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Northern Ireland


  • Originally published 08/03/2013

    Confidential files give insight into Margaret Thatcher's view of Northern Ireland

    Previously confidential files from 1983 released on Thursday by the National Archives in Kew shed new light on the ongoing attempts by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to deal with the political and security situations in Northern Ireland and, in particular, the threat by Sinn Féin to overtake the SDLP as the voice of Northern nationalism.Sinn Féin's record 13.4% of the regional vote in the June 1983 election and the return of its President, Gerry Adams, as MP for West Belfast came as a shattering blow to Mrs Thatcher, who had returned to power with a renewed mandate after the Falklands war.Ministers believed that up to a quarter of the Sinn Féin vote was down to impersonation and intimidation.At a cabinet meeting in June that year, Northern Ireland Secretary Jim Prior warned colleagues that the republicans' success could lead to the destruction of John Hume's SDLP....

  • Originally published 05/07/2013

    Northern Ireland peace agreement flawed and elitist, says historian

    The Good Friday Agreement is "flawed and elitist" but will not be derailed by the forthcoming 1916 commemorations or the threat from dissidents, according to historian Professor Paul Bew.The Queen's University academic told the 20th annual Burren Law School in Co Clare that the Agreement "ended the Cold War" within the Island of Ireland."The Good Friday Agreement was an elitist, top down process which explains its inadequacies but also explains why it continues to work," said Prof Bew. "This (the Agreement) is a stable process... it is perfectly clear what the rules of the game are."...

  • Originally published 04/23/2013

    Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams testifies against brother over charges he raped own daughter

    DUBLIN — The leader of the Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein testified Monday in a Belfast court against his own brother, who faces criminal charges of raping his daughter — an alleged crime that Adams himself admitted he’d kept secret within the family.Gerry Adams, a reputed longtime commander of the outlawed Irish Republican Army and party leader for 30 years, insisted under cross-examination that he didn’t delay telling police to preserve his own political career atop Irish republicanism....

  • Originally published 04/18/2013

    Medieval murder mystery

    Archaeologists have uncovered the body of a woman who may be at the centre of a 600-year-old murder mystery. The find, as well as 4,000 other artefacts hidden within a medieval and long-forgotten settlement, only came to light during the development of a section of road in Northern Ireland.For the last ten months excavators have been amassing numerous items taken from the site, which will now be preserved and hopefully one day displayed to the public....

  • Originally published 03/14/2013

    Clifford D. May: St. Patrick’s Day with Edmund Burke

    Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on national security.Perhaps because St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, I’ve found myself re-reading Edmund Burke and Conor Cruise O’Brien — and drinking Irish whiskey. I first became acquainted with these three sources of stimulation back in 1978. That was also my first brush with terrorism.I was a young foreign correspondent sent to Northern Ireland to cover the “Troubles,” the conflict between Catholics and Protestants, Republicans (Irish nationalists) and Loyalists (those favoring solidarity with the United Kingdom) that broke out in the 1960s and dissipated just before the turn of the century.I spent many hours in pubs, listening to those on both sides of the divide tell me what they believed, whom they despised, and what acts of violence they would countenance — and in some cases carry out — to achieve their objectives.