United Nation: The Case for Integrating Ireland by Frank Connolly (Gill Books, £14.99) How do you solve a problem called Identity? It’s a state of mind. It isn’t rational. It isn’t amenable to argument. It isn’t based on either prosperity or penury (it’s not the economy, stupid). It simply is. And this is the overarching, seemingly intransigent, factor that bedevils all those who present a logical case for the island’s political unity.
“The road from the airport through the southern suburbs of Beirut into the city centre ran through fundamentalist Hezbollah territory and was known the world over as ‘Kidnap Highway’. When Brian left the airport to head up that road he had, as his shield, an armed military escort. I had a letter from Gerry Adams”
A WEXFORD historian – co-author of a forthcoming book that profiles the Irish republican dead from 1916 to 1921– has appealed to the Belfast public to help fill in some gaps in the local Roll of Honour.
A QUEEN'S University academic, who specialises in Irish political and religious demography, has released his latest book entitled 'Irish religious censuses of the 1760s: Catholics and Protestants in eighteenth-century Ireland'.
ON April 1, 1970, the Ulster Defence Regiment of the British Army formally took its place in the ranks of the British Army. The UDR was a locally-recruited militia established by the British Government following its disbandment of the B-Specials the previous year. When it too was disbanded 22 years later it had achieved an even greater level of sectarian notoriety than the Specials. Micheál Smith, who is an advocacy case worker with the Pat Finucane Centre, and who previously worked as a diplomat in the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin, has just published ‘UDR Declassified’ – an account of the British Army regiment which looks at the “background to the regiment and the traditions from which it was born...” The book also examines “the range of illegal, collusive and murderous acts of some of its numbers...”
A new book, War Hotels by Kenneth Morrison & Abdallah El Binni, examines the role of landmark hotels in war-torn cities. In this extract the authors focus on IRA bombings of the Europa Hotel in Belfast during the 1970s
FORMER republican prisoner turned teacher, Paddy McMenamin, is set to launch his book ‘From Armed Struggle to Academia’ tonight, Thursday 3 March in the Felons at 7pm. Originally from Turf Lodge, Paddy spent the 1970s in Long Kesh before moving to Donegal where his children and grandchildren live today. Paddy's family is steeped in republican history with his sister Bernadette having played in the Joe McKelvey band and piped at Bobby Sands' funeral. “In 2003 I took voluntary redundancy from a German car factory after 20 years and returned to university at the age of 50,” he said. “After as long in academia as I was in the Cages, I graduated as a secondary school teacher and had a late career in Galway. “This book is a story about life, about how I went from armed struggle to academia. It is a personal story bringing pathos and powerful recollection from an immensely difficult time in our recent history."
Belfast Days: A 1972 Teenage Diary by Eimear O’Callaghan, Merrion Press. Reissued ten years after its publication, Belfast Days: A 1972 Teenage Diary, revisits the worst year of the conflict as seen through the eyes of 16-year-old West Belfast girl Eimear O’Callaghan. Discovered nearly 40 years later, the honesty and savagery of the words shocked the former St Dominic’s pupil when she came upon the pages while clearing out a wardrobe. Eimear, who had gone on to have a career in broadcast journalism, was suddenly given a front row seat into her teenage self and the tumultuous events that were playing out within earshot and eyeshot of her Fruithill Park home. “It teaches me that the passage of time may soften the stark images and dull the strident sounds of our violent history,” she writes in the prologue. “It can allow the ‘truth’ about the past to be distorted. My diary though, is unsparing. With its brutal candour, it has proved more trustworthy than memory.”