Monthly Archives: May 2016

Peter Weir: PUP ignored effect of paramilitarism on school failings

Dr John Kyle published the PUP's report on educational underachievement

Dr John Kyle published the PUP’s report on educational underachievement


The new Education Minister has criticised a PUP report on educational underachievement for failing to discuss the impact of paramilitarism in loyalist areas.

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Somme celebrations and flags

Trevor Ringland: Loyalists and the Somme memory

A new flag is unveiled for the centenary of the Somme

A new flag is unveiled for the centenary of the Somme

There should be wariness about loyalist paramilitaries attempting to take a leading role in commemorating the Somme, either through erecting flags or other initiatives. Many of those who died during the battle came from working class areas of Ulster, but that’s where any similarity with modern paramilitary groups ends. While loyalists may be well-meaning, they are demeaning the memories of soldiers in the 36th Ulster Division, by trying to link it to their organisations.

‘Gerrypicking’ the victims of the Troubles

Gerry Adams is selective in his calls for justice for victims of sectarian violence, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards


Selective amnesia: Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams1
Selective amnesia: Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams

Three recent events and a film left me thinking about what members of Sinn Fein frequently complain is being done to their party: demonization.

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‘A terrible ignorance’ – By Brian John Spencer

Pearse and Carson by the late Joe McWilliams

Easter, 1916 – a terrible beauty was born. It had a dark and little seen twin; a terrible ignorance of the people of the North. 

South of the border, the Easter Rising is almost universally acclaimed. A singular understanding of history imposed, and a singular way of being Irish understood. Professor Michael Laffan wrote:

“When I was a schoolboy… reading Carter’s history of Ireland, more space was devoted to Pearse than to all the other leaders put together or to the Easter Rising. There was almost a state-imposed distortion whereby not only are the Irishmen who fought in the British army in the First World War airbrushed out, the constitutionalist tradition was seen as a dead end.”

Not only did Ireland of the twentieth century airbrush the constitutionalist tradition, they erased the avatar of a loyal Irish-British person and burnt the hard-drive.

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Personal Legacy




Personal Legacy

I had a friend big and strong, during the days we got along,

Out of school and on the street, play was simple, we done no wrong.

Cowboys and Indians, fish and chips, lolly pops and onion rings.

Collecting the boney, watching TV, we would talk for hours of many things.

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Are we repeating History?

How right Leon Uris was when he said of Ireland: “There is no future: just history repeating itself.” Brian John Spencer reflects…

George Bernard Shaw portended Northern Ireland as “an autonomous political lunatic asylum”. How right he was. I’m not sure that was the creator’s intention, however. Read more »


The Dirty War

Joe Fenton, The RUC Special Branch And The Destruction Of The Belfast IRA

Back in the late 1980’s I got to know a guy who was an Inspector in the RUC, a very interesting character, a Catholic policeman incidentally, who could sometimes be quite forthright in his views on the force he worked for.

That he didn’t care who knew we were friendly was evident by an invitation one time to meet in the canteen of the police station where he was headquartered, in full sight of colleagues and canteen staff. I could never work out why but I suspect he had a reason. Read more »


Doug Beattie elected




A war hero was elected to the Assembly as he buried his 15-month grandson.

Ulster Unionist Doug Beattie, a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq, won a seat in the Upper Bann constituency days after his family was shattered by the sudden death of Cameron Tindale. Read more »


Truth Recovery


Many political commentators, representatives of victims groups, traditional nationalists and unionists and ‘assorted others’ hope that the recent elections to Stormont will herald, finally, a move towards full truth recovery and the mixture of retribution, revenge, recognition and support that will surely follow. The ‘victims’ lobby firmly believe that they have been seriously overlooked and probably re-victimised by the failure of successive Stormont initiatives in general and by a succession of Secretarys of State in particular. Most people would have some degree of sympathy with victims on this issue. It seems that when the ‘peace process discussions’ reached the ‘home straight’, attention to detail on the ‘victims issue’ was overlooked in order to get the agreement over the line, so to speak. This is now coming back to bite us all on the bum. The debacle of the ‘on the runs’ and other unpalatable decisions introduced by Blair and his acolytes have had the media ‘spotlight’ shone on them and it’s now the time for victims and survivors to take centre stage. Read more »


After the Ball is Over

Dr John Coulter blog

By Dr John Coulter


the folks

Introducing compulsory voting, lowering the voting age to at least 16, and making Citizenship Studies on the importance of the ballot box part of the school curriculum should be three crucial parts of the planned Programme for Government over the next five-year Assembly mandate.

The outcome of the Stormont poll can be easily summarised: compared to 2011, the DUP, UUP, Alliance, Independent and TUV got the same final tally of seats; Sinn Fein lost one seat in its tally; the SDLP lost two; the Greens up one, and the Left-wing People Before Profit Alliance won two. Read more »