Tag Archives | Ireland

The English, with an identity problem to die for

As a little Bank Holiday sidebar, I nick part of Libby Purves’ meditation on Identity in the Times (£) today which laments a lack of the English variety and compares it mournfully  with the rosiest possible version of the Irish kind.  Being English, she actually thinks north and south are much the same – imagine! more…

It’s easier to get rid of a hard border

Vincent Boland has written a major piece for the FT magazine (£) entitled “Dividing Line: Brexit and the threat to the Irish Border“. The article is all more absorbing for being written for the casually interested globalised audience that is the FT’s typical readership. Boland doesn’t deal in economic statistics or confusing politics but on more…

“Cars being stopped and searched is not going to happen”

Whilst the BBC quote, at length, the concerns about a post-Brexit border of “a former customs officer in Donegal” whom they interviewed on Radio Foyle, the Irish Revenue Commissioner’s lead official on the topic has been speaking at a conference on Brexit in Dublin organised by the British Irish Chamber of Commerce.  From the Irish Times more…

John Bruton, An Taoiseach 1994-7

John Bruton; “The terms for Brexit, as set out so far by Mrs May, will do incalculable damage to this island, politically, emotionally and economically”

Some interesting evidence from former Taoiseach, John Bruton today; “While I believe it may seem impossibly optimistic today, I believe conditions can be envisaged in which, eventually, the UK voters might either decide, either not to leave the EU at all, or to decide, after it has left, to rejoin. Ireland should try to keep more…

Scappaticci and McGuinness

Operation Kenova and The Spy in the IRA…

John Ware’s BBC Panorama investigation on Freddie Scappaticci, The Spy in the IRA, is available online, with an accompanying article on the BBC website.  Ed Moloney has some relevant posts on his blog on the programme, including criticism of the initial response by processors in the media to Liam Clarke’s scoop when he broke the story in more…

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Brexit means “Business as usual” for Donegal Tourism

Earlier in the week, I ventured out West to Gweedore in County Donegal with a few journalists/bloggers to visit the town and see some of the local sights. Yet one issue that was on my mind was Brexit. We have heard many business leaders North and South give their views over the past year about more…

Will unionists ever imagine a more generous vision than Orange culture to match Sinn Fein’s on unity?

Showing good timing and a big bunch of confidence, a warm house for Unionists in a united Ireland within the EU has been imagined once again by Matt Carthy of Sinn Fein. Political positioning, based solely on opposition to Irish unity, is unsustainable. Although he can hardly expect an immediate favourable response,  his pitch   is more…

Peter Taylor: “Gradually I got used to reporting death. But I never became insensitive to it.”

In advance of the broadcast on BBC Radio 4 tonight, 8pm, of Peter Taylor’s documentary, Fifty Years Behind the Headlines – Reflections on Terror, the renowned journalist has written an article on the subject for the BBC website.  Most revealing, on many levels, is the part in which he recounts the “interview [which] affected [him] personally above all others.” more…

Theresa May’s fightback to support the Union through Brexit is only work in progress. The Irish are creating a benign vision of a United Ireland. Do the British want to match it?

The imminence of triggering Article 50 has at last woken up the British government to the reality of the threat to the Union. In a reported forthcoming tour of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to explain a negotiating  position that has seemed to ignore them,  propping up support for her “beloved Union” has become  Theresa more…

Joint authority? “What on earth have you been smoking?”

In the Irish Times Newton Emerson takes issue with two of the talking points being promoted by the SDLP and Sinn Féin – EU ‘special status’ for Northern Ireland and ‘joint authority’.  From the Irish Times Northern nationalism has an alternative to Brexit – special status for the North within the EU. Nobody has a more…

“concepts and terms like “special status” give rise to serious concerns for other EU partners about precedents that might be set elsewhere”

A much needed, for some, lesson in the real politik of negotiations with other EU states, in regard to the UK leaving the EU, from the Irish Government Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, in a Dáil written answer last week. 457.Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if the need for a special status more…

Sinn Féin’s red lines? : “So you had the Irish language act, there was a thing called the bill of rights and there was another issues.”

Launching the Sinn Féin manifesto for the Northern Ireland Assembly election a couple of weeks ago, the party’s appointed ‘leader in the North’, Michelle O’Neill, declared that “You’d be very aware that I won’t be drawing any red line issues…” Since then she has allowed the impression to be created that the one ‘red line’ the party more…

“is Gerry the Genius sure he has thought all this through?”

In today’s Irish News, Newton Emerson asks the impertinent question… Remarks by Mike Nesbitt about cross-community voting distracted from what should have been the major story of the week. Northern Sinn Féin leader Michelle O’Neill has said her party will not return to the executive with Arlene Foster as first or deputy first minister until more…

White Paper

UK Government produces #Brexit White Paper

The UK Government had just produced its Brexit White Paper which can be read here The text dealing with Ireland and the Common Travel Area comes to a grand total of 3 pages with two key commitments which are listed below; 4.9 We are determined that our record of collaboration, built on shared experience and more…

Fine Gael on Sinn Féin: “We couldn’t work with them”

Something to keep in mind when criticising others…  There was a bit of a kerfuffle following Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s mid-term non-answer to a question on the potential for any future coalition involving Sinn Féin.  The Irish Examiner records Enda Kenny saying While strongly ruling out doing any deal with Fianna Fáil, Enda Kenny said “depending more…

“if Sinn Fein fails to increase its vote and share of Assembly seats under Michelle O’Neill’s leadership…”

With a stagnating vote evident in the last NI Assembly election – just 8 months ago – and a reduced number of seats available this time out, in the Belfast Telegraph Anthony McIntyre highlights a potential problem for Sinn Féin in their election gamble. There is nothing complicated about the DUP pitch: despite the democratic veneer, the more…

UK Government: “Clearly, any form of joint authority would be incompatible with the consent principle [of the Belfast Agreement].”

A short BBC report points to an interesting exchange today in the House of Lords where the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office and Scotland Office, Lord Dunlop, poured a bucket of cold water on the suggestion that “joint authority” could be an option if the relevant parties fail to form an Executive following more…