My 14 year-old daughter, her best friend, a native of Co. Kildare in the Republic of Ireland, and I, are touring my hometown, Belfast, in Northern Ireland. "Do you know anything about Northern Ireland?" I ask my daughter's friend as we enter Milltown Cemetery on the Falls Road. Silence - and, unfortunately, it's not just the dead.
In my opinion, there is a serious lack of education coupled with a deliberate propagation of misinformation in the political and public sphere when it comes to women's reproductive rights in Northern Ireland.
Gibraltar is a play concerned with the military operation conducted on 6 March 1988 on Gibraltar
Ever since the Good Friday peace agreement of 1998, parties on both side of the divide have, albeit slowly, attempted to move things forward. And forward things have moved, as I explained at the start. However, a critical demographic have been left behind: the working class and the radicals within.
The outpouring of tears and justice for the victims in the south is bitter-sweet for Northern Ireland victims. They are joyful at justice for their sisters in the south, but for themselves, they fear being ignored - again. For them, there is no inquiry. No apology. No compensation scheme.
Today, it is our generation's and our governments' reputation for honour, not that of the Magdalene women, which is at stake.
It was supposed to be a day to remember in North Belfast. League leaders Cliftonville against Crusaders, their closest challengers and local rivals. A packed Seaview, filled with colleagues, friends and neighbours from across North Belfast's footballing divide, each hoping to secure local bragging rights and a step to the coveted Irish Premiership title.
Northern Ireland has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately, but there's so much more to the country than its troubles. With a bit of common sense and some forward planning, there's no reason to shy away from such a beautiful country.
Call me an idealist, but people need to reflect upon their motivation, on where they get their kicks, on what is really driving them in conflict before they embark on violence with all its negative consequences for themselves and others.
Shadow Dancer, though actually filmed in part in Dublin, also brings back the voices, streets and colours of Belfast, which I remember so fondly.
The misuse of democratic power in order to prevent changes in legislation that would prevent existential discrimination against minorities such as LGBT is a frightening reality.
Politics in Northern Ireland needs to address the real issues. We've practiced and mastered whataboutery for too long. The result is a flailing economy, unaided by friendly fire from within and a divided political shambles, completely devoid of consensus.
Sinn Fein now want a border poll. Instead of focusing on growing the economy, creating jobs, establishing economic stability and rebuilding Ireland's credibility abroad - which everyone wants - they're now focusing on re-opening the old debate and picking an old wound - which very few want.
Should people in Northern Ireland start to see themselves less as strictly British or Irish and more pragmatically as Northern Irish?
The flag riots are just plain bad for Northern Ireland. Bad for business, bad for foreign investment, bad for community relations, bad for the image of Northern Ireland abroad and bad for the collective future of its people. But I genuinely feel bad for the loyalist rioters.
While many protests have remained peaceful, a significant number, particularly in Belfast, have however turned violent. Many have hijacked them for their own needs or recreational rioting, an all too popular pursuit in Northern Ireland, in terms of both participation and spectating.