One of the ugliest commemorative sites I have been to is that at Béal na Bláth. But let’s leave the aesthetics for another time. It was at the Michael Collins memorial site a week ago that Bill O’Herlihy made a speech which got a lot of attention. In it the Fine Gael man echoed Fianna […]
Remembering Seamus Heaney
I remember Seamus Heaney. He was a Senior when I was a Junior in St Columb’s College, where he became (predictably) Head Prefect. He used, as I remember, walk round the grounds of the College with among others Kevin and Leo O’Neill, older brothers of the more famous Martin. Frequently as they strode past you’d […]
Men of violence
Yesterday I asked you how you felt about the IRA. Today let me expand that a bit and ask how you feel about ‘men of violence’. You know that phrase well – it was used by unionist politicians and the SDLP to describe paramilitary groups here, particularly the IRA. Men of violence. Rejectionists of democracy […]
What’s your view on the IRA?
One of the core problems faced by unionists is the IRA. Even though that organisation has quit the scene it’s still a problem – a problem that soon gives rise to a range of contradictions. Unionist opposition to the IRA is often rooted in personal or family experience. It’s hardly surprising if your father or uncle […]
"We all know" says Joe Biden. Oh really?
It’s always a risky business to speak for other people. “We all know” Vice-President Joe Biden declared yesterday “that there’s been a chemical weapons attack; we all know that the Syrian government are responsible for that attack”. Well, include me out. There may have been a chemical weapons attack, it may have been carried out […]
No politics. This time it’s personal
Remember the Senior Certificate Examination? Of course you don’t – it was years ‘n’ years ‘n’ years ago – the precursor, more or less, of the present GCSE Examination. Well, once years ‘n’ years ‘n’ years ago, I sat the Senior Certificate Examination in a range of subjects – Latin, French, History, English and about […]
Kieran Doherty: is it OK for the PSNI/MI5 to lie about him?
Interesting top story this morning on BBC Raidio Uladh/Radio Ulster’s ‘Good Morning Ulster’ (no dodging that ‘Ulster’ in the BBC). It concerned Kieran Doherty, a Real IRA member who was shot dead and his body dumped by his own colleagues. The PSNI, using MI5 evidence, claimed that he was also involved in drug-peddling and that […]
The media: nostalgic for the violent past?
I was on Sunday Sequence this morning, discussing the notion that today’s journalists secretly envy those who worked during the Troubles and tend to look for and exaggerate division to compensate. It was an interesting topic, although I think we strayed too far from it. Anyway, here’s my own take on it. Of course journalists today secretly […]
A night with Young Unionists: one reason to be cheerful and seven not.
I took part in a Young Unionist debate at the UUP headquarters in Belmont Road on Thursday last. It was, you could say, an occasion of two halves. The first half – well no, not so much first half as good part – was the civility and warmth with which I was greeted. It wasn’t […]
It takes two
It takes two to tango. Try to tango on your own and you’ll end up looking seriously stupid. Maybe it’s the normal sadness of Summer’s near-end that’s infecting me, but I have a sense of one-person tango beginning to emerge in our little society. The other morning, for example, I heard a man on The […]