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Open Forum debates 


No it's not some "Blairite jargon" for the current political 'Troubles' in Ulster.  I'm talking about the relationship between politics and people with disability in Northern Ireland.  From my perspective and for many others it appears that there is no relationship between people with disability and politics in Ulster, apart from the political terror that left many innocent civilians with disabilities.  For many able-bodied people it is easy to forget about the struggle faced by disabled people in the politics of daily life, no not Northern Ireland party politics, the politics of going down the street; crossing the street or entering buildings. [Read on.  Follow this link].

Craig P from Co Armagh addresses the issues that concern people with disabilities living in Ulster. Food for thought for everyone, particularly those of us who are thoughtless or selfish able-bodied folk.

The parade issue

OPEN FORUM is designed to stimulate vital debate concerning the future of our nation and people. We favour debate as a means to inciting thought, no subject is taboo. Some viewpoints may, therefore, differ from our own. This article from Paul Mellor in South Antrim looks at Orange parades.


Orange parades – a way out of the hole?

I write as someone who still enjoys attending the Orange Order's 12th of July parade in Belfast. The colours and the tunes still stir up some emotion buried away somewhere inside. However, as magnificent a spectacle as the parade is, I really feel the time has come for the Orange Order to face reality. I think they should make the necessary changes that could result in the Twelfth parade being promoted as a tourist event, in just the same way that the West Belfast and Ardoyne festivals, (despite being exclusively republican in outlook) can still be promoted by Belfast City Council as something worthy of bringing visitors into the city to attend.  [Read on.  Follow this link].

This reply is from David Hoey, a London-based Ulsterman, a corporate public relations and marketing consultant, and an occasional adviser to the Apprentice Boys of Derry. It is provided as a contribution to a public discussion on the Parades issue in Northern Ireland.

Parading in Northern Ireland
getting out of a hole that is deeper than it first appears!

AN ARTICLE by Paul Mellor (Issue 30, Ulster Nation), Orange Parades – a way out of the hole? suggested that repackaging parades as tourist events offered a panacea to problems of opposition to this most simple expression of Protestant culture. If only it were that simple. It is not the intention of this article to advise the best course of action with regard to parades. Instead, I will highlight a few realities that should be taken into account in considering what the best course of action might be.  [Read on.  Follow this link].



ULSTER NATION wishes to stimulate debate on the future of our homeland. Open Forum opens up our columns to various points of view. Andy C from North Belfast opens up the debate by arguing for an independent ‘Northern Ireland’ rather than an independent Ulster. He is answered by John Jenkins and Ulidian from East Antrim.

'Northern Ireland'

OUR COUNTRY'S FUTURE could best be secured by way of independence. However, I differ in two ways from Ulster Nation - firstly we should have independence within Europe and secondly, I believe in independence for Northern Ireland and not for Ulster.

Northern Ireland is my country - my identity is Northern Irish. Division and ultimately conflict creeps in when many perceive themselves as being Northern Irish within the United Kingdom whilst others see themselves as Northern Irish within an All-Ireland context. Let's agree on what can unite us and not get involved with the boring British-Irish dispute which divides and brings us into conflict with one another. [Read on.  Follow this link].


Andy C’s article was interesting, original and thought-provoking. We concur with him that independence is the way forward for our people but we believe strongly that the new state when it is formed should be called ‘Ulster’ not ‘Northern Ireland’. The term ‘Ulster’ embraces our ancient past which stretches back all the way to CúChulainn. ‘Northern Ireland’ excludes this. We feel that the state founded in 1921 should never have been given that geographically inaccurate title. This serious misjudgement introduced and maintained an Irish dimension which could have been avoided. [Read on.  Follow this link].



OPEN FORUM opens our columns up to different points of view. As we favour debate as a means to inciting thought, no subject is taboo. Some viewpoints may, therefore, differ from our own.  Stephen Moore, from South Antrim,  looks at identity, birthright, culture, heritage and religion. 

Birthright, culture, heritage and religion

WHAT OTHER COUNTRY in the world would harbour such an apathetic and unpatriotic people who would reject their country's national flag? In the United States, homes, businesses, churches and schools proudly fly their national flag. I - like them - will never be ashamed of my national flag and will always hold dear to my faith and heritage, at the same time respecting diversity. I will never find myself in some sort of identity limbo where I find myself attracted to and adopting foreign cultures more so than my own, because I am ashamed or afraid of showing pride in who and what I am. I find it easier understanding and accepting different cultures and religions because I know exactly what I am and where I come from. This allows me to understand how others feel about their cultures - because I feel exactly the same way about mine. People throughout Ulster reject their birthright, their culture and religion. They find themselves in the middle of nowhere in an identity crisis - clinging to differing aspects of a variety of foreign cultures - and never truly feeling at peace inside. [Read on.  Follow this link].


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