Clinton: “Keep the cranes up. Keep the voices free. Keep the votes fair. You’ll figure it out.” #GFA20

Political leaders of old and today gathered at Queen’s University, Belfast for a day of events focussed on the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said that people “should realise that this agreement was never going to support all the problems of Northern Ireland” while former US President Bill Clinton had a triptych of advice for NI: “Keep the cranes up. Keep the voices free. Keep the votes fair. You’ll figure it out.”

Mary Lou McDonald: Intergovernmental Conference needed, not a shadow Assembly that gives “a veneer of accountability to direct rule”

Speaking at QUB this evening, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald once again dismissed the idea of a transitional Assembly during the ongoing political stalemate, saying that it would give “a veneer of accountability to direct rule”. Instead, she said the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference should be convened to “produce … a pathway to bring forward the legislation and resources to secure these rights and implement the agreements”.

Article 50 one year one – where are we now?

Boats with EU, UK flags sailing in opposite directions

It’s almost a year since Theresa May triggered Article 50 and the past year has been a veritable rollercoaster of ups and downs in the Brexit negotiation process – admittedly more ups than downs! But where exactly are we in the process and what are the implications for Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland? Will the next phase of the negotiations culminate in Downing Street’s end goal of a “a smooth and orderly Brexit?” Join the Queen’s on Brexit … Read more

Why we need more sixth century historians

“All this has happened before, and all of it will happen again.”  – Battlestar Galactica Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University, Patrick Johnston, caused a furore this week with his comments claiming that “society does not need a 21-year-old that’s a sixth century historian”. Instead, he opined that “It needs a 21-year-old who really understands how to analyse things, understands the tenets of leadership and contributing to society, who is a thinker and someone who has the potential to help society drive … Read more

Tuition Fee Increase Back On The Cards?

Tuition fees could be set to rise in Northern Ireland following budget cuts to the Department of Education and Learning. In an interview with the BBC’s Inside Politics, First Minister Peter Robinson suggested that fees could be increased. “There may well be an opportunity for us to look at tuition fees and see whether that cuts some slack to the universities.”

Read moreTuition Fee Increase Back On The Cards?

Queen’s Chancellor (and Commonwealth chief) under fire over Sri Lankan abuses

Kamalesh Sharma, the secretary-general of the Commonwealth – and Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast – is under fire after being accused of withholding crucial legal advice that could have prevented Sri Lanka from hosting the imminent heads of government meeting. The legal opinion said that the firing of the Sri Lankan chief justice by President Mahindra Rajapaksa was a contravention of the Commonwealth Charter, which sets out the supposed shared values of the member states: democracy, human rights and the … Read more

Are young people getting a fair go politically in Northern Ireland? Ctd

David McCann really got me thinking when he asked recently: Are we giving young people a fair go in Northern Ireland? I have a few observations I’d like to ventilate on the issue. Having studied at Queen’s and lived in Toulouse and New York I’ve come to see it that young people in Northern Ireland possess certain characteristics that are unique to the province and which are relevant to any answer we should provide. You could say that the basic … Read more