Andrée Murphy hails from Dublin but has lived in Belfast since 1994.
She is the Deputy Director of Relatives for Justice, a national victim support NGO which provides advocacy and therapeutic support for the bereaved and injured of the conflict. Holding a Masters Degree in international human rights law, Andrée's particular expertise and research on women affected by conflict trauma has seen her provide evidence to the United Nations in Geneva and to Congressional hearings in the US.
Andrée is a columnist for Belfast Media Group and is a regular contributor to broadcast media, providing political analysis and commentary.
IN the conversations I have had since the seismic results of the local elections last week, one sentence stood out for me. A friend, and a significant political thinker, said that for him it was arguably a more important result than that of May last year. He was right.
THERE are currently over 3,000 nursing vacancies. Hospitals and care settings are not safe because there are too few nurses. Waiting lists get longer every day because not enough nurses are available to care for patients in theatres or wards. Nurses are leaving the profession every single day because they are underpaid and under too much stress. Professional women and men – but overwhelmingly women – can no longer do it.
TWINBROOK, a working-class estate living on its own ingenuity, reminded me so much of Tallaght when I first moved to Belfast. Physically it was quite similar. Decent houses with decent gardens surrounded by fields where kids played without any infrastructure at all. Mothers getting into black taxis to get to shops. Tracks across fields where people needed to walk but no footpaths were provided.
THERE is a paper cake stand currently on sale in one of the major British supermarkets, which is purposed for coronation street parties. A message on it says 'Let Them Eat Cake'. This is either an indication of immense subversion or inane stupidity.
AS the dust settles on #GFA25, the extravangaza of thought and persuasion in Queen's University last week reflecting on the anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, I am left a little exhausted.
OVER the past week we have seen Irish America bring something back home that far exceeded anyone’s expectations. Dignity.
WHAT a week, eh? You would swear that the Good Friday Agreement had been cherished, exalted and promoted like the gospels themselves over the past 25 years. You would think that we had been led to the grassy uplands of peace, reconciliation and prosperity. My past 25 years have been a lot different, as the two co-guarantors abandoned the population here many years ago.
This Good Friday I remember 25 years ago with mixed feelings. A moment most cherished, a passage of time most problematic.
THERE once was a golf club. On the door it didn’t say men only. There were women about it, but their roles and presence were clearly defined. The men played golf, held membership, sat in the directors’ chairs and made the decisions. The women cooked the meals, cleaned the grassy floors, came along to the restaurant as guests and dressed up for the fancy dinners.
IN a world where we can choose spontaneity, joy or surprise, why would anyone choose the opposite? But it's sadly our lot to live in a place where doom, negativity and immovability is privileged.
AFTER 9/11 the western world got itself a little... let’s put this gently... insane. Human rights became the enemy, government lies became policy and mass murder became reconcilable. All under the guise of defeating 'terrorism'.
INTERNATIONAL Women’s Day has developed over recent years to become a commodified example of how in the modern era we deal with issues of contest and discrimination. Make it cool, and tear the radical meaning out of it.
REJOICE! The Protocol is dead! Long live the I Can’t Believe It’s Not the Protocol!
IT appears the new day has dawned and some key players in London have decided that using the DUP as sandbags in negotiations with the European Union about the Protocol is no longer of value.
THE return of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to Fianna Fáil and the political stage is surely one of the most depressing moments of 2023. And with the rise of the far right and the DUP blocking progress, and it still being February, that is really saying something.