Kingsmills Inquest latest

The Kingsmills inquest has been going on now for a couple of weeks. A new twist has, however, just been announced. Last week we were told that a finger print expert decided spontaneously to look again at a palm print on the get away vehicle and that a match had been found. It has now been claimed (unsurprisingly) that the palm print belongs to a well known republican. Little more surprisingly this republican is one who opposes the current Sinn … Read more

When Terror Gets Old: an insight into ex-combatants

One of the legacies of any conflict are men and women who took part and survived. In the case of Northern Ireland, some of those players are now reaching pension age. Many ex-combatants from the Troubles are publicity shy; only a minority speak out publicly about their experiences. Corinne Purtill is senior correspondent in the UK for the US-based GlobalPost news organisation. This week she has published a series of articles to accompany a 15 minute video that explores what … Read more

I Just Don’t Get The Troubles

I watched BBC’s Panorama on state collusion in criminality during the troubles in a state of shock. I knew this kind of thing happened, we all did… people killed, people were killed, people enabled killings and people seemed to acknowledge that killing just sort of…happened. I’m 28, I was born in May 1987 four days before the Loughgall Ambush, I was eight months old when the Milltown Cemetary attack took place, I wasn’t yet two years old when Pat Finucane was murdered, a month … Read more

Enniskillen: Gordon Wilson

Growing up during the 90s the Troubles more something I read about, rather than experienced. I have researched cabinet files, watched documentaries and talked with participants from all sides in the Troubles. But one man whom I never got the opportunity to speak with and who for me stands out as the single greatest hero of the Troubles was Gordon Wilson. Gordon was man whom was subjected to something that no person should ever have to experience was holding his … Read more

Who won the war? More importantly, who if anyone, is creating the peace?

So, I have to admit, it slipped my mind that the embargo was up already on the preview of Peter Taylor’s elegiac look on the Trouble when he asked the question few have dared to: who won the war? Now it’s everywhere it seems. This is as much an elegy on the part of a veteran journalist, a last look on the appalling vista he brought consistently brought us right throughout the troubles. There’s some interesting effects in playing old … Read more

Art of the Troubles: Culture and Conflict

Dr Stefanie Lehner (Queen’s University Belfast); Dr Laura McAtackney (University College Dublin); Dr Cillian McGrattan (University of Ulster) The importance of culture in Northern Irish political life was reinforced in the events surrounding Pastor McConnell over the past week. It is clear that within Northern Ireland, the effects of fear, judgment, prejudice, hate and intimidation make themselves felt in various forms throughout society. Cultural difference, then, shapes and informs the contours of political life – it works to valorise certain … Read more

Gordon Gillespie-Why Sunningdale was never going to work

As it is the 40th anniversary of the UWC Strike we asked Dr.Gordon Gillespie who completed his doctoral research on the strike to write up a piece on why he feels that Sunningdale was always doomed to failure. Forty years ago this month the first attempt to create a cross community executive in Northern Ireland ended in failure. The political strength of loyalist power station workers allied with paramilitary force on the streets and backed by broad unionist support forced … Read more

Sunningdale, The UWC Strike and their legacies. 23rd May 2014, PRONI.

The Public Records Office of Northern Ireland Friday, 23 May 2014 9am – 4pm The 40th anniversary of the establishment of the first power-sharing executive is an opportunity to reflect on the nature of democratic practice in Northern Ireland. This one-day conference is open to the public and aims to explore not only the reasons for the sudden demise of the ‘Sunningdale Assembly’ during the Ulster Workers’ Council Strike but also the divided legacies that that demise bestowed on Northern … Read more

Art of the Troubles at the Ulster Museum

The Ulster Museum’s Art of the Troubles exhibition is now open and runs through the summer until 7 September. A variety of styles, “sides” and periods exhibited: sixty works from fifty artists. Reactions to atrocities, depictions of politics (a particularly grim triptych by Joseph McWilliams of Sammy Wilson, Ian Paisley Snr and Peter Robinson) and peace talks, as well as reflections on how society dealt with conflict. The no photography rule was being strictly imposed in the gallery this afternoon, … Read more

Colin Broderick’s ‘That’s That’: Book Review

While the phrase popularized by Seamus Heaney ‘whatever you say, say nothing’ endures as a code for Northern Irish character toughened by the Troubles, Colin Broderick’s telling of his childhood reveals the language unspoken. He gives us a glimpse at those in the IRA who were never by necessity singled out by their supporters, but who carried themselves with an air of entitlement, entrusted as they were by the Catholic community with their protection and their idealism in a time … Read more

Why is the BBC ghettoising NI regional outputs?

I almost missed 14 Days, a documentary on one of several traumatic weeks in the history of the Troubles. Paul Canning, who’s based in Cambridge didn’t, and writes an impressively well researched blog asking (amongst several other things), why don’t the BBC mainstream more locally produced work? The ‘BBC NI only’ shows are (or were) all also on iPlayer, which is the reason I know about them at all as I often skim the ‘factual’ strand, I didn’t find them because they … Read more

Fisk reminisces.

From the Independent: You can check in any time you want – but you can never leave.: On the Europa Hotel’s message pads, my handwriting records “2 sold VSI RVH” (two soldiers very seriously ill Royal Victoria Hospital), “bomb in SR and VS St” (Sandy Row and Great Victoria Street railway station), “son of judge shot dead”, “policeman ser ill”, “2 Provos arrest, staff officers in 1st Batt, F co”, Europa office bill for 22 May/10 June ’73, £145, day … Read more

David Latimer backs Sinn Fein position (again)

David Latimer is back in the news again. The minister of First Derry Presbyterian Church who previously went to the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis and told us that Martin McGuinness was “one of the true great leaders of modern times” and that we were all guilty for the Troubles is back again. This time he was responding to Declan Kearney’s comments about republicans thinking about reconciliation. When Kearney first made the comments unionists comprehensively rejected Kearney’s comments as partial and … Read more

Twentieth anniversary of Teebane

Almost any date in Northern Ireland is the anniversary of a death from the Troubles. Often the less iconic are forgotten about. As such marking one event may be unfair to the relatives of the less well known about deaths. Sometimes, however, the anniversary is such that is should be marked. This is the 20th anniversary of the Teebane murders. 20 years ago this evening a group of workmen were returning home from working on Lisanelly army base in Omagh: … Read more

Loughgall terrorists could not have been arrested

The Belfast Telegraph and BBC are reporting the results of the HET enquiry into the Loughgall ambush in 1987 where eight members of the IRA’s est Tyrone brigade and an innocent passer-by were killed. For those who do not remember the incident the IRA gang attacked the small RUC station in the village of Loughgall; this attack being part of a pattern of attacking small rural RUC stations (previously Ballygawley and the Birches had been attacked). The terrorists arrived in … Read more

Unionists highlight Troubles border murders

The Belfast Telegraph is reporting that at the meeting of government ministers from Northern Ireland and the RoI in Armagh, Arlene Kelly and Danny Kennedy presented Enda Kenny with details of more than 150 republican murders in border areas during the Troubles. They have called on the RoI government to apologise for the fact that the IRA killers were able to escape across the border following these murders. Mrs. Kelly said: …that they should remind the Irish Government of today … Read more

Terrorists: the good, the bad and the ignored

I blogged my views about Gusty Spence previously. However, Mr. Spence’s death also raises the issue of how ex-terrorists (or ex-combatants for those who prefer the term: exactly how the actions committed terrorists could be called combat is bizarre, but I digress) are viewed especially by the media. The way in which the media views ex paramilitaries differs radically between different individuals and groups but there is a certain common thread especially amongst what might be termed the “establishment media” … Read more

Tears in the Rain comes to Golden Thread Gallery

The Belfast Telegraph is reporting a new exhibition at Belfast’s Golden Thread Gallery called “Tears in the Rain” curated by Máirtín Ó Muilleoir. This exhibition “concentrates on the role art plays in keeping hope alive through the darkest of times and conveying a sense of a shared humanity” The exhibition at the Arts Council and Belfast City Council funded gallery will include the painting “Silver Liberties” by conceptualist artist Conrad Atkinson which was banned from the Ulster Museum in 1978, … Read more

Mary Lynch in the Impartial: saying things that need to be said

Mary Lynch was mentioned on slugger a couple of months ago when there were complaints about her column in the Impartial Reporter. Ms. Lynch refers to those comments in her latest piece saying: “I may not say things that people want to hear but these things need to be said.” On this occasion one of the things Ms. Lynch felt the need to say was about her “illegal and inhumane treatment in 1978” (by the RUC). This treatment seems indeed … Read more

In praise of the Europa Hotel

The Europa Hotel is 40 and the BBC are going to do a special programme to mark the official beginning of its middle age. It was famously the most bombed hotel in the world (according to Wikipedia it was bombed 28 times). Practically everyone in Northern Ireland must have been past the hotel and many must have been in it. I have been to a couple of UUP events there years ago; a few work meetings; have had my tea … Read more