Six young activists reflect … Years of Hope: 2022 and 2072

The final event as part of the recent Linen Hall Library exhibition on 1922 and 1972 looked forward rather than back. Six young activists joined Bronagh Hinds to discuss the contemporary issues of 2022, and their hopes for life in 2072. You can hear the thoughts of Beth Elder, Joel Keys, Dara McAnulty, Dara McLaughlin, Inez Murray and Cohen Taylor. The Years of Chaos & Hope Exhibition finishes today at the Linen Hall Library. Alan Meban (Alan in Belfast)Alan Meban. …

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Arrests and Internment in the 1970s

Back on Wednesday 17 August, Seamus McKee chaired a lunchtime panel on Arrests and Internment in the 1970s as part of the Linen Hall Library’s Years of Chaos & Hope Exhibition. Seamus was joined by Harry Donaghy, Eibhlín Glenholmes, William Mitchell and Jim Wilson. The exhibition continues in the city centre library until 31 August. Alan Meban (Alan in Belfast)Alan Meban. Tweets as @alaninbelfast. Blogs about cinema and theatre over at Alan in Belfast. A freelancer who writes about, reports …

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Years of Chaos & Hope: The Troubled Twenties

As part of the Linen Hall Library’s Years of Chaos & Hope exhibition – which runs in the library until 31 August – Anne-Marie McInerney, Edward Burke, and Jim McDermott took at look at some of the issues which contributed to the chaos of 1922: civil unrest, reprisals, internment, and the border. The Troubled Twenties was chaired by Melissa Baird and recorded by me on Monday 8 August 2022. Alan Meban (Alan in Belfast)Alan Meban. Tweets as @alaninbelfast. Blogs about …

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1922 & 1972: Years of Turmoil, Loss and Hope Deferred

1922 and 1972 were troubled years. A century and 50 years on, a Linen Hall Library exhibition running this month has shone a light on what was happening and what can be learned. Years of Chaos and Hope has been reflecting on the conflicting identities, protests, backlash, arrests, evictions, expulsions, shootings, and bombs which contributed to the chaos of 1922 and 1972. Using material from the library’s archive, the exhibition (which is open until 31 August) explores the troubled times …

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“Get Back” – a musical and human revelation…

Since it was announced that there was going to be an eight-hour movie of the Beatles January 1969 recording sessions, I have deliberately avoided all previews or post release reviews, to give myself the chance to watch it. I’m glad I did as it was an incredible experience and one I could never have imagined. It sounds strange to say this about the Beatles, but ultimately the music is of secondary importance here.  There are wonderful moments, such as Paul …

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Boris has 99 problems…

Not sure what magic Cassette Boy uses to create these videos, but they sure are very funny. Warning contains swearing. For those not into HipHop 99 Problems is a song by Jay Z. Boris Johnston delivers his keynote speech today at the Conservative Party Conference. There is talk he will raise the minimum wage which would be welcomed by low earners. New! Cassetteboy vs Boris Johnson 2021 #cpc21 pic.twitter.com/klsNSi0wir — Cassetteboy (@Cassetteboy) October 6, 2021 If this is a bit …

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Lord Patten: “… the problem at heart is not the sausages you get from Sainsbury’s but the porkies that we all get … from Downing Street”

Chris Patten delivering inaugural Seamus Mallon Lecture for Hume Foundation over Zoom

Lord Patten delivered the inaugural Seamus Mallon Lecture this evening, organised by the The John & Pat Hume Foundation. His talk looked back at his time as a direct rule minister: “An appointment to the Northern Ireland Office was often compared with being sent by a Communist Party general secretary in the Soviet Union to manage a power station in Siberia.” He recalled some of his encounters with Seamus Mallon, wishing that there were: “more political leaders in Northern Ireland …

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David O’Sullivan: The EU at 70 – still going strong?

Watch back this evening’s Hume Foundation inaugural European Spirit of Peace Lecture, delivered by David O’Sullivan (former EU ambassador to the US) which looked at the EU 70 years on and asked whether it was going strong. He had cautionary words for those conflating the Irish constitutional issue with practical aspects of the NI Protocol which he said was “unhelpful” and could “destabilise many in the Unionist community”.

Lecture – Rory Montgomery: ‘The Good Friday Agreement and a United Ireland’

The former Irish ambassador to the EU, Rory Montgomery, delivered his inaugural lecture as honorary professor of practice at the QUB Mitchell Institute on Tuesday evening. His topic – The Good Friday Agreement and a United Ireland – had a contemporary feel as the civic conversation intensifies around whether to and how to hold border polls. The 45 minute lecture was followed by half an hour of questions from the audience moderated by Professor Christopher McCrudden.  While Belfast Agreement …

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Jim O’Callaghan interviewed on Irish Unity, SDLP and Fianna Fail #video

Yesterday I sat down with Fianna Fail TD, Jim O’Callaghan to discuss the new Shared Island Unit announced by the Irish government, Irish Unity, the relationship with the SDLP and the performance of the government during the pandemic. Analysis O’Callaghan takes a more forward line on the issues of unification and a border poll than many other TDs. In the interview he was up front in his view that not just the conversation around a border poll is happening but …

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Border Polls, Referendums and the Question of Democracy #BelfastDebate

“Unlike the moon landing of 50 years ago“, Bob Collins suggested that the current political turmoil would not land ”in the sea of Tranquillity”. Collins was speaking on the last day of the free-to-attend Debates on Europe event held in Belfast. You can watch back Sunday morning’s panel on Border Polls, Referendums and the Question of Democracy.

Trans Rights are Human Rights – Ellen Murray’s Amnesty NI lecture at Belfast Pride

Read or watch back Ellen Murray’s lecture (delivered on Tuesday 30 July as part of Belfast Pride). Under the title ‘Trans Rights are Human Rights’, she examined the international context, foreign opinion on the “worrying” state of public discourse in the UK, the shared history with disabled rights struggles, as well as healthcare, welfare of children, women’s rights and her hopes for trans rights in Northern Ireland.

“À la Bastille!”

One more time, then… with continued apologies to Pierre Ranger… [It’s a tradition, we know… – Ed]  Indeed!  And with Alaphilippe in yellow again!  Play La Marseillaise!   Pete Baker

Brexit, Borders and Beyond: Marxism as a Guide in Turbulent Times (watch back)

Last night, the very room in The MAC which hosted the launch of NI21 six years ago to the day, was the venue for a panel discussion on Brexit, Borders and Beyond: Marxism as a Guide in Turbulent Times. Mary Davis, John Barry and Costas Lapavitsas contributed to the well-attended event that was organised by Ulster University’s School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences in association with Reclaim the Agenda and Slugger O’Toole.

George Hamilton: it will be the failure of our generation if we do not reinvigorate our efforts

With only seven and a half weeks left of his five year term as PSNI Chief Constable, George Hamilton delivered a lecture at Queen’s University this evening to “help signpost the next steps for policing with the community”. He called out those “across the political spectrum … [who] have too often defaulted to the blame game … finding it easier to blame the police without taking any responsibility for the context in which police are being asked to operate”. Hamilton …

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Reporting the Troubles: 2 Prime Ministers, 5 P O’Neills, the last death knock, and addressing legacy issues

Brian Rowan and Deric Henderson speaking about Reporting the Troubles at a Creative Holywood conversation.

Recalling working on Prime Ministerial visits, receiving IRA briefings from five different P O’Neills, collating tens of thousands of pages of notes, deciding to no longer knock the doors of bereaved relatives, and thinking out loud about how to address legacy issues, when Brian Rowan and Deric Henderson sat down on Thursday evening to discuss their contributions to the book ‘Reporting the Troubles’, they had no idea of the tragic events that would happen just a few hours later in Creggan.

A legacy process should be about why the Troubles should never happen again

Brian Rowan and Deric Henderson speaking about Reporting the Troubles at a Creative Holywood conversation.

On Thursday evening, hours before Lyra McKee was fatally shot in Creggan, Brian Rowan was speaking about Reporting the Troubles in Holywood. Throughout the event, he often pivoted away from pure reminiscence and returned to the subject of legacy, arguing for an inclusive and society-wide process that asked less about what had happened but instead focussed on why it happened and crucially why it should never happen again.

Does Political Violence Work? #imaginebelfast

QUB pro-vice-chancellor Professor Richard English delivered a 40-minute talk on the topic of Does Political Violence Work? during the recent Imagine! Belfast festival, looking at terrorism by non-state and potentially state actors as well as drawing some conclusions about the disjunction between why campaigns start, why people join up, what is achieved and how we post hoc rationalise what happens.