‘We need an agency to promote social integration’, says Father Martin Magill

Northern Ireland needs a body lobbying for social integration, learning from the success of the Integrated Education Fund in its work promoting integrated schools, says Father Martin Magill.  Without an agency pushing the integrated housing agenda, it will be difficult to make sufficient progress, he says.  Martin was interviewed in the latest Forward Together podcast. “I grew up living in a neighbourhood where my next door neighbour was Presbyterian; further on down the road Church of Ireland; further down the …

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Fun, loyalty and silliness

Two people meet in the centre of Belfast.  The venue is a bookshop café. They hug.  It’s a long, savoured hug because they haven’t had a chance to catch up properly in ages.  She’s rarely in Northern Ireland now and when she is naturally, she spends her time in Derry with her beautiful wife, Sara.  The two chums finally release and scrape two chairs into position.  One friend, Lyra, is a renowned author.  The other, William, not so much.  “Sara …

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Lyra McKee’s murder must herald a transformation from our society’s complicity to gangs

There were two protest actions that came amongst the outpouring of grief from the murder of Lyra McKee.  Both challenged the complicity our society gives criminal gangs operating in Northern Ireland; those which shelter behind historic letters and seep through violent murals. Violent murals act to normalise their criminality, and their suffocation of working class areas across Northern Ireland. As do their gang flags. Put simply, paramilitary murals are the subliminal advertising of criminal organisations in Northern Ireland. To be …

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Lyra McKee’s partner Sara Canning’s blunt messages for her killers and the government

The mural of Lyra McKee, unveiled in Belfast on Tuesday From the Guardian report of Sara Canning’s interview on Channel 4 News   “If the politicians won’t legislate for equal marriage at Stormont, then the prime minister should do it at Westminster. That’s what I told Theresa May at Lyra’s funeral. I wanted her to know that Lyra and I had a right to be treated as equal citizens in our own country. Surely that’s not too much to ask? She …

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Why Derry? How a City that’s continually held back became a Dissident Stronghold…

Just two hours before this year’s Good Friday – a time of year which holds clear associations with peace and progress in this part of the world – a talented young journalist was murdered on the streets of Northern Ireland by Dissident Republicans. The murder has been widely condemned, and has sent shock waves through a British and global media that had mistakenly believed this part of the world had completed its transition towards peace. Amid the intense media coverage …

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The ‘ghosting’ by unionist parties of the Irish language community

Conradh na Gaeilge, the indefatigible advocacy group making the case for Irish language rights in Northern Ireland, in March sent all the parties in the north a position paper and a very short questionnaire requesting them to commit support or express an opinion on three issues relevant to the Irish language in the imminent local elections. All the parties – apart from the three unionist parties, the DUP, the UUP and the TUV – responded positively to the request.   Here …

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Why I [Almost] Stand With Squinter

The Andersonstown News’ Robin Livingstone-aka-Squinter put the cat among the pigeons with a tweet attacking Fr Martin Magill for his piercing criticism of the DUP and Sinn Féin leaders at Lyra McKee’s funeral. His claim that the leaders of our two largest political parties are “unwitting women” was ridiculous, but I agree that Magill’s intervention was problematic; in particular, it obscures the key role Loyalist paramilitaries played in collapsing the January 2018 agreement between Sinn Féin and the DUP. Ironically …

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Fr Martin Magill’s powerful address at the funeral of Lyra McKee

Powerful. pic.twitter.com/2trGMn6wKA — Martin McAuley (@MartinMcAuley) April 24, 2019 You can read all of Father Magill’s speech here Key part of the address Since Thursday night we have seen the coming together of many people in various places and the unifying of the community against violence. I commend our political leaders for standing together in Creggan on Good Friday. I am however left with a question: ‘Why in God’s name does it take the death of a 29 year old …

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Good remembering

Lyra McKee wanted me to come out with her in the car sometime to help build her confidence.  We’d been talking about it for ages, especially after she encountered road rage trying to join the M2 from the Yorkgate side of the York Street junction, which is not for the faint-hearted. I’m fairly sure I’m not the exemplar of good driving which she should have been following. One of the most important things in grieving is good remembering.  When you …

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Face the fact: creating an effective political response to Lyra McKee’s murder is no easy task

It’s the saddest of ironies that Lyra McKee  was promoting and living a lifestyle that was the powerful counter to  the old  siren calls of nineteenth century militant nationalism and imperialism –   just the thing to drag  bored and disaffected youth out of its rut. Her  grieving partner Sara Canning and  the rest of her family will take comfort from the fact  that Lyra will live on in her work and  the example of her life. As an insightful and …

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“Two lesbians living together are not a family. They are sexual perverts playing let’s pretend”

UPDATED Much was said of Belfast ‘Pastor’ James McConnell’s recent anti-Islamic comments: The story was picked up around the world and McConnell was subsequently questioned by the PSNI. First Minister of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson was drawn into the row when he gave his backing to the Pastor’s remarks and said he would not trust Muslims involved in violence or those devoted to Sharia law but would “trust them to go to the shops” for him. Both Mr. Robinson and …

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Investigating the murder of Rev Robert Bradford – Lyra McKee wants your vote

Rev Robert Bradford was a Methodist minister and then a unionist MP (formerly Vanguard, latterly Official/Ulster Unionist). He was shot dead by the IRA in November 1981 while conducting a constituency surgery in Finaghy. Ken Campbell, the caretaker of the community centre was also killed in the attack. Those responsible for the murders have not yet been caught. Lyra McKee, a young freelance investigative journalist in Belfast, is writing a book about Rev Robert Bradford. Thirty two years after his …

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Invest NI respond about their (lack of) relationship with Walsh Doherty and David Walsh

Following on from last night’s post, Invest NI have responded to questions that were raised about their relationship with Walsh Doherty and David Walsh. Partially (or wholly) in response to David H. Kirk’s criticisms about Invest NI’s “strategy and intervention in Northern Ireland’s investment ecosystem” and the report he gave Invest NI – concerns which are not universally shared across the sector – a meeting of the Access To Capital Stakeholders Forum was scheduled by Invest NI for mid-October, and …

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NI’s venture capital scene has a dark corner

Mick hinted at the details in his earlier post, but the story deserves a bit of unravelling. In the first part of 2011, David Kirk raised criticisms about Invest NI’s “strategy and intervention in Northern Ireland’s investment ecosystem” and followed them up with a written report. In response, Invest NI arranged an ‘Access To Capital Stakeholders Forum’ with investors and industry reps to be held in mid-October 2011, though they were reluctant to invite any NI angel investors with technology …

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