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Review: three events at the Belfast Festival…

This year’s Belfast Festival at Queen’s attracted some big names to their talks programme. Here St Etienne offers his assessment on three of this year’s big setpiece events: a talk by Lord Ashdown; a panel debate on Carson’s Legacy; and the National Anthem theatre production.

Reproduced from the Liberal Democrats flickrstream

By St Etienne

Lord Ashdown

Paddy Ashdown had his chat in a packed out Elmwood Hall – first time I’d been in the place – and as you can imagine he’s a very comfortable, but comfortable speaker. Kicked off with an excerpt from his new book! about his time in Bosnia – on the one hand containing his best achievement in life and the worst the very next day. His time in Bosnia obviously deeply affected and influences him.

I’m happy to report the Donaghadee man’s greatest smile of the night came as he recounted his days as a young officer in the Royal Marines and then again when he moved on to his time as an operator in the SBS. But what was insightful in all this, as the audience watched a man who it is assumed is now away from the frontline of world affairs, was his responses to questioning. They were not the answers you associate with someone looking back at the end of their career, which while sometimes humorous – “In your time at Westminster who do you think would make the best MP?” “ME!” – also struck me as being sincerely looking to the future, the next challenge.

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Filed under: academic, events, , , ,

Date for the diary: East Belfast Speaks Out

The East Belfast Speaks Out (EBSO) event is taking place on November 10 at Ashfield Boys’ School. It’s designed to provide the answer for anyone steadily losing heart because of the perceived lack of progressive or meaningful political dialogue in Northern Ireland.

The organisers says it’s a simple ‘town hall’ style event aimed at “bringing Stormont down from the Hill”.

Mark Devenport will MC the event and the panel will include senior figures from the NIO, Sinn Fein and the DUP, plus Sunday Times journalist Liam Clarke.

Panellists will deal with topics like:

  • What kind of Northern Ireland do we really want to see?
  • What about the stateof education, or of healthcare provision here?
  • What of the worrying fall in the numbers turning out to vote?
  • What can be done about the current democratic deficit in the province?

But it’s an open meeting with plenty of contribution is invited from the floor. Admission is free, and doors open 7 pm.

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Trimble on lessons from Northern Ireland

ICSR Peace and Security Summit, 1 July 2010 (www.icsr.info). Lessons from Northern Ireland peace process — keynote address by Lord Trimble, introduced by Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell, former Prime Minister of Canada. Trimble’s central point that it is wrong-minded to extrapolate lessons from Northern Ireland as roadmaps in other unrelated and distant conflicts is raised over at the NY Daily News.

Hat-tip to Aaron Callan for spotting this and putting it on Facebook.

PS. Incidentally, when Trimble first gets to the podium he says that the title Lord Lisnagarvey is not altogether complimentary when considered in its original Gaelic. Lisnagarvey means ‘Fort of the Gamblers’.

Filed under: academic, conferences, events, UUP, ,

Events: Carson’s legacy

Here’s an event of note from this year’s Belfast Festival at Queen’s.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the death of Edward Carson and his burial in St. Anne’s Cathedral. His statue still stands in front of the Stormont Parliament and his name still resonates through Unionist and Loyalist folklore. Both main Unionist parties lay claim to his mantle. This session will examine the legacy of Carson for today’s Northern Ireland as well as aspects of his remarkable career.

Venue :Elmwood Hall
Times : 25 Oct 2010 6:30PM – 25 Oct 2010 8:03PM

Follow this link to book places…

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