Reflection on passing of Ian Paisley by Dave Maley     For a man who preached that fire and brimstone awaits most of us after death, it is perhaps fitting to say that Ian Paisley had one hell of a life. And for a man who decried gambling, he would have made a killing… Read More


  The Hooded Men: why the Irish government has agreed to re-open these cases – by Daniel Holder     In a case dating back to 1971 called ‘the hooded men case’ the British government was accused of torturing 14 IRA suspects at an unknown venue. It was further alleged the authorities deployed what became controversial … Read More


Why reconciliation is a priority for the two Governments as well as local parties – by Peter Osborne   Earlier this year the visit by the Irish President to Britain epitomised the sea-change in relationships between the islands in recent years.  It was a hugely successful visit marked by the sincerity of the President and… Read More


  Rights based approach to the bereaved and injured required – by Mark Thompson   Suffering from severe illusion is a condition all too common with political unionism where increasingly they inhabit a fantasy land of perception rather than reality – of course it’s all artifice but the dangers of them actually believing in their… Read More


     DUP/Tory spectre hangs over Talks – by Delcan Kearnny          In recent weeks Theresa Villiers has issued several statements positively “pumping up” the Stormont talks.  Last night she introduced a sudden caution, suggesting “the chances of clinching a final deal look slim”. At no time during the last seven weeks… Read More


  Could any other First Minister “pull off a Peter and last the day?” – asks Brian John Spencer     It was like watching a vet tending to a snarling snapping turtle; the BBC’s Mark Carruthers cross-examining the leader of the DUP. Peter Robinson was asked about the probity of Gregory Campbell and his… Read More


  Rethinking dealing with the past for victims – by Luke Moffett     It seems that despite the breakdown in the all-party talks last year, there is new impetuous to tackle the outstanding contentious issues (see Brian Rowan’s piece). The Haass-O’Sullivan proposals from last year seem to be starting point of this year’s discussions.… Read More


  Same people, same talking, same time of year - By Brian Rowan        There has been no attempt to re-invent the wheel in the latest talks at Stormont – at least not when it comes to the Past. We see that in the detail that has been emerging in recent days. When you… Read More


      It’s that time of the year again when the little poppy, that beautiful flower that toils in fields across Europe and further a-field, in a variety of colours when in bloom is used as a symbol of solemn Remembrance or as a marketing tool for Charities or as a glorifying rallying call… Read More


    Earlier this year 26 relatives of people killed during the conflict travelled to Brussels at the invitation of MEP Martina Anderson. NGOs Relatives for Justice and the Pat Finucane Centre also attended. A series of meetings were organized with MEPs who heard firsthand about each killing and the devastating impact this has had… Read More


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      The Second World War movie has evolved since the star-studded extravaganzas of the 1950s and 60s about deeds of daring do. Sam Peckinpah’s ‘Cross of Iron’ in 1977, Samuel Fuller’s ‘The Big Red One’ in 1980 and Steven Spielberg’s ‘Saving Private Ryan’ in 1998 did not pull their punches in their depictions… Read More


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      There is a phrase my wife and I often use about TV shows, movies and books whose plots go terribly awry. “It’s a bit Scooby Doo,” is our equivalent of “jumping the shark”. ‘Homeland’ and ‘Lost’ are good examples of TV dramas that went a bit Scooby Doo after promising first seasons.… Read More


  We are all going to have to live with the consequences as the immediate financial crisis at Stormont is apparently resolved but is it just another release valve on the pressure cooker that is the nature of politics in Northern Ireland until pressure and tensions rise again? Procrastination on the tougher decisions alongside populist… Read More