Mixed reactions

There is some cautious optimism that today’s statement by Tony Blair will have the desired effect, though Jeffrey Donaldson holds on to the hard bottom line:

“Anything that falls short of an effective exclusion mechanism is not worth the paper it’s written on,” he insisted. “Equally, the idea that we can draw a line under Colombia, Castlereagh and the violence on the streets of Belfast is a non starter. Republicans must be held to account for what they have done, never mind what they might do in the future.”

In turn Gerry Adams is livid that the spotlight has been thrown onto the IRAs ceasefire, and that Mr Blair was “focusing on republicans at a time when the threat to the peace process came from loyalists. The reality is that Catholics are being killed in Belfast, there is a planned, organised campaign by loyalists against Catholics. The unionists’ response to this is to seek the exclusion of Sinn Fein from our rightful place on the executive.” Eamonn MacDermott complains that people are losing sight of the historic significance of last weeks apology.

Martin McGuinness asks to meet the Loyalist commission.