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 weeks ahead think about some families who will be facing difficult anniversaries.
ON this island the far right currently takes two forms, and while we could take them as very different it is much more useful to look at the similarities.
JAMES Molyneaux, who was an Ulster Unionist MP when the Ulster Unionist Party still believed it was unassailable, in 1977 wrote a letter to then Secretary of State Roy Mason. It was on the matter of seat belts. Westminster was proposing to introduce compulsory wearing of said safety measure. Only it was introducing this on a phased basis and the drivers of the North of Ireland were scheduled to be safer a few months earlier than the drivers of the Home Counties.
2023. I can hardly believe I am typing this – and probably will not get it right again until March at the earliest!
CHRISTMAS is a bit intense isn’t it? Find the perfect tree. Buy the perfect presents. Cook the perfect dinner. Have the perfect Christmas jumper. Have the perfect family.
Andrée Murphy on the heroes who have been at the centre of the struggle for rights for half a century – the women of West Belfast
Nestled to the east of Dublin city centre, East Wall was built to house the families of dockers, street traders and crafts people, who had previously been shoved into tenements and inadequate flat complexes.
I MOVED to Belfast in June 1994, a few weeks after mother-of two Theresa Clinton had been killed in her living room, in her nightdress as she was getting ready for bed, by the UDA.
Talk of Christmas planning in November can be a challenge for some, but for me is welcome
THIS time last year we could buy two litre cartons of milk for £2. Now it is nearly £2 for one litre. Butter is living up to its gold wrapping with eye-watering prices suggesting it could well be linked to the Gold Standard any day now.
THE noble, legitimate constitutional conversation is happening and is protected in treaty and law. It is respectful, inclusive and framed by the peace process, the peace agreement and peaceful conditions.
IRELAND’S in the World Cup! The country will be rockin’ to chants and songs come next July!
IT was a tale of two Saturdays.
THE huge range of political parties and representatives were really important at the Ireland’s Future conference at the weekend. The island’s political establishments were firmly in the room. An Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar, said as much by his presence as he did in the content of his speech. The man due to be Taoiseach in a few short weeks did not use the occasion to announce a break in current policy but is in the unity headspace. The other Taoiseach-in-waiting, Mary Lou McDonald TD, walked on to the stage like a rock star and got a reception to match. Hers was a carefully crafted speech which focused on the need to plan for a border poll. But there was little hyperbole and a reinforcing of the strong messages since the Brexit vote by England. Our people’s future and wellbeing lies collectively on this island. The audience was receptive to both leaders’ messages, if a little more warm to MaryLou. The other women to raise the roof were Ailbhe Smyth, Paula Melvin, Bríd Smith and Reverend Karen Sethuraman. Ailbhe Smyth will have statues built to her in years to come. She has been the consistent warrior for women on this island, a key figure in the referenda to end the bar on divorce and introduce health care for women. She knows how to win. She speaks to people, she identifies with real experiences and her writing and speeches reflect needs, loves, hopes and aspiration. Paula Melvin, President of Conradh na Gaeilge stood up for the rights denied to so many Irish citizens living north of the border. She took on cultural lies and fear-mongering with a smile and directness that had young Gaels on their feet in appreciation. Bríd Smith, PBP TD, got down and dirty with the type of new Ireland needed: a fair one, where opportunity for all is secured and housing and wealth is distributed fairly. The crowd was cheering in response. But the audience’s full warmth was reserved for Rev Karen, Ben Collins and Jimmy Nesbitt. Protestants from Unionist backgrounds who took a chance and came to exchange their views. They presented challenges, they presented opportunities and they presented hope. The audience were clearly thirsty for their opinions and responded not just with respect but with genuine appreciation. The audience needed to hear about the challenges we all know about, presented with clear and thoughtful challenge. They are a part of the all-island discussion and they are making their own mark. And we are all the better for it.
A NEW British Prime Minister, appointed by a tiny number of people in England with a right wing agenda that would make Goebbels blush, went under the radar with the death of Queen Elizabeth II.