David Smyth

David Smyth

David Smyth is head of Northern Ireland and coordinates the Public Leader: Northern Ireland course. He is a former solicitor and represents the Evangelical Alliance on a range of government, civic and charitable forums. He serves in the space where faith, law, politics and culture intersect.

Government’s plans for Troubles prosecutions deeply concerning

20 July 2021The five political parties which make up the Northern Ireland Executive, as well as many victims and survivors of The Troubles, have condemned this approach, which would also end current and future civil cases and inquests. Opposition comes from right across the political spectrum and from groups representing victims of both republican and loyalist paramilitaries, veterans and those killed by state forces. The shared concern is that such a blunt move fails to address the specific and…

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Northern Ireland: Abortion amendment bill passes second stage

17 March 2021In Northern Ireland abortion is permitted up to 12 weeks for any or no stated reason, up to 24 weeks for a threat to the mental health of the woman, and up to birth for ‘severe fetal impairment’. This bill seeks to repeal the part of the law which currently allows for abortion on the ground of ‘severe fetal impairment’ or non-fatal disabilities. In Great Britain similar provisions have been used to regularly allow for abortion in the case of babies diagnosed in the womb with Down’s syndrome,…

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Removal of abortion law has led to over 650 abortions in the past six months

22 October 2020Today, 22 October 2020, marks one year since the law on abortion in Northern Ireland was radically changed by the Westminster Government. Regulations came into effect on 31 March, and since then more than 650 abortions have been carried out in the first six months up to the beginning of October. David Smyth, head of the Evangelical Alliance in Northern Ireland, commented:“Today is a dark day as we remember the events of a year ago, when vital protections for women and unborn children were…

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Bridging the gap

24 June 2020Many times, though, we fail to see any common ground between ourselves and our neighbours, let alone our enemies. When we do, we’re conditioned to believe it can only be entered by way of compromise. So, the idea of hosting on a shared space, or even setting foot there, requires the willingness to take a risk and build a relationship. All this frames a public conversation I hosted recently with the chief commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, Mr Les Allamby. Our…

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Public leadership: Seeking God’s kingdom first

2 September 2019A foodbank, a new business venture, mums and tots in the portacabin at church, recycling your plastic bottles. A teacher bringing knowledge to her students, a lawyer fighting for justice, a nurse compassionately binding up wounds. Kingdom seems to be used as a neat shorthand for everything we used to call church and work or even all that is good in the world. God is before all things and in Him all things hold together (Colossians 1:17), and He is King over all the earth (Psalm 47:7). So, is it…

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Enemies no more

29 August 2019This was just a few days before traditional republican commemorations which take place every year to commemorate the Easter Rising. Public outcry following her death was swift and sincere, contrasting with the hollowness of the ‘apology’ from the IRA which “claimed responsibility” for the killing. They explained that she was “tragically killed while standing beside enemy forces” and went on to conclude that they had instructed their volunteers “to take the utmost care in future, when engaging…

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Ashers bakery case is going to European Court of Human Rights

21 August 2019Mr Lee ordered a cake with the slogan ‘support gay marriage’ from a bakery owned by a Christian family in 2014. The bakery initially accepted and then declined the order to make the cake. Mr Lee, backed by the Equality Commission in Northern Ireland, sued the bakery for damages for alleged discrimination on the grounds of his sexual orientation, political opinion and the religious beliefs of the bakery owners. Mr Lee won his case at first instance at Belfast County Court on all three grounds in…

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A diplomatic incident

11 July 2019US President Donald Trump called the British ambassador to the US, Sir Kim Darroch, a “pompous fool” and “a very stupid guy” on Twitter. This followed the leaked publication of sensitive emails which Sir Darroch had sent back to the British government in which he called President Trump “insecure” and described his administration as “inept” and “dysfunctional”. The ambassador quickly became the story as Trump said that his administration would no longer work with him while the British government…

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A right royal birth

9 May 2019Congratulations came in from Hollywood A-listers, the Obamas and people adorning Union Jack jumpsuits as they lined the streets in a show of support. The birth also prompted Prince William to welcome Harry and Meghan to the 'sleep deprivation society’. As a fellow member of this esteemed society, I’d also like to take this opportunity to extend a warm welcome. Babies change everything. Feeding, winding, changing nappies, dressing, repeat. Caring for a newborn baby is a practical crash course…

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Fyre Festival: The boundaries of the impossible

31 January 2019The phrase ‘the boundaries of the impossible’ was part of the PR campaign for what has been dubbed the “the greatest party that never happened”. The Fyre Festival happened, or didn’t, back in April 2017 and is back in the news again this week, following the release of a new documentary on Netflix. The idea was simple: a luxury music festival on the beautiful Exuma islands. The promotional video featured private jets, yachts and lots of beautiful people. International models including Bella…

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Christmas: Presence, power, purpose and public policy

19 December 2018As public policy officer at the Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland, I represent the views of many Christians generally and our members more specifically to government and the media. The everyday currency in public affairs and ‘lobbying’ is influence, power and spin. I’ve observed that it’s all too easy to get drawn into the norms and systems of public affairs, or any given culture, for that matter, and as Christians we have not always navigated this space well. So, how does the incarnation…

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