A United Ireland

The only answer

A cliff edge next to the sea.
Photo by Vincent Guth on Unsplash

One of my first work experiences was bridge-building between the Catholic and Protestant communities in Northern Ireland. We visited schools and youth clubs, having discussions and using drama sketches to illustrate the tough questions.

Almost all of the youth, who would be over 30 now, wanted peace in Northern Ireland.

It seems peace is not enough. Due to what we term Brexit, there is now a customs border in the Irish Sea. It was impossible to put a border on the island of Ireland, as border checks were what The Troubles were about.

The Troubles means the bombings, murders, and deployment of British troops. It is a very Irish expression but minimizes the terrible warfare that went on.

Since the UK left the European Union, each EU member is part of the Good Friday Peace Accord and must do all they can to preserve it.

Now, goods arriving in Northern Ireland from Britain must go through customs. Some businesses, because of this, have stopped trading with Britain and only trade with the EU. Some goods are no longer available in Northern Ireland.

Note that the United Kingdom includes Northern Ireland. Britain does not include Northern Ireland.

There was an election in Northern Ireland last week. For the first time, Sinn Fein won a majority. The Democratic Union Party (DUP) refuse to sit in government with Sinn Fein because, they claim, the trading protocol with Britain is not working.

Everyone agrees it is not working. The answer is to talk it out. The Good Friday Agreement states that power must be shared.

Since the DUP, who are renowned for being difficult, will not take up their posts in government, I think it is time for the people to vote on a united Ireland. The population did not want to leave the EU. A united Ireland would be entirely EU.

It is only ideology that keeps Northern Ireland separate. The ideology of the DUP. Obviously, they are now less voted for. Other smaller political parties ate into their constituency too.

One cannot please all of the people all of the time. Right now, people are angry that London is governing them, and nothing is being done to address local issues. Thus, I believe that although some will vote nay, the majority will see the logic and vote yes.

Last year there was some violence about the trading protocol, i.e. the border in the Irish Sea, using 11-year- old boys so as not to be known. It was obviously not Sinn Fein. Buses were set alight with petrol bombs made in bottles

If violence is that pathetic, a united Ireland is an obvious answer to Northern Ireland’s problems.


Aine MacOadha, Poet, died the day before yesterday. The poetry world has lost a gentle soul with fire in her. She touched my life with generosity and compassion.

Here is my interview with her.


Time For Ireland to Unite

Photo by Larry Feirerra

The photo above is the Antrim coast, it is volcanic and rugged. Immensely beautiful, and miles from the unrest.

Having lived and worked in Northern Ireland, I am devastated by the current civil unrest. Boys as young as eleven are being encouraged to throw petrol bombs at the police. They don’t understand why.

The reason children are being abused in this way is because Britain has put a border in the Irish Sea since Brexit happened. It means that British products are held up at Customs and Excise, while EU products flow through with ease.

The Unionists, those who want unity with Britain, are angry. They feel they have been sold a packet of lies. They are causing this violence, and using children in an attempt to avoid arrest and, I suspect, to teach another generation to hate the Catholic population.

There has been twenty years of peace. After a forty year period of intense violence and bloodshed. Murders in secret, the disappeared, the bomb blasts, the gunfire, the petrol bombs, all ended.

Neither side had moral victory or high ground. Both sides were full of hate and bitterness. Peace came after years of talks, talks before there were actual talks. John Major paved a way together with John Hume and others. Some want to claim it, but the real work was done by those who won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Now it is in jeopardy because of an oversight, quite knowingly, about where the border with the EU should be. It cannot be on the island of Ireland as that is what the conflict was all about. The Irish Sea is not a better option.

Historically, there has always been travel between the Republic of Ireland and the North. This resumed with the Good Friday Agreement. People cross it daily to do shopping, carry out business contracts and so much more. There is no need for a passport to be shown and no one to to whom to show it.

So why not unite the country as one on the island? This is the only logical thing to do. A united Ireland would solve so many issues. Of course, the Unionists would react. But, with time, everything would settle down. It is only the Unionist politicians who have an interest in keeping a division. The general population has lived in peace and a generation had grown without sectarian hatred. When I worked in bridging the two communities all the school kids wanted peace, wanted no hatred.

Any team sport in Ireland does not ask what faith it’s members are. No youth club asks for a declaration of faith. It isn’t hard. It is simply reverting to what once was.

I am for a united Ireland. I love the whole country. It is stunningly beautiful. I married it, and fell in love. My daughter is German and Irish.

Published in Grab A Slice with title Northern Ireland’s Unrest


Ireland won! again…

I love it when Ireland win. As a team they are so connected, no one player trying too get glory. Johnny Sexton is a great captain, and it shows with two very comfortable wins.

I had an unexpected nap just before the match. The nerve in my thigh made it’s presence known so I lay to meditate and found myself falling asleep. I heard the postman knocking, but hey I was pain free and relaxed. I didn’t answer.

I’ve been reading a lot on medium and started to think I have nothing to offer, but I got rid of that mindset. Really, there is no use in comparing oneself to others. We are all unique.

I roasted some food in the oven, and took one lot out and came upstairs before remembering the other lot. This is what I try to avoid. Anyway, it came out well, after I got my breath back. I need to be more mindful.

If you were reading my blog this time last year, you will know I spend my time being as efficient as possible. Since I started taking a medicine, I don’t need to be as careful but I still find wasted journeys tiring.

Yesterday, I took a birthday card and gift to a friend in my road. She wasn’t there, no car, no dogs barking. I sent a text asking when she would be back. I got a reply timed after 11pm saying ‘back from where?’. This annoyed me. I told her I had gone to her house yadayadayayada and I couldn’t tell her where she had been. I took the gift and card today and left it inside her side gate. I’ve had no response.

Why do people text so late? I don”t mind if it’s a lover, but a friend should know better.

The pain in my thigh stayed away, which is encouraging as meditation is free, and has other benefits too.

Did you see the moon? Still bright tonight, although a storm is moving in.


Ireland won, and more on my journey…

I was very happy that Ireland won their opening game in the Six Nations. They won at home for the first time since the game at Croke Park, borrowed from the GAA. I remember that match. Not a dry eye in the stadium. It was such a shame that Ronan Gara refused to shake hands with royalty.

It would have been my sister Pamela’s birthday today. It’s a a strange thing to know it, and miss her. She should be here, laughing with me.

I am seeing spring is very much arriving in my garden. Green shoots are everywhere, buds and spring flowers. It gives me a good feeling. It’s a bit early for some things but with so much confusion in the weather I’ll take any joy on offer.

My writing is going well on medium. I enjoy it and I like reading the articles of others. It’s a stretching exercise, a growing edge, and I’m glad because I like personal growth. I don’t like to stand still.

The nerve in my left leg has continued to give some gip, but nothing like the pain I had previously. I’m grateful for this.