I’ve spent January producing my Ireland Under Coercion, Revisited blog serial, which explores aspects of the 1888 book Ireland Under Coercion: The Diary of an American, by journalist William Henry Hurlbert. Thanks for the great reader response. Before the next post, I want to catch up with the month’s developments in modern Ireland and Northern Ireland:
- Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he will campaign to end the country’s constitutional ban on abortion. The question will be put to a national referendum in late May. Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said he also will support the repeal of the Eighth Amendment.
- Conservative British MP Karen Bradley was named the new secretary of state for Northern Ireland. As such, she is at the center of fresh talks to reopen the Northern Ireland Assembly, which was dissolved a year ago. Mary Lou McDonald is replacing Gerry Adams as the Sinn Fein representative.
- A small Northern Irish nationalist paramilitary group called an end to its armed campaign against British rule of the province. A self-confessed Ulster loyalist paramilitary member was sentenced to more than six years in jail for terrorist offences.
- Ireland will have two extra members in the European Parliament (MEPs) in the re-distribution of British seats after Brexit. The decision means Ireland will have 13 MEPs in the 751-seat chamber. Northern Ireland will lose three seats.
- The Cranberries lead singer Dolores O’Riordan, originally from Limerick, died suddenly at the age of 46.
- Apple said it would pay $38 billion in taxes in the U.S., taking advantage of the new tax law signed in December by President Trump. In Ireland, people wondered about the impact on a European Commission ruling that Apple pay €13 billion of back tax in Ireland.
- Tourism Ireland reported a record of almost 10 million visitors to the island in 2017, a nearly 4 percent increase over 2016. The National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, in Mayo, has made available online its collection of vintage travel and tourism posters.