Firstly, Northern Ireland is not your normal western liberal democracy. As Mick Fealty said, there exists two worlds in Northern Ireland. One is progressive, cosmopolitan, tolerant, ambitious. The other is a minority that extorts, blackmails and wields arbitrary power over a moderate majority. The politicians are complicit with these economic vandals and thugs.
The illicit activities of Britain's undercover services has once again jumped to the top of the news schedules.
Britons lionise their Second World War veterans more than other veterans because they fought for what Britain and what the world is today, including its neighbour, Ireland. We, the Irish, live in a better world because of them, and it's about time that we acknowledged this as so.
Confidentiality is incredibly important in this area of healthcare. The law governing abortion is extremely tight in Northern Ireland, and very few women meet the legal requirements for termination which is why many women have to travel to other parts of the UK.
Because I'm from Northern Ireland, support the Union with Great Britain and identify myself as a cultural Protestant, I can't be a proper Irish person. That my friend is racism, jingoism and xenophobia - defined.
The context is this. The most cynical and sinister elements in NI society have been very violent and vocal over the last year, at huge cost to the local economy and at huge damage to the reputation of the province.
Ireland gained its independence and was partitioned, with Northern Ireland remaining within the United Kingdom, at about the same time as the Kurds were incorporated into modern Iraq nearly a century ago.
Whenever a political party's annual conference takes place, one can look forward to nothing but speeches, applause at regular intervals, speeches, workshops, goody bags filled with pens and branded notebooks, and maybe a speech. It's like Christmas for politicos, and last week's UUP Annual Party Conference at Belfast's Ramada Hotel was no different.
But Jamie Cullum's BBC Radio show called and it made perfect sense to take the opportunity to big up this crazy city on air. Actually, this broadcast is not for his weekly Radio 2 show, but for a documentary he is doing for BBC Radio 4 called 'Piano Pilgrimage'. The premise of the show is to explore the changing fortunes of the 'home piano'.
We don't have a political opposition in Northern Ireland. We have one giant, self-serving, autocratic, aberrant sectarian mill. ...
We don't have a political opposition in Northern Ireland. We have one giant, self-serving, aberrant sectarian mill. Young people don't have jobs or a meaningful future and talking-clock politicians debating the tribal politics of Protestant versus Catholic. A remarkable historical anachronism in these days of enlightenment.
Theresa Villiers' refusal to put in place the sort of comprehensive process to deal with the past, citing in part the potential cost of such an initiative, ignores the very real cost - about £30 million this year alone - of having to police ongoing division and disorder in Northern Ireland, a very real legacy of an unresolved conflict.
London Irish is about four feckless young Northern Irish, two men and two women, who seem to spend their time avoiding sobriety and perpetuating stereotypes. It is a show so devoid of character, so devoid of charm, so devoid of comedy that I felt for a moment ashamed to be Irish in London.
I've always been a very visual thinker, problem solver and storyteller. I have grown up this way, and always knew I wanted to make art for a living. I make two very distinct types of visual work, and although this was an accident, I can distinctly dissect how the separation occurred.
In my final year, I took a terrifying chance. Ever generous to students and young writers, Seamus Heaney offered to meet students for half-hour one-to-one tutorials, discussing poetry and the craft of how to write.
We implore anyone with an interest in the visual arts to make a journey to the very edgiest edge of Europe this year. There will never be a better time to visit Derry and you will not be disappointed.