Northern Ireland

Could Direct Rule be the Answer to North's Problems?

This comment piece appeared in The Irish Times on Thursday 4 February. It was intended as an attempt to start a discussion about what needs to be done to move Northern Ireland forward. In it, I advocate a possible temporary return to direct rule as it existed during Stormont suspensions over the last decade. But […]

Ian Sansom – Stranger than Fiction

Ian Sansom is a true gent, and if you’ve never picked up one of his hilarious novels you should. This feature on Sansom and his latest novel, The Bad Book Affair, appeared in The Sunday Herald on Sunday 24 January. A prominent Northern Irish politician involved in a sensational sex scandal. Accusations of dodgy dealings […]

From Family Robinson Woes to Affairs of State

I wrote a comment piece on the political fall-out from the Robinson affair for The Scotsman last week: (Published 13/01/10) A leading unionist politician in Northern Ireland laid low by a lurid sex scandal splashed across the red tops. Accusations of backhanders from property developers. Political unrest in Ulster’s bible-belt. The plot of The Bad […]

Belfast's Booming?

Feature on how small retailers in the North have been affected by shoppers (and their cash) coming over the border. First appeared in Sunday Business Post 03/01/2010. On Chichester Street, in the centre of Belfast, the lines of southern registered coaches have become a familiar sight. Every day they arrive, at weekends as many as […]

Marcus du Sautoy

Last week I spoke with Marcus du Sautoy, Oxford mathematician and author of numerous popular science books, for CultureNorthernIreland. As well as proselytizing about science as the new Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science (taking over from Richard Dawkins), he’s a keen footballer, musician and actor…but maths remains his one true love: It […]

David Peace

I’d a really engaging half-hour chat with Yorkshire’s finest this morning. He talked plenty about Walter Benjamin, Johnny Giles and old Big Head but for legal reasons left most of it off the record. But here’s a few of the things we did talk about for a feature on CultureNorthernIreland ahead of his appearance at […]

40 years of the British Army in Northern Ireland

Feature from latest Sunday Business Post August 15, 1969. Even those with the most cursory of interests in Northern Irish history will recognise the date of the British Army’s first deployment in Belfast. But for almost 40 years no photographic record of the soldiers’ arrival on the city’s streets existed, until an octogenarian with a […]

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