John Holmes

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A letter from Downing Street to the Northern Ireland Office stated that John Major ‘would certainly not wish the government make a formal expression of regret’. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Former British prime minister John Major disagreed with his secretary of state for Northern Ireland that there should be any public admission of “regr(...)

Taoiseach John Bruton and British prime minister John Major at Downing Street on November 28th, 1995. Photograph: Sean Dempsey/Pool/Reuters

Former British prime minister John Major was “reluctant” to talk to then taoiseach John Bruton on the phone because their private conversations were a(...)

 Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams gives his view of the Framework Document, February 22, 1995. Photograph: Russell Boyce/Reuters

Former British prime minister John Major saw Gerry Adams as a “clever little devil”, newly declassified files show. A private memo in February 1997, (...)

Pat Dawson of Cork-based Dawson Travel was one of the first to get involved in the business after being asked to source tickets for Old Trafford by a bank’s social club. File photograph: Clive Mason/Getty Images

Irish players may find it harder to get a look-in at the wealthiest English clubs these days, but supporters from this country still top the Premier L(...)

Police surround Drumcree Church as hundreds of Protestant Orange Order members fill the hillside on July 10th, 1996. The Orange Order were protesting over the refusal of police to allow the order to march through a predominantly Catholic area. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell/ Reuters

The disastrous effect of a decision to permit an Orange march through the nationalist Garvaghy Road to Drumcree Parish Church in Portadown in July 199(...)

Former British prime minister Tony Blair and former taoiseach Bertie Ahern signing the Belfast Agreement. Photograph: Reuters

When British prime minister Tony Blair left Downing Street in early April 1998 and headed for Belfast to take charge of the Northern Ireland peace tal(...)

Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble and Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams pass within touching distance of each other outside Castle Buildings, Stormont during a break in the negotiations before the signing of the Belfast Agreement on April 10th, 1998. File photograph: PA

How rarely we get a chance to “feel the hand of history upon our shoulder” in the life of a country. In a confidential memo authored by John Holmes,(...)

Posters in Dublin during the 2002 abortion referendum campaign. File photograph: David Sleator

It is very odd that the Citizens’ Assembly discussion of referendums has been moved to this weekend, given that it will allegedly have no impact on th(...)