Percival, Robin

Percival, Robin

Robin Percival

2 April 2023Feature

The politics of Northern Ireland today 

Its official title is ‘the Belfast Agreement’, but it is known throughout the world as ‘the Good Friday Agreement’ (GFA) because it was signed on Good Friday, 10 April 1998.

Two of its signatories, John Hume and David Trimble, then the leaders of the largest nationalist and unionist political parties, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize later that year.

Since then, it has been a rocky 25 years and the Agreement has faced a number of crises, too numerous to recount here. For…

1 October 2021Review

Oxford University Press; 336pp; £75 [!]

Since the formal end of the Northern Ireland conflict, when the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998, there has been an ongoing debate in Ireland and parts of academia about who ‘won’ the conflict. This is more than just a macho ‘we won, you lost’ type of contest. It goes to the heart of the role played by Britain’s intelligence services (primarily MI5 and MI6) in both fuelling the conflict and then helping to bring it to an end.

Broadly there are two camps.

The first camp…

1 October 2021Feature

The British government is trying to shield British soldiers and intelligence officials who killed civilians in Northern Ireland

Since the war began in 1970, only four British soldiers have been convicted of the offence of murder. All four were subsequently re-admitted to the army.

In Derry alone, the British army was responsible for the deaths of 35 civilians. Not one soldier was made answerable before a court of law. Not one was subject to any proper criminal investigation until after the Good Friday Agreement was signed and pressure began to mount for truth and justice

Joe McCann, a leading member of…

20 July 2021Feature

What fate for loyalism in Northern Ireland?

Recently, a friend from England asked me to explain ‘what the hell is going on in Belfast?”

This was a few weeks ago, just as prince Philip was drawing his last breath, and the answer was simple: rioting.

The actual level of violence was, by Northern Ireland standards, quite low. And indeed the rioting came to an end as a ‘mark of respect’ to the dead prince.

What was significant was the degree to which the English and international media decided to report it. Their…

11 December 2020Comment

Politician who played leadership role in Northern Ireland's civil rights movement and went on to help create, sustain and promote the Irish peace process

John Hume was one of four people associated with the recent conflict in Ireland to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Definitely he was the most deserving.

He secured the Peace Prize for his efforts in bringing the armed conflict to an end and the subsequent signing of the Good Friday Agreement, endorsed in an all-Ireland referendum.

Ten years ago, he was voted ‘Ireland’s Greatest’ in a poll conducted by RTÉ, the Irish public broadcaster.

And in death he has been…

1 December 2018Feature

Robin Percial reflects on the strengths of Northern Ireland's civil rights movement

Part of a Sinn Féin march along the planned route of the 1968 civil rights demonstration, at the bottom of Shipquay Street, Derry, on 6 October. The banner refers to a UVF bombing of a pub in Belfast on 4 December 1971 which killed 15 Catholics including two children. The McGurk’s Bar Campaign for Truth is a family campaign to expose British state collusion with the loyalist attack. Photo: Robin Percival

1968 saw the beginning of what so many people euphemistically call the…

1 February 2018Feature

Robin Percival finds Northern Ireland's non-Unionist parties united by a new civil rights agenda

Giant poster by Joe Caslin, part of ‘Yes Equality’ in favor of marriage equality, Dame St, Dublin, Ireland, 2015. Photo: Rob Hurson [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

1 August 2016Feature

Back to a hard border?

Murals commemorating the Northern Ireland civil rights movement at Glenfada Park, Derry, Northern Ireland.
PHOTO: yeowatzup from Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany [CC-BY-2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

It is unwise to generalise too much as why people voted the way they did.

As elsewhere in the UK, the Remain vote was highest among the middle classes and the young. Nationalists were most likely to vote Remain; middle-class unionists were more likely to vote Remain than working-class…

1 June 2008Feature

The trial of the group known as the Raytheon Nine began in Belfast on 20 May . (Actually, only six of the defendants are in the dock. Three others are currently on remand in the Republic of Ireland on charges relating to dissident republican activity.) The trial began at the Crown Court on 21 May with about 50 people participating in a solidarity demonstration.

The basic facts about the incident at the Raytheon offices in Derry are clear. On 6 August 2006, a group of nine men, part…