From left:  Martin McGuinness,  Bertie Ahern, Tony Blair, Peter Hain and  Ian Paisley in   Stormont on May 8th, 2007, when Paisley and  McGuinness  were sworn in  as  deputy first and first ministers following a deal  between  Democratic Unionists and Sinn Féin. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire

It was summer 2005, early into my role as secretary of state for Northern Ireland, when Martin McGuinness came into my Stormont Castle office, peering(...)

(From  left) First Minister Ian Paisley, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern  inside the main hall of Stormont Assembly in Belfast in 2007, following a deal struck between the Democratic Unionist Party  and Sinn Féin in March.  Photograph: Niall Carson/Pool/PA

On an October evening in 1986, in Dublin’s Mansion House, Martin McGuinness, then an energetic 36-year-old, faced down republican traditionalists who (...)

It is difficult to see anything stopping the Brexiteers getting what they want: the clean and complete exit.

Anyone that ever worked in a modern corporation knows how the ex-UK ambassador to the EU felt. All CEOs and prime ministers say the same thing: “We w(...)

 George W Bush talked in Dallas about “finding our better selves”. If only he had found his in office. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

During George W Bush’s 2000 convention in Philadelphia, my sister showed up at my door. She was volunteering for the Republican nominee and carrying a(...)

The British nuclear submarine HMS Vigilant in a naval base on the  Clyde. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

When a prime minister crosses the threshold of 10 Downing Street for the first time, many formal procedures need to be run through. None is more secre(...)

Sally Brampton:  July 25th, 1955-May 10th, 2016. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The journalist and author Sally Brampton, who has died aged 60, created the template for the modern women’s magazine. She was hired as editor when the(...)

Irish naval service personnel with cocaine seized from the Makayabella’. Photograph: PA

A ninth person has been jailed for his part in a plot to smuggle almost €300 million worth of cocaine into the United Kingdom only to be foiled by the(...)

Members of the Free Syrian Army.  Cameron believes there are 70,000 pairs of suitable Syrian boots on the ground. Robert Fisk reckons 70 might be nearer the mark. Photo: Tomas Munita/The New York Times

David Cameron was following patriotic precedent in backing Turkey against Russia following the downing of a Russian aircraft on the Turkish-Syrian bor(...)

 A young boy walks past a loyalist paramilitary mural  in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Tuesday saw publication of the UDA/UVF/Red Hand Commando “conflict-resolution initiative”, the fruit of 18 months of talks between the banned loyalist(...)

The Ulster Defence Association, the Ulster Volunteer Force and the Red Hand Commando on Tuesday released a joint declaration of intent “recommitting” themselves to the peaceful and democratic principles of the 1998 Belfast Agreement. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters.

Loyalist paramilitary have issued a statement pledging to “eschew all violence and criminality”. The Ulster Defence Association, the Ulster Volunteer (...)

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