On August 22, 1972 Mary Casey’s father was killed along with eight others when an IRA bomb prematurely exploded at the Customs Office in Newry, she fears a hard Brexit could see customs checkpoints becoming targets again. Read more
Great article about Brexit by Noel Dorr in today’s Irish Times
The negotiations in Brussels on Brexit seem to have reached an impasse. It is not yet clear whether the deadlock on the backstop can be resolved at prime ministerial level; or whether that will remain an obstacle to an agreement on the terms for the departure of the UK from the EU next March. Read more
Long Kesh Diary.
1987. Special Category Status. The Cages of Long Kesh. The hunger strikes had come and gone. The 1983 escape from the H-Blocks was a memory. The troubles stumbled on in N. Ireland. Some of the darkest periods still lay ahead. A certain M. Thatcher was Prime Minster and the N.I. Sectary of State was Tom King. The average prisoner in the Kesh had served about 12 years and there were no more fixed sentence year men in c.21 that housed the UVF/RHC men. A major turning point was 1985 when, for the first time, a lifer or SOSP prisoner was released directly from the cages. They happened to be prisoners from c.21. From then on a process of sorts was implemented to look at the cases concerning lifers and to recommend that a case go to the judiciary for a release date or the case to be deferred or ‘knocked back’ for 1 to 4 years. At this time, I had started to keep a very hap hazard diary of events. It is a snapshot of life for a special category prisoner. And it stands testament to the tricks that memory can play. Having only recently discovered this diary I am amazed at what I have readily forgotten. It does evoke memories, both good and bad, but as such, it is a contemporaneous, albeit small, record of the end days of a very unique prison environment in British penal history. Read more
We acknowledge the need for an effective and representative police service to uphold law, defend peace and protect the innocent. To achieve this goal a police force needs to have respect for the communities it serves. This respect must be two-way and can only be built through partnership. In the absence of full armed conflict the police service must now adjust to the new environment. We must develop initiatives that will assist in the development of safe and secure communities with rigorous opposition to organised crime, illicit drugs trade, antisocial behaviour and more. Our policy position is outlined below:- Read more
In research carried out by Unionist Voice it has been revealed that the Security Industry Authority (SIA) whilst in Northern Ireland have not only been operating far beyond their legal powers, but that over 92% of the door supervisors they have targeted have come from a Protestant background. Read more
For the second year in a row, the Progressive Unionist Party’s conference wasn’t open to the media and despite some conversations with the party, an invitation was not extended.
Extracts from Dr John Kyle’s speech at Saturday’s conference in Antrim have, however, been released, detailing the deputy leader’s analysis of the way forward regarding Stormont structures and a culture of partnership. Read more
The Ulster-born, Oxford-based historian Ian McBride has published what I take to be the essence of his evidence to the government’s consultation on dealing with the past. He discusses the potential role for professional historians in the proposed institutions prescribed for dealing with oral history, information retrieval and identifying themes and patterns in events. He takes for granted that Sinn Fein are winning the battle of the narratives. Read more
A little tradition of mine is to dig out this book at the start of October.
Why? Because the autumnal elements that are all too evident suit the mood of this book perfectly. Decay, despair, dread, disgust.
Streets that are all too familiar take on multiple faces during autumn. They become places hiding secrets. Maybe two people shagging in dimly lit stairwell. Maybe a homeless person can be found wandering in areas were sodium-vapor lights offer some kind of antiseptic glow that makes their surroundings more desolate than they are.
Resurrection Man is a book for this time. Read more
Detective Superintendent Bobby Singleton was once literally a ‘Bobby’, patrolling the Lower Falls area of West Belfast and getting to know, no doubt, all the main names of the ‘underground’ world in that district.
In all likelihood then, the well-groomed PSNI golden boy knew full well, that none of those arrested in his old stomping ground on September 30th, (one of whom was charged with possession of a large amount of Cocaine) had any connection to the Irish National Liberation Army. Read more
That is the question that jumps out from this Irish News report (a similar story ran in The News Letter) to the effect that someone suspected of having thrown a large firework at the homes of then SF President Gerry Adams, and his consiglieri, ‘Big’ Bobby Storey last July, was the victim of a punishment shooting last Sunday.
The reports say that the victim had been questioned by the PSNI about the firework attack, which damaged the windscreen of a car parked in the drive of Adams’ Norfolk Drive home, off the Glen Road. Read more