Saturday, 30 January 2010

Irish News

There were two quotes in the Irish News (30 January) that took my attention.

Newton Emerson observed that,  'Whatever disasters threaten Stormont, do not underestimate Caitriona Ruane's capacity to make things even worse.'  I am sure that the majority of people, including many Sinn Fein voters, will agree with that assessment.

James Kelly, a veteran nationalist journalist, has a weekly column and this week he referred to what he described as 'the hidden scaly hand of the Orange Order'.  Such nasty and sectarian language is typical of James Kelly and it is disappointing that the Irish News continues to provide him with a platform for such language.


  1. Nelson….catch yourself on. James Kelly is one of the most well respected journalists in Northern Ireland so accusing him of being a bigot is very harsh and completely uncalled for. People in glass houses, should not throw stones...How can the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure in Northern Ireland not know that Tyrone are the Gaelic Football champions of Ireland? Someone in your position is supposed to care about both sides of the community in relation to Leisure. So, you would have thought you would have done a little bit of research on the matter. Have you attended a game of one of the most popular spectator sports in Northern Ireland yet? If not, why not? Have you held discussions with the GAA yet as to how you can promote the game? If you have done so, I commend you for your efforts, if you haven't you are neglecting one half of the community.
    Please, please rethink your views on attending events in a Catholic church…..Even though I was brought up a Catholic, I don’t agree with some of the teachings of the Catholic Church. However, I still attend on certain occasions (Not more than twice a year) to keep older members of my family happy. Couldn’t you use the same logic to keep one side of the community that you are neglecting happy? Your views are ancient and you need to change for the good of the shared future of Northern Ireland.

  2. 1. I have attended a GAA game, I have visited Casement Park, I have had a number of meetings with the GAA about a range of issues and I invited the Armagh Minor team to a recent reception at Stormont. I will continue to treat every sport fairly.
    2. James Kelly may be respected by many people but that does not mean that unionists do not view some of his comments as nasty and sectarian.
    3. As regards attendance at a Roman Catholic service, I have dealt with this on several previous posts. We clearly have different views about the importance of religion. You attend a service once or twice a year, whereas I would usually attend two services each Sunday and I make that comparison merely to illustrate the fact that we have different practices and different perspectives. As regards attending a service, I have theological reasons for not doing so, although I have no difficulty in attending a social or cultural event in a Roman Catholic Church and have already done so.
    4. I have made a 'shared and better future' my departmental priority and have been working with all the main arms-length bodies as well as the department on that issue.