Best of frenemies – thoughts on the last four years

I wrote the following after spending the day in Stormont on the last day of term. I intended posting it earlier but after the week that was, it didn’t feel appropriate.

There was a distinct feeling of summer last week as I passed Carson on my way up the long symmetrical road to Parliament Buildings on Stormont’s hill.

It wasn’t just the blue skies, blinding sunshine or the freshly cut green grass, but the distinct atmosphere bouncing around the marble floors and pillars of Stormont’s Great Hall that rang; last day of school. For all intents and purposes March 23 was the end of term at the Assembly, albeit not a school term, but the final sitting of the four year session of the latest incarnation of our local devolved government.

Although for many observers, school is an appropriate enough analogy for Stormont, given the prevailing political immaturity and on the job learning that many MLAs have been cast into. Read more of this post

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Fear and loathing once more

It’s difficult to put into words the anger and distress that is emanating from Omagh and the surrounding areas this week.

On Wednesday evening I attended a significant victims conference held in the Silverbirch Hotel in Omagh that featured Terry Waite, Richard Moore and Baroness May Blood. It was organised by the Omagh Support & Self Help Group (OSSHG), founded in the wake of the Omagh bomb and which has within its membership, 170 victims of the August ’98 atrocity.

Among them is Michael Gallagher, father of Aidan Gallagher, one of the 29 victims. As he took me around the exhibition entitled ‘Remembering the past – Looking to the future ‘, he pointed to the 43 banners on display. Each one carrying the story of 43 people from the last 43 years of our history. I began to read a few.

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