Future Ireland: Uniting people is the starting point

I was in a cafe recently when the owner, who I know from being a regular, came over and asked me, “David, clear something up between me and the Missus – was that you on the TV we saw the other night … [puzzled look] … you were part of a panel … Mike Nesbitt was there too.” To which I answered – ‘Yes, guilty! Was me!’ After a little discussion about how he didn’t realise I was interested in … Read more

Slugger TV with Christopher Stalford

In this months episode I speak with the DUP MLA, Christopher Stalford about the DUP, going to Clones and a border poll. David McCannDavid McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs

Perspectives on Change from a Dublin-dwelling northern Prod

I am a Northern Irish Protestant who has lived in Dublin for the past twenty five years. I am proud to be from the Protestant community and proud to be from Northern Ireland. But I have never been so proud to be part of a society, as I have been to be part of the Republic of Ireland in recent years. A society that voted, myself included, in favour of marriage equality and a woman’s right to choose. I have a friend … Read more

Arlene Foster attends GAA Ulster Final

DUP leader Arlene Foster stood for the Irish national anthem as Fermanagh took on Donegal at the GAA Ulster final in Clones. #UlsterGAA @FermanaghGAA @officialdonegal https://t.co/TwzX0n6JEe pic.twitter.com/wIZCtjL9E2 — BBC News NI (@BBCNewsNI) June 24, 2018 Here attendance was welcomed by the Sinn Fein Vice President, Michelle O’Neill; I very much welcome the attendance of DUP Leader Arlene Foster MLA at today’s Ulster GAA final. “I along with other Sinn Féin leaders met recently with Prince Charles in order to demonstrate … Read more

Story of Peadar Heffron’s ostracisation should mark a turning point for NI and the GAA…

Taking in the air of the men’s changing rooms in 1980s Dungiven gives a man some perspective, and nobody could have written up that interview with Peadar Heffron quite like Joe Brolly. The story that Brolly had to tell was, of course, that of his interviewee but it came with an authenticity that was as much to do with Brolly’s own lived experience as it was to do with his skill in setting out a narrative. He didn’t have to … Read more

Casement Park is a vanity project. Someone needs to stop the madness…

The Irish News reports today that plans for a Park & Ride for the new Casement Park at the old Maze site can’t be approved without a Stormont Executive. You might be thinking, hold on a minute, they want to put a Park & Ride where they originally wanted to build the stadium?? So you drive to the Maze site, park your car, wait for the shuttle bus to arrive, traipse into Belfast on the bus, get off, watch the … Read more

Battle lines re-drawn over new Casement Park stadium plan

The BBC reports that the Mooreland and Owenvarragh Residents Association (MORA) has said it opposes the recently unveiled revised GAA plan for a new stadium at Casement Park.  MORA campaigned successfully against the original proposal.  From the BBC report In a statement, the residents group said it supported a “suitable-sized redevelopment” that was safe, did not host concerts and was “part of the natural fabric of the community”. “The revised proposals for the redevelopment of Casement Park do not meet those requirements,” it said. … Read more

Casement Park Development: Further allegations at Assembly Committee Hearing

The BBC reports that GAA official, and independent Northern Ireland Policing Board member, Ryan Feeney, has threatened “immediate [legal] action” following further allegations by the chairman of the safety technical group, Sport NI’s Paul Scott, of pressure being exerted to drop concerns about safety at the controversial proposed £70million redevelopment of Casement Park in west Belfast.  Mr Scott was appearing again in front of the NI Assembly Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure. From the BBC report Mr Feeney later issued … Read more

Carál Ní Chuilín: “What is clear to me is that there has been an anti-GAA element throughout…”

Having had to apologise for “an error” in claiming that the “Electoral commission vetoed using last election figures” in defence of Sinn Féin’s sectarian leaflet campaign in North Belfast, the Northern Ireland Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Sinn Féin’s Carál Ní Chuilín, might have been better advised to be more cautious in her public utterances in future… Despite having reportedly announced, last Thursday, a full review of the new Casement Park Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) ground redevelopment plan, on Tuesday, … Read more

Casement Park STG Chair: “we were being attempted to be coerced, pressurised into signing off something that we were singularly uncomfortable with…”

The BBC reports on the latest wrinkle in the on-going saga of the controversial £70million redevelopment of Casement Park in west Belfast – stalled in December last year when Belfast High Court quashed the decision to grant planning approval for the redevelopment. At the start of April this year, the BBC obtained the minutes of the last meeting of the Casement Park Development Safety Technical Group (STG), in November 2014, under a Freedom of Information request.   The STG is made up of representatives … Read more

Ringland pays tribute to the quiet voices that kept northern society from falling apart…

This has been a recurrent theme in Trevor’s outlook ever since I first got to know him for the research and writing of The Long Peace: Trevor Ringland refused to visit Croke Park for many years because of the ban on members of the security forces playing GAA games, which has since been lifted. Today he visited the ground to address a meeting of British and Irish parliamentarians, which included the DUP and other unionists. “As we look to reconcile … Read more

Former GAA star to run for the SDLP in Newry and Armagh…

So the SDLP throw a ringer into the Newry and Armagh Westminster fight. He’s Mullaghbawn man Justin McNulty, whose major claim to fame is not politics but GAA. The man he’s contesting, Mickey Brady was himself relatively new to the game in 2007 when Sinn Fein took back the Newry seat they’d lost when Davy Hyland left the party. I spoke earlier at length with Kevin McCallister on Q Radio in Newry: listen to ‘On the SDLP's choice of Justin … Read more

There Is No Alternative! (to Casement Park development plan) – Redux

Belfast High Court has ruled that the decision to grant planning permission for the controversial £70million redevelopment of Casement Park in west Belfast was “fundamentally flawed”.  However, Mr Justice Horner did not quash the decision, and will take further submissions from lawyers for the Department of the Environment, the GAA and the residents group who mounted the legal challenge before ruling on what the alternative actually is.  From the Irish Times report The overall bill for the redevelopment in west Belfast has now risen … Read more

Night of first times – my first GAA match…

Sometimes it would appear that nothing has the power to divide like sport.  How many of us have been asked ‘what team do you support?’ and instantly depending on the response you give, you are greeted by either a nod of approval or a comment from the other person that demonstrates loyalty on their part to some other team. Or think how sport also divides us in terms of socio-economic backgrounds.  Rugby and fencing, the preserve of the Grammar School … Read more

There Is No Alternative! (to Casement Park development plan)

A fairly desperate argument from lawyers for the Northern Ireland Planning Service in Belfast High Court today, during the judicial review of the planned £70million redevelopment of Casement Park in west Belfast.  As the BBC reports The judge heard that DCAL have contributed £62.5m of the £77m cost of rebuilding the stadium as part of a project involving the development of Windsor Park football stadium and Ravenhill rugby ground. A Planning Service lawyer said that if the funds are not spent in time, … Read more

#GarthBrooks: GAA needs to get better at being good neighbours.

So what have we learned from the Garth Brooks debacle? The most screamingly obvious thing is that with 400,000 people buying tickets, country and western is the thing for a significant proportion of the Irish people. And the other is that this cancellation is going to hurt a lot of people and a lot of ‘indigenous business’. Of course even within that most popular of genres no one else is likely to fill Croke Park for five nights in a … Read more

“Post-nationalist Ireland has arrived.”

[Once more into the breach then – Ed]  In yesterday’s Irish News, Patrick Murphy posited three theories to explain what he describes as “the latest dismantling of Irish political and cultural nationalism.”  That would be Martin McGuinness, et al, at Windsor Castle in white tie and tails, and the GAA deal with Sky.  From the Irish News The first theory suggests that the process has been largely fuelled by Britain’s determination to give political cover to the PIRA’s defeat in a … Read more

Row over GAA tops at University of Ulster

Jim Allister recently asked the Stormont Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry to: “outline any discussions he has had with the University of Ulster regarding concerns that the proliferation of GAA tops on campus leads to an intimidating atmosphere for many students” Jim has apparently been approached by unionist students complaining about the “chill factor”. Similar concerns, though specifically related to GAA tops with the names of IRA terrorists on them, were raised by Drew Nelson last year. On that … Read more

“Good heavens! You’re the culture minister..” Redux

Here’s the Culture Minister on the GAA’s new deal… If Sky is worldwide, beaming games worldwide, that’s a good thing, but I don’t want that to be at the detriment of local broadcasting. I also don’t want it to be at the detriment of the people who don’t have Sky or who don’t have digital or satellite television to be prevented from seeing one of the best games ever so while it is a matter for the GAA, I do … Read more