Cross-community gaelic games take to the road

[This is taken from A Note from the Next Door Neighbours, the monthly e-bulletin of Andy Pollak, Director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh and Dublin] Billy Tate is one of the unsung heroes of cross-border and cross-community cooperation in Northern Ireland. This Ulster Unionist Party member and former soldier in the Royal Artillery is the principal of Belvoir Park Primary School, on the edge of an overwhelmingly Protestant working class housing estate in south-east Belfast. After …

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Cross-border cooperators say ‘YES’ to Europe

[This is taken from A Note from the Next Door Neighbours, the monthly e-bulletin of Andy Pollak, Director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh and Dublin] So the people of the Republic of Ireland have voted ‘No’ to the Lisbon Treaty. They listened to the siren voices of right wing mavericks like Declan Ganley and Coir (Youth Defence under another name) and left wing mavericks like Sinn Fein and Joe Higgins rather than to the 95% of …

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Having fun and tackling racism in the border region

[This is taken from A Note from the Next Door Neighbours, the monthly e-bulletin of Andy Pollak, Director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh and Dublin] I attended a lovely event in Monaghan town this month. It was the last ‘showcase’ presentation of the Immigration Emigration Racism and Sectarianism (IERS) Schools Project, which is funded by the EU Peace Programme and managed by the Centre for Cross Border Studies. This project brought eight primary and four secondary …

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Reconciliation is alive and well and living in Monaghan

[This is taken from A Note from the Next Door Neighbours, the monthly e-bulletin of Andy Pollak, Director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh and Dublin] It is easy to be cynical about the inevitable inefficiencies and occasional examples of waste when well over a billion euros of EU money are spent, as they have been in Northern Ireland and the Irish border region over the past decade. The media in Belfast and Dublin are only too …

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The chairman blows the Centre’s trumpet (a little)

[This is taken from A Note from the Next Door Neighbours, the monthly e-bulletin of Andy Pollak, Director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh and Dublin] Some 35 years ago I went to work in Dublin for a large British company and over the next two decades witnessed the remarkable changes which the Republic of Ireland underwent during that period. Returning to work in Northern Ireland for an Irish company in 1993, I have been privileged once …

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Armagh goes to Africa

[This is taken from A Note from the Next Door Neighbours, the monthly e-bulletin of Andy Pollak, Director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh and Dublin] We in Northern Ireland have become used to people – usually outsiders – telling us how narrow, inward and backward-looking we are, obsessed with our own supposedly unique little devil’s brew of history, religion and nationality. Get off the island, they say. See how the rest of the world lives, and …

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Can we become the best border region in Europe?

[This is taken from A Note from the Next Door Neighbours, the monthly e-bulletin of Andy Pollak, Director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh and Dublin] The Irish border gets a bad press. For nearly 30 years places like South Armagh, East Tyrone and West Fermanagh were bywords for murder and mayhem. The names of border region villages and towns are still redolent of terrible happenings: Kingsmill and Darkley and Loughgall and Omagh and Enniskillen. Since the …

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The town that came in from the cold

[This is taken from A Note from the Next Door Neighbours, the monthly e-bulletin of Andy Pollak, Director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh and Dublin] Clones is a pretty town. Anyone who has sat in the Diamond on a summer?s day and looked out over the small green hillsides of County Monaghan stretching away to the south and east will attest to that. It is also a sociable town. The Lennard Arms Hotel during the Clones …

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Why don’t students cross the border any more?

[This is taken from A Note from the Next Door Neighbours, the monthly e-bulletin of Andy Pollak, Director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh and Dublin] One column leads to another. Responding to my colleague Patricia Clarke’s Note from the Next Door Neighbours last month on the row about cross-border pupils using their grannies’ addresses to obtain school places in Derry, an irate parent has contacted us about his daughter’s cross-border higher education disappointment. This man is …

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How we squandered our peace dividend

There is little doubt that in many respects Northern Ireland has never had it so good: unemployment rates are 4.5% (pdf), just below the UK’s average of 5.1%. The sense of settled well-being arising is most palpable in areas of traditional high unemployment like the Bogside in Derry. Disputes erupt every so often about the trend of higher Catholic unemployment, but we’re in a different territory from the 80% unemployed heads of households that held for some considerable time in the …

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