“In Northern Ireland”, Peter Hain opined in his autobiography Outside In (pictured left), there is “always a crisis around the corner” (p.323). There is more of a feel of truth than truism to the statement, especially as the on-the-runs scandal dominated recent headlines (before being eclipsed by developments in the Crimea). I’d be surprised if a good few Irish viewers watching the BBC 2 drama miniseries 37 Days, on the slide towards the First World War, haven’t felt there is something queasily apposite in the scenes where the UK Cabinet’s attention is wrenched away from the “muddy by-ways of Fermanagh and Tyrone” and towards a developing European Crisis. Continue reading “What the Dogs in the Street Know: On the Runs and Hanging Peter Hain Out to Dry”
David Cameron is shocked. Ed Miliband is shocked. But no one is really shocked. Patrick Finucane (pictured left) has been dead for nearly 24 years and the world moves on cruelly fast. Labour’s demand for a full public inquiry into his killing smacks of making political capital out of a family denied answers (let alone justice) for too long, and which is now skeptical of any answers it does receive. Even Gerry Adams’ statement in support of this cause is terse, running to little over 100 words. The de Silva Report has, a day after its publication, already slipped from the home pages of the websites of national newspapers in the UK and Ireland. Continue reading “A Dark and Violent Time: The Report of the Pat Finucane Review”
Last month saw the conclusion of Peter Hain’s (pictured left) legal battles over his autobiography, Outside In, which has provoked considerably more controversy in Northern Ireland’s legal circles than its ranking at 152,187 on Amazon’s bestseller list would suggest. The book charts Hain’s political journey from anti-apartheid activist to Labour cabinet minister, and whilst the Welsh Office provided Hain’s final ministerial brief (he serves as MP for the Welsh constituency of Neath), he considers that it was as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from 2005-2007 that he made his greatest political contribution. This approach makes for a compelling narrative, locating Hain at the juncture between the South African and Northern Irish conflicts, but his extensive account of his own role within the Northern Ireland peace process in the run up to and implementation of the St Andrews Agreement attracted unwelcome headlines on publication.