June 30, 2015

Ethical Irishness and ethically remembering Ireland's history

A young Michael D. Higgins
Irishness is about ethics, not ethnics. Michael D. Higgins said that his would be a "Presidency of ideas - recognising and open to new paradigms of thought and action". Through speeches the President has explored the importance and challenge of ethics in Irish life and Ireland’s relationships abroad. There are four select Special Initiatives which mark his stewardship of the Áras an Uachtaráin, one of which is the Ethics Initiative.

June 29, 2015

Michael Longley - Green wank and Orange wank

Michael Longley with his portrait by Colin Davidson. See Longley with Mallie and I here.
Michael Longley met David Remnick on his 1994 visit to Belfast. They went for a walk and talk at the Giant’s Ring in South Belfast in 1994.
"These sides are divided from each other in their souls. They adhere to ridiculous visions of themselves and their histories. I call it ‘the green wank’ and ‘the orange wank’."

June 28, 2015

Ireland's Revolutionary and Fairyhouse traditions

Irish Grand National (1921) - Won by Mr A. Wills’ ‘Bohernore’ at Fairyhouse
Stephen Gwynn wrote an account of Dublin during the Easter Rising of April 1916:
"On Monday a very large proportion of the officers from the Curragh and the Dublin garrison were at the Fairyhouse races. In the Castle itself there was only the ordinary guard."

June 03, 2015

1916 feminist rhetoric versus 2016 reality

Andy Pollak wrote:
"In the South it’s even worse, with only 16% of the Dail’s members being women... This puts Ireland 88th in the world, behind such paragons of democracy and women’s equality as Burkina Faso, Gabon, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and the United Arab Emirates (the US is barely any better at 16.8%). Ireland comes 25th out of 28 EU parliaments. And that woefully low figure – 16% – has never been exceeded in the 96 year history of Dail Eireann, which must have Countess Markievicz, the first woman elected to both the House of Commons and the Dail in 1918, turning in her grave."

June 02, 2015

David Remnick on the normality of Northern Ireland

David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker since 1998, staff writer since 1992. Illustration by Stanley Chow (@stan_chow).
The former Chief Constable of the PSNI Matt Bagott said in 2014:
"In terms of ordinary crime, [Nothern Ireland] is not the most challenging. In fact, it is probably the safest place I have ever worked. Inner city crime in Peckham, where you have street gangs and hundreds of robberies every month, is much more challenging crime-wise."
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