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Posts Tagged ‘Ulster’

The Cranberries

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

WHILE many of us have sang along to The Cranberries’ biggest hit song Zombie, few of us are familiar with the tragedy that inspired Dolores O’Riordan to write it. 

O’Riordan died yesterday morning in a London hotel room, on a day the 46 year old was due to record her vocals for a new version of her iconic hit Zombie.

Written during the band’s UK tour in 1993 and released the following year, Zombie is in memory of two children killed in an IRA bombing in Warrington, Cheshire.

Two bombs detonated within a minute of each other in litter bins on Bridge Street on March 20, killing three year old Johnathan Ball and injuring 12 year old Tim Parry who died five days later.

The IRA claimed responsibility for the attack, but insisted they had given two warnings prior to detonation and police had failed to act in time.

Moved by the violence, the Limerick singer penned the five minute song in a seething condemnation of the IRA and a visceral response to the death of two young children.

“I remember seeing one of the mothers on television, just devastated,” she told Vox magazine in 1994.

“I felt so sad for her, that she’d carried him for nine months, been through all the morning sickness, the whole thing and some prick, some airhead who thought he was making a point, did that.”

O’Riordan was particularly offended that terrorists claimed to have carried out these acts in the name of Ireland.

“The IRA are not me. I’m not the IRA,” she said. “The Cranberries are not the IRA. My family are not.

“When it says in the song, ‘It’s not me, it’s not my family,’ that’s what I’m saying. It’s not Ireland, it’s some idiots living in the past.”

“I don’t care whether it’s Protestant or Catholic, I care about the fact that innocent people are being harmed,” she told Vox. “That’s what provoked me to write the song.

“It was nothing to do with writing a song about it because I’m Irish. You know, I never thought I’d write something like this in a million years. I used to think I’d get into trouble.”

She later told NME in 1994: “[Zombie] doesn’t take sides. It’s a very human song.

“To me, the whole thing [terrorism] is very confused. If these adults have a problem with these other adults well then, go and fight them. Have a bit of balls about it at least, you know?”

This morning, Tim Parry’s father Colin Parry told Good Morning Ulster that he had been touched by the lyrics did not realise they were written about his son until after O’Riordan’s death.

“Only yesterday did I discover that her group, or she herself, had composed the song in memory of the event in Warrington,” he said.

“I was completely unaware what it was about.

“I got the song up on my laptop, watched the band singing, saw Dolores and listened to the words.

“The words are both majestic and also very real.

“The event at Warrington, like the many events that happened all over Ireland and Great Britain, affected families in a very real way and many people have become immune to the pain and suffering that so many people experienced during that armed campaign.

“To read the words written by an Irish band in such compelling way was very, very powerful.

“I likened it to the enormous amount of mail expressing huge sympathy that we received in the days, weeks and months following our loss.

“Proportionately a very high total of that came from the island of Ireland,” he said.

Brexit and Northern Ireland

Sunday, December 3rd, 2017

Brexit Countdown: Why is the Northern Ireland border question so hard?

The international border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is about 310 miles long with, depending on how many tracks you include, as many as 275 crossing points.

In reality, the entire border is a crossing point because, apart from road signs changing from miles per hour to kilometres per hour, there is no physical infrastructure to see.

The concern is that all that could change when the UK leaves the European Union, and Ireland stays as an EU member state.

Why can’t there be a hard border?

Irish border sign

Part of the concern is political. The 1998 Good Friday Agreement, the basic building block of peace in Northern Ireland, removed security checkpoints from the border and helped make it all but invisible. Customs checks could undermine much of that progress.

Like many peace deals, the Good Friday Agreement is a masterpiece of creative ambiguity, allowing different people to take different things from different parts of the text.

Shared membership of the European Union made that much easier to achieve. Ireland wants a clear written commitment that the agreement will be respected in all its parts.

The other concern of course is economic. The economies of Northern Ireland and the Republic are completely interconnected. Huge amounts of goods and services cross the border every day without checks of any kind.

Brexit negotiators are currently looking through more than 140 areas of north-south co-operation, involving everything from the single electricity market to environmental protection.

It is also estimated that at least 30,000 people cross the border every day for work. The movement of people is governed by the Common Travel Area between the UK and Ireland, which predates the EU.

Both sides are determined that the Common Travel Area will remain in place, but that in itself doesn’t resolve the challenge of a hard border re-emerging.

So if no-one thinks a hard border is a good idea, why can’t everyone agree now that it won’t be re-imposed?

Because the UK has announced that it is leaving the EU single market and the customs union. That immediately turns the internal border in Ireland into an external border for the single market and the customs union – with all the potential checks that implies.

At the moment, all rules and regulations, north and south, are exactly the same – on food safety, on animal welfare… you name it.

Again, it’s a relationship based in large part on agreements covered by joint membership of the EU. As soon as that changes, border checks may have to begin again.

That’s why the Irish government wants a written guarantee from the UK that Northern Ireland will continue to follow EU rules – so goods can continue to move freely across the border.

“It seems essential to us,” said the Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney earlier this month, “that there is no emergence of regulatory divergence from the rules of the internal market or the customs unions which are necessary for meaningful north-south co-operation, or an all-Ireland economy that is consistent with the Good Friday Agreement.”

In other words, both Ireland and the rest of the EU are suggesting that Northern Ireland should stay within the customs union and the single market.

But there would have to be checks somewhere between the EU and the UK, wouldn’t there?

Yes. It would – in effect – push the customs border out into the Irish Sea… an internal customs border, if you like, between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

Would that be acceptable to the UK government, or to its Unionist political allies in Northern Ireland, the DUP? In a word, no.

“We respect the European Union desire to protect the legal order of the single market and customs union,” the UK’s Brexit Secretary David Davis said in Brussels recently.

“But that cannot come at a cost to the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom.”

Couldn’t the UK simply declare the border open on a unilateral basis, and impose no checks or tariffs at all?

If it did that then, under World Trade Organization rules, it would have to do the same for the rest of the world. The UK economy would be swamped with cheap imports.

The EU would impose checks anyway which might allow the UK government to shift the blame on to Brussels. But that would be a pretty futile gesture.

So is there a solution?

Irish border

If it was easy, it would already have been done.

The EU argues that the UK’s red lines on Ireland – no border on the one hand, and UK exit from the single market and the customs union on the other – are fundamentally incompatible.

The British government has spoken of technological fixes such as pre-screening of goods, and trusted trader schemes.

The EU says such things could speed up border transit, but it would be nowhere near enough to avoid the return of some border checks.

Alternatively, Irish officials argue that there are already cases of rules and regulations being different in Northern Ireland than in the rest of the UK, and they point to other examples such as Hong Kong in China where there are different regulatory arrangements within sovereign states.

Intense negotiations are taking place to try to come up with a solution that would ensure a) no divergence of regulations in key areas; and b) the creation of some form of customs partnership on the island of Ireland, which doesn’t threaten the constitutional order of the UK.

But if a fix emerges that seems to turn Northern Ireland into a back door route into the single market, then other EU countries will cry foul.

So even if all parties agree in the next two weeks that “sufficient progress” on Ireland has been made, there will be a long way to go before any kind of lasting solution emerges.

On TV tonight :

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

V pour vendetta On NT11 channel ! Don’t miss it !

or (my choice) In the Name of the Father   Au nom du père (Cherie25 channel). A great movie about The Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Belfast part 4

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Belfast Part 3

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Belfast Part 2

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Belfast part 1

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Warning on obesity in Northern Ireland

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

http://www.rte.ie/news/2009/1116/obesity.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Most people in Northern Ireland could be obese by 2050 if immediate action is not taken, according to a report.

The problem could spiral to unmanageable levels, the Northern Ireland Assembly’s health committee warned.

Up to 60% of men and half of women could be badly overweight with massive strain on healthcare budgets.

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The committee’s report said: ‘Growing levels of obesity will continue to generate enormous costs to society, particularly the health and social care sector in the years ahead.

‘Given this and the potential for significant cost benefits, we believe it is imperative that substantial and sustained resources are provided to implement the new life course strategy.’

Committee chairman Jim Wells said: ‘The committee was shocked at the prevalence of obesity in our society.

‘The health complications that are associated with it affect all of our people, both young and old.’

The committee urged that funding be earmarked and not consumed by other emerging priorities.

It called on the Public Health Agency to make tackling obesity its top priority and bring together all government bodies. The report also said the PHA should maintain a central database of projects.

The report recommended that the NI Department of Health should commission an urgent audit of obesity-related initiatives so examples of good practice can be rolled out more widely.

The report added: ‘We call on the minister (Michael McGimpsey) as a matter of urgency to undertake a comprehensive review of weight management services at all levels for adults and children.’

The paper also highlighted the need to develop a broad strategy to tackle obesity across different population groups.

Mr McGimpsey said obesity was blamed for thousands of lost working days and cost the Northern Ireland economy £500 million per year.

Mr McGimpsey said tackling the issue was a priority for the future and he said he welcomed all advice on combating obesity.

Walls remain in divided Belfast

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

In Berlin they have been marking 20 years without their wall, in Belfast the division of the city remains set in concrete, wire and fencing.

But that does not mean people are happy with the status quo.

On Monday, a group of youths gathered at the peaceline on Lanark Way, which separates the Protestant Shankill Road from the Catholic Falls Road.

Andrea Maskey, from Falls Road said that the walls should be removed.

“I don’t really think there is a need for them any more, they should be taken down. Everybody else in the world has taken theirs down, so why can’t we?”

Matthew McMullen from Springmartin said that only when people came together would the walls fade into the past.

“They’re protective but I don’t like the sight of them, I would prefer them to come down,” he said.

The walls were a symptom of the “division and fear” that remained between the two traditions that dominate the city.

PeaceWallGates.jpg image by coolershaka

Semaine du Cinéma Européen

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

J’avais déjà fait un article sur “Hunger” ici avec la BO et un extrait du film. Ce film est très émouvant au point que je ne pense pas emmener de classe le voir. Ce film est fort, très fort et même dérangeant. Je vous encourage fortement à aller le voir si vous le pouvez.

Deux autres films britanniques sont à l’affiche.

Fish Tank, primé à Cannes (prix du jury). Il passe bientôt, allez le voir !

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