Borders and smuggling: the final solution

It’s odd the way people sometimes don’t see the connection between things. I remember a man who smoked thirty cigarettes a day. Every so often he would have a violent coughing spasm which’d go on for a minute or two. He’d then wipe his eyes and mouth, reach in his pocket and light another cigarette. […]

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Of passports and crocodiles

There’s something mildly hilarious about the suggestions that the Irish border be located in the Irish Sea. Not because it isn’t a reasonable suggestion as a way to crack the border-Brexit nut, but because it seems a fitting place for the 100-year-old source of conflict and hatred. The reason that suggestion isn’t grabbed at by all […]

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Saturday Pics of the week

Pics 1-4 are by Antrim Lens. And aren’t they beautiful?   Pic 1   Pic 2   Pic 3   “I only got out with my camera for half a day this week and I headed round to Randalstown Forest in the hope of catching the Fallow deer rut, sadly no action shots but still nice to see […]

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Suzanne, Michelle and hardcore principles

There’s a letter in today’s VO in which a man sings the praises of that newspaper’s columnists. He does this on the grounds that their thinking is just like his own, and agrees that it’s time our politicians got their act together and got back into government. Translation: one lot is as bad as the […]

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Phil, Leo, Micheál and Jeffrey do some senior hurling

Sometimes those living, as the mighty Perkin would put it, south of the Black Sow’s Dyke, can be confusing. I was watching a report from RTE on some southern region yesterday and the reporter passed comment on the damage done by Ophelis “in Ireland and the north”. I sighed , swore and threw the cat at […]

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Alastair Campbell does his state some service

I don’t know that I’d agree with Alastair Campbell on everything. For a start, Peter Capaldi’s caricature of him as the foul-mouthed  Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It is unforgettable, partly, I suspect, because it has a strong core of truth. And I’m not overly impressed by the fact that he couldn’t bring himself […]

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Sheena Campbell and a hurricane of pain

For most of us, today is just another gusty Autumn Monday, our main concern maybe the approaching Hurricane Ophelia. But for one group of people, today is a day that cannot be other than sad and dark. For on this day twenty-five years ago, Sheena Campbell, then a 29-year-old law student at Queen’s University, was […]

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Irish culture and lessons in self-loathing

One of the funniest phrases you’ll come across if you’re studying the history of colonialism is the term “the white man’s burden”. This is funny because it depicts colonization as a moral duty which the white man carries out because it is the right thing to do even though it’s tough work. It’s almost as […]

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Harvey Weinstein and James McClean: how we hate them

It is always impressive to watch a section of a community lather itself into a state of moral outrage.  Over recent days,  the Hollywood people have been tripping over each other to denounce  the producer Harvey Weinstein. There’s even talk that the queen may take back the honorary CBE  she gave him some time ago. Dozens of women, […]

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Last night in Cardiff: the shame of it all

Aw here. We let ourselves down last night. There was any number of players on the Ireland team who were really English – did you not hear their accents when interviewed? And how many of them sing our national anthem? Plus the manager Martin O’Neill is from Northern Ireland AND has an MBE. So what am I […]

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