It is now some six weeks since protestant demonstrations began after Belfast City Council decided to fly the Union flag over Belfast City Hall only on specific days, rather than on every day of the year. Last night and again today loyalists clashed with catholics near the Short Strand, a catholic area in East Belfast that has been subjected to many sectarian attacks over the years.

British Prime Minister, David Cameron uses words such as “shocking” to refer to the activities of his own security forces then you know something is up. He was responding to the publication of the de Silva report, a review of the papers accumulated from different investigations carried out by different agencies of the British state into the death of Pat Finucane, which show that there was indeed collusion between the British state and those who murdered him back in 1989.

The recent killing of a prison warden from Maghaberry prison, by an as yet unknown republican grouping, has sent shock waves through the body politic. Many had assumed that as a result of the outpourings of both the Good Friday Agreement and the St Andrews Agreement the days of violence were behind us.

On 20th October 2012 the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions organised thousands of trade union and community demonstrators in a march in Belfast for an alternative to the Westminster government's austerity policies. Speaker after speaker lambasted the policies of austerity.

News that Enda Kenny has been chosen as “European of the year” by a group of German Magazine Publishers makes sense only in the context that recently the European Union itself recently won the Nobel peace prize. We would have to ask the question “European what of the year?”

The decision of the Workers and Unemployed Action Group to withdraw from the United Left Alliance is an unwelcome symptom of the growing impasse within the ULA, previously reflected in the controversy over Mick Wallace and the departure of Clare Daly from the Socialist Party. The WUAG has a long standing base in South Tipperary and its departure will have an influence on the development of the ULA at a national level.

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