Gerry Adams’ “illegal detention” Supreme Court ruling needs correction by Parliament to prevent hundreds of compensation claims

Gerry Adams’ victory in obtaining a Supreme Court ruling against the legality of his detention without trial followed by his escape from the Maze in 1975 has produced serious opposition within the establishment. The ruling rests on a technicality with potentially wide implications, that the interim custody order made against him hadn’t been signed personally by the secretary of state Willie Whitelaw. To a lay person this ruling seems more than slightly bonkers; but its defenders will argue that the …

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Our own populism holds us back in Northern Ireland

For a part of the world that relies so heavily on compromise to literally allow public administration to function, we don’t do nuance very well. You need only look at the public outcry to the mere suggestion that we may have to pay for our own water back when the New Decade, New Approach deal was agreed as the latest evidence of our own self-defeating populism.  The uncomfortable, and unpopular, truth is that this mindset holds us back in Northern …

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Is authority split between the UK government and devolved “nations” helping or hindering the management of the pandemic?

Has the management of the pandemic further weakened the Union or behind the political noise, proved that Westminster and the governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are essentially working well together?  No doubt an only partly suppressed competition to win credit with the voters at the end of the day is being waged. But cooperation is to an extent made more difficult because the division of responsibilities isn’t always clear. The devolved governments run for example health and education …

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What is justice anyway?

What is justice? The answer might be obvious, but in past Forward Together podcast interviews it has been noticeable that the responses to that question have been inconsistent. While parts of political unionism seem focused on the judicial process for acts going back to the Troubles, the response by some in republicanism has been that the core of justice is about creating a fair society today. Daniel Holder, deputy director of the Committee on the Administration of Justice, tells the …

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What can we change to help consume less of the earth’s precious resources – and in doing so, improve our lives?

Joan McCoy is President of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects and writes in support of #OurChangedPlaceNI – a campaign which asks people what they’d change about the built environment During lockdown, I have been entertained by receiving and sending memes commenting on the current situation – some funny, some less so. One has stuck in my mind though – it was a cartoon of the earth, battered and bruised and coved in bandages – beside an almost equally large …

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Mary Lou accused of lionising man who declared Nazis ‘friends and liberators of the Irish people’.

Mary Lou’s long-form interview with Hugh O’Connell in the Sunday Independent was generally pretty fair to the Sinn Féin leader, giving her time and space to answer questions about her own career, what shaped her politics and her move to that party. As a result, it was revealing. In response to a question on the IRA’s Enniskillen attack on a Remembrance Day commemoration, and Warrington before she joined the Provisional movement she gave, what looked and felt like an honest …

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Theresa Villiers U- turn! Arch Brexiteer opposes free trade deal with US as ” threat to the Union”

An intriguing little Brexit story.  At a post- referendum conference in 2016 I watched flinching as Ireland’s most eminent public servant Peter Sutherland, former Attorney General, former EU commissioner, first head of the World Trade Organisation, chairman of BP etc.etc ( now sadly dead), tore into the UK’s decision to leave the EU as insane, disastrous etc., giving chapter and verse.  As he finished he admitted with a grin he’d been ranting. Batting for Britain was former NI secretary Theresa …

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“Most people believe social care should be free, but there’s a lot of confusion out there”

Social care must be reformed. If it wasn’t clear before the Covid-19 pandemic, it has become tragically obvious over recent weeks. So this is an opportune time to hear in the latest Holywell Trust Forward Together podcast from Deirdre Heenan, professor of social policy at Ulster University and joint author nine years ago of a major study into Northern Ireland’s health and social care system. “The vast majority of people accept and want the NHS to be free at the …

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Playlist: Whatever gets you through the lockdown night…?

For us, this is a special ‘giving birth’ tune, and listening to it tonight brought back that electrifying feeling of becoming a parent (again). If you’re happy to do so, please feel free to share whatever tunes or music has helped you get through these strange days… “Tango de mis Amores – Verano de Emociones – San Rafael” by Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación is licensed under CC BY-SA

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Preventing the Millennials becoming ‘Generation Unemployment’

Everyone is massively inconvenienced and distressed by the impact of the coronavirus. The consequences for our health workers and other essential workers have been immense. I hope that as we go forward we will ensure they are properly valued, supported and paid. But I am also very worried about the prospects for our young adults. Those people leaving school to seek work this summer, and those finishing at college and university, are facing the most severe challenges of any generation …

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