Bruce Arnold

Chief Critic of the Irish Independent, writing about art, theatre, music and politics

A McGuinness win would reignite North struggle

For 35 years, Martin McGuinness caused the Republic of Ireland grave difficulties, involving it in his armed struggle against the British Government as well as his Protestant and Catholic neighbours. The IRA killed 198 Catholic civilians and 558 Protestants and 509 neighbours in the security forces. We do not forget Det Jerry McCabe or the release of his killers or the murder of Senator Billy Fox.

They brought violence and death into our lives, disrupting our attempts to make a modern economy work, preoccupying successive governments in protracted and complicated negotiations with administrations in the North and in Britain, eventually leading to a power-sharing solution. Read More...

Fianna Fail outflanked by McGuinness Aras bid

SINN Fein have put themselves at the centre of the presidential campaign with the nomination of Martin McGuinness. In so doing they have stripped the mantle of main opposition party from the shoulders of Fianna Fail and have changed fundamentally the dynamic of the campaign for Head of State.

In the days leading up to the announcement last week Fianna Fail were floundering in confusion and internal division and strife, much of it focused on the decision not to contest the presidential election. Now they have been laid open to the charge of political irrelevance in the other issue facing them: their replacement by Sinn Fein as the main party of opposition. Micheal Martin has lost authority and control. He faces the danger of being dismissed or of losing what little backbone is left within the party. Read More...

Thinking Ireland has a natural candidate in Mary

The presidential election has thrown up more doubt and confusion than ever before. Questions of relevance and purpose have produced demands about the potential holder of the office as well as the office itself. Some hysteria has been expended searching for a description of the job. This has fuelled a dismissive attitude to the early candidates, those coming from political parties disparaged most.

Others who have worked towards public acceptance as candidates on their record of public service, such as Mary Davis, have had to struggle against guilt by association and dismissal because they are not exciting enough or not 'celebrities'. Read More...

Flouting Brussels rules will destroy our coastal heritage

The Roseate Tern is one of Ireland's rarest seabirds. It is the whitest of all the terns, its feathers tinged with a rose-pink hue, particularly on the breast. It differs from the Arctic Tern and the Common Tern, predominantly grey in colour. All three have black caps.

The Roseate Tern has a black bill as well while the other have orange bills. The Arctic Tern migrates almost farther than any other bird, with travels recorded from northern Siberia to Fremantle in Australia. All three seabirds have a natural habitat on Rockabill, off the north Dublin coast. Their feeding ground is the coast from Rush to Drogheda. Read More...