Category Archives: Current Affairs

Did peace make a difference to domestic violence?

Last year, an incident of domestic violence was reported to the PSNI around every 18 minutes each day in Northern Ireland. In 1992, a previous study on domestic violence in Northern Ireland, led by Professor Monica McWilliams and Joan McKiernan highlighted the serious consequences of domestic violence for women and children during the Troubles particularly given the availability of guns at that time. It also showed how the conflict limited access to police thereby increasing the power and control of perpetrators affiliated to paramilitary groups. 25 years later, Professor McWilliams and Dr. Jessica Doyle (Ulster University) repeated the study to see what had changed and what difference the peace process had made. With support from Women’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland, 119 women victim/survivors of domestic violence were involved; 56 women in 1992 and 63 in 2016. Read more »


Grand Tours

I became an avid fan of cycling, especially the ‘Grand Tours’ during the eighties in Long Kesh. The mental toughness of these fantastic athletes was nothing short of magnificent, and was a wonderful example of not giving up – something that resonated with a lot of prisoners.

Delgado, Sean Kelly, Greg Lemond, Laurent Vignon, 5 time winner Bernard Hinault all got our interest, but Stephen Roche’s victory in 1987 was especially unbelievable and reinforced my interest in the sport.

A funny story from the year Roche won was at the finish of stage 20 – a monumental stage traversing the Col du Galibier, Col du Madeleine and finishing at La Plagna – Roche, after finishing second to Delgado, collapsed and lost consciousness for a period of time. When he was revived and asked if he was ok, he replied, ‘Oui, mais pas de femme toute de suite (yes, but I am not ready for a woman straight away!)’ Classic.

After Wiggins, Chris Froome became the main man in the sport and his hiatus coincided with my attempt at painting.

The above painting, guided by the photographic image I used to copy, was my first attempt at painting a face, arms, legs etc. I gave it to a 72 year old cyclist who was over the moon with it.



Do we still have “a dirty peace” in which investigation of child rape was seemingly deferred to the IRA?

“Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman”, said associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Louis Dembitz Brandeis.

In the case of Mairia Cahill, it is Cahill (not any organ of the state) who has forced an extraordinary story out of a close-mouthed system with horrendous import for wider society, of a rape victim who fell foul of the wrong people in the wrong place in post-conflict NI and who got no help from state agencies who abandoned key responsibilities. Read more »


Food for thought


Narrow Water memorial damage is ‘hate crime’ – PSNI





Damage to poppy wreaths at Narrow Water in County Down is being treated as a hate crime, police have said.

Eighteen soldiers were killed in two IRA bomb attacks at the site near Warrenpoint in August 1979.

It is understood the damage happened on Saturday at about 17:20 BST. The wreaths have since been replaced.

Cliftonville Football Club said it was “aware of allegations of involvement from persons returning from our fixture in Warrenpoint”. Read more »


Scotch-Irish heritage





From the War of Independence through to the election of Donald Trump and on into the much anticipated mid-term elections, one group has been to the fore in shaping the ideas of American democracy.

They are often known as the Scotch-Irish. Often – but not always – as Warren R Hofstra, Professor of History at Shenandoah University, explained. Read more »


A Tale of Yeast


A tale of yeast.

      One of the more annoying features of Long Kesh life was the weekly search. Or worse still, getting 2 searches in a week. A search disrupted the daily routine. All of us, to 60 men, would have to go to the canteen hut (the hut without a toilet) for up to 2 hours.  The search team would then be able to search and wreck our rooms, called cubes, at will.  This routine became a bit tenser at the 12th July and Christmas. These where the only two times of the year that the UVF/RHC allowed alcohol to be made and drunk. Of course the screws knew this and the cat and mouse game of hiding and finding the hooch, fire water or more simply, poteen, would begin. Read more »


1968 RUC letter to minister warned of impending violence

BBC NI news detailed this story this morning (14/9/18). It makes for interesting reading and we all can speculate on what would have happened if the RUC had have been listened to at that time. Nostradamus would have been impressed with the analysis.

A 1968 letter warning of impending public disorder across Northern Ireland in the wake of and run-up to civil rights marches, has been discovered by students in a history class.

The letter was from the Inspector General of the RUC, Sir Albert Kennedy, to William Craig, the Stormont minister of home affairs in November 1968.

It was found in the Public Records Office by a group of history students. Read more »


Mairia Cahill cover-up

So the Ombudsman has delivered his latest report (or letter) to Mairia Cahill, not simply on the deficiencies of, first the RUC and secondly the PSNI in handling her case, but some damning news for Sinn Fein too.

The BBC reports:

…the RUC, Northern Ireland’s police force before the PSNI was formed in 2001, had information about allegations of child abuse by an IRA member 10 years before the complaints were made but failed to act.

He also found that there had been a very odd decision… Read more »


this week in the news 1


I’m hoping to resurrect this feature – we had some fun with it a while ago and it was great that people replied to some of the issues we highlighted – looking forward to hearing from you.

Was reading the old Sunday ‘Lies’ this week and seen that stalwart of truth and honour, Richard Sullivan, had an article reporting on the alleged tensions in North Belfast, featuring the LVF, UVF and the UDA. Some of the stuff he was relaying was very specific, if it was the truth, and it got me thinking as to whether the PSNI has visited him to find out who the sources are that he quotes. Read more »