A periodic post of curated content …
- As of Jan. 21 the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are easing most COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic enters its third year. “As we face into our second century as a free democracy, and as we navigate this new phase of COVID, it is time to be ourselves again,” Taoiseach Micheál Martin said.
- Negotiations to revise the so-called Northern Ireland protocol have warmed under new British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, with the UK and EU trying to reach a deal by the end of February. This will help keep Brexit from jeopardizing Northern Ireland Assembly elections, which are expected in May. The potential ouster of PM Boris Johnson could be a wild card.
- The Republic imposed a minimum unit price on alcoholic beverages as a public health measure intended to curb binge drinking and reduce alcohol-related health issues, the New York Times reported. The measure is part of 2018 legislation that included limitations on the labeling and marketing of alcoholic beverages — an important step toward combating alcohol abuse in Ireland.
- The Irish government also has introduced a basic income program for up to 2,000 artists and other culture workers, with €25 million ($28.3 million) allocated to people and venues over three years.
- Ireland is second only to Germany in the value of assets moved from the UK to EU banks after Brexit. “While Ireland’s international financial services sector has steadily grown over the decades, the UK’s exit from the EU has accelerated this trend, with Ireland now one of the key EU hubs for international banking and capital markets activity,” Fiona Gallagher, chair of the Federation of International Banks in Ireland (FIBI) and CEO of Wells Fargo Bank International, said in the report release.
- Aoife Beary, 27, a survivor of the Berkeley, Calif., apartment balcony collapse, died Jan. 1, 2022, after suffering a stoke a few days earlier, the Irish Times reported. Five Irish J-1 visa students and one Irish-American died in the June 16, 2015, event, with Beary among seven injured. She suffered a brain injury and subsequently underwent open heart surgery. … See my 2016 post, ‘When Bloomsday feels like doomsday’.
- No sooner had Beary’s funeral passed than Ireland was shocked by the murder of 23-year-old teacher Ashling Murphy while jogging a canal path near Tullamore. “The murder has shocked the country and around 100 vigils were organised the length and breadth of Ireland and Northern Ireland, including outside Dublin’s parliament,” Reuters reported. The killer was still at large as of this post.
- The Journal.ie published a 50th anniversary timeline of 1972 events in Northern Ireland, the bloodiest year of The Troubles. A staggering 480 people, mostly civilians, were killed that year, compared to 297 in 1976 and 294 in 1974, the second and third highest yearly totals. … The International Fund for Ireland (IFI) reported that more than 100 barriers still separate Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods in the North more than two decades after the Good Friday Agreement. The so-called “peace walls” include high concrete walls, gates, fences, and even private and government-owned buildings. Nearly 70 percent of all conflict-related killings in Belfast between 1966 and 2001 took place within one third of a mile of a peace-wall, IFI said in a Jan. 5 tweet.
- A shroud of uncertainty hangs over the American Irish Historical Society as the New York City institution marks its 125 anniversary this year. The New York State Attorney General’s Office investigation into financial improprieties announced nearly a year ago remains open. “What is certain is that the questions originally posed still require answers, that the status quo cannot be maintained, and that the Society requires immediate reform and restructuring,” former AIHS Chairman Brian McCabe wrote in the Irish Echo.
- Tentative steps are being taken to digitize the Irish Land Commission’s vast files to public. This will not happen quickly, but it is a great step forward.