Though Unionist writer Steven King candidly admits, “regardless of who instigates the street violence in Belfast there is a vicious campaign to create ‘Taig-free’ areas of Counties Antrim and Down which attracts far less attention”, he also says that the price for re-entry into government for Sinn Fein has to be the disbanding of the IRA.
Tony Blair, appears to echo this thinking:
“It is an obligation in particular for everyone to realise that there can only be one democratic path. That democratic path cannot divide into a path of democracy and a path of violence, so we are at the point of decision now.”
The SDLP remain firmly fixed in the middle of the row (subscription only):
“…leader Mark Durkan has signalled that his party would not vote for exclusion of Sinn Fein from government but he acknowledged that it was also untenable to ask the UUP to continue on in the executive in current circumstances.”
Sinn Fein press on regardless. Gerry Adams in the Irish News:
The message will obviously reflect the outworkings of the meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, but we will focus in one case Belfast republicans and in the other case Dublin or southern republicans, on the need to continue to be active in seeking the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. We, the Sinn Fein leadership, are not going to be diverted from that task by anyone.