Alex Kane looks into the camera.Shared Ireland sat down with Alex Kane this week to discuss early years, current impasse in the North, the backstop, Brexit, the widening debate withing Nationalism and the failure of Unionist selling Unionism. You can follow Alex on Twitter here.

Alex Kane is a columnist for the News Letter and Irish News and a regular contributor to a number of other publications. He comments on politics for the BBC, UTV and RTÉ. He is a political writer, columnist, panelist and commentator based in Belfast and a former Director of Communications for the Ulster Unionist Party.

We discuss the sunngindale agreement, John’s father saving the life of UUP MP John Taylor, difficulties with the Good Friday Agreement, Sinn Fein handling of the Stormont crisis, Martin Guinness’s resignation, Peter Robinsons effort to get DUP into power sharing with Sinn Fein, the worry that nobody is selling Unionism to Nationalists.

Quotes fro the podcast:

When I joined the UUP in 1972, it was because I believed in power sharing at a time when the SDLP was considered a front for the IRA.

Part of the unionist psyche is that anything that looks like organised nationalism must by definition have a link to [the IRA].

It has always been my view from a young age that if you want Northern Ireland to work, it must work together. You must make NI a comfortable place.

Even people who want a UI, I have no difficulty with that, my views always been, if they want to push that idea, I have no difficulty with that, but it’s also up to Unionists to say, this is not a bad place.

If you want anything to work, it has to be about cooperation. You can’t tell people how to feel, how to believe, how to feel, how to vote.

The GFA was difficult for unionism and nationalism. It was a window of opportunity. An opportunity that didn’t exist in my lifetime. This moment may not come again. We have nothing to lose by trying. If we manage to get a deal, could we surprise ourselves.

What has concerned me since 2002 onwards, rather than bringing us closer together, it was pushing us further apart. It was cementing positions…power sharing is where you make compromises because it is the right thing to do and it for the collective good.

My fear what was happening with the GFA that it wasn’t power sharing. It was Newtonian politics. To each action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. If they get something, we must get something. They may not need it, we may not need it, but we have to counterbalance everything.







A smiling Niall Ó Donnghaile.Seanad Eireann member Niall Ó Donnghaile joins us this week to discuss early life, why he joined Sinn Fein, role in Seanad Eireann, working with Ian Marshall, Irish Unity, infrastructure and investment in the Island of Ireland and in particular, the North West. You can follow Niall on Twitter here.


Niall Ó Donnghaile (born 28 May 1985) is an Irish Sinn Féin politician who has served as a Senator since April 2016. He previously served as Lord Mayor of Belfast from 2011 to 2012 and Councillor on Belfast City Council from 2011 to 2016. Elected as a Councillor for the first time in 2011, Niall made history when he was appointed the youngest ever Mayor of Belfast at the age of 25.

He was born in Belfast, County Antrim. Niall Ó Donnghaile was a Sinn Féin councillor for the Pottinger district electoral area in East Belfast. He was educated through Irish at Coláiste Feirste, Belfast and subsequently obtained a B.A.(Hons) in Politics form Ulster University.

Ó Donnghaile was previously employed as the party’s Press Officer in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

A community worker in the Short Strand, the area of East Belfast in which he was born, and a member of the Short Strand Partnership Board, he also works with various other organisations in Belfast on issues such as the developments at Titanic Quarter and Sirocco Quays, and has spoken strongly in support of residents on the issue of the proposed runway extension at Belfast City Airport.

A resident of East Belfast all his life, Niall sits on a number of local boards and community organisations.

A fluent Irish Language speaker Niall is committed to helping build an inclusive East Belfast which welcomes and embraces all of our enriching traditions and cultures in a spirit of equality and mutual respect.