Saying what you mean and meaning – No, wait…

Here’s Arlene Foster on telly a while back: “If there was direct rule in the morning, it’d really be joint rule between London and Dublin”. Which is reasonable point to make. Ever since the Anglo-Irish Agreement allowed Dublin to get its foot in the door, things have changed. The presence of the Taoiseach when the […]

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Trying to get empathetic with opponents of an Irish Language Act

    The Revs Norman Hamilton and Martin Magill were on Raidio Uladh/Radio Ulster this morning, talking about political division. Martin Magill focused particularly on social media and specifically Twitter, and suggested that people often put up statements attacking opponents in a personal way; instead of arguing a case they were intent on getting retweeted or Liked […]

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Last Saturday at the RDS

    Last Saturday was an interesting day for me. I travelled on the Enterprise train from Belfast to Dublin. Even though two extra trains were laid on, our train was filled with cheerful rugby fans, many of them wearing Ulster Rugby tops/jackets/fleeces. They were on their way to support Ireland against Italy and were […]

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The secret they hid

  As faithful readers of this blogsite will know, I’ve stopped doing guest blogs (and comments) for a range of reasons. However, I feel compelled to reproduce this piece with the kind permission of its author, Richard Irvine. In my judgement, it is an outstanding piece of writing in both content and form.  My mother […]

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Mary-Lou’s first foray

  In her first significant act as president of Sinn Féin, Mary-Lou McDonald has shown she possesses a vital political skill: in a dispute, get your retaliation in first. The fact that just about every reporter and commentator agrees with her version of events leading up to the talks breakdown also helps. So though Gregory […]

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Arlene gets spooked

                        Stormont                                                  Milan Railway Station   OK, guess who said this: “The Unionist community must make it resoundingly clear that […]

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Arlene does a Paisley

Yesterday, Arlene Foster dipped deep into her political bag of tricks and produced a very old, tried-and-trusted  Paisley technique. Readers who remember the Big Man  at his roaring, rampaging peak will remember how he liked to warn ‘Ulster’ that the civil rights movement was a front for a united Ireland in which the population would live lives steeped in poverty […]

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Gerry Adams: his legacy

So. What legacy has Gerry Adams left ? Was he, as many southern commentators claimed over the years, a ball and chain on Sinn Féin’s progress? Or was he a driving force for republicanism in Ireland since the mid-1960s, transforming the movement’s position? Gerry Adams was many things. He was a massively popular figure among republicans, […]

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