Rocky (A5) road to Dublin?

As the Irish government clings desperately on to both the country’s economic independence and to its tiny Dáil majority whilst simultaneously promising the Plain People in the South more pain in the shape of less pay, fewer jobs and disappearing public services it may seem surprising that they are still funding that road which winds its way through the middle of the Ulster countryside and for no obvious electoral advantage. Of course, all political parties in the South insist that …

Read more…

No Pope here either.

If Pope Benedict XVI, aka Joseph Alois Ratzinger, was determined to visit those of his flock who reside in the Northern Irish territories (NIT) he would presumably be extremely well briefed as to which parts of Belfast it would be safe and sensible for him to drop in on. He would also probably be discouraged from going walkabout, particularly in full regalia and might be well advised to apply some additional armour plating to his pope mobile depending on which …

Read more…

The ‘Englezes’ V ‘The Boche’ and our complex ties with ‘de udder’ island

This afternoon at 3pm and the latest round of the conflict will kick off when the old war and soccer-ball adversaries take to the football field. Perhaps the bestest football chant of all time Two world wars and one world cup provides the sporting and historical context for the tie – although the damned Boche might quibble that the chant needs updating to take account of their 1970 and 1990 World Cup victories over their deadliest rivals. And we can …

Read more…

Bloody Sunday and the legitimacy of the Republican insurgency

Political reaction to Saville has been largely predictable, Unionists indulging in whataboutery and deflection, the ill-informed British public shocked by the appalling savagery of our boys and Nationalist Ireland, already well acquainted with the horrible facts, delighted that they have been officially admitted. What was a little less predictable was David Cameron, standing up in parliament and sounding like he was reading a press release from Connolly House and the incredible scenes in Derry where the watching crowds cheered when a family member …

Read more…

Building on the Rugby success of the Ireland team(s)

It is understandable to view the 09/10 Irish rugby season as bit of a disappointment. No Heineken Cup win, no Grandslam and not even a trifling Triple Crown or a measly Magners league title. Ulster in particular, have had a difficult season vying at the business end of the season with Connacht for the third and last Heineken Cup slot. Of course Ireland did beat the World Champions South Africa back in November and Munster, Leinster and Connacht made their …

Read more…

Why – really – did Gordon Brown walk away from coalition?

It is now nearly three weeks since the general election and something still keeps nagging away at me. Back on May the 10th and a few days after the election, the intensive Tory-LibDem talks which had been going full tilt, had run into difficulty. The Daily Telegraph was reflecting the deep anxiety that must have been sweeping through the Tory party that they had been ‘outflanked’ as the LibDems had now opened talks with Labour. To add to Tory unease, …

Read more…