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Showing posts with label northern ireland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label northern ireland. Show all posts

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Northern Ireland

One of the thorny Brexit issues will be Northern Ireland (Ulster). This has a land border with Eire which will remain in the EU. Currently, there is free movement north and south across this border. What happens when the UK leaves the EU?

Most unionists do not want a united island of Ireland. Most in Sin Fein would like to see the island reunited. I, for one, do not see how this will be resolved. Maybe a political "fudge" with the north somehow independent? No, I think Theresa May, the UK PM, has a really tricky issue here.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Northern Ireland Elections

One thing is certain - I am no politician. Also, I have not been closely following what led to the breakdown of the power sharing alliance in Northern Ireland.

As an "outsider" looking in I think far more things unite its people than divide. It is a staggeringly beautiful place - better than Eire in my view - and I just hope that after the elections today, the parties can find a way to work together for the common good. Sectarianism is so yesterday. Break down the old barriers and work hard for all the people. If you fall back to sectarianism, you have only yourselves to blame.

Catholic? Protestant? Who cares? What matters is the best for Northern Ireland and all its people.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Gerry Adams released


Gerry Adams has been released from custody following days of questioning over the 1972 murder of Jean McConville in Northern Ireland. A file is being prepared to decide whether charges will be brought later.  Mr Adams has always denied involvement in the murder.

One thing is certain: if Gerry Adams is summoned, justice may be served, but the Northern Ireland peace process will be irreparably damaged . In some ways,  a greater peace would be served if he was not prosecuted, even if the PPS believe he was involved. Sinn Féin are "engaged" in the peace process and alienating them would not be in the long-term interests of the province.  The next six months will be critical for the peace process. I am glad this decision is not mine to make.

In an ideal world the evil past would be history. One good thing would be for both side to say where "The Disappeared" are buried i.e. those killed by the IRA and protestants but whose place of burial has never been known. For the families this has been a nightmare. I am a believer in a amnesty for past political crimes and realise some who committed real atrocities would be free men.   Evil was done on both sides of the divide in the last 50 years.  Surely better to bury the hatchet of  history and to work constructively for a really long, peaceful future. One of the enduring images in recent years in Northern Ireland is of Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley - once sworn enemies - enjoying a laugh together (the so-called "chuckle brothers").  If they can make peace there is real hope.

Sadly, this is Northern Ireland and nothing follows sensible paths. We must now wait and hope.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Politics in Northern Ireland

Politics in Northern Ireland continues to puzzle me.

I am in no position to say whether or not Gerry Adams was in any way, shape or form involved in the murder in 1972 of Jean McConville.  In many ways I hope he was not.

There is a kind of uneasy peace in the province. In many ways, the sectarian violence of a few years ago has gone, yet the fundamental sectarian bad feelings are still there simmering just beneath the surface. A visit to Northern Ireland still has reminders of the past: the barriers between Catholic and Protestant areas are still there in Belfast, the police stations still have huge barrier fences etc. The politics is divided on sectarian lines even now, not politics in the sense we know it elsewhere in the UK.

It seems to me very little would be needed to change the current (uneasy) peace back to violence.

Why cannot the ordinary folk of this most beautiful province cast the past aside and really embrace peace? True peace can only come when forgiveness has a chance to flourish. We are still some way from this.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Israel and Palestine

Isn't it sad that people can't live peacefully together? In Northern Ireland (Ulster) an attempt is at last being made to forge a new beginning with people who were once sworn enemies trying to get along with each other for a greater good. Attempts by a marginalised few to derail the process have not succeeded and I hope they never will.  Even the Rev Ian Paisley seems a changed man. This is the stuff of true statesmanship. Incidentally, I note that a lot of the ground work leading up to the settlement was done by the Quakers, always a quiet, unsung force for non-violence and peace in the world.

In the Middle East the long drawn out conflict between Israel and the Palestinians continues with periodic eruptions of hatred and violence on both sides. My knowledge of the post WW2 settlement in the region is weak but I cannot, for the life of me, understand why, two generations later, they cannot arrive at a peaceful agreement on statehood that is good for everyone. I read on the BBC website that a one state solution, with both Palestinian and Israeli people sharing equal rights in one state, is on the table again. It should be possible to make this work with trust and good will on all sides.  It takes an act of great faith to make geo-political solutions work, so I wish them luck and good judgement.

See .