Tag Archives | Northern 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…

Conservative manifesto very warm on the Union, cool and correct to the Republic, no mention of special status in ” a comprehensive free trade and customs agreement”

TORY LAUNCH: Here I concentrate on those matters of specific interest to Northern Ireland. Remember that while manifestos tend to be mainly broad brush, they convey a sense of direction. The rhetoric of this one is modern British Unionist, as would be expected with the Union under threat but it avoids Rule Britannia jingoism.

“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…

Brendan Duddy deserved a Nobel Peace Prize too

Coming soon after  so much painful reappraisal that accompanied the death and burial of Martin McGuinness, a tribute from Peter Taylor to a man who was unambiguously a peacemaker, as reported in the Irish Times.   Broadcaster Peter Taylor – who revealed Mr Duddy’s role as an intermediary between the IRA and the British government more…

“So let nobody speak of a progressive or anti-Brexit pact either…”

In Saturday’s Irish News, Newton Emerson with some impertinent points about electoral pacts in the forthcoming General Election on June 8.  From the Irish News Sinn Féin has ordered the SDLP to stand down, although sadly not to dump arms, in North Belfast and Fermanagh and South Tyrone. Let nobody call this a nationalist pact, more…

Brendan Duddy RIP. A peace maker in real time

It is remarkable, in an age of sophisticated  back channels and espionage  replete with digital  and satellite communications, how a modest domestic background figured so  significantly in the moves which eventually led to the ceasefires – and all the more effectively for it. The problem was how to establish  trust when contacts had to be more…

Tony Blair assures EU that May is sincere about a frictionless border; sees need for small amendment to the GFA

Am I on my own in becoming weary of  yet another of the great and  good  speaking in general terms about the future of the Border?  Tony Blair, addressing a European People’s Party gathering in Co Wicklow  was at pains to  declare his confidence in Theresa May’s sincerity over wanting a “ frictionless “border, even more…

For Brexit, British and Irish citizens’ rights are not yet guaranteed. Interchangeable rights for all should be the aim

The issue of reciprocal citizenship rights after Brexit is turning out to be more complicated than at first thought. It extends well beyond confirming the status quo to embrace work and pension rights for new immigrants from the EU as well as the 3 million existing residents.  Even when an EU citizen’s rights in the more…

“Brexit has become a central question in the identity conversation and that is dangerous”

In a commentary  “Brexit and Northern Ireland” on the EPC discussion paper( see below) the  legal academic Chris McCrudden  asserts the primacy  of the Brexit question and laments the  “ tone deafness” of the UK government to  Northern Ireland’s interests. But while he rightly sees the need to set priorities in the interparty talks, he doesn’t more…

On Brexit, the Irish are caught between two opposing forces, but at least they’re showing more invention and concern about the North than the British and northerners themselves

The ritual opening shots in the Brexit campaign must leave the Republic feeling caught in a trap in a dialogue of the deaf between two opposing forces. So much, so sadly predictable, in spite of all the warm words- although the crudeness of the exchanges is perhaps surprising. It’s pretty clear that the Irish government more…