Jude Collins worked for thirty years as a lecturer at the Ulster University/Ulster Polytechnic. Before that, he was a high school English teacher in Derry, Dublin, Edmonton and Winnipeg (Canada).
He is the author of eight books, including Booing the Bishop and other stories and Martin McGuinness: The man I knew. He has been a weekly columnist for The Irish News, Daily Ireland and currently writes for The Andersonstown News.
He has broadcast on TV and radio for the BBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Press TV and RTÉ. For the past thirteen years he has written a daily column on his blogsite www.judecollins.com
MARK Carruthers of the BBC conducted an interview with Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald last Sunday, and inevitably the question of a reunited Ireland came up. Inevitably also, Carruthers noted that opinion polls show that there is not a majority in NEI in favour of a reunited Ireland.
THERE was a sense of déjà vu about The Nolan Show (BBC ONE) last week. Most of you will remember the RHI scandal. The reason the RHI story broke was that Nolan got his teeth into it and kept chomping until it became a major issue that eventually brought Stormont down. I’m tempted to add that for all that, there were few signs of permanent financial or political damage, but I’ll resist the temptation.
JUGGERNAUT, tsunami, tectonic plates – last week’s local elections had the commentators groping for new words to describe the success of Sinn Féin.
GAELIC in the Joy (RTÉ ONE) is a three-part series, the first of which went out last week. In it, we watch Dublin Gaelic footballer Philly McMahon and comedian Rory O’Connor trying out the Gaelic football road to redemption for Mountjoy prisoners. Both men have friends who are in prison and that fact makes them feel lucky – there but for the grace of God etc.
MICHAEL Portillo has been on two major career journeys: one in Tory politics, which ended in spectacular failure, and now a second as a gaily-clad TV presenter journeying to different countries and back to different time periods. Taking Sides: Britain and the Civil War (RTÉ ONE) takes him on a 100-year journey back in time to early 1920s Ireland.
TRADITIONALLY, elections for our local councils produce a high turn-out of voters – around 50 per cent. Which is terrific compared to England, where around 30 per cent show up. But while you’re digesting that feel-good factor, look at it from the other side: around half of those who could vote in our local elections don’t.
SIR Charles Trevelyan (yes, Virginia, The Fields of Athenry) was a Godly man. He administered British rule in Ireland during the Famine years and he saw evictions of Irish peasants and the toll taken by An Gorta Mór as "a direct stroke of an all-wise and all-merciful Providence". The Famine, he declared, was 'the sharp but effectual remedy by which the cure is likely to be effected... God grant that the generation to which this great opportunity has been offered may rightly perform its part..."
CAN laughter send a message? I think it can. When Martin McGuinness sat alongside Ian Paisley, they did so much laughing they were dubbed ‘The Chuckle Brothers’. What message was their laughter sending? That those who were once sworn enemies can, in changed circumstances, set aside past enmities?
SAD to say I don’t have access to the inner workings of the DUP, but I’m going to guess that on Saturday, Jeffrey and his DUP gang will be deeply disappointed in Michelle O’Neill and Alex Maskey.
PART of the attraction of Blue Lights (BBC iPlayer) is that it stars the PSNI and was shot in Belfast. The final episode was last Monday, but all six episodes are available on iPlayer, and now they’ve promised (for better or worse) a second series.
OKAY – crystal ball time. Remember the three witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, doing their toil-and-trouble thing and giving Macbeth some very accurate forecasts which at the same time were very misleading?
DO you ache to know more about the politician and preacher that was Rev Ian Paisley Sr? Then be of good cheer. All three episodes of THE HOUSE OF PAISLEY are now available on BBC iPlayer
JOHN Hume’s father probably wasn’t the first father to give his son advice, in this case that he should avoid trying to eat a flag. Yet it’s odd how many people go green around the gills when it’s mentioned that in any new Ireland negotiations, the national flag (and anthem) might be changed.
AS images of President Joe Biden flashed on our screens last week, I checked out some old black-and-white footage of John F Kennedy’s address to the Oireachtas in 1963.
WE Irish love to talk. Our chattering is so all-pervasive we become conscious of it only when we live in another country where it’s absent. We have, as they say, the gift of the gab.