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Genesis to Revelation

It may be five and a half years since Ian Paisley stood down as Stormont's first minister, but there is no doubt the "Big Man" is still box office. Watching him in conversation with Eamonn Mallie for Monday night's BBC documentary "Paisley:...Show More Summary

Unmistakeable taste of freshly-picked cherries

According to the Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt, Richard Haass gave the Stormont parties only three options with his final seventh draft document - say Yes, say No, or take it back to your party. But don't - according to Mr Nesbitt...Show More Summary

Haass proposal document published

Although he is flying home without a deal, Richard Haass believes his efforts haven't all been in vain. The former US diplomat reckons he has made significant progress, especially on potential new institutions to deal with Northern Ireland's...Show More Summary

Back at a crossroads

It is 45 years since the former Northern Ireland Prime Minister Terence O'Neill made his famous televised pitch to moderate opinion in the "Ulster Stands At the Crossroads" speech. Intentionally or not, Richard Haass echoes Captain O'Neill's...Show More Summary

NI Haass talks end without agreement

Although he is flying home without a deal, Richard Haass believes his efforts haven't all been in vain. The former US diplomat reckons he has made significant progress, especially on potential new institutions to deal with Northern Ireland's...Show More Summary

Déjà vu, all over again

"Now is not the time for soundbites". That's what Tony Blair famously said before a previous crunch session of Northern Ireland negotiations. The former prime minister obviously didn't take himself too seriously as he then immediately...Show More Summary

Who was William Twaddell?

The Orange Order's "Camp Twaddell" has featured regularly in the news in recent weeks from gun attacks on police patrols nearby to a surprise visit by Russell Brand http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-24949952. But how many...Show More Summary

Finding truth

So does the outcome of the Smithwick tribunal strengthen arguments for what Sinn Féin terms an independent international truth recovery process? Or does it, as the Ulster Unionists argue, deliver the death knell to the credibility of...Show More Summary

Conviction prompts fresh commentary

The conviction of Seamus Kearney for the 1981 murder of police reservist John Proctor has stirred a new round of political commentary on the Attorney General John Larkin's suggestion there should be an end to prosecutions for Troubles-era...Show More Summary

Scotland: staying 'rich and close'

The Scottish government says that if Scotland becomes independent, its future relationship with the rest of the UK will be "as rich and close" as the current relationship between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. A White Paper just...Show More Summary

MLAs almost united at Stormont

Monday's Stormont proceedings began with two examples of near unanimity. There was praise for the Redemptorist priest Fr Alec Reid's tireless work for peace, followed by condemnation of the masked men who hijacked a car, put a bomb inside,...Show More Summary

Haass continues NI peregrinations

Richard Haass and Meghan O'Sullivan are continuing their travels around Northern Ireland. On Wednesday, they were in Londonderry, Portadown, the Orange camp at Twaddell Avenue in Belfast and a Christmas shopping stop at Belfast's continental...Show More Summary

John Larkin 'is nothing if not his own man'

The words cat and pigeons came to mind when my colleague Vincent Kearney first broadcast his interview with attorney general John Larkin proposing a bar on Troubles prosecutions. Conspiracy theorists wonder whether Mr Larkin is flying...Show More Summary

Haass submissions outline issues

After the publication on Monday of Sinn Féin's submissions to Richard Haass and the BBC's reporting of the submission from the Retired Police Officers' Association, Relatives For Justice (RFJ) contacted me to point out that they tooShow More Summary

Striking ideas in Sinn Féin submission

It is common currency amongst Haass talks observers that the easiest item for the negotiators to make progress on will be parades. After all, both the DUP and Sinn Féin agreed a blueprint back in 2010. Even if that proposal had someShow More Summary

Change of tack over NI welfare reform

Mike Penning's pugnacious performance on BBC Radio Ulster's Nolan show marks a change of tack by the London Department for Work and Pensions over the vexed question of welfare reform. Previously, the London minister Lord Freud has held...Show More Summary

Maze rural centre gets green light

At first sight this might appear a sea change in Sinn Féin's block on any wider economic development at the Maze site, pending a resolution over the row over the peace centre. However, Sinn Féin sources emphasise that approving the rural...Show More Summary

Adams US trip break from pressure

So Gerry Adams is flying off to the US to "brief the US administration on the political situation in Ireland" and the need for continuing American engagement in the peace process. According to his Twitter feed, despite his frequent visits...Show More Summary

A reminder why we must never go back

Two quite different anniversaries this week evoked contrasting memories. Twenty years ago when the IRA bombed Frizzell's fish shop on the Shankill Road I was a reporter on the BBC's Spotlight programme. Back in 1993, I don't think any...Show More Summary

Poots responds to code breach claims

The Northern Ireland Executive's ministerial code sets out the rules the Stormont politicians are meant to follow. The code dates back to 1998 - the year of the Good Friday Agreement - but was amended, supposedly to eliminate loopholes,...Show More Summary

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