1. 3. 2021

A Good Legal Egg

Firstly, this space does not join witch-hunts for reasons which might be obvious to its few readers, and if I even suspected one was gathering, I’d stay silent. Secondly, following two recent columns, I am not trying to habitually, ahem, harass an Uachtarain. But we – not a royal plural, but a generic which applies to its readers as much as it does to its author – like to see the truth. This not a commodity which is being sought […]

26. 2. 2021

Not At All, Mr. President

“Today, we explore this past, not to air inherited grievances or seek justification for injustices perpetrated in our name, nor do we seek to compare atrocities committed in the name of nationalism, unionism or British Imperialism,” said President Higgins the other day in yet another speech almost solely dedicated to doing what he said he wouldn’t do, namely venting inherited grievances and denouncing British imperialism. As for atrocities, he listed many British examples, but none that had been perpetrated in […]

23. 2. 2021

The Aras Others other Others

Keeping your nose out of other people’s business is probably a sensible idea generally, but it’s a very good one indeed when you’re an elected head of state and it’s your job not to go gratuitously offending your neighbours. So why did President Higgins utter his broadside in The Guardian newspaper about the “feigned amnesia” of the British regarding their empire? Imagine the outcry if one’s critical musings about one’s former colony in Ireland had been publicly issued from Buckingham […]

21. 2. 2021

The Canary That Still Sings

Twenty-five years ago this week, mass rallies across Ireland after the IRA’s murderous Canary Wharf bombing told the republican movement that it was time to end its 26-year long war. Since then, an entire generation has grown up in Ireland without any knowledge of the real meaning of paramilitary violence. This has not been because Sinn Fein-IRA have abandoned their ambitions or renounced their methods. They remain as committed to the former as ever and have never repudiated the latter. […]

18. 2. 2021

The Wonders of Europe’s Wunderbear

The dog that didn’t bark in the night is always the give-away. There are almost no dogs barking across Europe at the calamitous failure of the European Union to protect its citizens a full year after the Pandemic arrived on its larger shores. Worse, for a few hours, the European Union, so beloved of Dublin’s chattering classes, repartitioned Ireland. That it was more in a fit of absent-mindedness by our beloved (if unelected) EU President Ursula von der Leyen than […]

11. 1. 2012

Remembering Paul Douglas

This is a column i wrote six years ago, in June 2006, and I just came across it by chance; it is about one of the best men I have ever known: I share it with you now True greatness is not measured in the plaques or institutes which bear one’s name, but in the imperishable residue one leaves on the minds and souls of relative strangers. Fourteen year ago, I went to report on the siege of Sarajevo. My […]

11. 1. 2012

The only lessons that could be learnt were through the grievous expenditure of human life.

I wrote this for the 90th anniversary of the First day on the Somme in 2006. It might help correct some the Anglcentric/Hibernocentric perceptions of the war Nightfall, ninety years ago today, and 899 Belfast men who that morning had risen from their trenches, as soldiers and non-commissioned officers of the British army, lay dead on Thiepval ridge, in the Somme valley. One hundred and ninety one of them were from the Shankill Road. Forty six officers lay dead among […]

10. 1. 2012

Ireland is facing a future of hardship and we cannot allow false narratives to lure us back into violence

Enough. Last week we saw a new double-nadir in Irish broadcasting history. Not merely did TG4 broadcast a ludicrous piece of IRA propaganda in its profile of Rose Dugdale, in which it actually called her “saighdiuir/soldier”, but RTE Radio One promoted it in advance with a truly supine and abject 45-minute interview with the criminal lunatic herself. Better still, little you and me, through our television licence fees, subsidised both of these grisly little travesties. Without disrespect for TG4, which […]

6. 1. 2012

It is as if Irish people arrived here with their cattle and learned nothing about the land

Something odd is happening. In the middle of the greatest economic slump since the 1950s, Irish agricultural land-prices are soaring: €10,000 an acre. This is an astounding figure, but at least it does reflect the success of the Irish food industry. Our beef and lamb are superb. I recently did a blind, multi-national butter-tasting: Irish was easily the best. We humans might find the Irish climate infuriating, but the livestock and the wildlife with which we share the land do […]

5. 1. 2012

We will always be clinging to someone else’s coattails

It’s hard to imagine a better example of a winning argument than that of the Eurosceptics such as Anthony Coughlan and Mary Ellen Synon who for years were maintaining, through closely marshalled economic facts, the fundamental flaws of the Greater Europe vision. The eurozone is now on life-support; gangrene is rotting its extremities; toes go black and stink. Yet the debate — if such an energetic word may be used about Leinster House: the Dail drums or the doldrums? — […]

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