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Six of The Best: I’m reading Colin Broderick’s ‘Thats That,’ an evocative account of growing up in Altnamuskin in Tyrone at the height of the conflict. Colin’s mother and her efforts to protect her brood are at the heart of this story. Opinion Poll on Irish Unity: Only a planned conversation, involving all of those who wish to participate, can hope…
 
Gaels call for Citizens Assembly In a powerful video message 12,000 Ulster Gaels are appealing to our fellow Gaels in Munster, Leinster and Connaught to sign and endorse a letter to An Taoiseach Micheál Martin asking the Irish government to take the lead in planning for Irish Unity by establishing an All-Island Citizens Assembly “reflecting the vie…
 
Rewriting History "The first casualty when war comes is the truth” said US Senator Hiram Johnson in 1917. We know only too well from our own recent experience of reporting on the decades of conflict how true this is. However, it misses the equally important other side of the coin – the victor writes the history." Ratcheting up the Brexit crisis For…
 
The Sunday World apologises My case had to do with an article in the Sunday World in September 2015.. For me this was always about asserting my own integrity and I think the case succeeded in that. It is my intention to donate the proceeds of the settlement to good causes. These will include the Irish language sector, Green Cross, The Bobby Sands T…
 
Criostóir de Baróid Criostóir de Baróid died two weeks ago, surrounded by his family in Marymount Hospice in Cork where his wife Máire had died in February. About 20 people from Ballymurphy travelled to Cork by car and train to participate in Criostóir’s funeral. They were there to pay their respects to a man, who in the 1970’s along with his son C…
 
ALICE Toner lived in Ballymurphy Drive, not far from our house in Divismore Park. I was deeply saddened by her death. I knew Alice and her husband Fra all of my adult life. Like my own family, they moved into Ballymurphy shortly after it was built. She and Fra were long-standing republicans. Alice was born Alice Scullion in 1929. She was from Varna…
 
Christy returns to Belfast to salute H-Block heroes: THE first time Christy Moore sang ‘Ninety Miles from Dublin’ in West Belfast – his song about the obscenity of the H-Blocks – was in the old Ballymurphy Tenants Association building on the Whiterock Road in the summer of 1980. Tom Cahill had asked Christy to come to the city and play a set. Still…
 
Michael Davitt GAC In October 2006 and again in August 2021 I was asked to give a talk on Michael Davitt to the members of Davitts GAC on the Falls Road as part of the Davitts Culture, Sport and History Weekend. I enjoyed the craic. My thanks to Chairperson Tommy Shaw, Terry Park and others for a good evening. The Future of Moore Street Last Thursd…
 
Jeffrey at the Crossroads Is the Union the only reason why some working class unionist voters persist in voting for parties like the DUP when that party clearly doesn’t represent them on social and economic issues? In fact the DUP often acts against the class interests of working class Protestants, Unionists and Loyalists especially those from depr…
 
Biden tells Johnson a few home truths While sitting beside Johnson at a press conference in the White House President Biden told the media that neither he, “nor I might add would many of my Republican colleagues like to see a change in the Irish accords, the end result having a closed border in Ireland.” Many other US leaders were equally resolute …
 
NEXT week will mark 40 years from the end of the 1981 hunger strike. Much has been written this year and many events have taken place to remember those who died. For me Ten Men Dead by David Beresford and Nor Meekly Serve My Time, compiled by Brian Campbell, remain two of the outstanding books of that period. Jim McCann’s 6000 Days is a very welcom…
 
ACCORDING to media reports there was great elation among Palestinians when the news broke that six political prisoners had succeeded in tunnelling their way to freedom from the high security Gilboa prison in northern Israel. The six were Zakaria Zubeidi; brothers Muhammad and Mahmoud al-Arida; Eham Kamamji,;Yacoub Kadiri; and Munadil Nafayat. Photo…
 
Are you listening Jeffrey? Unionism, especially its DUP component, has been talking up unionist and loyalist resistance to the Irish Protocol since before Boris Johnson dirty-joed them, broke his commitments to them, negotiated and then signed up to the Protocol. There is some evidence of this in the loyalist street disturbances earlier this year a…
 
FOR years I used to gather up acorns and chestnuts and hazelnuts and little sycamore seeds and all manner of other seeds. My growing methods are fairly basic. I collected as many as I could and then planted them out in pots or growbags and let nature do the rest. I worked on the general assumption that if I planted a lot there was a greater chance …
 
Nicknames. When I was at primary school my nickname was Addies. It didn’t last beyond Saint Finian’s for some reason. My brothers, or at least some of them, had the same moniker. I don’t know about the girls but years later I discovered our Gearóid’s old school books had Addies scribbled on them. Different generation. Same nickname. In prison nickn…
 
An Féile Abú Well done Féile an Phobail and to all of the staff who plan and prepare Féile. Many thanks to all those volunteers who work around the clock every August to make it all come together. Black Mountain Thanks also to Féile for hosting the launch of my latest book Black Mountain And Other Stories. Harry Connolly- Féile Chair- was very kind…
 
Imagine lying in your bed as the sun begins to rise above the horizon. You are awakened by loud banging on your front door. The sound of breaking glass and the splitting of wood as the door finally surrenders to the sledge hammer. Sitting up half asleep as the noise of booted feet come charging up your stairs and your bedroom door is kicked in. The…
 
The internal machinations of the Labour Party in Britain are a matter for that party but the policies it adopts and advocates in relation to Ireland have for decades adversely impacted on the lives of citizens here. A month ago the current British Labour Party leader Keir Starmer visited the North and provided a valuable insight into the double-thi…
 
The demand for truth: One after another their faces appeared on my twitter feed. The very young. The older. Children and young people. Mothers and sisters and daughters. Sons and brothers and fathers. Uncles. Aunts. Grandparents. Many with smiling faces from better times. Birthdays. Weddings. A night out. Black and white and colour images. The face…
 
Together we can make a better future: The Unity Referendum provision of the Good Friday Agreement provides a peaceful and democratic pathway to a United Ireland. It is part of an international treaty and agreement. It is part of the inexorable process of change that has been ongoing for years and that will continue in the time ahead. The conversati…
 
The Springhill Massacre families are to be commended – like those hundreds of others in similar circumstances - for their courage and resilience in the face of British government intransigence. Last weekend the families of many of those killed by British state agencies took part in protests across the North against the PPS decision. Among them were…
 
Time Running out – Save Moore St At the beginning of June the British-based property company Hammerson lodged three planning applications for major developments on and around Moore Street. The applications will effectively destroy much of the 1916 Rising Heritage of the site. Some of the buildings in the terrace that runs for 10-25 Moore Street and…
 
MY sister Frances died last week. Death is part of the story of life. Is é seo ar sceal. Sibling grief is a very special grief. Brothers and sisters usually know each other for the whole of their lives. So during these sad days Margaret and Paddy and Anne and Seán and Maura and Deirdre and Dominic and me are reflecting, no doubt in our own ways, on…
 
Boris is a Chancer: Last week was not a good week for Boris Johnson. Even before the weekend’s G7 summit began in Cornwall the news agenda was already dominated by reports that the US government had issued a démarche to the British in advance of President Biden’s arrival. I must admit I had never heard of a démarche. During my years of negotiations…
 
Master Plan for Moore Street Unveiled Most readers know that Moore Street in Dublin City Centre holds a special place in the history of Ireland. It was in Moore Street and the surrounding streets and laneways and at the nearby GPO that a fierce battle was fought between the 1916 republican forces and the British Army. Number 16 Moore Street was whe…
 
Preparing for Unity: Hardly a week goes passed without some new aspect or commentary emerging on the issue of Irish Unity. When will the unity referendum by held? What criteria should the British Secretary of State apply when deciding on the date? What is the role of the Irish government? What will the question/s be that will be asked of citizens? …
 
Belfast tribute to two remarkable women: Two Belfast women, Mary Ann McCracken and Winifred Carney, will soon have statues commemorating their heroism, leadership and commitment to social justice and freedom erected in the grounds of Belfast City Hall Blues legend- Rab McCullough: Recently I asked Rab if he would join Tomboy, BikMcFarlane and other…
 
Ballymurphy came out of familiar playbook: The response of the Tory government of Boris Johnson, like that of Cameron and of every British and Unionist government for 50 years, has been to cover up the culpability of their forces in the killing and wounding of citizens. On the day that a Coroner found that nine innocent citizens were murdered by th…
 
Innocent: This week the long running campaign for truth and justice by the families of the 10 people killed by the Parachute Regiment in Ballymurphy during internment in August 1971 was vindicated with the judgement in the Inquest findings. Standing Idly By. Again : In December 2017 the then Taoiseach, Mr. Varadkar said: “To the nationalist people …
 
Unionism at another crossroads: Monday was the birthday of partition. It was a century since the Northern State formally came into existence with the passing into law on May 3, 1921 of the Government of Ireland Act. Unionist parties, the British government and some others tried –unsuccessfully for the most part – to turn this into a birthday celebr…
 
Let’s plan our own Future together Michelle O’Neill hit the nail on the head in her interview on the Late Late Show with Ryan Tubridy last Friday evening. She said: “In the light of Brexit there is a stark choice that has opened up for people. Which Union do you wish to be part of? Do you wish to be part of an inclusive inward looking Ireland? ... …
 
Inflexible Unionism The current unionist narrative seeks to present the present political crisis as the fault of everyone else except themselves. Mostly they blame the Irish Protocol element of the Brexit Withdrawal Treaty, the Irish government and the EU, and the funeral of Bobby Storey ten months ago. Black Mountain. I’m pleased to say that I sen…
 
The Process of Change Must Continue: The recent loyalist sponsored violence and the provocative and inflammatory language of unionist political leaders has led to speculation about what the violence is really all about? Voting for Bobby Sands: As many readers will know this year marks 40 years since the 1981 hunger strike. It was a traumatic, diffi…
 
Why Would Arlene Leave Fermanagh? Arlene Foster talks of leaving the North in the event of a Yes referendum vote for a United Ireland. “I cannot see how I could be British in Fermanagh, in a United Ireland, because by the very definition you are no longer British because you are living in an all-Ireland state.” I see no reason for Arlene to leave F…
 
Bin the Orange Card Time & again unionist leaders have whipped up anger & fear. Playing the Orange Card is older than the northern state. It’s time to call a halt. It’s time to bin the Orange Card. Inclusion and Reconciliation in the new Ireland As part of our desire for a greater understanding of the issues involved and of the measures needed to c…
 
Micheál has it badly wrong on Irish unity: While no-one was able to travel to the USA this St Patrick’s Day because of the pandemic restrictions it was still nonetheless a good couple of weeks for the peace process, the Good Friday Agreement, the demand for the referendum on unity and for the campaign for a United Ireland. Friends of Sinn Féin succ…
 
6000 DAYS. Jaz McCann writes very well. The reader is quickly drawn into his world. From the opening sentences of his Prologue Jaz paints the sights and sounds, the emotions, shocks, excitement, sadness, smells and the savage brutality and amazing horrors of his 6000 Days of incarceration, mostly in the H Blocks of Long Kesh. He also makes us witne…
 
It is my great privilege to have met many fine women and men over the years. The Léargas series of books is a record of some of these I came to know or to know of along life’s journey. It is very personal to me. This week I published the latest of these. The seventh book in the series is titled; ‘Kathleen Thompson – Up The Republic, She Raised The …
 
A date to remember Dates can evoke powerful memories for all of us. The birth or death of a loved one; a wedding; a new job; a joyous family occasion or a tragedy. Some memories can be so strong that it’s as if we are still there now. The smells, the noise, the fear, the joy, the sadness. March 1st, the date I pen these words, is one of those dates…
 
So what are we to make of the threats by some Unionist leaders over the Irish Protocol? Do we ignore them? I think not. Even though we have heard all this all our lives it is too serious to ignore. Operation Fear needs challenged. Threats of violence or the use of violence by Unionists to get their own way have been a regular feature of Irish polit…
 
Fly Me To The Moon. I downloaded a new album, Cheek to Cheek, by Tony Bennett and Lady GaGa. It is brilliant. I am a longtime fan of Mr Bennett and in more recent times, Lady GaGa. Tony Bennett is celebrated for his decades of singing hit songs. He has also been a life long activist, a dedicated pacifist and an advocate for social justice and a cle…
 
Brexit - A Child of the DUP. I have been watching the machinations of the DUP over the Article 16 carry on. T So, what’s it all about? For me it’s very simple. Brexit is a child of the DUP. The DUP were hell bound for Brexit. They disregarded all advice and suggestions from all quarters about the likely consequences. Now they complain. Very much li…
 
On the 5th of February 1992, five people were brutally murdered, with a further seven injured in a massacre carried out by the UDA. Each year the relatives and friends and the local community hold a remembrance ceremony at the site of the attack. This year, in keeping with Covid restrictions only relatives attended. They wore masks and were sociall…
 
Fra McCann's amazing life of struggle I have known Fra McCann for almost 50 years. Even as he battles prostate cancer Fra continues to live his life as a republican activist – an MLA representing the people of the Falls, an area and a people he loves. Like many others it was the pogrom of August 1969 that changed Fra’s life. The barricades went up …
 
Des Wilson – A Voice for the Poor and Oppressed by Joe McVeigh Fr. Joe McVeigh was a close friend and colleague of Des Wilson. It wasn’t just that both were priests. They both shared a passionate believe in justice and were committed to standing up for the rights of citizens against a British state apparatus which was oppressive and violent. The AN…
 
Singing and climbing in 2021 A Chairde, a very happy 2021 to you all. Here are ten personal things I want to do in this bright new year. · Survive the pandemic. Stay alive and stay healthy. That means following the health advice and getting the vaccine as soon as I can. · Climb Errigal again. I used to do that regularly but the pandemic and travel …
 
The Government of Ireland Act was signed into British Law by a British King on 23 December 1920. In 1998 Sinn Féin succeeded in having this act scrapped - I will write about that process and its implications in the New Year. Partition was born out of violence and the threat of greater violence by unionism supported by the British government. In Jul…
 
Nollaig Shona agus athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibhse go leir. I know it’s going to be a strange Christmas. It’s always poignant as we think of absent friends and family but this year especially we think of those who fell victim to the Pandemic. It’s very important that we do the best we can to stay safe, to keep our families and our friends safe and …
 
This week's Podcast has its roots in a conversation with Danny D; Rab; & Tomboy. We were all in Cage 11 with Bobby Sands and recalled his learning the guitar. I also reflect on the ongoing plight of the Palestinian people.โดย Gerry Adams
 
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