Brian Friel’s work is for Protestants too

Once again Unionism is found wanting. Papers printed column upon column of solemn praise and affection for the modest man and monumental writer from Omagh, Co. Tyrone and in his later years Donegal. Ireland’s Chekhov, Brian Friel. Nothing of substance came from the highest office in Northern Ireland on the passing of one of the province’s…

Time for ‘Good Friday Agreement Mark 2’ argues John Loughran

On Friday at Belfast’s Europa Hotel upwards of 100 people including business, trade union leaders, faith leaders, women’s organisations and community groups came together to launch the Civil Society Network. As a response to the current political crisis the Civil Society Network was formed with the stated aim of, “harnessing the willingness, hope and desire…

A personal recollection on Brian Friel by Nell McCafferty…

When his first book of short stories, ‘A saucer of Larks’, came out in 1962, my sister Nuala and I proudly bought it – our first literary purchase. Brian brought the joyful eruption of Irish dancing onstage in ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’, long before Riverdance came along in 1994.When the BBC and RTE banned me from…

‘When the storm passes’ – by Colm Dore

The loser in this episode of the peace process will be those who oppose the Belfast Agreement. In July, Stormont was deadlocked, with no end in sight. A political crisis, sparked by political reaction to the murders of Jock Davison and Kevin McGuigan, saw the creation of a confrontation between Her Majesty’s Government and Agreement…

Is Unionism incapable of learning? – by Terry Wright

  To look for meaning in difficulties has never been strong within unionism. To focus blindly on what has happened rather than the opportunities presented by what has happened, is not a ready recognisable trait. These are weakness laid bare yet again. They are not the only failings. In a recent interview when asked by…

‘Power-sharing, a matter of trust!’ – By Jamie Bryson

The recent political crisis has laid bare the dysfunctional nature of our power-sharing institutions. The DUP have for so long extolled the virtues of the “better deal” they claim to have got for the Unionist people at St Andrews. In reality, it was the Belfast Agreement for slow learners. One ironic moment did arise during…

The Butterfly Effect – By Colm Dore 

  The Bobby Storey arrest episode is “the most destabilising thing to happen to Unionism since partition”. It has supplanted the IRA ceasefire, earning Jim Molyneaux’s famous description of that event. Mike Nesbitt, a nuke in a china shop, recklessly risked the Belfast Agreement for short-term party advantage. He released historical forces which he appears…

‘The moment that Northern Ireland’s young post-conflict visionaries begin to stand up and organise independently, dinosaurs will be the first to die’ – By David Gilmour

  “And the men who hold high places Must be the ones who start To mould a new reality… Philosophers and ploughmen Each must know his part To sow a new mentality…” Rush, Closer To The Heart Labour have awoken from their slumber. A party that has spent the months since the last election lurching…

‘Stormont’s Stalemate and Our Doomed Youth’ – By David Gilmour

‘“Do you know what Ireland is?” asked Stephen with cold violence. “Ireland is the old sow that eats her farrow.”’ – James Joyce, Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man Last week, David Cameron’s speech in Birmingham on Monday presented the Government’s counter extremism bill. He declared that to tackle extremism would require the…