21 Mar

A shared St Patrick’s Day in Downpatrick

Madame Oui and I were disciplined enough to get up in time for the early morning ecumenical service at St Patrick’s Church in Saul. We parked our car in Downpatrick and boarded a bus shuttle service, noticing straight away the high numbers of young Americans amongst us. (more…)

10 Mar

A-level results nothing to celebrate

The Minister of Education recently revealed, in a response to an Assembly Written Question by Paul Butler, the number and percentage of schools leavers in the Neighbourhood Renewal Areas who achieved 3 or more A Levels from 2006/07 to 2008/09. The statistics are stark highlighting the achievement gap between Protestant and Catholic socially disadvantaged communities.  For example: 46.5% of school leavers in 2008/09 from Andersonstown achieved 3 or more A Levels and only 16.6% from Inner East Belfast. Or 44.4% from Coalisland and 13.2% from Coleraine East. This once again points to the need for radical reform of our education system to a more shared and fairer system.  (more…)

1 Mar

More time needed to get the right CSI strategy

It now looks like publication of the Executive’s anti-sectarianism strategy will be delayed until after May’s Assembly election.  A draft Programme for Cohesion, Sharing and Integration (CSI) was put out to public consultation last summer.  That discussion document was itself the product of two years bickering between political parties, in particular Sinn Féin and the DUP. (more…)

25 Feb

The myth of Eurabia, in Northern Ireland

In the ethnic mix of many modern and open cities, the Parisian neighbourhood of Belleville reflects a cosmopolitanism of shared spaces and the everyday need to just get on with the demands of life — working, school, shopping. (more…)

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