Northern Ireland

Ireland: the border is the problem

Issue section: 
Author: 

One of the ways that Brexit negotiations are breaking down is over Ireland. Yet much of the discussion ignores both imperialist history and the consequences for working people.

At first glance the shape of the border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the country makes no sense. It is a squiggly line stretching 310 miles from Lough Foyle in the north west to Carlingford in the east. It follows no natural boundaries and cuts across 180 roads. Donegal is indisputably in the north of Ireland, but not part of Northern Ireland. Neither was the border based on the division of Ireland into four historical provinces with Ulster as the northern one. Three counties of Ulster — Monaghan, Cavan and Donegal — were excluded from the newly created statelet.

Northern Ireland Executive impasse

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Talks to re-establish the Northern Ireland Executive after more than a year’s stalemate have collapsed. The Guardian editorial put the blame unequivocally on Sinn Fein: “The darker truth here is that Sinn Fein has chosen to weaponise the language question for political ends, less to protect minority rights than to antagonise unionists.”

This assessment could not be further from the truth. An agreement had been reached by all parties which included a proposed Irish Language Act.

Skintown

Issue section: 
Author: 

The spotlight is on the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland once more as Theresa May seeks to shore up her shoddy election performance by allying the ailing Tories to the Democratic Unionist Party.

Ciaran McMenamin’s drug-fuelled joy-ride Skintown is a wild and fantastic odyssey that’s not to be missed.

People power in Stormont

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

People Before Profit won two seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly elections last month, with Eamonn McCann winning a seat in Derry and Gerry Carroll topping the poll in West Belfast. How big an impact will two revolutionary socialists in the Assembly have, asks Colm Bryce.

The election of Gerry Carroll and Eamonn McCann from the radical left People Before Profit Alliance to the Stormont Assembly on 5 May has shaken the political establishment in Northern Ireland.

'71

Issue section: 
Issue: 
71

A British soldier is deployed to a divided country he knows nothing about. The army is there to keep the peace but who is “friendly” and who is “hostile”, and who can he trust? This flawed but entertaining thriller could have been set during any number of wars, but this is 1971 in Belfast.

Seamus Heaney (1939-2013)

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Paul O'Brien celebrates the life and poetry of Ireland's rebel poet.

Seamus Heaney was born in County Derry in 1939. He was perhaps the finest lyrical poet of his generation and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. He grew up in the deeply divided landscape of Northern Ireland where "the lines of sectarian antagonism and affiliation followed the boundaries of the land". He lived through the demise of the ancient rural world into which he was born, and the emergence of a globalised modern Ireland.

Loyal to the flag

Issue section: 

The recent flag protests by Loyalists in Belfast have underlined the continuing sectarian nature of the Northern Irish state. Goretti Horgan looks at the history of Loyalism and asks how socialists should relate to the Irish protestant working class

The sight of hundreds of protesters carrying Union Jack flags tends to be associated in England, Scotland or Wales with marches by the BNP or the English Defence League. In Northern Ireland it is now impossible to drive through any city, town or hamlet without finding part or all of it bedecked with massive Union flags.

Over the last two months Belfast and all of the North have seen practically daily protests about the Union flag, some ending in riots all featuring vicious sectarianism on the streets.

The decline and fall of Rangers FC

Issue section: 

Back in February Glasgow Rangers Football Club entered administration. The administrators claimed there were short-term problems and the club would be back to normal shortly. In the period since there have been almost daily revelations about toxic bank debt, tax avoidance, cheating on the football field and legal investigations that may result in charges of fraud and corruption. On 14 June Rangers' creditors refused to accept the administrators' offer of a 3p payment for every pound owed. The result was the liquidation of the club. How did this happen?

Bloody Sunday: A very British atrocity

Issue section: 

Journalist and socialist Eamonn McCann witnessed the Bloody Sunday massacre in 1972, when British soldiers killed 14 demonstrators in Derry. He spoke to Judith Orr about the long campaign for justice.

You once wrote that the families of those shot on Bloody Sunday didn't need to be told the truth - they just wanted the truth to be told. What was it like in the Guildhall when they finally saw the Saville inquiry findings?

How I came to photograph Bloody Sunday

Issue section: 

What made our photographs on Bloody Sunday so important was the fact that there were only two photojournalists on the spot, myself and the Frenchman Gilles Peress, when the Paras came in shooting and killing.

Most of the pictures of that massacre were taken by me in the midst of the panicking, screaming, dying crowd of innocent and defenceless marchers for civil rights. There is a collection of them in Blood in the Street, an account I wrote immediately after that experience and after the ridiculous and offensive Widgery inquiry. The book is distributed by the families of the victims.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Northern Ireland