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I was struck by the recent attack on the Belfast synagogue on the Somerton Road which resulted in two broken windows, smashed on two separate occasions over the past weekend. The PSNI said the first window was broken sometime between Friday evening and Saturday morning by a number of unknown individuals. The incidents are being treated as religiously-motivated hate crimes.

Posted on 24 Jul 2014 by Dr Michael Wardlow

Just over a year ago, we witnessed the launch of TBUC -  the Executive’s strategy “Together Building a United Community”, which has the aim of “improving community relations and building a united and shared society” (pg 1). Its vision was based on “equality of opportunity [and] the desirability of good relations and reconciliation” (pg 2). This strategy was to provide a framework “for government action in tackling sectarianism, racism and other forms of intolerance, while seeking to address division, hate and separation” (ibid). The challenge was that “everyone has a role to play” in achieving this shared vision.

Posted on 10 Jul 2014 by Dr Michael Wardlow

It is disappointing that the political talks have broken down this week and it is of concern that the vacuum created has the potential to be filled by civil unrest unless those charged with leadership offer a constructive alternative. While welcoming the general call for calm heads and a non violent response to the events of the recent past, I think our civil and political leaders should reflect upon their words and more importantly their actions in the coming days.

Posted on 04 Jul 2014 by Dr Michael Wardlow

Often I find myself thinking that here in Northern Ireland we have adopted, by default, a reactive approach to dealing with our big issues.  In effect, this  means that we deal with the urgent stuff only when it becomes urgent, the stage at which it presents itself in those flashing neon lights which scream “Deal with me now or else!”.

So it is that once again we find ourselves facing a new round of political talks on the past, parades and flags/emblems in the mouth of this year’s 'marching season'.

Posted on 01 Jul 2014 by Dr Michael Wardlow