Robert Kee: A Tribute

Nora Connolly 

Copyright Ireland

Copyright NASA Goddard photostream

Robert Kee the brilliant journalist, historian and campaigner for justice has sadly died aged 93. Kee the quintessential British liberal was also an establishment figure who along with others became involved in the setting up of TV–am in the early 1980s. Robert Kee was friends with the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire’s and the Dowager wrote a glowing testimony of Kee in her memories. Which highlighted Kee`s outstanding intelligence and communication skills. She mentioned Kee`s work with Panorama pointing out that the BBC was lucky to find someone of his calibre. Those viewing any broadcasts by Kee would have to agree with this assessment. Robert Kee spent a long time in Ireland and was a regular visitor to the Devonshire`s Irish estate, Lismore Castle. He rubbed shoulders with the aristocracy but he was no establishment toady and did not allow his grand association`s to debase an overwhelming desire to strive for truth and justice, as his publication `Trial and Error` illustrates. A book which helped bring the disgraceful miscarriage of justice concerning the `Guilford Four` and `Maguire Seven` to public prominence. The book also unddoubtly helped to right judicial wrongs and for this reason alone Robert Kee should be warmly remembered today by all striving for fairness and justice.

Robert Kee also wrote an important biography of Charles Stewart Parnell the `Laurel and the Ivy` but Kee had a vast hinterland to draw upon, he was a war hero a bomber pilot for the RAF, who was shot down over occupied Europe. He become a prisoner of war a role he occupied stoically writing about his experience in his critically acclaimed `A Crowd is not Company`Read more of this post

Northern Ireland’s Abortion Debate

Stephen Donnan 

Image © Elvert Barnes

Few issues are as divisive as abortion, aside from the death penalty or euthanasia, all deal with the issue of the sanctity of life, and very rarely do issues such as these come before national legislatures. However in the case of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, both authorities currently criminalize abortion. Future Health Minister and current MLA for South Down, Jim Wells, caused a storm of controversy last month by stating that abortion in NI should remain illegal, even in cases of rape and incest. Speaking to the Nolan Show, Mr Wells was quoted as saying: “A termination of a pregnancy should not be the first option in that situation. The other option is that you kill the child who’s a totally innocent victim in this terrible set of circumstances.”

In relation to the issue of abortion legislation, Ireland (both Northern and Republic of) is a strange one. Out of over fifteen major parties across Ireland and dozens of smaller parties, only three have visible pro-choice policies. The Socialist Worker’s Party, the Irish Labour party and Labour in NI are the only parties that are pro-choice, and even with that, Irish Labour are heading for a split in their membership over the issue. Not even the Greens, a mostly proactive party in the area of social rights have reserved abortion as a conscience issue.

Bernie Smyth of Precious Life, an organisation that lobbies to defend existing anti-abortion legislation, had a rather heated radio debate with Alliance party MLA Anna Lo in August, claiming that allowing abortion in cases of rape would create a case of ‘bad law’ in which such legislation could lead to it being used a contraceptive. But what are the facts?  Read more of this post

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