Tag Archives | Negotiations

Personal memories of Sunningdale and the UWC strike – the lost opportunity for a generation

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Although I couldn’t attend the conferences they’ve sparked off vivid memories. This was a time when not only Northern Ireland seemed ungovernable but Britain too. At the Sunningdale civil service college in Berkshire we in the media were stuck in the conference annex for days because of the difficulty of getting taxis during the three day week, then in full more…

Ian Paisley: a word in favour of a fading patriarch

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Eamonn Mallie has always preferred the bludgeon to the rapier. In Episode One he confronted Ian Paisley with some the most unsavoury quotes of an agitator’s past.  Did you really mean it, Mr Paisley?  In episode two he faced him with other people’s hesitant mutterings of rejection. How did you feel Mr Paisley?  What did  he more…

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 more…

Arkiv: “in the real world pre-existing themes will skew the integrity of investigation, putting ideology before history”

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In an early critique of the Haass proposals (version 7), Brian identified, as a potential problem, the “role [] envisaged for academics and experts especially historians”. A great role is envisaged for academics and experts especially historians, reporting to an Implementation and Reconciliation Group of political nominees .  However the academics are  naively treated as an on more…

“The parties were told not to bring in any phones or other communication devices, nor to leave with any copies of the draft.”

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Richard Haass’ attempt to ensure confidentiality during the on-going talks between the five Northern Ireland Executive parties – on the past, parades, and flags - failed to survive first contact with Sinn Féin.  Today the Haass team presented their first, complete, draft proposals to the parties.  The BBC report notes his latest attempt at ensuring confidentiality. more…

A brave new orthodoxy. Whatever you say, say nothing.

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Eamonn McCann’s class war may be a touch whiskery these days but it still helps him  punch a big hole in one of our brave new orthodoxies. A little while ago, a friend attended a session of non-sectarian training sponsored by her employer. Each must respect the “culture” of the other side, it was explained. more…

Robinson U turn shows the urgent need for mediation

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  They must have put up Chinese walls inside Stormont Castle since I was there last.  The sudden collapse of Peter Robinson’s position over the Maze peace centre strongly suggests that the joint leaders haven’t even managed to have  frank exchanges about the past, much less wrestled with how actually to deal with it. But the bigger more…

The modest case for the Assembly in 2013

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Later.. I’ve now made it to 20 points by adding a couple on managing the economy ( how could I have left them out?). These create a dialogue with Mick, although not quite along the same lines. Working with the available material and far away from Nirvana.   To adapt Mario Cuomo, you rebel in poetry but govern more…