Unless you’ve been living underneath a rock, you’ve probably heard the commotion from the last 24 hours that the final sticking point in the first phase of the Brexit negotiations – the Irish border, has caused quite a bit of drama. It has been nothing short of an episode from a House of Cards, but we know who the joker really is.
If we begin the process of erasing certain elements of history that do not match our morals and values today, we would inherently erase the social contexts and attitudes of our ancestors. This would indeed be political correctness gone mad. A friend of mine pointed out that by attempting to mould history to our own moral context today, it would be anachronistic to try to alter our cityscapes to deflect from the moral context of the past, no matter how abhorrent those morals were. Furthermore, where would we draw the line in the pursuit of such tasks? Would be we just remove statues and monuments and change place names? Would it be those that were erected in a certain period? What about the Brussels metro line that was built with blood-money from the oppression of the Congolese? I believe that like Pandora's Box, once opened, this could potentially be never-ending.
Today I've discovered that your initial article 'Get Stuffed, Eire' has been removed from Country Squire Magazine due to the controversy and negative backlash it received. You have also since issued an apology regarding the article; however, in your attempt at an apology, you also stated the following sentence - "I still cannot see anything racist in my writing", and here lies the very essence of the problem.
Like many other of thousands of people who've probably come across this clip of Arlene Foster today, my mouth literally dropped open. The sheer cheek of her to accuse a community, of which for decades has been oppressed politically, socially and culturally, of seeking 'cultural supremacy' over another is just gob-smackingly hypocritical. As many of my readers know, I live abroad in Brussels, Belgium and have been doing so for the last 5 years. I often try to get home to Belfast 3-4 times a year for usually a week each time, because even though I love my life in the EU capital, there is just no place like home. However, I usually try to avoid going home in the month of July - predominantly for one reason - The Twelfth.
The Tories have managed to secure 318 seats in Westminster; thus, failing to secure the magic number of 326 seats to gain a majority. They had in fact lost 13 seats - an embarrassing defeat for a woman who was so confident in winning this election by a landslide. So what is Theresa May to do? Every other party with any sort of credibility has turned their backs on the Tories, all for except one - the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
I, Daniel Blake, a film about a Newcastle widower with a serious heart condition and a young single mother going through the trails of the British welfare state. 100 minutes that really show the impact of relative poverty, a depressed job market, austerity measures and a heartless point-based system that diminishes the face of our most disadvantaged in society.
On Friday 10th April 1998, the face of Northern Ireland was about to change with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. At 5.30pm that evening, American Senator George Mitchell stated..."I am pleased to announce that the two governments and the political parties in Northern Ireland have reached agreement". The Good Friday Agreement (GFA) contained proposals for a Northern Ireland Assembly with a power-sharing executive, new cross-border institutions with the Republic of Ireland and a body linking devolved assemblies across the UK with Westminster and Dublin. The Republic of Ireland had also agreed to drop its constitutional claim to the six counties, paramilitary groups would also decommission their weapons, and the future of policing in Northern Ireland was to be overhauled, along with the early release of paramilitary prisoners.
I have always been in support of regeneration and development, and I have always maintained that Belfast sorely needs it. At present, Northern Ireland's economy very much relies on public services, which is by no means sustainable; therefore, investment into the private sector has been a priority for quite some time now by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment.
On Saturday I stood at Place Luxemburg facing the European Parliament with a few friends for the 'March for Europe' rally. I had made my placard the night before, knowing with complete certainty what the message I wanted to write was and of course it was going to be about Northern Ireland, Brexit and the Border. Myself and many others within the province have been feeling a deep frustration with Theresa May's pursuit of a hard Brexit and the fact we've been so powerless within the whole fiasco. A frustration which is also mirrored by our Scottish cousins. Therefore, I wanted to convey this anger and in the words of Sinn Féin's Martina Anderson, to tell Theresa May to 'stick the border where the sun don't shine'.
I believe everyone has those moments in life were they can remember exactly where they were and what they were doing at that time when something profound or catastrophic takes place. On the morning of the 22nd March 2016, I was lying in bed with the other half talking about my flight the next day to go home for Easter to surprise the family whilst he was on his phone scrolling through Facebook. He then urgently turns to me and says "Emma, there's been a bomb in Brussels airport" and in true Northern Irish fashion, I replied "A bomb or a bomb, bomb?" When he began to read out the facts to me, that it was indeed a terror attack that had caused so much devastation, everything began to dawn on me.