Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein’s Connolly House headquarters in Belfast

Nelson McCausland: All in all, it was a bad week at the office for Sinn Fein — north and south of the border 

Last week was another bad one for Sinn Fein — and for three main reasons. Former Sinn Fein Finance Minister Mairtin O Muilleoir had to appear before the RHI Inquiry and it exposed something of the inner workings of Sinn Fein. Statements and emails published by the inquiry revealed that O Muilleoir was in close contact with three senior republicans at party  headquarters and would not sign a key document until he had cleared it with one of the three.

Paddy Devlin transformed his political outlook through avid reading

Paddy Devlin's vision of forging a non-sectarian future has more relevance today than ever before 

Last Saturday the SDLP, in line with its very successful series of events to mark the 50th anniversary of civil rights, held an event in St Mary's University College, Belfast, to commemorate the political life and work of Paddy Devlin. It was an extraordinary event for a number of reasons - not least because Paddy, although a founding member of the party, was expelled from the SDLP after a huge public row in 1977. It was a belated rapprochement by the party with Paddy's large and colourful political persona.

'What can we do? We watch the floral tributes growing bigger and bigger outside the King Power Stadium, read the tweets wishing Glenn a speedy recovery and the articles about the player in his pomp, say a prayer if so inclined, feel sorry for those loved ones in panic or bereavement, and we remind ourselves that this is what people do when they do the best they can with a fate beyond their control'

Gail Walker: Hoddle's illness and Leicester crash stark examples of how random life and death really are 

I don't know that much about Glenn Hoddle. I know even less about Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the late owner of Leicester City Football Club. But as Hoddle recovers from his sudden serious illness at the BT Sport studios on Saturday, and as a city and the footballing community unite in grief for a figure who did much good for his chosen place, who became not just deeply embedded in a football club but in the life of tens of thousands ordinary people, it is hard not to be moved.

Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull’s ‘transphobic’ billboard was removed from the Labour conference

Nelson McCausland: The weaponising of 'phobia' is just another strategy to avoid debating arguments you can’t hope to win 

During the Labour Party conference in Liverpool, Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull paid for a billboard poster with the message, “Woman, women, noun, adult human female”. It cost her £700, but the billboard company removed it after LGBT activist Dr Adrian Harrop complained that the billboard represented a “hate group”, was part of a “transphobic campaign” and would make “transgender women” feel unsafe.

Isaac Herzog on his visit to Belfast last week

Alban Maginness: There has never been better time to remember contribution the Herzog family made to Belfast 

Last week saw the visit to Belfast of Isaac Herzog, the recently retired leader of the Israeli Labour Party in the Knesset. It was a low-key visit to the city, in which his father, President Chaim Herzog, was born and briefly lived as a child in Cliftonpark Avenue, just off the Cliftonville Road. The house is still standing and used to have a blue plaque honouring Chaim Herzog and his distinguished family.

Austin Currie MP (right) and two colleagues squatting at a house in Caledon in June 1968

Alban Maginness: Promise of civil rights was lost in violence of State response, which in turn begat 30 years of terror 

The Troubles did not begin on October 5, 1968 despite what is now commonly claimed. What began on October 5, 1968 was the bright but shortlived hope of a reformed Northern Ireland. For people at the time, despite the shocking police violence on the streets of Derry, there was a sense of liberation. A political dam had been breached and a surge of optimism had poured out. Maybe it reflected the optimism and spirit of renewal in France and throughout the world in 1968. However, this surge of optimism was not to last for very long.

The late Ray Galton

Gail Walker: The golden age of TV broke new ground ... what a shame we’re unlikely to see a repeat 

It seems we are reading the obituaries more frequently now of familiar entertainment stalwarts. Cilla Black, Ronnie Corbett, Ken Dodd, Bruce Forsyth, Liz Fraser, Denis Norden ... as the names reel off, they bring with them memories of what must be the golden age of TV. Maybe a 50-year period, when it was all new and all familiar at the same time, and a period which was long enough to have captured several generations in its shiny spell, before the internet came along.

‘Irish nationalism has always had an uneasy relationship with the forces of law and order’

Ruth Dudley Edwards: Why did the Irish Government decide to boycott commemoration of the police who were murdered? 

The hatred of police is still alive and well in the psyche of extreme Irish republicans and it still contaminates wider public attitudes. Thus, as the commentator Stephen Collins pointed out in the Irish Times, last week the Irish Government ignored an interdenominational service at a Dublin church to commemorate the more than 500 members of the Royal Irish Constabulary and the Dublin Metropolitan Police who were murdered between 1919 and 1922.

Former US President Andrew Jackson

Nelson McCausland: History of Scotch-Irish in US shows unionists have nothing to fear from equality 

We the People ... that is the opening phrase of the preamble to the United States constitution. It is also the title of a recent BBC television programme exploring and explaining the influence of the Scotch-Irish in the making of modern America. The programme was supported by the Ulster-Scots Broadcast Fund (USBF) and, in truth, without the support of that fund it would probably not have been made.

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