks, but unpredictable, interlocking rocks. … Read more

Drawing a line under the past…

A small informal group of Ulster Unionists have released a short document called Drawing a line under the past. It arises from several years of meeting with a range of Republican, Nationalist and Loyalist groups and focuses very narrowly on the legacy of thirty of low level but often nasty conflict. It emphasises the need for continuing contact between all parts of Northern Irish society, and warns against plumping for some kind of all purpose ‘silver bullet’ reconciliation process. It … Read more

North and South polls apart..?

A Sunday Independent poll has found that support for a united Ireland in the Republic is not perhaps as overwhelming as first thought. “For 45 per cent of respondents a united Ireland held no interest. Many described the concept as out of date and that the Republic’s focus should be on a European rather than a narrow nationalistic level. Others said that pursuing a 32-county republic would be regressive not progressive” the paper reports.. Belfast Gonzohttp://sluggerotoole.com

Two Steps Forward; One Step Back

In today’s Irish Times (subs. req.)Vincent Browne argues that not only is the question of the extradition or imprisonment of the Colombia Three an irrelevance – given that the US Administration could not care less about the issue (or Ireland in general for that matter) as long as the Government continues to make Shannon available to military aircraft and supports the US in UN votes – but also that, contrary to claims from some media quarters, their reappearance in Ireland … Read more

Paisley’s Certain Victory?

In today’s Irish Times, John Waters takes a look at what he describes as the “last battle over the meaning of the Troubles” (subs req.). “The war is over”, he agrgues, “but there remains the matter of settled interpretation.”Waters continues: “Dr Paisley last week restated his case: the IRA must disband before his party will resume powersharing with Sinn Féin. The Taoiseach baulked at the word “disbandment”. Instead, he reiterated, the IRA must cease all criminal and paramilitary activity and … Read more

Why the IRA won’t go away, you know…

YESTERDAY’s Irish Times carried an article by Anthony McIntyre. He argued that the Northern Bank raid may have put “peace” on hold but it will breathe new life into the peace process, and the process is what keeps Sinn Féin growing.McIntyre writes: The response of the British and Irish governments to the announcement by the PSNI boss, Mr Hugh Orde, that the Provisional IRA was behind the robbery of £26.5 million from the Northern Bank was anger tempered by weary … Read more

A little bit of history repeating…

DENIAL, lies, criminality and complicity – all integral part of the peace process, as far as Tom Luby is concerned. He asks if peace has come with too high a price tag, and questions whether the media or governments have the courage to try and confront the contradictions inherent in the neverending search for a settlement.In a stinging attack on the media, Luby writes: Pressed into a corner those in the media responsible for refusing to challenge the lie would … Read more

Nationalist perspective on Unionism

Greagoir D laigh has an interesting historical response to A Long Peace?, our pamphlet on the future of Unionism, and finishes with a number of questions about Unionism he has never been able to unravel. Archived Comments (132): Having read this piece i must asked any unionists out there, How come you took home rule in Belfast? howerver were fully against Home rule for the entire island? Posted by: Alan Anderson at October 8, 2003 01:43 PM Presumably because Home … Read more

Ian Paisley on A long peace?

I met with Ian Paisley briefly the other day. His often firey persona has been a dominant theme in Northern Irish politics since as far back as I can remember. He is greyer and thinner than he once was, but his spirit and wit is still impressive for a man knocking close on 80.I asked him what he thought of A Long Peace?, our think piece on the future of Unionism of Northern Ireland. After pinpointing which of the many … Read more

A Long Peace? – press release

Unionists must focus on a basic goal – a peaceful, economically prosperous and politically stable Northern Ireland, while drawing on a reserve of deeply held values, according to a new report on the future of Unionism.A Long Peace, (download pdf 959KB here or zip 386KB here) published today with support from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, argues that a functioning democracy in Northern Ireland is the only way to reconcile competing interests in a peaceful way, and calls on the … Read more

A Long Peace? – press release

Unionists must focus on a basic goal – a peaceful, economically prosperous and politically stable Northern Ireland, while drawing on a reserve of deeply held values, according to a new report on the future of Unionism. A Long Peace, (download pdf 959KB here) published today with support from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, argues that a functioning democracy in Northern Ireland is the only way to reconcile competing interests in a peaceful way, and calls on the Unionist movement to … Read more