Mike McGrath-Bryan

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    Robocobra Quartet

    Robocobra Quartet have been blazing a trail over the past few years. For artists, comparisons to admired figures can trepidate more than they motivate. Once a revered name is uttered and invoked in connection with an upcoming band, it becomes ineradicable from press releases, rehashed by gig promoters over social media, and used as an easy […]

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    Difference and Repetition

    There is only one ghost scene in ‘Phantom Thread’, Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film, which is a little surprising, given the title. (The spoilers start right here, I’m afraid.) The hero, played by Daniel Day Lewis, glimpses his long-dead mother as he lies in a fever induced by a poisonous mushroom secretly administered by his […]

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    Cold, and Hot

    Someone has finally said it. The Cold War is back. The man who made the statement was Antonio Gutierres and he carries some weight on the matter as Secretary General of the United Nations. Up to now most commentators and experts have stopped short of using those two words. They have spoken of a “deterioration […]

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    Fight for Autonomy and then Solidarity

    There has been a perception that Travellers North of the border have benefited from progressive legislation which recognised our ethnic status some two decades before the South. In the Republic, our legal status was that of a social group, until 2017 when we were Formally recognised as an indigenous ethnic group. Irish Travellers are a minority […]

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    50 years since 1968

    Not a week has gone by in 2018 Ireland without several street demonstrations, especially about abortion and the housing crisis. In France, protesting is part of the vernacular. Riots are common: just look at 1789 and 1968. Ireland and France share a reputation for feistiness. A comparison between Irish and French demonstrations could be instructive. “What […]

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    The appeal of Repeal

    There have been many turning points and defining moments as the debate over repealing the Eighth Amendment has unfolded over recent weeks. Some of these have been the powerful stories of individual women or groups of women; others have been the remarkable statements of specific organisations and yet others have been the unexpected campaigning experiences […]

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    Pervasive effects of precarious work

    Employment in Ireland is often spoken about in terms of the economic recovery and falling unemployment rates. However, the real issue that needs to be addressed is job quality and the types of jobs that are being created. There has been increasing recognition that for many workers in Ireland and Europe employment has become insecure, with […]

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    Island of Tyreland

    Carndonagh is an area of outstanding natural beauty that nestles in the shadow of the Grinlieve Mountain, only eight kilometres from the designated Natura 2000 sites, Trawbreaga Bay Spa and the North Innishowen Coast. Safeguarded by the 1992 Habitats Directive both these ecological wonders are home to protected animal species and diverse wetlands. Outwardly this […]

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    Judge Horner brazens it out

    The Fourth Defendant in the recent rape trial of rugby players in Belfast was Rory Harrison of Manse Road Belfast. He was acquitted of perverting the course of justice by lying to police when he gave a witness statement about his dealings with the complainant woman and deliberately omitting information. He was also acquitted of withholding […]

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    Sinn Féin alone

    Republicanism is fragmenting. That was  seen on Easter Sunday, when at least eight Republican groups held commemorations on Belfast’s Falls Road. At protests in the North, it is common for various ‘dissident’ groups to have more presence that mainstream Sinn Féin. That party has a much smaller activist base than a decade ago. Paradoxically, as that […]

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    The strong centre

    Paschal Donohoe is a decent man: modest, cultured, the cleverest man in the room, according to a senior Fianna Fáil figure who spoke to Fiach Kelly in the Irish Times recently: the man other politicians envy, and a safe pair of hands. At 43, he has graduated with first-class honours from Trinity college, lived abroad, pursued a […]

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    Villager May 2018

    No Catholics or bastards please, we’re British Villager despises royalty, as anyone who believes in equality, merit or good taste, must. Interesting though that new-born Prince whatsit will come in fifth in line to the “throne”. Time was the new “Prince” would have been advanced to it over his older sister (Princess whatsit), as a male. […]

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    From Naughten to Neachtain: nothin’ worth notin’

    It is not a question of whether, but how many, more people will become embroiled in the developing row between Independent News and Media and the Office of the Director of Public Enforcement (ODCE). The battle should more accurately be described as one between the biggest shareholder in INM, Denis O’Brien, his appointed chairman to the […]

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    Ireland, Italy and the Disclosures Tribunal

    Leonardo Sciascia was an Italian political journalist, an elected radical member of parliament and the most prominent anti-mafia critic. All of this features in his famous detective novels which are in fact anti-detective novels or works of political observation. Coupled with his masterly analysis of the assassination by the Red Brigade of the Christian Democrat conciliator […]

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    Licence to deceive.

    Her Majesty’s character assassins. Cambridge Analytica is a British company which provides advice to clients involved in political campaigns. Donald Trump was one of its customers. Last month it admitted that it employed former MI5 and MI6 officers to dig up political dirt for its clients. It has also boasted of using bribes, prostitutes and […]

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    Village Idiot March 2018

    His TV credits include ‘Dirty Money: The story of the Criminal Assets Bureau’ and ‘Paul Williams Investigates – ‘The Battle for the Gas Fields’ about the policing of the Corrib Gas protests. ‘Secret Love’ (1995) with Phylis Hamilton told the story of her secret 20-year love affair with Ireland’s most outspoken Catholic priest, Fr Michael […]

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    How did Republicanism lose its way in the 1960s?

    The IRA in the 1960s, led by Cathal Goulding the IRA Chief and Tomás MacGiolla who chaired Sinn Féin, initiated a reform towards radical democratic politics. This was supported by Seán Cronin, later an Irish Times correspondent, who had led the 1950s armed campaign. I know this because he contacted me in around 1959 after […]

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