Meghan O’Sullivan: “how do we make it possible for the others to deliver on the agreement? . . . I don’t know if there was enough of that in the room this time.”

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Whilst the Northern Ireland media continue to obsess over digest the parting shot from Richard Haass on the political parties’ failure to agree to his proposals (version 7), the co-chair of those talks, Meghan O’Sullivan, appears to have been delegated the task of addressing the media south of the border[Partitionists! - Ed]  ANYhoo.. In the Irish Times, Dan Keenan’s report includes what is, perhaps, the most revealing comment on the failure to agree.

The final draft was written by herself and Richard Haass, fully aware that the party leaders were thinking of elections later this year. “Everybody has political calculations to make so we tried to be as responsive as conceivable without creating an agreement which no one could sign up to.”

On plans for the parties to take part in a working group in the search for agreement, Prof O’Sullivan said: “Realistically the most fruitful next step would be for the parties when they come together in the working group to declare a timeline under which they plan to resolve outstanding issues and move to expeditious implementation.

“They need to make clear that this working group is not going to be a talking shop, it is . . . going to be a forum to advance the ball.”

The parties could help each other, she insisted. They needed to consider “how do we make it possible for the others to deliver on the agreement? . . . I don’t know if there was enough of that in the room this time.” It was a pity the parties were “focused too much on the trees and not on the forest”. [added emphasis]

That could, indeed, result in imbalanced final proposals…  And, with the BBC continuing to mis-report the DUP leader’s comments as

DUP leader Peter Robinson said unionists needed to reach agreement with
nationalists, not with Richard Haass.

Here’s a reminder of what he actually said,

“It says an awful lot if the two nationalist parties are jumping up and down ready to sign up to a deal but no unionist is prepared to go with it,” said Northern Ireland’s first minister.

“That indicates that it wasn’t a balanced final output, but there are many elements of the Haass proposals that are acceptable.

“We accept the broad architecture that’s laid down there but some of the detail needs to be resolved.”

Mr Robinson added: “The job of Martin McGuinness and Sinn Fein or Alasdair McDonnell and the SDLP is not to reach an agreement with Richard Haass, it’s to reach an agreement with unionists.” [added emphasis]

By the way, I wouldn’t expect much detail from the parties in response to Richard Haass’ less than diplomatic request that “[he] would prefer for them to speak and to justify or explain their choices”.  Because my reading of those un-agreed proposals is that the problem for the parties is not necessarily in what is there, but, rather, what is not there to help the various parties to sell the proposals.

And, if you accept that the final proposals were imbalanced, that calls into question the role of the chair/mediator of those talks.

Ostensibly appointed by the DUP and Sinn Féin, as OFMDFM, Richard Haass’ undiplomatic post-talk comments may have seemed more in keeping with someone who had been sent to do a job, and who, therefore, saw his accountability as being to a higher authority than our local administration. [God?! - Ed]  Close enough…

The talks themselves were part of the package announced in May last year, and it wasn’t long before some were speculating about the involvement of the current US administration[That might help explain the frostiness of that US visit... - Ed]

And it might help explain the choice of Richard Haass to chair those talks.  Another former US envoy had also been suggested.  And, as I noted back in November 2012

…it’s worth noting that Richard Haass’ [previous] role here was not without criticism…

And, from the same 2012 post,

His successor, Mitchell Reiss, has been more forthright in his recounting at times.

[Time to call Mitchell in again, then? - Ed]  I’m not sure that some parties would be that enthusiastic…

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  • DC

    ‘DUP leader Peter Robinson said unionists needed to reach agreement with nationalists, not with Richard Haass.’

    Well then why call in Haass?! (Who actually called these two americans over?)

    It is now clear the Assembly is the only place for a debate on flags etc and on moving forward towards compromise, televise it as well. For instance all the cross-community protections are there, it’s the only place the public can find out where all the parties stand and find out if there is any room for moving to designated days for all councils and what nationalists would expect of unionists to give in return for this, if anything.

    Please not another commission, on flags, I mean seriously, middle class liberal elites musing over rough and tumble raw issues is not going to cut the mustard, politicians need to take ownership of this. It ain’t going to work if it is commissionised as commission policy output doesn’t get stress tested against the rough and tumble of democracy and raw democratic argument.

    All sorts of commissions probably provided guidance and input into the BCH flag decision and it was advice given out by people in nice offices, protected wrapped up in cotton wool advice, given out by civil servants detached from dealing with the consequences of souring public opinion which was what was happening over the union flag. Re BCH the advice and guidance given out clearly didn’t withstand the rough and tumble of local politics. Proof – rioting broke out for months and good relations were not maintained, things worsened on the good relations front.

    Because only politicians know when it is right to take a decision, so while it may have been good desirable policy if the politics are all wrong, the political environment polluted, politicians are needed to intervene and pause things than charge ahead.

    Unfortunately Alliance was hell bent on making designated days happen this term whenever the political environment was one as they say not conducive to a change in flag policy.

    Good policy, bad politics = fall out on the streets. Commissions only supply the policy and have no responsibility for the bad politics bit as commissions are protected form that.

  • Mick Fealty

    DC,

    “Who actually called these two americans over?”

    OFMdFM DID actually call them over. Whether it was quite their own idea or not is a moot point.

  • DC

    I think Robinson got tricked here – he probably agreed to an ‘independent facilitator’ and didn’t think it through, two americans, never a good thing.

    Oh yes these two seem lovely people, ‘independent’ and so on and so suitable and so on, said McGuinness.

  • Charles_Gould

    I would expect to see a slow process with a lot of emphasis from the dup on “getting it right”. Would also like to see more done on flags.

  • redstar2011

    What more can be done on flags???

    Desig days is about as good as its gonna get

    You dont seriously think the ” flegs” going back up 365 in Belfast do you?

    If you do you should have been there today with the 2 dozen drunks, the fluter and the drag act !!!!

  • DC

    ‘You dont seriously think the ” flegs” going back up 365 in Belfast do you?’

    Possible, local election this year?

  • cynic2

    “His successor, Mitchell Reiss, has been more forthright in his recounting at times”

    What you mean is that Wikileaks and Reiss exposed that there was collusion to cover up senior Republican’s involvement in what was at the time the largest ever bank robbery in Britain or Ireland

    Can we have another public inquiry?

  • cynic2

    They need to make clear that this working group is not going to be a talking shop, it is . . . going to be a forum to advance the ball.”

    What naiive waffle. The key issues then were, what is the game we are playing and where are the goalposts?

    That’s where the facilitators failed to appreciate the game – they were writing half baked rules for cricket when one team was playing ruby and the other Hurling.

    The more I hear of this the more cack handed the whole process seems to have been. Had they never read Somerville & Ross?

  • David Crookes

    Cynic2, ‘The Irish RM’ was Brian Faulkner’s favourite book.

  • http://www.wordpress.ianjamesparsley.com IJP

    Pete

    Just for avoidance of any doubt, she was the Vice-Chair (I know it’s been the topic of conversation!)

  • Pete Baker

    IJP

    Just for the avoidance of any doubt, the RTÉ report refers to Meghan O’Sullivan as vice-chair, the Irish Times report as co-chair.

    Both linked in the original post…

    Given the subsequent delegation of duties, in regard to the media, co-chair would seem as appropriate?

    Granted, though, the outcome, and the relevant comments on the outcome, would suggest that vice-chair would more accurately reflect the acualité

  • http://www.selfhatinggentile.blogger.com tmitch57

    “I think Robinson got tricked here – he probably agreed to an ‘independent facilitator’ and didn’t think it through, two americans, never a good thing.”

    @DC,

    You mean like George Mitchell and Bill Clinton, who helped to deliver the GFA? Or maybe you didn’t like the GFA?

    @Pete,

    When comparing the BBC text and your original it seems to be a fairly accurate paraphrase. The main difference is that the BBC said Robinson said that unionists needed to agree with nationalists not Haass, whereas he actually said that nationalists (whom he named) needed to agree with unionists not with Haass. Maybe a slight difference in emphasis but essentially the same thing.

  • Kevsterino

    I think it is foolish to believe that Unionists and Republicans are ever going to agree in regard to what happened in Northern Ireland for the last hundred years, or Ireland overall for that matter. I don’t know anyone who thinks it is possible.

    As for flags and parades, why not let local people decide how they want things to be where they live?

    Probably naive suggestions on my part, I know.

  • Mick Fealty

    Tmitch,

    Technically speaking it’s a case that if one is true so must the other be. But in this precise context there’s a huge difference in emphasis. It smacks of ‘player journalism’.

  • cynic2

    “As for flags and parades, why not let local people decide how they want things to be where they live?”

    Do you have any understanding of the geography of the key areas where there are problems? its a tiny mosaic. Thats the problem when they all put up emblems to mark their territory and goad themuns

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “the co-chair of those talks, Meghan O’Sullivan, appears to have been delegated the task of addressing the media south of the border. [Partitionists! - Ed]”

    Why rely on journalists or speculate when you can look to primary sources, even in the case of such trivia?

    The Panel has an independent chair, Ambassador Richard N. Haass, and vice chair, Meghan L. O’Sullivan. .. Website of the independent chair and vice chair

    Meghan has been communicating with journalists in both Belfast and Dublin:

    On Thursday night – our time – Professor O’Sullivan called me.

    “I don’t think this has been a great week for the [proposed] agreement,” she said – “but it is not the last week.”

    The Harvard Professor added that it was the judgement of the Haass Team that their final text still offered “the best package of ideas and compromises”.

    There was nothing in her words that apportioned blame or fault, but those of us here who have been watching the political play of the past few days know that something frightened the unionist horses. ..Brian Rowan 9 Jan 2014

  • cynic2

    Mick

    I agree on both points. Now everyone is trying to spin it different ways – but ’twas ever thus

    We now have a situation where the facilitators have also become players too promoting one sides arguments / positions over another. So much for neutrality

  • Mick Fealty

    Cynic,

    In theory I’ve no problem with player journalism (Slugger’s full of it), but it’s just odd to see the BBC editorialise like that on its News pages.

  • Gopher

    To me Haas was like one of those referees in an important game that wants to take center stage As for O’Sullivan if I may play the man (sorry woman) her pose for photographers was like a teenager taking a facebook selfie which gave me the impression that the talks had more to do with furthering careers

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “The two unionist parties and the Alliance were not prepared to sign on to the agreement and I make it clear that this was, if you will, collectively their agreement.This had been an agreement that all five parties worked on for six months and we had gone to enormous lengths to try to take into account their particular views, their concerns, their priorities and we thought we had done just that ” .. Richard Haass

    It was a set of proposals, not an agreement, and it was a Haass team set, not a five parties set.

    “The talks co-chair, Meghan O’Sullivan .. ” .. Mark Devenport [idem]

    Careless reporting by Mark too.

  • Mick Fealty

    Refreshing to hear the SF President undermine the ‘agreement’ he wants the DUP to sign before rather than after its been agreed:

    “Sinn Féin has little confidence that the proposed Commission on Identity, Culture and Tradition will resolve these issues,” Mr Adams said.”

  • cynic2

    Mick

    I agree. Is it just ‘group think by the editors?

  • cynic2

    So SF support an ‘Agreement’ they think wont work.

    Was Gerry clear if

    1 they support it BECAUSE they know it wont work

    2 they support it because it will wind up the DUPs

  • Mick Fealty

    Or are they backing out of Martin’s no more negotiations stance?

  • tacapall

    From what little information we have regarding the true role of Haass and O’Sullivan and whether they were independent arbritrators or independent facilitators it seems from the recent press releases that Haass and O’Sullivan obviously believed they were arbritrators who’s job was to do what unionism and nationalism couldn’t do, come up with a compromise after hearing all submissions from all parties who had months to prepare them. They also obviously believed each side accepted the integrity of the arbritrators and that compromise was the building blocks on which agreement would be built. Unionism it seems went into these talks with a one step forward two steps backward mentality and just who was Jeffery Donaldson negotiating on behalf of being a member of the privy council and all. Britain has a strategic interest in Ireland and loyalism represents that interest it has done so since the formation of the Orange order who’s role is to promote division and conflict between our people. These talks were hijacked by elements within the Orange order and British agents within loyalism who’s agenda is to keep the sectarian pot boiling ensuring there will never be harmony among the Irish people.

  • streetlegal

    Certainly the Orange Order were effectively given a veto by both unionist parties. But British Intelligence, who of course work for David Cameron, were pressing their loyalist contacts as hard as they could for an agreement. British Intelligence officers in Belfast have found it increasingly difficult to give any kind of a steer to the UVF/UDA commanders in the city.

  • tacapall

    Streetlegal British intelligence dont work for David Cameron they work for the crown, the same crown who claim ownership of this part of Ireland and the same crown loyalists mistakingly believe refers to woman who lives in Buckingham palace. In reality its a cover name for an elite group of private investors and bankers with headquarters in inner city London, quislings who sized control of the British throne and the monetary affairs of Britain after financing the Dutch dwarf at the battle of the Boyne. Its taking the piss if you expect us to believe MI5 who’s headquarters is on the outskirts of east Belfat cant control their agents who they’ve controlled for the past 40 odd years or bring to justice certain loyalist paramilitaries who according to the PSNI have directed and controlled the recent civil disturbances surrounding flags parades and the paranoia at the erosion of Britishness in this part of Ireland yet the same MI5 can throw massive amounts of money and manpower and time in their attempts to curtail the activities of dissident republicans.

  • cynic2

    Mick

    I agree that its all positioning. One could read it as backing away from Martin’s line.

    Alternatively they could think they have the DUPs cornered to lets pay hardball and pin them where they are because in reality any different position will mean we have to make concessions to get a deal.

  • cynic2

    Tacapall

    I know its a a Sunday but if you have run short of the old Meds there is a Chemists Rota

  • tacapall

    Thats a typical unionist rebuttal Cynic playing the man rather than the ball because, well you really haven’t a clue have you. Why dont you read up on your history.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Haass’s interview with Mark Carruthers was astounding in its self-contradiction and does raise questions about his judgement.

    He seemed piqued and a bit huffy at the failure of the process so far. It seems to have led him to let himself down with some silly comments. In particular, how can it have been an “agreement” if 3 out of the 5 parties, representing *most people in Northern Ireland*, did not agree to it? Utterly absurd.

    Robinson’s response was spot on, that a document that pleases nationalists but not unionists is not an agreement. Otherwise it’s like the New Ireland Forum (i.e. a total waste of time).

    Really, what did Haass think his job was, if not to draft something both sides could agree to? I’m sure he could have drafted a document that the DUP and UUP would have bought that SF and SDLP rejected. Would that have been any good either? Either way, there is no point complaining it’s a “good deal” if one of the two blocks doesn’t agree. By definition, if it pleases one side and not the other, objectively it’s not great, is it? He made no sense when he said that.

    And now he seems to have taken sides, which makes you question his neutrality. Very odd stuff.

  • tacapall

    Thats the point MU did Haass see himself as an arbritor or a facilitator. Its not unreasonable to assume that after months of behind the scenes preparations both sides knew in advance what was probably going to be in the final draft.

  • SK

    While the old guard ties itself up in knots trying to justify UUP/DUP intransigence, I thought it might be worth pointing out that the next generation of young Protestants appears to view things differently.

    https://audioboo.fm/boos/1838011-pupils-from-boys-model-on-haass-talks

    A bright future, if not necessarily an orange one.

    Incidentally, can one of the old guard highlight precisely what it is about this agreement that they personally take issue with? Because from where I’m sitting, it appears that you’re all rejecting it simply because the DUP/UUP say you should. Which is weird because I thought we were supposed to be the ‘drones’.

  • cynic2

    Ok you want history, lets have some history and a few facts, not ramblings

    “British intelligence dont work for David Cameron they work for the crown”

    Nonsense. they work in a democratic legal framework and ultimately are accountable to the PM and Parliament

    “the same crown who claim ownership of this part of Ireland ”
    they dont ‘claim’ ownership. They have title to it and we all voted by a huge majority to continue that

    ” and the same crown loyalists mistakenly believe refers to woman who lives in Buckingham palace. In reality its a cover name for an elite group of private investors and bankers with headquarters in inner city London, ”

    This is the same international conspiracy theory that the Nazis used in the 1930. You just left out ‘jewish’ before ‘Bankers’. It was bonkers then and its bonkers now

    “quislings who sized control of the British throne and the monetary affairs of Britain after financing the Dutch dwarf at the battle of the Boyne.”

    I don’t understand this bit. The aluminium foil helmet seems to be working in my case. As I understand this rant they are quislings and therefore traitors. So you believe that some huge conspiracy who ousted James II is itill secretly in control of the UK ? Or is it just that they were Protestants when James II wasn’t? I am sorry but your analysis is obscure?

    And these wouldn’t by chance be the same conspirators who put Charles II back on the throne a relatively short time before only to see the shambles James created? And did ‘the City’ really exist in anything like its current form in that era? I really don’t think it did

    ” Its taking the piss if you expect us to believe MI5 who’s headquarters is on the outskirts of east Belfat cant control their agents who they’ve controlled for the past 40 odd years or bring to justice certain loyalist paramilitaries who according to the PSNI have directed and controlled the recent civil disturbances surrounding flags parades and the paranoia at the erosion of Britishness in this part of Ireland”

    Forgive me but I thought MI5 dealt with Republican terrorists while PSNI led on the Prods who are seen more as criminals. PSNI report to the Policing Board on which SF are liberally if ineffectually represented.

    I also seem to recall somewhere that hundreds of Prods have been arrested so can you be clear on what you want PSNI to do to all these inconvenient protesters and their leaders? Barbed wire fences around Sandy Row and East Belfast? Curfew? Shoot to kill for possession of a fleg (or opinion) you don’t like ? And as the DUP have played a role in that do we intern them too?

    ” yet the same MI5 can throw massive amounts of money and manpower and time in their attempts to curtail the activities of dissident republicans.”

    Its not ‘the same MI5″ – see notes above – but there are millions being thrown at both. Are you suggesting millions shouldn’t be thrown at dissidents who were responsible for Omagh and the recent spate of Belfast bombings. That its wrong to focus on would be murderers in favor of harassing grannies wrapped in union jacks (no matter how mad) and 16 year olds with bottles of WKD (no matter how bad)?

    And why just the Loyalists and not the banner slashers of Ardoyne or fleg stealers of Divis?

    So just where are you going with this. I see I got a Yellow from Mick for man playing.

    When the man stops babbling incoherently and lecturing on ‘history’ perhaps we can have a rational discussion

  • cynic2

    Its not unreasonable to assume that …. both sides knew in advance what was probably going to be in the final draft.”

    As its Panto Season I will start “Oh yes it is”

  • Neil

    MU,

    it’s difficult to defend the rejection of the proposals when you don’t know why they were rejected but fair play for trying. It would depend on what the DUP’s demands were in order to determine whether or not they were reasonable, but you’ve clearly decided in advance.

    Very odd stuff.

    Quite.

  • http://www.ur2die4.com/ amanfromMars

    Here’s a little something which explains everything quite clearly enough, cynic2 …….. and well worth the read in order to know who and/or what to target and render outed as ignorant and impotent and a contrived and self-serving fraud ……. http://harvardnsj.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Glennon-Final.pdf

  • http://www.ur2die4.com/ amanfromMars

    Oh, and are not, in terms of effective intelligent application and covert and clandestine leadership, MI5, a national embarrassment and global joke, which of course is all down to poor leadership at the very top, Mr Parker, with practically zero vision.

  • tacapall

    Once again Cynic you respond with sporatic one liners coupled with ad hominem attacks none of which even remotely touches on what is called the truth.

    British intelligence officers like MI5 ( And theres only one MI5 by the way) like all servants of the Crown swear allegiance to the crown not Westminister, not Parliament and certainly not the Primeminister.

    “So you see… the world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes” -
    Benjamin D’Israeli

    You should look that quote and maybe open your eyes.

    “I also seem to recall somewhere that hundreds of Prods have been arrested so can you be clear on what you want PSNI to do to all these inconvenient protesters and their leaders? Barbed wire fences around Sandy Row and East Belfast? Curfew? Shoot to kill for possession of a fleg (or opinion) you don’t like ? And as the DUP have played a role in that do we intern them too”

    At this point im going to cast you adrift. You obviously dont read what other people like myself post or what they do post what you see is not the same as what they type on their keyboard.

    (If you can find a post where I suggested any of the above feel free to post a link)

    Grown up and stop being so nasty and accusing others of scenarios that orginated in your head alone.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “how do we make it possible for the others to deliver on the agreement? . . . I don’t know if there was enough of that in the room this time.” .. Meghan

    I don’t think Meghan understands the nature of our constitutional tug-of-war. How can we expect nationalist parties to accommodate unionist ones when nationalists’ top priority is to remove NI from the UK and incorporate it in a UI? How can we expect unionist parties to accommodate nationalist ones when unionists’ top priority is to maintain NI’s position within the UK and to limit relationships with Ireland to co-operation? If the Haass team have a half-way house in mind then that IMO would require a sovereignty change and the involvement of London and Dublin but Meghan claims that their role was limited to Strand 1. This in itself doesn’t make sense as the actions and non-actions of London and Dublin had a huge bearing on past events.

  • streetlegal

    British Intelligence has successfully infiltrated all of the political parties, the Orange Order and other sectarian and violent organisations throughout Belfast. That is why the information contained in their reports to Downing Street is so accurate. However in recent times the Belfast Desk have lost much of their direction and control of the UVF and UDA commands in the city. Following the GFA British Intelligence were able to give a steer, because they had considerable leverage and influence with senior loyalists like Johnny Adair on the Shankhill, Doris Day in East Belfast and the Turk in North Belfast. But those halcyon days for the handlers have gone.

  • cynic2

    Tacapall

    “Once again Cynic you respond with sporatic (sic) one liners”

    Its a process called Fisking. Taking apart ba badly written piece of prose, Analyzing its component parts and exposing the nonsense

    “coupled with ad hominem attacks”

    What? Like your comment “stop being so nasty and accusing others of scenarios that originated in your head alone.” My my. Both Teddy and Dummy are on the floor this time

    It was you for example who, in support of your argument that the whole country is run by a secret cabal, alleged that the Police did noting about the flegs protests – I merely pointed out that they had arrested hundreds.

  • tacapall

    “so can you be clear on what you want PSNI to do to all these inconvenient protesters and their leaders? Barbed wire fences around Sandy Row and East Belfast? Curfew? Shoot to kill for possession of a fleg (or opinion) you don’t like ? And as the DUP have played a role in that do we intern them too? That its wrong to focus on would be murderers in favor of harassing grannies wrapped in union jacks (no matter how mad) and 16 year olds with bottles of WKD (no matter how bad)”

    Are you going to post a link where I said or suggested any of the above Cynic or will you admit you made the whole of the above up just to deflect attention from your own ignorance of the facts on what I was actually talking about.

  • cynic2

    Tacapall

    Now now dear ….calm down (again) ….Teddy can only take so much abuse.

  • Gopher

    Not sure if Im in the right place to ask this because I really would like a sensible answer without flannel. If the SF motion had of been carried tonight could it have been blocked by a petition of concern?

  • Charles_Gould

    Gopher

    Yes it could. But even if it passed it wouldn’t have any legal effect.

  • Charles_Gould

    Actually Gopher, you can’t do petitions of concern retrospectively. But one could have been imposed prospectively. But I don’t think for something like this which is just a “motion” is very important – it is not a law and does not compel parties to comply with the motion.

  • cynic2

    I agree. Its just political grandstanding

  • David Crookes

    And makes the assembly appear even more ridiculous.

  • GEF

    Me wonders what Mr Haass and Ms O’Sullivan would have to say if a St Pats day parade was banned in Belfast?

    “Mayor bans St. Patrick’s Day Parade again in Hoboken, NJ
    Disorderly behavior blamed for ban as Irish organisers fume”

    Read more: http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Mayor-bans-St-Patricks-Day-parade-again-in-Hoboken-NJ-240073431.html#ixzz2qNq5VPzS

  • David Crookes

    I have a dream.

    No parades.

    Ever.

  • DC

    Make your dream come true David by living somewhere else? I recommend Kent.

  • David Crookes

    Only dreamin, DC, but thanks for the suggestion. What about parades with no alcohol?

  • DC

    It’s a funeral procession you’re after by the sounds of it.

  • David Crookes

    As long as I’m not the one in the box.

  • cynic2

    DC

    Kent? You ever seen them Morris Dancers – the OO without the syle and with more beer

  • IrelandNorth

    If representatives from the common diplomatic denominator of the British and/or Irish Isles, (ie the United States of America (USA)) couldn’t prevail on representatives of both constitutional traditions to moderate their expectations, it’s unlikely a less objective on e like the British Secretary of State (SoS) for Nth Ireland could deliver where her US counterparts failed. Both sides need to stop looking for absolutes and settle for happy mediums. The solution is relatively simple actually. Percentage representation predicates degree of associationism. It ain’t rocket science.