Northern Ireland as seen from Wales.

The most consistent contributor to the pages of The Green Dragon has been Samuel H. Boyd.

Born in April 1919 in working class Presbyterian East Belfast he is happy to state that in coming to live in Wales he has not emigrated but simply moved from one part of his country (The United Kingdom) to another.

His sense of being British is however just about the only thing he shares with the Orange / Loyalist / Unionist tradition.

His roots lie rather in that progressive spirit associated with the old‑style British labour movement, which supported the miners during the 1926 General Strike and the Spanish Republic during the Civil War.

’Sam’ Boyd, his brother, Tom Boyd MP, and others of their gallant band offered even‑handed support for the civil rights of everyone in Northern Ireland, including the right to hold and give peaceful political and cultural expression to views differing from their own, such as supporting a united Ireland.

‘Sam’ celebrated his 90th birthday at the Commodore Hotel in Cwmbran on Sunday 26 April 2009!

He celebrated his 91st birthday at the same venue on Sunday 25 April 2010 ‑ one day before the actual day ‑ Sam likes to get there early!

Here are three photos taken at the event:

1. Sam’s wife, Jessie with ‘Young Sam’ no relation, but an active member and supporter of the local Labour Party.

2. The happy band!; back row — Sue, Angela, Hamish, Edwina, Sam, ‘Young Sam’.

3. After regrouping; ‘Young Sam’, Barry, Angela, Hamish, Sam himself, Jessie.

4. A short video clip of the Happy Band Choir singing:

Happy Birthday to You!

‘Hamish’ is Hamish Sandison, the Labour Party candidate for the Monmouth constituency.
The UK general election took place on Thursday 6 May 2010.

Photo: Sam Boyd in his ‘Ops Room’.
At his home in Cwmbran, South Wales.

Photo: Sam Boyd with President Mary McAleese.
At the Consulate General of Ireland in Wales, Cardiff, during a reception there in December 2002.

Sam Boyd, August 2005.
Photograph by the South Wales Argus.

A graduate of the Open University, Sam was among the first batch of students to begin their studies in 1971, the year that pioneering insitution opened.

At the Green Meadow Golf Club in Cwmbran on Sunday 2nd December 2012 Sam danced to celebrate the 90th birthday of his wife Jessie!

Photos taken during Jessie’s birthday celebration:

1.The Cwmbran Three and a family friend

2. The Cwmbran Four

From the South Wales Argus, Thursday 21 July 2011.

We too are Irish.
Published in The Green Dragon No 2, March 1997.

Growing up in Belfast.
Published in The Green Dragon No 3, June 1997.

Not the Apprentice Boys.
Published in The Green Dragon No 4, Autumn 1997.

Welsh Connections.
Published in The Green Dragon No 5, Winter 1997.

The Member for East Belfast.
Published in The Green Dragon No 6, Spring 1998.

United Kingdom Status?
This is the text of a speech by the late Tom Boyd MP, brother of Sam Boyd and Leader of the Northern Ireland Labour Party, delivered in the old Northern Ireland Parliament at Stormont.
Published in The Green Dragon No 6, Spring 1998.

After the Referendums..
Published in The Green Dragon No 7, Summer 1998.

The Belfast Agreement.
Published in The Green Dragon No 7, Summer 1998.

The Good Friday Peace..
Published in The Green Dragon No 7, Summer 1998.

The Belfast Agreement: further reflections.
Published in The Green Dragon No 8, Spring 1999.

Those Blue Remembered Hills.
Published in The Green Dragon No 8, Spring 1999.

Foot-dragging on the Road to Peace.
Published in The Green Dragon No 9, Winter 1999.

Dated 14 February 2000 and condemning the suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly they were addressed to Huw Edwards MP and to the Editor of the South Wales Argus.

The Belfast Agreement Reassessed.
Written in March 2000.

Is this the Final Frontier?
A comment on the prospects for ending the stalemate in Northern Ireland.
Dated 16 May, 2000.

Through the Sound Barrier – but not yet up to Speed.
Following the hairbreadth victory for David Trimble at the Ulster Unionist Council meeting of 27 May what are the prospects now?
Dated 28 May, 2000.

The Orange Disorder.
Once again it’s July and Drumcree and Garvaghy make headlines around the world as the Orange Order hits the streets.
Dated 13 July, 2000.

Prisoners of History.
Brief commentary on the late July release of most of the paramilitary prisoners in Northern Ireland.
Dated 25 July 2000.

Violent Undertones.
An analysis of the situation in Northern Ireland in the wake of the faction fighting among Loyalists.
Dated 29 August 2000.

Cooler Times – Cooler Heads
A further look at Northern Ireland including the future of John Hume and Mo Mowlam.
Dated 13 September, 2000.

Trimbling in the Balance.
The Northern Ireland peace process stalls as the Ulster Unionist Party meets for its annual conference during the weekend 7 – 9 October 2000.
Dated 5 October, 2000.

Prepared to Wound: Afraid to Kill.
What are the chances of David Trimble holding on to his key role as Unionist Party Leader and First Minister of the Northern Ireland Assembly?
Dated 11 October, 2000.

Dangerous Tracks.
A commentary on the situation following David Trimble’s ban on Sinn Féin ministers taking part in cross border meetings.
Dated 30 October, 2000.

Questions for the Year 2001.
Pointed questions for all sides as the Peace Process begins to silt up.
Dated 19 December, 2000.

2001 Thoughts.
Possible scenarios in Northern Ireland during the year 2001.
Dated 3 January, 2001.

Waiting for Votey.
A look at how the impending General Election in the UK is impinging on the slow motion Peace Process.
Dated 18 January 2001

Where does Truth Lie?
Following the forced resignation of Peter Mandelson as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on 24 January 2001 some reflections on truth and lies in the House of Commons where some animals may possibly be more equal than others.
Dated 29 January 2001.

Still Waiting for Votey.
Another look at the effect of the coming UK general election on the Peace Process.
Dated 16 February, 2001.

To Police or Not to Police.
The challenge facing members of the minority community in Northern Ireland as an official advertising campaign to attract them into the new Northern Ireland Police Service gets under way.
No date (early March, 2001?).

Peace in Rest.
Unionist, Nationalist and Republican politicians – as well as the paramilitaries – have to decide whether to implement the Good Friday Agreement or let it finally collapse as the UK general election approaches.
Dated 14 March 2001.

Savaged by Sheep.
The foot and mouth outbreak in the UK and the delayed general election offer new challenges to supporters and opponents of the Good Friday Agreement.
Dated 5 April, 2001.

Colour Coding: White and Orange Lilies.
Commentary on the fracas arising from the wearing of Easter Lilies in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Dated 24 April 2001.

Retrospective – Justice with Esteem.
Martin McGuinness at the inquiry into the events on Bloody Sunday and the judgement by the European Court of Human Rights.
Dated 7 May 2001.

The Waiting Game.
A look at the prospects for Northern Ireland as the General Election on June 7 draws near.
Dated 30 May 2001.

Stuck with it or Sticking with it.
What next for David Trimble, weakened by the move to the extremes in Northern Ireland during the General Election on 7 June?
Dated 11 June 2001.

End Game or the End of the Game.
After the riots in the Ardoyne (20/21 June 2001) and in the light of David Trimble’s July 1 ultimatum, Republicans, Nationalists and Unionists have no real options left other than to fully implement the Good Friday Agreement.
Dated 21/22 June 2001.

Question Time – Decision Time.
After the Weston Park conference politicians in Northern Ireland are still hiding from realities?
Dated 15 July 2001.

The Long Long Tale / Tail Unwinding.
Unionists press for decommissioning as Nationalists and Republicans demand implementation of the Patten Report on policing and a reduction in British forces.
Dated 5 August 2001.

Has Doctor Reid Read the Runes Right?
The ’non negotiable’ Weston Park joint government statement is ’clarified’ by officials and Trimble plays a dangerous game but reason’’might just prevail’’.
Dated 13 August 2001.

Dialogue of the Deaf.
Apparently there is an old law in the Republic of Ireland which considers a deaf person to be insane unless he / she can prove otherwise. It does not seem to apply to politicians in Northern Ireland.
Dated 26 August 2001.

Facing Reality.
Following the 11 September tragedy Northern Ireland has faded from the media. However, it still totters towards a possible collapse of the entire peace process.
Dated 20 September 2001.

Opportunities and Opportunism.
Unionists cynically try to channel some of the new anti‒terrorism into their dispute with Sinn Féin as the latter rather naively ignore the New York effect by inviting ETA politicians to their annual conference. Meanwhile, hope for the survival of the Good Friday Agreement is fading.
Dated 26 September 2001.

No Change in Lilliput Northern Ireland.
Five weeks after 11 September Northern Ireland’s paramilitaries and political pygmies bluster and jostle while young pupils run the gauntlet of blind sectarian hatred on their way to school in North Belfast.
Dated 17 October 2001.

Make Murphy's Law Work!
’’If it can happen, it will’’ and in Northern Ireland the IRA make a substantial gesture for peace for putting a significant quantity of weappons ’beyond use’. Meanwhile the party game continue to belittle politics. Is there is now some hope?
Dated 23 October 2001.

Stop Playing Games – Play the Game – Seriously.
David Trimble slips back into to his post as First Minister and the SDLP choose a new leader.
Dated 23 November 2001.

Intelligence – Used – Unused – Missing.
S.H.Boyd upstages ’Old Moore's Almanac’ with this look at what 2002 may hold for Northern Ireland in general and for Sinn Féin in particular.
Dated 31 December 2001.

Making Sense of Pride and Prejudice with Sensibility.
A Catholic postman is killed, tensions at the Holy Cross RC Primary School flare up again and our contributor advocates the end of denominational schools.
Dated 20 January 2002.

Bloody Sunday.
Thirty years on from a dreadful day in the history of these islands some sombre reflections on what happened next and where we are now.
Dated 1st February 2002.

Speculating – Shape the Future – by concentrating on the Present.
What about a referendum on ending partition as provided for in the Good Friday Agreement, now four years old – a discussion of the possible scenarios.
Dated 3 March 2002.

Watching and Waiting.
After the security scare following the break in at Castlereagh and the arrival of the new police force in Northern Ireland Samuel Boyd speculates on what the Republic’s general election in May and the more distant elections to the Nothern Ireland Assembly in 2003 might portend.
Dated 16th April 2002.

Old and New Challenges.
Following the success of Sinn Féin in the general elections in the Irish Republic on 17 May and their support for David Trimble’s call for a referendum on the position of Northern Ireland within the UK in 2003 Samuel Boyd counsels caution.
Dated 21 May 2002.

Thoughts Past and Present.
The election of a Sinn Féin councillor as Lord Mayor of Belfast in June and his visit to France to lay a wreath on 1 July in tribute to all the Ulstermen who died during the Battle of the Somme leads S.H.Boyd to some mixed reflections on the current state of things in his native Belfast.
Dated 30 June 2002.

Rowing or Rowing.
There is a strong suspicion of hypocrisy in the approach to Loyalist paramilitaries by some extremist Northern Ireland Assembly Members and Members of Parliament while Sinn Féin seems unable to persuade the Provisional IRA to fully implement the Good Friday Agreement.
Dated 22 August 2002.

Review of Henry McDonald’s ’Trimble: a biography’.
This is a response to the much–discussed book published in March 2000.
Dated 30 August 2002.

’Making Sense of the Troubles’ by David McKittrick and David McVea.
Sam Boyd writes. ’’This chronology of events from 1920 to 2000 and the tables as well as a glossary of terms and organisations makes this book essential reading for all those who wish for assistance in understanding the trobles in Northern Ireland’’.
Dated 21 September 2002.

Pre‑Mental Withdrawal Symptoms.
On Saturday 0021st September the Ulster Unionist Party’s Ruling Council discussed the question of whether they would remain in the Inclusive Government Executive with Sinn Féin and edged closer to entirely abrogating the 1998 Belfast Agreement.
Dated 22 September 2002.

Posturing isn’t politics working – it’s politicking.
Following the police raid on the Stormont offices of Sinn Féin, S.H.Boyd urges the smallest possible period of suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Dated 10 October, 2002.

Which Side are you on, Tony?
S.H.Boyd challenges the wisdom of Tony Blair’s recent call for the disbanding of the IRA.
Dated 20 October 2002.

Democratic Doldrums.
Samuel H. Boyd reports on Northern Ireland as Paul Murphy becomes Secretary of State.
Dated 31 October, 2002.

A Letter to Paul Murphy, Secretary of State, Northern Ireland.
In writing to the newly appointed Secretary of State, Samuel Boyd congratulates, counsels and questions.
Dated 1 November, 2002.

Raking over the Ashes.
Our correspondent looks at the slim prospects for a restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly after the elections on May 1 2003.
Dated 4 January 2003.

Suspension and Dissolution.
Unless there is some consensus reached soon Sam Boyd sees no possibility other than a short Assembly session to set the scene for the election in May.
Dated 27 January 2003.

Asylum Seekers – and March Orders.
The Ides of March loom for both Iraq and Northern Ireland as decision time closes in on the leaders of both.
Dated 27 February 2003.

Balance – War – and the Peace Process.
As the Iraq war looms Tony Blair tries to persuade the leaders in Northern Ireland to agree so as to allow the lifting of the suspension of the Assembly and the holding of elections on 29th May.
Dated 14 March 2003.

Republicans and Unionists – Warm Handshakes?
In Northern Ireland Unionists will be shaking hands with the Republican President Bush in Belfast but warm handshakes with Republicans seem unlikely.
Dated 6 April 2003.

Birthday Muse – Birthday Blues.
Written on his 84th birthday, and still hovering between pessimism and optimism, Samuel Boyd correctly forecasts that Tony Blair will cancel the Assembly elections planned for 29 May to protect David Trimble.
Dated 26 April 2003.

Crunch Time – Testing Times.
’’There can be no guarantee that an autumn election can produce the result that Blair and Trimble want, indeed it might be much less acceptable to them than the one they’ve run away from now.’’
Dated 11 May 2003.

Is the Agreement now at Stake or on a Knife Edge?
A discussion of the recent case of Freddie Scappaticci and his vigorous rejection of charges that he was the double agent, ’Stakeknife’.
Dated 23 May 2003.

Questions and Answers.
Samuel Boyd listened to the BBC Radio Four ’Any Questions’ programme on Friday June 6 which came from Larne in Northern Ireland. On Saturday June 7 he phoned in to the follow up ’Any Answers’ programme to give his views on some of the Northern Ireland matters discussed during the ’Any Questions’ programme. He wonders why neither his answer nor any other answer dealing with Northern Ireland were accepted by the producer of ’Any Answers’.
Dated 9 June 2003.

History – an Introductory Talk at Cwmbran Library.
Though not directly touching on Nothern Ireland this talk given at his local public library to launch a history series is a good example of Sam Boyd’s understanding of his subject.
Dated 16 September, 2003.

Still Waiting – Stop prevaricating.
Summer 2003 was a good summer in Northern Ireland as good weather and fewer marching stand offs than feared but the Assembly – and the peace process – remain suspended.
Dated 23 September 2003.

Towards a United Ireland – Labour’s Policy Document.
In January 1989 Sam Boyd sent this response to a Labour Party statement on Northern Ireland to key figures including Neil Kinnock, Kevin McNamara, Paul Murphy, Jim Marshal, Peter Archer, Mo Mowlam, Claire Short, Tony Benn and Roy Hattersley.

Comments on the Northern Ireland (Monitoring Commission Etc.) Bill, 2003.
’’Since receiving a copy of this Bill together with explanatory notes I have been trying to fathom out how it will work.’’
Dated 10 October 2003.

Use it or Lose it!
Following the elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly in late November Sam Boyd wonders if the pro Agreement parties can work together to prevent Ian Paisley from taking control of events.
Dated 10 December 2003.

Defection – Donaldson Goes
Following the elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly in late November and Jeffrey Donaldson’s departure from the Ulster Unionist Party Sam Boyd wonders if the first review of the working of the Agreement, due to begin in late January, will come up with new arrangements for electing the First and Deputy First Ministers to prevent a possible DUP takeover.
Dated 9 January 2004.

Reviewed – Not Rewritten.
As the first review of the Agreement reached on 10 April 1998 (Good Friday) gets under way Sam Boyd looks at some of the opposing views.
Dated 6 February 2004.

Leap – Forward or Backward.
In this Leap Year of 2004, our tireless correspondent wonders how David Trimble will respond to the Paisleyite challenge – a leap forward into a positive role or a leap backward into ineffective isolation?
Dated 10 March 2004

Suspended – but Little Animation.
The comatose state of the body politic in a Northern Ireland approaching the second anniversary of the suspension of its Assembly leads Sam Boyd to spot a vacancy for a Gulliver who will galvanise the Lilliputian brains of its leaders but is unable to detect any suitable candidate in either camp.
Dated 7 May 2004.

Resolving or Dissolving?
The Good Friday Agreement will be seven years old in April 2005. An assured future is a necessity to both communities as well as to the Republic and to the British mainland.
Dated 17 July 2004.

Waiting for the End Game.
Each time, when the end game appears to be nigh, some event seems to pop up to dispel our hopes. We can only wait, in expectation that it doesn’t.
Dated 9 August 2004.

Let us hear the pennies drop.
In the face of painfully slow progress Tony Blair can only just wait in the wings for a possible formula to be found so that, along with Bertie Ahern, he can preside over a conference on the 17 / 18 September and a return to devolved government.
Dated 4 September 2004.

Political Euthanasia Required.
We cannot in all conscience wait much longer for the intransigent version of Unionism represented by Ian Paisley to expire by natural causes.
Dated 22 September 2004.

Applied Intelligence Required.
As the seventh anniversary of the Good Friday agreement of 1998 approaches Sam Boyd condemns the filibustering tactics of the DUP and calls on the other parties to unite against them.
Dated 8 November 2004.

Is Something Moving in the Undergrowth?
As the negotiations in Belfast, London and Dublin inch forward Sam Boyd wonders,
’’Can something really be moving in the Northern Ireland political undergrowth?’’
Dated 16 November 2004.

Still in Transition.
As the ongoing talks hang between success and failure Sam Boyd feels that there seems to be a great deal of circumlocution on the part of the DUP in the discussions to ensure that if they break down the blame will be attached to their opponents.
Dated 2 December 2004.

Interregnum Limbo.
’’Only subsequent to the results of the Westminster general election and the local elections in the Republic this year and the finishing of the marching season by the autumn can there be any chance of putting the Humpty Dumpty political process together again.’’
Dated 24 / 25 January 2005.

Analogical Inexactitude.
On Holocaust Memorial Day, 27 January 2005, Ireland’s much admired President, Mary McAleese, made a clumsy link between Nazi‑inpired racial hatred, and the antagonisms against Catholics stirred up by Protestants in Northern Ireland.
Dated 9 February 2005.

Restrained Reflective Waiting Required.
Has Republican Sinn Féin decided on a change of strategy because ’’politics didn’t seem to be working’’? Has the political leadership lost out to the military wing?
Dated 17 February 2005.

Will truth Come out in the Laundering?
I have been reading through the Interim Report of the Independent Monitoring Commission published on 10 February 2005.
Dated 18 February 2005.

A State of Chassis.
The famous line, ’’The whole world’s in a state of chassis’’ from Sean O’Casey’s ’Juno and the Paycock’, comes into my mind when I survey the wondrous size of the deep hole, still being dug by all the participants in the peace process.
Dated 14 March 2005.

Thinking the Way Ahead.
The latest call to the IRA from Gerry Adams to accept that an alternative to armed struggle to advance the Republican movement now exists and to fully embrace democratic political action as the way forward has been cautiously welcomed by some but cynically rejected by both the Ulster and the Democratic Unionist Party.
Dated 7 April 2005.

Rout‑e March.
The near rout of David Trimble’s Ulster Unionist Party and the strenthening of Ian Paisley’s DUP and Gerry Adam’s Sinn Féin in the general election of 5 May 2005 may be grounds for some optimism.
Dated 10 May 2005.

David Trimble ‘On the Ropes’
The ‘On the Ropes’ BBC Radio 4 programme on July 12th featured David Trimble, former First Minister of the currently suspended Northern Ireland Assembly...
Dated 4 August 2005.

To Share or not to Share – that is in Question
Our correspondent holds that the way is still open as David Ervine (but not Ian Paisley!) appears to understand. If the two sets of ‘activists’ can see the situation and come to terms the intransigent obdurate Unionist ‘front men’ will be forced to follow suit if they really are sincere. That is in question!
Dated 18 September 2005.

The Armed Struggle Ended – But The Malady Lingers On
“The ball seems now to have been passed over into the Unionist court and if they don’t face up to their responsibilities there will be many voices other than mine clearly putting the blame for the stalemate on their shoulders, particularly on those of the DUP”.
Dated 22 October 2005.

Historic Amnesia in Northern Ireland
If Loyalist decommissioning does occur it means that, unlike some politicians, that they have accepted the validity of the IRA arms destruction...
Dated 11 November 2005.

Political Manoeuvres
Some possible implications of the new proposals for local government in Northern Ireland.
Dated 10 December 2005.

Double Dealing – D.D.
The confession of a double agent, Denis Donaldson. What a book that would make, plus film rights...
Dated 19 December 2005.

Remembrance of Christmas Past
"Then on Christmas Eve the same year I was on night shift but although it was wartime we were to have a break of a couple of days – perhaps it was only one – so I was having at least the Christmas Eve shift off..."
Dated 19 December 2005.

Make History — History
"If the 1998 Belfast Agreement is to work, however painful it may be to many, there needs to be a great deal of flexibility and acceptance that a lot of things will have to, very reluctantly, be left in the past."
Dated 3 January 2006.

Northern Ireland: Is the Past — Due to Be Recycled?
"At present the Northern Ireland political situation can be likened to the ‘Big Brother’ television programmes..."
Dated 16 January 2006.

Deal or no Deal?
Northern Ireland politicians, in respect of the Good Friday Agreement, have so conducted themselves that they have all been turfed out of the Assembly, not by the people voting but by Big Brother Westminster with the concurrence of Little Brother Dublin.
Dated 6 February 2006.

Northern Ireland – Political Constipation
Sam Boyd still has serious doubts in respect of the peace process for memories run bitter, long and deep in both communities.
Dated 9 March 2006.

Sticking the Pins Together
I am disgusted and fed up with the continued lack of intelligence shown by many of those million or so voters in the Six Counties...
Dated 15 April 2006.

Long Shadows
On April 26 and 27 the bill designated as ‘The Northern Ireland Bill’ was extensively debated in the House of Commons for over ten and a half hours...
Dated 26 June 2006.

Food for Thought – Time
As November the 24th, the date set by the governments of the UK and the Republic of Ireland for the restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly, looms ever larger the time for both communities to seriously tackle the problem is NOW.
Dated 29 August 2006.

Nine Weeks to Go – The Countdown Begins
“The best scenario, if the DUP and Sinn Féin can’t come to terms in a Joint Executive, would be a coalition of the two Nationalist parties and the Ulster Unionist Party...”
Dated 29 September 2006.

Rule Out Triumphalism
“I am concerned that the aim of Ian Paisley is the former and if during the negotiations at St.Andrew’s he confirms this in his approach, they are likely to end in stalemate.”
Dated 11 October 2006.

Is Never! Never! a Maybe?
“In my opinion Paisley is after a “sack cloth and ashes” display for Nationalists and Republicans. If such is the case, we will see the collapse of the latest efforts...”
Dated 17 October 2006.

The Palme D’Or: The Wind that Shakes The Barley.
“The historic events dramatised in this winning film at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2006 took place in the early stages of my life...”
Dated 17 November 2006.

The Saint Andrew’s Ball
Reflections on the Saint Andrew’s Agreement:
“My own view is that it would have been better to have a restored Assembly run until 2008 before holding an election.
Who knows, unless there is movement now, that may well be the outcome.”
Dated 12 December 2006.

Hoist Petards and Paradoxes
A review of the still uncertain outcome of the latest stages in the peace process:
“That says it all and is an indication of the character of a certain intransigent fundamentalist obdurate preacher / political leader.”
Dated 14 January 2007.

Cagey Stage
“The stage is now set, following the decision at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis on January 28th 2007 by an overwhelming majority to give support to and to join the Board of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).”
Dated 1st February 2007.

D.Day – 26th March 2007
As the newly elected members of what is intended to be the latest version of the Northern Ireland Assembly inch towards the deadline of Monday 26th March Sam Boyd asks:
“Could Ian Paisley shed his former skin and thus be up to the task, fit for purpose?”
Dated 17 March 2007.

Cautious Optimism
“I have seen today, the 26th of March, the same kind of euphoria that greeted the Good Friday accord nearly nine years ago...”
Dated 26 March 2007.

Freedom, Strikes and Anniversaries
“I am indebted to an article by Pat Burke in the March 14 – April 4 2007 edition of The Issue, the Irish version of The Big Issue, reminding us that this year is ... the 100th anniversary of the great Belfast dock strike of 1907.”
Dated 4 April 2007.

No Great Shakes – As Yet
“We can only speculate for the moment as to whether there will be real positive change for the better or will it be just all smoke and mirrors? Or, as the French say, ’Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose’ ”.
Dated 15 April 2007.

Self Knowledge – or Knowledge of Self
To mark his 88th birthday we publish some reflections by Sam Boyd on the old dictum, “Know thyself...”
Dated 26 April 2007.

Union or Unification?
Following the restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly on May 8 2007, our contributor concludes:
“Water may flow or not flow but hopefully we will have made the journey from blood letting to blood brothers and erect bridges rather than barricades.”

Dated 12 May 2007.

How Stands the Union —Will It Still Stand?
“It is conceivable that the question of Scottish independence and even that of Wales, might be thrown into the melting pot in such a context with the English electorate, or some at least of them, wishing to acquiesce to the pressure.
I emphasise that this would have a very problematic and deleterious effect for, as I mentioned earlier, the historical conditions and imperatives do not parallel those that impelled Ireland in that direction.
Considering recent history I think that the Belfast Agreement might just resist any change to get involved in such a movement...”

Dated 26 July 2007.

Political – Fluiding: Past – Present and Future Confluence
“I grew up in East Belfast from the 1920s to the early 1940s and was involved in the Trade Union and Labour Party activities, the main cross‑community organisations engaged in furthering the economic, social and political interests of all”.

Dated 21 August 2007.

Politics – the Art of the Possible
Now, with the decision not to have a snap general election, I shall have to await its occurence to see if I am alive and well enough to wind up my political involvement at ninety years of age.

Dated 10 October 2007.

Commemorations, Resignations and Speculations
“It is salutary to remember that when Ian Paisley stands down as party leader and First Minister on Thursday 1 May it will be 92 years and 1 day since the Easter Rising ended”.

Dated 9 April 2008.

Historical Chinks — And Strange Bedfellows
Ian Paisley’s “unmelodious and very discordant utterances may be muted, but the maladies he represented still linger on and many moons will pass before they merge into silence and tolerance”.

Dated 12 June 2008.

Disjointed Executive
“...because there is still an impasse between the DUP and Sinn Féin in respect of the devolution of police powers, I suspect that things may be in limbo.”

Dated 18 September 2008.

Northern Ireland: More of a Mixture than Ever
“The blame for the present situation lies with those who, way back in the 1960s, insisted that the ending of partition was the principal task.
Now, half a century later, they still have that – and the other unsolved social and economic problems to boot.”

Dated 22 October 2008.

Out of Depth – Tory MP Sunk in Ignorance
There is an old saying: “Before opening one’s mouth, first engage one’s brain” (providing you have one). It would seem that David Davis, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Monmouth, is unaware of, or just simply ignored such advice when he ventured into the written media — and on the air on Radio Wales — with comments on Steve McQueen’s prize-winning film. Hunger.

Dated 19 November 2008.

Omega to Alpha
“On the last day of 2008 I started to ponder upon the events which were pertinent at the close and which will still be in ferment at the start, in and beyond 2009, no doubt.”

Dated 7 January 2009.

Facing the Future: Peace and Reconciliation
“I had already started this article when I received a copy of the Report of the Consultative Group on the Past...”
Dated 11 March 2009.

Anniversaries – April
Writing just after the G20 Summit in London and a few weeks before celebrating his 90th birthday Sam Boyd concludes:
“So, whether we look back at the needs of Ireland, North or South, or generally in the wider world, the message should be heard: co‑operation is better than conflictual competition”.
Dated 3 April 2009.

‘Sam’ celebrated his 90th birthday in Cwmbran on Sunday 26 April 2009!

Memory Stick – Forward – Not lost
This is the first article for more than two years from Sam Boyd.

Prompted by an item in Cardiff’s ‘Western Mail ‘, he recalls the challenges he had to face as a young teenager in trying to find work in his native Belfast during the early 1930s.

A Selection from Sam Boyd’s Correspondence

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