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.

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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Be reconciled

20 November 2018Imagine a violent guerrilla war breaks out in the UK from city tower blocks to quaint country villages. Your ‘enemies’ are indistinguishable in a crowd, trust fades and communities polarise. Neighbours and work colleagues are mentally re-categorised by their perceived allegiances. The conflict dominates the political and media discourse for a generation. Meantime, most people are just trying to work and raise their family, helplessly caught between domesticity and a terrible chaos. This lasts…

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Ashers Bakery – when the icing sugar has settled

25 October 2018On Wednesday, 10 October the Supreme Court in London delivered judgment in the now famous Ashers bakery case. It is the latest and perhaps final twist in the case, which began four-and-a-half years ago when a man walked into Daniel and Amy McArthur’s bakery and asked for a cake with the message “support gay marriage” iced on top. The Christian owners initially accepted the order but then declined, citing conflict with their religious beliefs. The customer, Gareth Lee, who is gay, felt that he…

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Ford and Kavanaugh hearing: a Supreme Court injustice?

28 September 2018In the last 24 hours university professor Dr Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh have both appeared before a US Senate Committee. Dr Ford alleges that Judge Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party in 1982. Judge Kavanaugh rejects the allegations and claims no such encounter ever occurred. Both gave emotional testimonies to the Senate, which were difficult and uncomfortable to watch. Judge Kavanaugh is President Trump’s nominee for the vacant spot on the bench of the US Supreme…

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Brexit and 'the Irish question'

20 September 2018After March 2019, the invisible international border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland becomes the land border between the EU and the UK. The issue cannot simply be resolved between the Irish and British governments – the border no longer divides one country from another, but one country from 27 seven others. The border winds its way for more than 300 miles, dividing farms and streams, fields and country roads. More than 30,000 people cross the border every day for work, and…

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Risk and relationship: partnering up with the Human Rights Commission in Northern Ireland

19 April 2018Protecting the right to freedom of conscience, thought and religion goes right to the heart of the kind of society that we all want to live in. That is the message from the launch of a joint project by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland. The project, an animation opening up the conversation about how human rights and freedom of religion interact, is part of a series covering a number of human rights and will likely be used in educational…

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Who do you trust?

23 March 2018David Smyth is public policy officer at the Evangelical Alliance in Northern Ireland. I don’t do Facebook. As an adult in the UK this puts me in a minority of about 22 per cent. Globally more than 2.2 billion people are active monthly Facebook users with over 1 billion people using it daily. This week Facebook has come under fire for policies that allowed third parties to extract data without the explicit consent or knowledge of its users. One business, Cambridge Analytica, has been accused of…

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