Iris Robinson scandal – What now? Meaningful Change or Business as Unusual?

Last night’s BBC Panorama programme on the Iris Robinson affair, ‘The MP and the Whistleblower,’ followed much the same script as the original Spotlight programme. The Panorama showing, geared towards a wider UK audience, merely updated the on-going saga to include yesterday’s most important development: Peter Robinson’s decision to vacate the office of First Minister […]

The Robinson Scandal, Evangelical Pietism and Waiting for God to sort things out?

On today’s BBC Radio Ulster programme, Sunday Sequence, I discussed with Free Presbyterian minister Rev. David McIlveen, and former editor of the News Letter Austin Hunter, how the Robinson scandal may change Northern Irish social, political and religious culture. Rev McIlveen, a senior Free Presbyterian cleric who is a close confidant of former DUP party […]

The Robinson Affair: DUP’s Evangelical Constituency May Find it Easier to Forgive than to Trust

In yesterday’s Irish Times, Fionola Meredith wrote that folks might be surprised that Protestant fundamentalists seem willing to forgive Iris Robinson. Meredith notes that this constituency (I prefer to refer to them as conservative evangelicals) has been quick to condemn what they perceive as the immoral behaviour of other public figures. Why should their reaction […]

Iris Robinson Scandal, Episode II – Dodgy Loans with a side of tea and scones…

Wednesday we found out about the sex, yesterday we found out about the money. Last night the BBC ran the Spotlight programme that is assumed to have prompted First Minister Peter Robinson’s interview on Wednesday about his wife Iris’ marital infidelity. The programme revealed that Mrs Robinson secured a £50,000 loan for her then 19-year-old […]

Peter Robinson, Gerry Adams and Questions about Political Leadership

A column by David Gordon in today’s Belfast Telegraph addresses speculation about the leadership of DUP First Minister Peter Robinson, noting the persistent rumours that he too will bow out of politics following his wife Iris Robinson’s retirement due to depression. Yesterday in the same paper, Gordon made the case that Mr. Robinson wouldn’t be […]

Archbishop Eames & Peter Robinson’s Silence about Cardinal Daly: Questions about the Politics of Symbols, Gestures & New Discourses

Yesterday, DUP leader Peter Robinson finally commented on the death of Catholic Cardinal Cahal Daly. Robinson’s silence had become deafening, and pundits had begun to debate whether he was demonstrating the leadership skills of a First Minister for all of Northern Ireland. Speaking yesterday on the BBC Radio programme Sunday Sequence, Lord Robin Eames, the […]

Atheist Ireland Group Challenges Ireland’s New Blasphemy Law

Within 15 minutes of a post about the website http://blasphemy.ie/ on the Irish Times website’s breaking news section, visitors (like myself!) received the message: ‘The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.’ I saw the blasphemy site late last night, tipped off by […]

Thoughts on the Death of Cardinal Cahal Daly – Peace, Ecumenism, & the Future of Irish Christianity

The former Catholic primate of Ireland, Cardinal Cahal Daly, died yesterday at the age of 92. On the eve of what promises to be yet another difficult year for the Irish Catholic Church, Cardinal Daly’s death seems to have created a brief pause during which politicians, church leaders, and others have taken to evaluating his […]

New Monasticism Comes to Ireland: Dublin Event with Douglas Burton Christie, 16 January 2010

If old forms of Christianity in Ireland are passing away, there are new expressions of this ancient faith emerging throughout the island. One of these expressions, ‘new monasticism,’ will be explored in a one-day conference in Dublin on 16 January 2010 with Prof. Douglas Burton Christie of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. ‘New monasticism’ […]