To remember or not to remember…

Last year on Remembrance Sunday I called into Joanmount Methodist Church in North Belfast a short time before the service was to start.  The church was filling up with most of the congregation wearing poppies.   After a brief conversation with the minister, I then drove less than a mile to the nearest Catholic Church which is in Sacred Heart Parish where I am the parish priest.  The contrast on that particular day could not have been more startling. The congregation … Read more

Why I don’t Facebook in November: the dignity of the Poppy on social media

First things first, my granda – an unassuming but charming and jovial power station worker living in Derry – joined the ‘Ox and Bucks’ Light Infantry in the late 1930s. He finished his service with five years in a POW camp and went on to become one of the last Dunkirk survivors in Northern Ireland. My granda rarely spoke about the experience. Over the course of decades we found out in scraps that he had picked up some German, that … Read more

High Time Media Moved on from Indulging Pseudo-Controversy Surrounding James McClean and “Poppy Issue”

The media don’t half like flogging dead horses. Right on cue, James McClean‘s move to West Bromwich Albion last week prompted talk in the Belfast Telegraph (not for the first time) of his repeated eschewing of the wearing of a political poppy on his various past clubs’ football jerseys around Britain’s celebration of its Remembrance Sunday each year. This was despite the fact we are half a year on (or away from) November, when the reporting of such a trivial item might have … Read more

Why I no longer wear a poppy

A Scottish Fireman laments… As the annual poppy debate reaches its inevitable crescendo, only to recede for another short year, I read various, diverse accounts explaining who is right, who is wrong, what causes offence, why one commemoration is exclusive  and so on, almost as if the very act of remembrance is a competition of some kind. Every year, the same debate is regurgitated, only the arrangement of the wording seeming to differ.  Every year I feel vindicated in not … Read more

QUB Student’s Union show signs of “Old Guard” mentality

Queen’s University Students’ Union from the 1970s until at least the mid 1990s suffered from extremely divided student politics. It even reached the stage that the Northern Bank was excluded from Freshers’ Fair; whilst assorted IRA members were made honorary life members and a number of members of the executive went on after graduation to gaol for IRA terrorist offences.(one popped back up again recently as a Deputy Headteacher) Bizarrely they also voted to ban Nestle products from the Students’ … Read more

Photograph of the day – found

Moochin PhotomanPhotographer and visual artist based in Belfast. I have facilitated community based workshops with groups as diverse as visually impaired individuals in Dungannn, Travellers across Northern Ireland, Young Offenders and many community groups across Belfast. My work has exhibited extensively here in Northern Ireland in group and individual shows and has been shown in North America and i had my first solo international exhibition in New Zealand. I have been the recipient of a number of grants from the … Read more