Wider reaction

John Reid is typically sanguine, suggesting that all sides will need to full committment to turn around a history at least 80 years in the making. Gerry Adams condemned it as a Wreckers Charter;

“…if the unionists refuse to be part of that process then the two governments must proceed anyway. Today’s victory for the no camp will not deter us and will not stop the process of change. That will only happen if we give up and we and we are not for giving up.”

James Downey appraises Trimble’s performance from a southern perspective:

“It is outrageous that Mr Trimble should have had to subject himself roughly twice a year to what amounted to a leadership vote. He has survived by moving closer and closer to the dissidents, but the price of survival is too high. The compromise he has now agreed is in some respects worse than an out-right surrender.

“His chief challenger, Jeffrey Donaldson, left him in place as a lame-duck leader. Mr Trimble’s authority within the UUP, and the respect he had earned outside it, have alike been undermined. And in policy terms, the fiasco has made the supposed objectives of completing decommissioning and disbandment of the IRA less likely, not more so.”

The Examiner calls it “an absurd demand …the latest in a series which ultimately, and insidiously, has the objective of dismantling power sharing with nationalists and republicans to serve their own political agenda.”